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Framing the "Fair & Balanced" Conspiracy Against Democracy (Equal Time for Fringe Fanatics)

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posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 01:25 PM
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Tread lightly, for we now enter "The Fanatical Divide..."

The Premise of the Fanatical Divide (as popularly framed): A supposedly bitter, partisan, fanatical division of the American people into two equally armed and powerful political camps; A hypothetical stalemate creating a virtual impasse to progress of any sort and without any possible hope of resolution.

The Reality of the Fanatical Divide: It's artificial. Manufactured. A product of subtle segmentation (not division) and continuous management by framing.

The "fanatical divide" is actually a projection on the American people by those that seek to "save us" from it. An Authority with it's own agenda that packages and frames multiple issues to the obscurity of every issue... All with the singular intent of sabotaging the opinion of majorities (even circumventing democracy itself) in favor of it's own arbitration.

As insidious as this unnamed "Authority" may sound in that context, some perspective is warranted. In a representative republic where political parties must produce, defend and advance ideological platforms across a broad spectrum of issues, some degree of this manipulation of "democracy" is both necessary and inevitable. In the example of the Democratic Party, if you want a representative in favor of reproductive choice, you're more than likely going to get a representative defending Affirmative Action as well. In the example of the Republican Party, if you want to protect tax cuts across the board, you're more than likely going to get a representative against gay marriage to boot.

This concept shouldn't really be a revelation to anyone, as it's all part of the bitter pill packaging to which we've grown accustomed. And though some may understand the ideology behind a particular platform and agree in full, for the most part we don't. We individually rally behind what we like, and ignore what we don't.

To the extent some may get "fanatical" about the underlying ideology and marketing of a particular Authority, a packaging of issues, or any given single issue is not the subject of this analysis however. Nor am I asserting a change in anything but one's own perspective of "the fanatical divide" and his or her role in it.

My premise here is actually that on most any given single issue (not the package, not the party, not the underlying ideology) there really is no divide. None whatsoever. There's the overwheming majority, and a fanatical fringe opinion segmented off by the Authority, then fed back to us as a false reflection of our divided selves under the pretense of "Fair & Balanced" representation and debate.

Where to begin...

The train of thought here comes from reviewing a number of recent (and some ever-present) issues contributing to "the fanatical divide" including the close Senate vote to back oil drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, the pervasive Terri Shiavo case (no link required), the proposed Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage (maybe you've heard of it), Social Security reform, the Maine bill to protect Gay Fetuses and the grandfather of them all, abortion rights.

Though each of these issues may be said to serve it's own unique purpose in the creation of an artificial chasm, that they are further intertwined as packages in both overt and covert segmentation strategies should be the main revelation. To document that a "segmentation strategy" even exists though and for the purposes of this initial discussion, let's just examine that last link to abortion in particular. It happens to illustrate the artificiality of the divide most pointedly as one of the most viewed and debated threads hosted on AboveTopSecret.com...

A simple post, a cynical premise, and mostly likely dead on target.

Majority wants Abortion to Stay Legal; So it Probably Won't Happen

Originally posted by worldwatcher
Following the trend that the opposite of what the polls says is usually the outcome, it seems that imo we will soon have anti-abortion judge and abortion will soon be illegal.



Poll: Americans Want Roe V. Wade Upheld
WASHINGTON -- A majority of Americans say President Bush's next choice for an opening on the Supreme Court should be willing to uphold the landmark court decision protecting abortion rights, an Associated Press poll found.

The poll found that 59 percent say Bush should choose a nominee who would uphold the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. About three in 10, 31 percent, said they want a nominee who would overturn the decision, according to the poll conducted for the AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs.

"While I don't have a strong feeling about abortions personally, I wouldn't want the law overturned and return to the days of backdoor abortions," said Colleen Dunn, 40, a Republican and community college teacher who lives outside Philadelphia.

The preference for Supreme Court nominees who would uphold Roe v. Wade could be found among both men and women, most age groups, most income groups and people living in urban, suburban and rural areas. Fewer than half of Republicans, evangelicals and those over 65 said they favored a nominee who would uphold the abortion ruling.

Bush has sidestepped questions about whom he would name to an opening, but has indicated he would pick judges like those he picked in his first term -- often young and conservative.


Based on the above article and poll, the majority will most likely get exactly what they don't want.


A summary review of the hotly debated "public opinion" on "public opinion" reveals three primary things:

1) Acceptance of defeat by the majority. (Picking on myself here.)

Originally posted by RANT
Contraceptives will be next. The privacy decision of the Connecticut case legalizing birth control is the basis for Roe v Wade. One goes, it all goes...just like the Texas Taliban want.


2) Denial of reality by the minority.

Originally posted by DrHoracid
Your poll is complete BS. Abortion is MURDER. Roe v Wade was a LIE based on a LIE. The supreme circus of that time were liberal idiots and will burn in HELL for what they have done.


3) And with some reluctant acceptance of reality, a counter appeal to Authority.

