Thursday, April 09, 2009

Why grant liars a forum to lie?

Disclosure: I hate Hardball with Chris Matthews. I think it epitomizes everything that is wrong with what passes for "news" on television, and believe that just about everything Jon Stewart said about Crossfire applies to Hardball. It is a forum that decontextualizes facts, reducing debate down to he said, she said sound bites of partisan exchange (which benefits the intellectually dishonest since lies are granted equivalency with truth). The purpose is not the advancement of public discourse, but to use the facade of journalistic enterprise to generate ratings from what is really a form of "insider" opinion driven entertainment.

Which is what made watching this segment yesterday so painful (even though Matthews was absent.) It featured a "debate" between Maggie Gallagher of National Organization For Marriage and Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Council over NOWs despicable propaganda video asserting that gay marriage is a threat to individual liberty, the preferred fear-mongering tactic of Christian supremacists since it is no longer socially acceptable to openly express their bigotry.

At no point was the audience ever informed that Maggie Gallagher is a known liar (and hypocrite.) I would say "disgraced former journalist" but in our media culture violating professional ethics doesn't seem to earn one any disgrace.

The National Organization for Marriage, "a national organization that opposes same-sex marriage is targeting New Jersey in a $1.5 million advertising campaign." The group is also running ads in Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. The television spots warn that supporters of same-sex marriage "want to change the way I live. ... That means wedding photographers and marriage counselors could be labeled bigots and sued if they oppose working with same-sex couples," they claim. "It's obviously going to happen if gay marriage is the law of the land," remarked National Organization for Marriage president Maggie Gallagher. In 2005, Gallagher was exposed as a payola pundit (as was Armstrong Williams), for receiving tens of thousands of dollars from the Bush administration to write favorably about its "marriage promotion" initiatives. Gallagher failed to disclose the payments, even as she praised government marriage promotion programs in her syndicated columns, op/ed pieces and interviews. She later claimed that she "had no special obligation to disclose this information," but would have done so, "if I had remembered."
As one might expect from someone with a demonstrated history of dishonesty, Gallagher's gay demonizing, Christian supremacist propaganda is based in lies and fake testimonials. As Chris Hedges observed, the sort of "liberty" that Gallagher is keen on protecting is the liberty to impose her religious views on others.

Lies in the service of prejudice and bigotry should not be granted legitimacy under the guise of being "debate" over a difference of opinion on policy. That's not news. It's pseudo-news.


Anonymous said...

Heard Maggie Gallagher this afternoon on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" and was appalled at the deference Neal Conan showed her.

Paul said...

If Gallagher's intention is to impose her religious views on the rest of us, does that mean we all have to become liars?

malcontent said...

Don't forget the contributions of Bob Peters (a porn star name that rivals Dirk Diggler btw)


"It most certainly is not my intention to blame the epidemic of mass murders on the gay rights movement! It is my intention to point out that the success of the sexual revolution is inversely proportional to the decline in morality; and it is the decline of morality (and the faith that so often under girds it) that is the underlying cause of our modern day epidemic of mass murders."

Hume's Ghost said...

Yep, the elevated divorce rate among fundamentalists and Ralph Reed and Tom Delay championing the sexual slavery in Saipan is obviously the fault of those gays getting married. Fundamentalist raised Mary Kay Letorneau also was forced by gay rights into sleeping with her 13 year old student.