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View Diary: Krugman: Is Tucson "A Turning Point" or "Just The Beginning?" (243 comments)

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  •  One big difference (1+ / 0-)
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    None of these movements with ongoing violent outcomes have previously had such a nationally pervasive public media, 24 hours a day, feeding nationalism, divisiveness, and encouraging violence. Anyone, anywhere, at any hour, can hear aggressive, provocative rants by privileged angry white men and women on radio, on 24 hour "news" stations, and read or listen to/watch this rhetoric online. It's no longer localized, like the various nationalistic fights and riots in New York in the 19th century were, nor is it forcibly managed with a small and easily controlled media ownership as has been the case in other countries from past to present.

    As an aside, the outcomes however are less predictable because there's no guarantee who the message will reach and how they will react--thus, a random mentally ill man targets a politician on another politician's "hit list". We have no way of knowing who will be victimized next or by whom, but chances are high we will be able to follow a trail of evidence back to a variety of specific media sources.

    •  An important point that should not escape us is (1+ / 0-)
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      that when Fr. Coughlin spewed his hate, he was a lone voice amid a sea of more literate, liberal reporters and commentators who actually reflected a more liberal public consensus.

      Sure, he had a following; but the overwhelming pattern of civic discourse was not aligned with what he was saying.

      OTOH, the Becks and Limbaughs of our own time are reflecting such a omnipresence of right wing ownership and reporting that the civic discourse, to a great extent, aligns perfectly with what they are saying.

    •  Sure it has. An organized, national program of (1+ / 0-)
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      media propaganda is nothing new. The Nazis took control of the media as they rose to power. They had a wide array of sympathetic radio personalities, journalists and other opinion makers singing Hitler's praises and spouting his propaganda long before he was elected chancellor or even achieved any mainstream political success.

      The same is true of fascist Italy, Communist Romania, Communist China and dozens of other examples. In the US at the turn of the century, the newspapers were controlled by a handful of men. They used their opinion-making power to set the US to war against Spain over a baldfaced lie. They did the same to Mexico 50 years earlier.

      I don't quite get your point about the smaller media at the turn of the century. The result then is the same result now. The number of owners doesn't make much difference.

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