Originally posted by FlyersFan
Not sure where the 'fact' that 'majority want abortion'
comes from. I really don't think so ... but even if that
is right .... just because the majority want it, doesn't
mean it's the best thing to do.

Let's take the election for example .. the majority voted
for G.W. Bush. Do YOU think it's the best thing?? If
you could legally change the outcome of the election
would you??

Same with abortion.

It's not without intent or irony I included the additional point that some in the reverse would like to deny Bush is President.


The sabotage of democracy revealed. Self sabotage of the majority in the acceptance of defeat. The denial of reality by the fanatical fringe. And the ultimate appeal to Authority to "save us" from ourselves.

To the extent the poll may not accurately reflect public opinion (as it seems improbable even to me our representative authorities could be so blatantly unrepresentative), I checked.

I found one rather tin foil laden, hand wringing accusation over at WorldNetDaily that really resolves nothing but that they can't believe the poll could possibly be accurate: AP Pollsters Stonewall Over Bogus Abortion Poll.

The headline could just as easily read: Associated Press/Ipsos Won't Return Phone Calls of Intern Blogger Sarah Kupelian; WorldNetDaily Mystified by Own Irrelevance.

Denial of reality reinforced.

Giving WorldNetDaily and every other angry fringe fanatic the benefit of the doubt (something I do all too often), I compared the results of every other recognizably credible public opinion poll of the American people on the subject of abortion pretty much going back to the 70's.

Luckily PollingReport.com, an independent, nonpartisan resource on trends in American public opinion compiles all credible mainstream polls into sections by issue, including one on abortion opinion.

For the benefit of both the majority of American people, and the illumination of the fanatical fringe, indulge me please in this rather weighty presentation of reality.

First, the original poll in question (actually two from November '04):




More recent polls also on the actual issue of Roe v. Wade:




Of course, one can slice and dice public opinon any way one likes:






One can even track it in trending polls:




However, we're rarely given a three or four or five point scale of choices in selecting our representative on a single issue, so over time it's been resegmented, labeled and "camped." Even this trend of applying meaningless labels of segmentation can be tracked...

Pro-Choice or Pro-Life?

(alphabetically)


(uh, reverse alphabetically)



But this "camping" behavior is artificially and improperly forced upon us as any number of properly framed debates and polls demonstrate there is no fanatical divide. The majority of the American people support Roe v. Wade (PERIOD). A minority do not, with an even smaller minority (a true fringe element in the neighborhood of 10-20%) seeking to ban all abortion.

Yet with each new segmentation arises the opportunity to divide the majority. While related to the issue, it's actually not the issue. It's a frame. A false division. Examine the public opinion on something concrete instead. On just this issue of Should Roe v. Wade be overturned? (to which the majority of Americans have consistently maintained no) any number of softening agents of segmentation can be used to dramatize a "fanatical divide" as also demonstrated above.

Not to pick on "Fair & Balanced" Fox News Channel alone, but they do target, foster and present the "fanatical divide" so well, it warrants examination.

While they know as well as anyone where the American public stands on the issue of Roe v. Wade:


What is this fishing expedition for example? Metaphysics?

At least 9% of Americans are honest.

And so we have frames, and camps and "Issues" that aren't even at issue within the ever-present "debate" on 24 hour news channels more dedicated to the dramatic representation of us, than us.

The very first link produced by Google searching for a simple position statement like "Hannity on Abortion" yields a Priests For Life capture of a typical FoxNews abortion debate transcript from 2000 of which "Father Frank" seems especially proud.

The full backstory on the "issue" presented is as follows:

Public support of Roe v. Wade is overwhelming. Opponents of Roe v. Wade need to split the camp. An opportunity is identifed (most likely in a Frank Luntz focus group) that support tends to erode for Roe v. Wade on the late end of the abortion spectrum. It's further noted that if a particular abortion procedure is segmented off, reframed, relabeled and described a certain way, a new majority (or neo-majority) will shift opinion. This summarizes the transformation of a segment of abortions known as "late term" into the new lexicon of "partial birth..." Something anybody with a soul would surely ban.
So Nebraska did....


Examine the subsequent framing then in this single example of mainstream, prime time, cable news debate on the "issue" of Abortion where Sean Hannity pits a "pro-choice" advocate in favor of limiting restrictions against a Priest in favor of banning all abortions. (Also see if you recognize any of the rhetoric as repeated by the most vocal of minorities at any discussion board or water cooler you frequent.)


HANNITY: Welcome back to HANNITY & COLMES. I’m Sean Hannity. By a vote of five to four, the Supreme Court gave abortion advocates cause for celebration yesterday. The highest court in the land struck down a controversial Nebraska law that banned the late-term procedure that is known as partial-birth abortion... And President Clinton applauded what he considered a decisive conclusion to a longtime debate but voiced concerns about the future of what he called choice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)...

HANNITY: So could a new cast of justices reverse this ruling and should there be limits to abortion rights?

