“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fake Public Opinion

Rusty Hawkins, of Amarillo Globe-News and 3I Newsletter1 fame, was once again on KVII, appearing as a “local resident” and pontificating on the Democrat’s apparent “unwillingness” to work their own primary election. That the last minute shortage of precinct judges and clerks was due to illness and family problems seemed to have escaped the attention span of the sharp-eyed Hawkins, and little effort was made by KVII to actually clarify or follow up on this earth-shaking story.

This makes at least the second time bon savant Hawkins has shown up on the local ABC affiliate, a great change of fortune since his taking leave of the Limbaugh loony ranch. No longer just your average man on the street or random patron in your friendly neighborhood sandwich shop, he has been promoted to professional “local resident”, the station’s go-to man for modern, 21st century chaw drooling down your chin political commentary.

Curious as to how Hawkins was picked out of the tens of thousands of eligible right-wingers to choose from, KVII was contacted but did not respond to inquiries. This writer therefore referred to Dr. Berliner, who has written extensively on political affairs and the media, and whose monograph “Geschlechtsverkehr Dummkopf Schweinhund Konservativen” was recently published in “Philosophie in Wirklich Schlechtem Deutsch”.

Dr. Berliner was kind enough to drive to Hokumberg near Gelb Stadt to a nondescript sandwich shop for an interview. Surrounded by old men drinking ersatz coffee, Dr. Berliner contended that many American media "man on the street" interviews, while seemingly chosen at random to reflect the views of the everyday citizen, were actually selected to reflect the political agenda of the (conservative) media.

Dr. Berliner speculated that Amarillo's biased media culture has led its few outlets to share resources that reflect their limited views. He could therefore imagine KVII needing someone to appear for a bit about the economic stimulus package, to praise free markets and condemn taxes, and that their media ally the Amarillo Globe-News happily obliged with an American Enterprise Institute macaw straight from their files.

For Dr. Berliner, though this process amounts to a complete sham, it does solve several problems faced by the media. It puts an end to shooting tedious hours of tape just to get the few seconds of opinion they may actually need. It makes it easier for the media to do its job, which is to manufacture opinion, not ascertain it. And the highly problematic difficulties of interviewing right-wing conservatives are extremely reduced.

As an example of the last issue Dr. Berliner faxed one Texas news director's advisory to his reporters:

Interview subject
· Does not bang head with fist to form understandable sentences and paragraphs
· Does not wear Nazi or Klan uniform or paraphernalia
· Does not use racial epithets or inflammatory language every fourth word on camera
· Does not speak highly of Hitler or Grand Dragon
· Does not play with or randomly shoot gun(s) on camera (exceptions: Charlton Heston; John Wayne LaPierre)
· Does not drool or foam at the mouth or other orifices
· Does not roll eyes up into forehead to “retrieve” a thought and begin repeating themselves after fifteen seconds
· Does not mutter to themselves or to imaginary friends or enemies
· Does not pick nose, suck on remaining teeth, or probe ears with fingers or other objects while on camera
· Does not gesticulate with hands and arms wildly
· Does not have hands and arms wandering about aimlessly by themselves and is suddenly surprised by them
· Does not attack and eat camera crew (think insurance costs people!)
· Does not explode mentally or physically on camera
· Does not denigrate people of other religious faiths (exception: open season on Muslims as CEO thinks they are all terrorists)

According to Dr. Berliner this is necessarily a short list, and naturally its provisions would tend to narrow the field of conservative right-wingers available for comment. This could very well explain why our own media would resort to a local resident that can be relied upon, most days, to be more or less stable on camera.

1Institute for the Ideologically Insane. The newsletter, in multi-colored crayon, is published every other month, and is available to the public and former guests of the institute by prescription.