Friday, February 11, 2011
The Politics of Fear
One of my favorite political commentators/pundits is Randi Rhodes, a liberal talker. She's got a loud New York accent, and is quick to either laughter or irritability. If you are a conservative, you probably react to her name--if you know of her at all--with derision and scorn. But you've probably never listened to her, outside of an out-of-context clip on the internet. Randi is a somewhat out sized personality, and is not for every taste (even if you're a liberal/progressive). But she is somewhat unique in this area: she tells you not to trust her. Seriously. She says that she knows the company she keeps on AM talk radio, and that you should trust none of it. Question everything, and do your homework.
That's quite a bit different from someone like Rush Limbaugh, who tells you that you need listen to no one else, he'll do the work for you. Right? And one of the big points Randi has been making of late is that her political opposition on radio and tv are exploiting fear. This is not new of course, but it is perhaps more prevalent right now. She said--and I agree--that if your favorite politician, tv personality or radio host spends the bulk of their time trying to make you afraid of something. . .there's probably something wrong.
Think about it for a second. Picture Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Bill O'Reilly, Michele Bachmann. About what percentage of the time to they spend trying to scare you about something? Think about what you're watching and listening to, and analyze it with a little objectivity, please. That's all I'm asking. Don't buy everything you hear lock, stock and barrel (to use a favorite right-wing gun metaphor). Consider that just maybe there is an agenda behind all the fear.
Here's an example of blatant fear mongering from the most recent election cycle. Do you see through it?