Joining us from Washington, Susan Dudley. She’s the deputy director of the National Abortion Federation. And also in Washington, Father Frank Pavone. And he’s with Priests for Life.

Welcome back. Susan, you know, first of all, I agree with Al Gore before he was co-opted by the extreme left wing of the country and he supported this gruesome practice and procedure when he once said abortion was arguably the taking of human life. Senator Moynihan said it was infanticide. He’s a Democrat, he’s pro-choice. You know, I just-I can usually understand the left’s arguments. I can understand people that say they’re pro-choice. I can understand it. I disagree with it, I understand it. But the procedure of partial birth where babies’ legs are brought down to the birth canal, scissors are inserted in the back of the neck, you suction out the brain and you collapse the skull of a perfectly formed baby. I can’t fathom how any person with a conscience and a soul could support that. I just don’t understand it. Can you explain it to me?

SUSAN DUDLEY, NATIONAL ABORTION FEDERATION: I think the first thing I want to say is your description of performing this procedure on a perfectly formed human baby is probably a distortion. It’s probably a result of the kind of rhetoric that has surrounded this debate for the last five years.


And that's about the last word Susan Dudley had in the conversation.

Though she does serve a later purpose in the "Fair & Balanced" debate. Keep in mind the poll numbers now. This is a debate between an advocate representative of most Americans support of Roe v. Wade and a Priest that wants to ban all abortion (representative of no more than 10 to 20% of Americans).


HANNITY: All right, we will-when we come back, we will allow the father to respond. And we’ll see how pure and extreme Susan’s position is. I’ll challenge her on that when we come back on the other side of the break. Please stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)


As it turns out the first postion to be expanded after the break was that of the actual extremist.


COLMES: Welcome back to HANNITY & COLMES. I’m Alan Colmes.

Father Pavone, with all due respect, you have-you would like to see all abortions outlawed in this country.

PAVONE: Yes.

COLMES: Is that right? And isn’t partial-birth abortion one step in what some might call a slippery slope toward outlawing all abortions?

PAVONE: Of course. We’ve never made any secret of the fact that we want to outlaw all abortions because this country is founded on the principle of the equality of all human beings. This whole discussion and this whole decision that just came out this week, it’s like discussing, you know, should it be legal to shoot someone in the heart instead of shooting them in the head, instead of looking at the whole problem of shooting in the first place. And our solution is very simple. Why can’t we try to love them and protect them both...

COLMES: I understand that...


Acceptance of defeat by the majority. Denial of reality by the minority.

I understand extremism too Alan, but why is it on stage at equal footing in a "Fair & Balanced" debate with the majority of American opinon? Or rather, why is it respected and inflated to a back bending degree while the majority is artificially made to seem "extreme" and fanatical?

Father Frank explains in part:


PAVONE: ...The law is supposed to protect us despite people’s beliefs.


Appeal to authority. Conspiracy against democracy.

Frame on Hannity:


HANNITY: Hang on a second. We only have a minute left. Susan, hang on a second, Susan. I want to bring up a point with you, because I only have a minute and we’re going to lose the freedom to choose for the Boy Scouts, by the way, interesting. I want to ask you this. I want to find out how pure and extreme you are, because you said you don’t want the government and you don’t want a politician involved in this. Does that mean a woman a week before her due date goes to a doctor, decides she doesn’t want the baby, no health reason involved, doesn’t want the baby, you support the right of that woman to have an abortion? Would you support that?

DUDLEY: The Supreme Court has found...

HANNITY: I don’t want to know what the Supreme Court says. I want to know what you say. I want to know what you think. Would you support that? Yes or no?

DUDLEY: Nobody can make a decision about when a woman can be a mother other than that woman and her family and her...

HANNITY: So you do support it?

DUDLEY: ... religious counsel, and the people that know her and know her circumstances.

HANNITY: A baby that’s viable, that one week away would be born. You support that? Well, that is-how did you get so callous?


And that's the last heard from the supporter of the overwhelmingly popular Roe v. Wade in the "Fair & Balanced" debate.

The lesson is quite simple and straightforward. If you're like most Americans and support Roe v. Wade and "don’t want the government [or] don’t want a politician involved in this" you're not only an extremist, but rather callous.

If however, you are an extremist and want not only Roe v. Wade overturned, but all abortion outlawed, not only is it understandable, but you get all due respect... in the falsely framed "Fair & Balanced" fanatical divide.

I recognize the false debate (as framed) attempted to pit "Partial Birth Abortions" versus "Banning All Abortions" and that is precisely the point. Two extreme positions (one manufactured by a fanatical minority to represent the majority) pitted against each other to make the mainstream opinion look fanatical, and validate the actual fanatic.

The frame actually went further, making the mainstream opinion seem incomprehensible, but such is the "Fair & Balanced" approach to debating (nay creating) the "fanatical divide." It's so pervasive and self reinforcing, the majority simply gives up, the fanatics deny they were ever a fringe element to begin with, and ultimately the "Authority" that segmented off the majority in the first place steps in to save the day. It's manufactured division with intent toward an agenda contrary to the will of the people, common sense and democracy itself.


