The right wing hate machine is revving up again and this time they've set their sights on NPR.
After having successfully destroyed ACORN over a handful of bad employees and ginned up stories of voter fraud, this bears all the hallmarks of a similar hit job.
Please NPR, take this seriously. They are out for blood.
Step 1: Identify an organization favorable to or liked by democratic voters.
When Air America launched, I was hoping that it would have become an important counterweight to right wing AM radio. But it was never on sure financial ground, was hard to find a place where you could actually get it, and finally crashed and burned on January 21, 2010.
Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Not only that, but their entire business model is explicitly non-commercial and relies heavily on community support, support from businesses, and yes, some INDIRECT grants from federal, state, and local governments.
Their success is in some ways a direct affront to the conservative ideology that everything depends on a greedy white wealthy bastard that we all need to bow down to kiss the feet of or else he'll crash the world economy.
Step 2: Identify an issue to that allows conservatives to play victim, especially if it can have racial undertones with it
Here's where Juan Williams becomes a useful idiot for conservatives. He gets fired for admitting that he deals with fears when he sees muslims in traditional muslim clothing on airplanes.
Whether or not you agree with NPR's decision to fire him over these comments, I'm sure plenty of Fox News viewers harbor such feelings themselves and identify with someone being judged on having them. I base this assertion on this poll from Sept 20th, where over half of respondents reported an unfavorable view of Islam and 45% think that Islam encourages violence. There are no cross-tabs breaking down answers between Dems v. Reps or Libs v. Indies v. Conservatives but judging on the rhetoric coming from the right-wing media empire, I think that it's safe to say that a majority of Fox News viewers, half of which are over 63 and skew male, probably hold similar views.
So here is your martyr and boy is Juan Williams playing the part.
Claiming that his firing was a "chilling assault on free speech" by the "self-righteous ideological, left-wing leadership at NPR," he has given confirmation to the voices inside the heads of every conservative that NPR is nothing more than a PC-thug, government free-loading, first amendment-suppressing, socio-facsio-liberal network.
To me, such an assertion is completely laughable at its face because NPR is so paranoid of coming off as "biased" to liberals that Alicia Shepard barred the use of the word "torture"to describe water-boarding, thus adopting the right-wing interpretation of "enhanced interrogation techniques."
Then there was also the recent declaration that ALL NPR employees (including accountants, interns, etc.) were prohibited from taking part in Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" in their private time. Sure, Juan Williams commenting on Fox News on his free time was perfectly acceptable, but GODDAMN if our accountant holds up a sign saying "I may disagree with you but I'm pretty sure you're not Hitler."
Despite all the efforts of NPR to stay decidedly non-partisan, there is nothing they could say or do that will ever change the mind of a committed conservative that they are anything other than a "liberal" network needing to be destroyed.
Step 3: Rinse, Lather, and Repeat Ad Infinitum on Fox News and Right Wing Radio
Well, looks like Juan Williams will be guest hosting Bill O'Reilly's program tonight so there's no way this story isn't being pimped all day and weekend by Fox News. Not only that, but their obsessive coverage of this (and practically everything they do) drives other networks to follow suit and cover it as well.
Not to mention that Fox News PAID personalities (and presumable 2012 candidates) Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee are now manning the tweeting stations to help drive the narrative and traffic to Fox News even more. As Jon Stewart once said, it's all part of a "perpetual revulsion machine," where PAID Fox News personalities help drive the news for their "straight" news programming (and everyone else's) to cover.
Step 4: Sponsor Legislation to Defund, Discredit, and Attack Said Organization
Gee, that didn't take long for DeMint and Cantor to step right up and say they'll "Defund NPR." Kind of like how it worked when they had congress officially condemned Moveon.org and when they stripped funding for ACORN, each with the support of numerous Democrats all to happy to jump on attacked organizations that actually HELP them.
Other diaries here have already explained why such legislation is ultimately meaningless in terms or directly hurting NPR's finances but the whole point is to tar NPR as "toxic" so that it will hurt NPR's fundraising with corporate and affluent donors.
Unlike ACORN, I think NPR is on much more solid ground in terms of financial and popular support but they need to take this and future threats very seriously. This is an open declaration of war against NPR and everything it stands for.
NPR needs to fight back and not be afraid of being seen as called "liberal" or "biased" because there is nothing they could say or do that would convince the increasingly paranoid GOP base that they're not. What they need to do is start reporting the truth proudly, even when it happens to have a liberal bias.
Hey NPR! How about a news story on the 'perpetual revulsion machine?'
Or how Fox News masquerades around as some sort of legitimate 'news organization?'
Or how it's sensationalized and distorted news programming is increasingly radicalizing the GOP base to believe patently wrong things about the president's citizenship, global warming, and the health care bill?
Or how it's practically impossible to tell (by design) what on Fox News is an 'opinion' program versus a 'straight news' program?
The material is there. The Daily Show and Mediamatters.org have extensive documentation of it.
Those are NOT liberal questions. They are questions and stories that anyone should have about Fox News' business model and programming strategy. In fact, NOT ASKING them amounts to a conservative bias aiding and abetting Fox News in carrying out this farce at the cost of our national political discourse.
Fight back, NPR! Because they will accept nothing less than complete destruction of everything public radio (and doing things for the public good) stands for.