Please Shut The F*#@ Up!

There is a grand chasm now in the media between punditry and journalism that previously existed as a slight divide. Increasingly it is becoming impossible to discern between what is vetted (journalism) and what is contrived for ratings (punditry). And because information is so readily available and propaganda is professionally disguised as gospel, false prophets in the guise of pundits have an incredible ability to take advantage of the masses.

So I says to this great old mama grizzy bear, "Gosh, you're not gonna catch any dinner with that darned cute lil' face. You gotta give the face I give to librel's ya. Like this!!! Grrrrr! Oh, you betcha. Gets 'em every gosh darned time!"

Hours before President Barack Obama’s address to attendees of a memorial service in Tucson, Arizona, Sarah Palin released a video titled “America’s Enduring Strength.” Her comments are tinged with appropriate sadness at first, before her sword turns against those who, she believes, are guilty of sullying the “national discourse”: namely, journalists.

During the video she accuses the press and the pundits who attempted to draw a link between her website and the shootings in Tucson of “blood libel.” The phrase “blood libel” originally referred to the anti-Semitic claim that during the Middle Ages Jews killed Christian children and used their blood in religious rituals. Now it will forever live on here in relation to a national American tragedy as conservative figures such as Palin attempt to appropriate historic and religious language for their own gain.

Palin’s misuse of historical references is nothing new. Her shocking lack of contextual understanding is an embarrassment to the nation, yet she persists, delivering ratings and gaining popularity. To continue with religious parallels for a moment, perhaps this memorial address by the president will be his road to Damascus moment; the great turning point in his presidency during which he transcends politics and becomes the vision of hope that fueled his ascent to our nation’s highest office.

By imputing journalists for tainting the national discourse, she inherently protects herself from the deserved vitriol over her sloppy remarks. The big problems with Palin’s video are that 1) she made it and 2) we’re watching. In it she bristles at being dragged into the limelight over this issue, though the very act of releasing the video furthers her involvement. Doing it on the day the president attempts to soothe the nation’s sorrow over the shootings and using the phrase “President Obama and I” reveal her true intention, which is to be seen as the de facto leader of conservative America. The not-so-silent majority.

Even more peculiar is the use of this video to excoriate journalists for taking part in public discourse while defending the freedoms we enjoy as Americans to engage in it. Palin is a walking, talking oxymoron—emphasis on the latter half of the word. This is essential to understanding Palin’s misunderstanding of America and the spirit of the documents that craft our existence to this day. In attempting to defend civil discourse by casting aspersions on the most valuable aspect of it—freedom of the press—she is engaging in rhetorical discourse and hoping the average American is incapable of discerning between the two. Civil discourse is what the Founding Fathers she is so fond of misinterpreting spent their lives trying to defend. Rhetorical discourse is a hallmark of demagoguery, the true philosophy to which Palin subscribes.

As a nation, we would be wise to tread lightly here. There is a grand chasm now in the media between punditry and journalism that previously existed as a slight divide. Increasingly it is becoming impossible to discern between what is vetted (journalism) and what is contrived for ratings (punditry). And because information is so readily available and propaganda is professionally disguised as gospel, false prophets in the guise of pundits have an incredible ability to take advantage of the masses.

Predictably, Palin plays to her followers by referencing the Founding Fathers, though her knowledge of these men and their actions skims the surface at best. In ecumenical tones, she says that “public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis but of our enduring strength. In times like these we need God’s guidance and the peace He provides.” This is a favorite refrain of the new conservative movement—to draw straight lines between faith and freedom while evoking the Founding Fathers and the Constitution. But these are words that, spoken in foreign tongues, are considered the vocabulary of zealots and extremists. Yet spoken in measured, folksy tones, they have come to embody the political and spiritual zeitgeist in America today. Palin and other so-called fundamentalist Christians who have risen to prominence in our nation fail to realize the decidedly secular importance of a godless Constitution—which is to say that God is not part of our Constitution and our Founding Fathers fought heartily and purposefully to ensure it.
And so it should be said then that Palin has every Constitutional right and freedom to release this video. Just as I have every right to call her a dangerous idiot. (Thank you, Founding Fathers!)

Author: Jed Morey

Jed Morey is the publisher of the Long Island Press, LI's Cultural Arts and Investigative News Journal. The Press has a monthly circulation of 100,000, and www.longislandpress.com, welcomes more than 500,000 unique visitors every month. He serves on the board of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Nassau County, as well as the President's Council of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Long Island. In addition to the contributions on this blog, Morey authors a column for the Long Island Press titled "Off The Reservation" and is a staunch advocate for Indian rights. The column was voted Best Column in New York by the NY Press Association in 2010 and third overall in the nation among alternative publications by the Association of Alternative Weeklies in 2012. Morey lives in Glen Cove with his wife, Eden White, and their two daughters.

1 thought on “Please Shut The F*#@ Up!”

  1. “Those who manipulate the organized habits and opinions of the masses constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of the country. It remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or ethical thinking, we are dominated by a relatively small number of persons. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world. As civilization has become more complex, and as the need for invisible government has been increasingly demonstrated, the technical means have been invented and developed by which opinion may be regimented”
    -Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928

    …and East is East and West is West and there is nothing new under the sun.

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