It is a conspiracy against democracy!

[edit on 25-6-2005 by RANT]




posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 02:36 PM
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Well Rant thanks for bringing up this thread, now I know I "think" in which side I am falling for, with SO pointing out the polarization of the boards I actually got taken out of balance, when I though I was bringing some light to the realities of life in our nation through some research and opinions have left me into doubting myself.

I hate going around the bushes, when somebody wants something I want to know what it is and I will like that person to be specific and to the point.

I understand the situation now better with the examples in this thread, but without sounding like a "defeat by majority" how can I fight the "fanatical divide" and staying away from becoming a "denial of reality by minority" without "polarizing" the boards.

Does that make sense or I am more confuse than I thought.



posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 03:25 PM
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A (rather poor) chicken scratch pictorial representation of my initial post...



See the three NORMAL PEOPLE in the middle completely unrepresented in the media, in the debate, and by our elected Authority?

All three of which support Roe v. Wade, in the median representation of public opinion polling cited before.

What's to discuss?

Again, just using abortion as an example.


Sorry, I'm not exactly addressing the research issue right now Marg6043... but will get back to you after this coffee wears off.


[edit on 19-3-2005 by RANT]



posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 03:34 PM
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Excellent post. Thank you very much.

...Wish you'd shrink your cartoon tho, makes the text hard to track.



posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 04:00 PM
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excellent post Rant, thank you for presenting it in the manner you did. Very informative and just a little bit surprising.



posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 04:13 PM
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Another example for you? ...not as well researched, but...

It looks like the whole cloning ban thing is much the same - and the polarization is being orchestrated to prevent consensus and any US cloning ban, and thereby, to keep the industry deregulated.

...I also think the focus on stem cells and cloning deflects attention away from other genetic engineering. ...There's a lot going on in nanotechnology - and cross-overs into genetic engineering on the nano-scale. ...I suspect some truly nasty things might be happening with nanobacteria - yet NONE of this stuff is regulated in any way either.

Polarization Prevents US Cloning Ban

.



posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 08:45 PM
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I luv my president George Bush! How dare you say dat te fair & balanced Fox News is not fair & balanced! If only day'd put all ya flag burning, new age, tree huggin hippies in a pin like deem terrorist. Dey ought to put ya'll hippies down thar in cuba along'd wit dem.



posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 09:28 PM
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Rant I love your stick figures I think the are adorable.

On “the premise fo the fanatical divided
Now on the serious subject, yes I know we have been divided but before I got interested in politics I always felt that the division was there. But for some reason when I was a Republican follower I didn’t feel that division until I became unhappy and against the Bush administration.

Funny.

On “The Reality of the fanatical divide”
I am guilty of finding pleasure to that divide, that is making me fanatical also?

Now on the projection of the American people, I wonder why some cannot see it coming, I wonder also as how many times I have fall for it too.

Why our nation has fallen only for to parties to the point that any other candidates would not stand a chance against them.

I remember and found very disrespectful that Bush didn’t acknowledge the Libertarian and Green parties and brush them up as no important during the political campaigns.

Like we the people were only to be aware of him and Kerry and nobody else.

And you are right in the point that we take what we like and disregard the rest because it doesn’t match what we want to prove.

I also feel that is an overwhelming majority in the issues but why the minority has become so strong as to take over the majority? How have we end up having and Authority manipulating us both majority and minority.

Why is so easy to fall under the spell of the fanatical Divide? Why is so addictive? And how we know when we have been manipulated and taken over.

For some reason I find that in most debates or when the fanatical divide is at his best the “religious issues” comes into mind, I am looking at the example you used and I find it just so obvious that is not funny.

Then the polls, is another issue, I feel sometimes like I am debating and fighting a side of evil & good, and sometimes I lose track of which side I am on.

The trend of name calling used by some in ATS has to stop, just because I don’t see things like yours or I don’t believe in you views is not reason as why I should be tag with a name.

Lately the tagging has gone out of control, even particular mods that I decide no to mention.

It went from names as to refer somebody as anti American to now being tag as Socialist and even communist, and in top of that the hostility shown by some as to intimidate is just something I can not let go by.

You are right Rant the example on the Hannity and Colmes nailed to the spot, manipulation works but only as long as the person being manipulated will allowed it, but in instances like news media is working wonders within the population as to keep those divisions well fed.



[edit on 19-3-2005 by marg6043]



posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 09:51 PM
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NSA, this isn't just a Fox News thing, or liberal thing or conservative thing.

And Marg6043...

Originally posted by marg6043
I also feel that is an overwhelming majority in the issues but why the minority has become so strong as to take over the majority? How have we end up having and Authority manipulating us both majority and minority.


Beyond the actual majority versus minority in each actual issue, look at how the majority is splintered off by unrelated issue framing into neo-majorities, or more evenly segmented and managable "fanatical divides." This is done by the framing of authority and design of media to dramatize.

