Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Lies and Lying Liars

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Shirley Sherrod, who never should have been fired in the first place, has now been offered a new job at the Department of Agriculture, working on civil rights. Gibbs has also apologized on behalf of the White House.

There’s been a lot of interesting commentary today on the Sherrod moment and what it says about right-wing domination of mass media, as well as about conservative media more generally. Kevin Drum and Steve Benen are begging “grown-up Republicans” to finally speak out against the race-baiting, though frankly I wouldn’t hold my breath. Sherrod too has gone after Fox directly for its racist slant on the news. Of course there’s plenty to be said about Andrew Breitbart and his striking refusal to even pretend to apologize. But the most important questions it seems to me have to do with the rot at the core of “conservative journalism” so-called. As Yglesias puts it:

At some point conservatives need to ask themselves about the larger meaning of this kind of conduct—and Andrew Breitbart’s—for their movement. Beyond the ethics of lying and smear one’s opponents, I would think conservatives would worry about the fact that a large portion of conservative media is dedicated to lying to conservatives. They regard their audience as marks to be misled and exploited, not as customers to be served with useful information.

It’s been this way for a long time. Most of the political conservatives I know don’t seem to be aware of this, and those that are just don’t seem to care. The fact is some of these people we can’t win back; we have to accept they’ll always hate us, and just dedicate ourselves to winning enough of the rest that we stay in power and they stay out.

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