We shouldn't even know the name of Terri Schiavo, much less the intimate details of her husband's life. It's a new frame (that of a witch hunt) designed to segment and splinter "pro-choice" (for example), or liberals possibly, or the right to die camp or even just fill the news with diversionary, dramaticized fake division instead of legitimate news.

It's fake. And if it's got Nerdling grabbing for Kleenex, and dgtempe posting news articles hoping for Bush to "save the day" it's working.

It's classic manufactured division, and appeal to authority.

There's so much more to that case than the life of one woman, but we've been blinded to the issues by the case itself. People are so concerend for the lady in the 15 year old video, they're ready to undue court decisions for any old thing Bush and Congress see fit as a result of whoever whines loudest.

Get a grip people. You're being played.

[edit on 19-3-2005 by RANT]



posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 10:11 PM
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"It's fake. And if it's got Nerdling grabbing for Kleenex, and dgtempe posting news articles hoping for Bush to "save the day" it's working."

I'm amazed. I've never been real political. In fact i never was until this bogus Bush fiasco.

If i have given the impression that i want Bush to save the day
its wrong. Its too late for that. Only one thing he can do to save the day and that is to step down.

Rant- i havent been looking at this Terri thing in a political way at all. Just right and wrong. Not Republicans vs. Democrats. Give me a break.
Of course, its political now. I understand this. What doesnt turn political?

Its now at the point where death and life are political too. I know all about the man who was put to death recently while screaming " I didnt do it" while they injected him...Nobody cared about him. Nobody jumped to save him. Politics is dirty, and getting dirtier every day.

So, because of all the injustices, I shouldnt care. I shouldnt feel compassion for a woman who may not want to die. Is that what its come down to? Do not express your feelings, or to do so may mean you're rooting for the other team?
I'm the last of the great liberals and proud of it. Dont let my compassion fool you for one minute.

I wish you hadnt left me high and dry on the other thread and maybe explained what you meant.
Not all of us can read minds.



posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 10:12 PM
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Well democracy seems great when you agree with the majority opinion while judicial or other fiat is logical when the mass opinion is wrong in your view. It works both ways with many issues.



posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 11:20 PM
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I also feel that there are both subtle and blatant cues planted in the media by both corporate and governmental interests that manipulate society--whether it is to get us to buy more things or hold certain beliefs. When the government freely admits to disseminating propaganda videos dressed up to look like real news designed to exert influence on behavior and voting--and sees no ethical issue with this practice, it is not a stretch to imagine that they are manipulating us in other more subversive ways. We are being "sold" a fabricated "state of the union"--and they are using the same tactics used to sell us cars or beer.

Take marriage for instance. Was there some renewed fascination with marriage that would warrant a marked increase in wedding-related television programming over the past two-years? From Nick & Jessica to The Bachelorette to Bridezillas to the Star Jones year-long wedding planning extravaganza to TheKnot.com 24 Hour Wedding Television--perhaps it is my "Wag the Dog" radar going off, but these feels like highly coordinated product placement to me. Coincidence much that Traditional Marriage was a big issue this election... ?

Big surprise that I have a wedding to attend almost every weekend in May, June and September.

However, at some point the dog-wagging takes on a life of its own (weddings!) and the manipulative fabrication becomes a reality. People jump on the bandwagon--just look at the new and more moderate pro-life friendly Hillary.

I have friends that have become fiercely anti-abortion in the past couple of years--and while my girlfriends are all past the age where accidental pregnancy is considered an issue (some of these women are paying $20k per IVF treatment--there are no accidents here...), anti-abortion means something else. These women in their late 30's and early 40's have been guilted into refusing amniocentesis because priests have actually been giving sermons on how this test is only used to "throw away" defective fetuses. This is not the case--and some conditions detected via amnio can be treated in-utero.

I assume that most people are reasonable--yet I know of a case where a college-educated teacher refused amnio and was devastated when she learned that her faith-based decision prevented the detection of a problem--and potential treatment that could have saved her baby from dying from a heart attack two days after birth. I also know of another situation where the amnio results indicated that a miscarriage was likely due to severe birth defects, yet the woman went against her doctor's advice to abort because she considered it immoral and wound up almost dying of severe hemorrage when she did miscarry.

Were these decisions--both against the advice of their doctors, morally justified or just ignorant? Isn't it fanatical to potentially sacrifice your life or the life of your child for a cause--even if it is Christianity? How many people do you know who would ignore standard medical treatment and potentially sacrifice their life or health for anything--much less a cause? Isn't it fanatical to behave this way--like in the category of hunger strikes and self-mutilation?

What is disturbing is that many people don't realize that they are sacrificing themselves in the name of fanaticism. Whether it is a woman refusing a necessary test because they consider it immoral, or a person is marrying because of government brainwashing, or a poor person voting for a candidate that is against gay marriage, irrespective of the fact that this candidate consistently votes against the social services that the poor depend on (see Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Hearts of America")

However the religious fanaticism that engulfed these women--and I can't think of another word as I have known both for almost my whole life and these women were always moderate--had the effect of distancing them from religion in the end--or at least the organized religion that advised them to ignore reason.

Perhaps it is all a cycle that ebbs and flows--the real disillusionment that follows when regular people with practical values are seduced by the "the dark side" will put things back in balance. Most people can't live their lives as a fanatic--especially when faced with decisions that challenge the rigidity of a fringe lifestyle. It is easy to dictate how other people should live their lives--but a different standard sometimes applies when you are faced with these decisions yourself. Just as many women that oppose abortion will embrace in-vitro fertilization when they discover that they can't conceive via natural means; PETA members will utilize cures developed from animal testing when they are dying in the hospital; and many religious parents will become more gay-friendly when a child comes out of the closet--I think that most people abandon their fanaticism when the reality of it will have a negative impact on their life.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 01:04 AM
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Originally posted by lmgnyc
I also feel that there are both subtle and blatant cues planted in the media by both corporate and governmental interests that manipulate society--whether it is to get us to buy more things or hold certain beliefs.


I agree. And in that regard the Authority of Government and the Authority of Media are virtually indistinguishable. Your example of the advent of hyperenthusiastic marriage progamming (to which I'd add House Renovations...spend, spend, spend) is an excellent counterbalance to the equally alarming trend (to some) toward "alternative" or gay programming. I'm not judging here, just balancing the "fanaticism." And it's no accident these are on different channels. It's segmentation strategy.

Yet where the fanatics meet daily is on the news. That's the "fanatical divide" strategy of dramatic representation of "issues." Where government Authorities then seek to step in and manage the divide for it's own agenda is in the assertion they'll protect half the population from the fringe fanatics in the other half (supposedly representative of more than they are).


Originally posted by lmgnyc
I assume that most people are reasonable--


That's generous.
It's probably true though (at least that's my premise), even though we can all cite extreme examples like yours (an educated professional refusing amnio based on faith). And as you well know (from Frank Thomas), it's the daily lists and parades of those "examples" from the other extreme that create and reinforce the fanatical divide. The Plen-T-Plaints. This forum is one. The O'Reilly Factor is one. Lou Dobbs does it as high art. It's the constant dissemination of every single little flaw and factoid of some extremist that's supposed to represent "the other half" of a fake fanatical divide... when in reality they don't at all.

So really, it's not that the extremists have a place at the table that concerns me so much (citing my initial post). It's the intense focus of everyone else on the extremists as representative of "the debate" and America.

Now to bash my favorite political author with a bit of criticism.



Originally posted by lmgnyc
What is disturbing is that many people don't realize that they are sacrificing themselves in the name of fanaticism. Whether it is a woman refusing a necessary test because they consider it immoral, or a person is marrying because of government brainwashing, or a poor person voting for a candidate that is against gay marriage, irrespective of the fact that this candidate consistently votes against the social services that the poor depend on (see Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Hearts of America")


I love that book too.
I can't recommend it enough myself. But people should take precaution while delving in not to fall victim to Frank's cynical theory of relativity...

Everything is a Plen-T-Plaint except this book.


While it is the hands down best summary of the past half century in American politics I've found, it is the most depressing thing I've probably ever read.

Of course, looking at each individual issue by public opinion polls, Frank is right. We've been manipulated against our own interests and will, most notably by a lunatic fanatical fringe of religious extremists (very sad Moon was omitted). And they have a grip on more voters than they should. But also looking at those polls by issue, we the American people still agree on most things in spite of how we vote and the divide is fake.

So again, it's not the fringe fanatics we need concern ourselves with. They're a distraction by design. Changing their minds is not an option. And we divide and lower our own positions in engaging and focusing our attentions that way.

A similar issue: Social Security Reform. Look at those polls. It's the same numbers as Roe v. Wade. The majority of people don't trust Bush to handle it. They don't want him to touch it! The only reason we're even in danger of him doing so (and helping turn over Roe v Wade against our wishes also) is enough people of completely differing opinions were wedged together based on fabricated non-issues in order to hand him the keys.

This minority then on this issue comprised of Bush himself and about 3 out of 10 other people, run around screaming about "obstructionists" or deny the reality that they are in fact the minority.

An ATSNN article I recall framed it this way...

"Thanks to the disinformation Democrats, people don't support President Bush's proposal..."

Denial of reality.

Then the "fanatical divide" gets framed on the nightly news as President Bush (the leader of the minority opinion) versus the other half... when "the other half" is actually the overwhelming majority of America.

No arbitration or debate needed. No appeal to authority required. Yet we buy into it. And go out of our way to argue with every sandwich board wearing whack job the media can throw at us. It's fake. There's no fanatical divide.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 12:48 PM
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Originally posted by RANT
Your example of the advent of hyperenthusiastic marriage progamming (to which I'd add House Renovations...spend, spend, spend) is an excellent counterbalance to the equally alarming trend (to some) toward "alternative" or gay programming. I'm not judging here, just balancing the "fanaticism." And it's no accident these are on different channels. It's segmentation strategy.


How about the chasm that divides the holier-than-thou "morality" of conservative FOXNews (Bill O'Reilly's sexual proclivities excluded, although somehow knowing that he is a freak makes him seem more human for some reason...) and the alternate personality espoused in the trash-TV on FOX and the even down-and-dirtier FX (Rescue Me--ouch!)?

Clearly Fox Broadcasting is using it's entertainment arm to kick up fringe issues that bleed into the social discourse--where they are covered 24-hours a day on, you guessed it--FoxNews! "24" is almost like a re-enactment of the news with an agenda-based plot.

At least in the fifties when the government worked with studio heads, the inserted content was somewhat subtle. Film Noir was totally co-opted by the government (See "Pickup on South Street" by director Sam Fuller for a prime example of how film was used to fight the "red threat" of Communism--and it is a terrific film too. There are some additional interviews in the special features section on the Criterion Collection dvd that discuss how studio heads and the government worked together to use film to promote their nationalistic/anti-communism agenda.) But 24 is certainly promoting a pro-torture agenda--even going to the extent of firing a pesky government employee that was tortured by mistake and had the audacity to threaten a move that could be characterized as whistleblowing.

Big surprise that Bill O'Reilly covered this topic on his show the same night, characterizing the issue as a battle between rational government officials that do what they need to Protect You and loopy liberals that would rather let terrorists wander around the streets killing people than trample on their rights.

Huh? Feeding the fire, indeed... But the strategy is effective. Don't engage nonsense and it becomes fact. Engage it and you are down their rabbit-hole, where they set the agenda and you are a defensive lunatic.


And as you well know (from Frank Thomas), it's the daily lists and parades of those "examples" from the other extreme that create and reinforce the fanatical divide. The Plen-T-Plaints. This forum is one. The O'Reilly Factor is one. Lou Dobbs does it as high art. It's the constant dissemination of every single little flaw and factoid of some extremist that's supposed to represent "the other half" of a fake fanatical divide... when in reality they don't at all.


I was just thinking this as I was watching Chris Matthews this morning and the pundits were all in a froth about teens dying from steroid use. Not that these parents aren't hurting, but steroids are near the bottom of the list of substances that teens are abusing. What gives with the spectacle and why is this even a matter that requires debate? I can't help but wonder about some major issue that is being ignored in favor of Mark McGwire's wailing.


So really, it's not that the extremists have a place at the table that concerns me so much (citing my initial post). It's the intense focus of everyone else on the extremists as representative of "the debate" and America.


Totally agree--and if we focus solely on stats, the minorities become marginalized and the focus in only on big issues. But why is the media focus so frequently on the extremes... finding the one person that was screwed, hurt, healed, made rich/destitute, by whatever plan/behavior and implying that it is the average. Isn't that irresponsible? Then again, if the country can go to war using selective statistics, than what's the big deal for using them to push tax policy or abortion reform.


No arbitration or debate needed. No appeal to authority required. Yet we buy into it. And go out of our way to argue with every sandwich board wearing whack job the media can throw at us. It's fake. There's no fanatical divide.


Very true--I spend a lot of time in so-called "red states"--or rather, as I work with investment firms, I deal with a lot of conservatives, however people are people. They live, work, breathe and have the same problems as paying bills and taking care of their families as people in blue states.

However, the perception of divide is real, which unfortunately is quite effective when it comes to distracting people from important issues and getting people elected.

But that's the strategy. And it works. United we stand, divided we fall. Divide and conquer. And conquer they have. So what now? How do we deal with the steady stream of manipulative BS that we may not even know that we are being fed? I can police myself to check reactions to manufactured reality, but what about the majority of people that don't question "institutions" like the government or the media (like my Dad who thinks it is borderline treason to disagree with the President)?



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 01:13 PM
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The angry, vocal fringe division of otherwise reasonable majorities...


Originally posted by lmgnyc
Feeding the fire, indeed... But the strategy is effective. Don't engage nonsense and it becomes fact. Engage it and you are down their rabbit-hole, where they set the agenda and you are a defensive lunatic.


God you nailed it.
We can't win. That's the acceptance of defeat by the majority, I was talking about. But it's so true. Reasonable people can't win a debate with lunatics, and media (and government) is all about lunatic freak shows now just like you were saying. Right out of the Sunday Morning "news" talk circuit.


But that's the strategy. And it works. United we stand, divided we fall. Divide and conquer. And conquer they have. So what now? How do we deal with the steady stream of manipulative BS that we may not even know that we are being fed? I can police myself to check reactions to manufactured reality, but what about the majority of people that don't question "institutions" like the government or the media (like my Dad who thinks it is borderline treason to disagree with the President)?


The cynical answer is to "trick" them with more BS. I hate that. But that's what we're really saying when we look back longingly at an actual moderate uniter like Clinton. Man that boy could lay on the sugar talk.

But it just eschalates the level of BS from the fringe then. It's a vicious cycle we have to break. I honestly don't know how. Your internal whackdar is working, mine's kicking in... how do we turn it on in others?

To the extent one John Kerry tried to reason with people on complicated issues, and "ignore" the 527 crazies trying to control the debate it hurt him. That's considered "out of touch" and "defensive posturing."


I honestly don't know how to turn on the world's whackdar, since as it stands most people are aspiring whackmagnets and whacknewsjunkies themselves. But I'm investing considerable thought to that end.


[edit on 20-3-2005 by RANT]



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 02:13 PM
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The Continuing Adventures of Secret Government Agents Pickle Girl and Rapture Boy in the Falsely Fanatical Land of Mainstream Media...

PollingReport/Schiavo



Even more interesting...


"If you were in this condition, would you want to be kept alive, or not?"

8% - Kept Alive

87% - Not Kept Alive

4% - Unsure


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Too late SUCKERS! You may no longer have a say.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 07:10 PM
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lmgnyc

Great post, Rant I have been applying your views into the story of Terry and now I can see what "interest groups" wants, with the help of the media and the influence on the people's goodness and to the guiltiness of some, look how far the story and "fight" for the women has gone.

Now the government "few" are taking the "risk" and are backing up the "family" and the "groups" if you look closely the "authority" may give the image that is for the good of the "people" but in reality they are taking advantage to actually push what they want.

The husband here has been relegated as the evil figure that is the one "trying to kill" a human being, while everybody else get to play hero.

Who is to gain from all this? the women, the family? not, but the ones that are pushing their own agendas and found the opportunity in this otherwise tragic case.

This is a great example how people has been used.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 07:27 PM
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Originally posted by marg6043
This is a great example how people has been used.


Exactly.

If the issue is life and "the parent's wishes" or whatever pile of Kleenex it is why was this Texas woman's baby killed on Tuesday by the hospital against her wishes based on a law then Governor Bush signed in 1999?

Houston Chronical


And why isn't her picture on the news 24/7? Her plight? Why didn't the right to lifers and Republicrats jump in to save her?

I'm not arguing against Bush siding with healthcare in 1999, but why the bizarre reverse and extreme measures to save one lady in Florida now while a baby dies?

Could be this memo...
WashingtonPost.com

Wow, that link keeps getting edited. An hour ago it was all about the widely circulated Republican memo on Terri...

Used to say this...

This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue," said the memo, which was reported by ABC News and later given to The Washington Post. "This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats."


Then this...

In a memo distributed only to Republican senators, the Schiavo case was characterized as "a great political issue" that could pay dividends with Christian conservatives, whose support is essential in midterm elections such as those coming up in 2006.


Now it's...

In his Senate speech today, Frist denounced an unsigned memo circulated to Republican lawmakers over the weekend calling the Schiavo case "a great political issue."

Frist said he had not seen the memo and said, "I condemn the content of the memo and reaffirm that the interest in this case by myself, and the many members of the Senate on both sides of the aisle, is to assure that Mrs. Schiavo has another chance at life."


See the media spin and spin to cover the agenda for "Terri" ... while quite selective about other things.

[edit on 20-3-2005 by RANT]



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 08:05 PM
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Interesting, how while everybody is screaming to let the women live, we are going to have a new bill, that the rest of the nation didn't asked for it, but it will be push upon us just because one women.

While the real winners of all this are celebrating we will be stuck with the repercussions that this bill may have on the rest of the citizens of this country.

So for now on that's what is going to take for interest groups and agenda pushers get their issues pass by the congress and sign by the president.

Amazing, I can't wait to see what is next in their long list of issues.



posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 11:13 PM
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"The role of message is no longer information, but testing and polling, and finally control."--Jean Baudrillard

All this spinning and reverse spinning is making me nauseous. Perhaps it is time to unplug and vegetate on a beach somewhere.

I have been thinking of Baudrillard in the context of this conversation. If we take the focus on the spectacle, "sob-sister" stories to the next level, it acts as a mechanism for control. We get to a point where the only things that register are the "hyperreal" or events that are more real than real. Education spending is cut drastically in the new budget--who cares? Electricity will be more expensive this summer--yawn.... Minimum wage isn't increased--old news.. but gays want to get married!?!?!? Heavens to mergatroid--life as I know it is going to end!!

Eventually, this constant drumbeat of extreme news becomes like a drug. It's not even the topic that matters--it's the fact that we have a need to have something to react to. Eventually, it all blurs together and becomes meaningless. We don't even know what we are really fighting for or against (is it Terry Schiavo or abortion rights?), but we need the system because we need the steady stream of input--or hyperreal nonsense.

The implication is that we have no control.

But even though Baudrillard feels that we are all lost to the seduction of mass media, perhaps alternative media is the answer. The blogosphere may save us by assuming the role of the fourth estate--the guardians of democracy & the public interest... I was heartened to see that www.dailykos.com... got it right. Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope for those of us that are trying not to be sheep...



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