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The Paranoid Style of Politics In Madison and The Left-Blogosphere

The Paranoid Style of Politics In Madison and The Left-Blogosphere

Ann Althouse has been observing the revolution in Madison (brought to you by PEU™) and correctly observes that the Wisconsin protesters are losing their grip on reality.

It’s not just the protesters.

The supporters of the Wisconsin protesters in the left-blogosphere also are losing their grip on reality.

Witness the BREAKING NEWS and SHOCKING story which hit yesterday that Fox News was using fake footage to portray the union protesters as intimidating and violent.  Here is a video posted by TPM purporting to show that Fox News misleadingly portrayed footage from California as footage from Madison:

Here is how TPM described it (emphasis mine):

“In an alternative universe concocted by Fox News, Andrew Breitbart, and TCOT (top conservatives on twitter), the Madison capitol has become the island in Lord of the Flies, except the savages in this case are union “thugs.” The mob has taken over, thick with radicals, and Republicans are likely to be attacked as a matter of course….

Notice the B-roll footage in the background at the end of the clip, complete with the calming backdrop of palm trees and….wait there are palm trees in Madison, Wisconsin?

No there are not. But that’s because the footage comes from a solidarity protest in Sacramento, CA.

Here’s how Steve Benen describes the conclusion to be drawn from this video proof that Fox News lies (emphasis mine):

“Why are there palm trees in the background? Why are some of the people in the video wearing t-shirts?

The answer is, at the very moment Fox News was accusing labor groups of bringing in outsiders for protests in Madison, the network was showing footage of a protest in California held a week earlier, passing it off as evidence of something that never happened in Wisconsin.

This is the same Mike Tobin, by the way, who claims he was “punched” by a protester in Madison, despite video evidence that suggests he’s lying.

There’s a reason Fox News viewers are so confused — they’re the victims of a con.”

TPM and Benen are not alone, the “Fox News Lies” meme arising from the use of palm tree video has spread far and wide in the left-blogosphere.

The reality is that the footage was not misleading, as Mediaite explains (emphasis mine):

“The Internet is abuzz this morning with a story that Fox News has “lied” in showing a video of an angry union protester from California while claiming its from Wisconsin. The “Palm Tree lie” (described as such because the tropical trees in the background of the protest video are used as proof of the deception) was the top two stories on Reddit’s Politics board this morning. They needn’t have tried so hard. While, in the 43-second clip that’s being linked to on YouTube, it does look like Fox News lied, but watching the entire segment for context makes it clear that they did not.

The segment in question occurred during The O’Reilly Factor as Bill O’Reilly was discussing the anger in the union protests. At the top of the piece, he rolled footage of a number of the “union thug” videos that have become so popular on Right Wing news sites in the past few weeks. O’Reilly clearly identified the videos as collectively coming from “all over the country.” As many shows do, this B-roll footage was replayed again during the rest of the segment, including during an interview with Mike Tobin, Fox News’ reporter who’s been on the ground in Wisconsin.

Here’s where the problem occurred. Tobin was discussing Wisconsin (since that where he’s been) while the general footage played in the background. Taken out of context, these few seconds would seem deceptive. But, if you’d already seen the full segment, you’d recognize what the footage was (besides, this same clip has aired on other Fox News programs like Glenn Beck and been identified as coming from California). Further, the protest footage from Wisconsin is clearly labeled “Madison” as well as date and time stamped, while the “palm tree footage” is labeled “Union Protests.”

Confusing? Not really, though if one were to simply see the 43-second clip on YouTube, one could reasonably raise their eyebrows. A reminder of the importance of context.”

Here’s the full clip from Mediaite which shows the context of the palm tree footage:

It is not just the Wisconsin protesters who are losing their grip on reality.

The supporters of the Wisconsin protesters in the left-blogosphere are so desperate to find a conspiracy that they are befooling themselves with their paranoid style of politics.

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You do not live in Madison and are actually leaving out an important point by analyzing this from behind the comfort of your desk. Tobin has claimed once, that he was assaulted by a protester. If you took the time to search for his alleged assault on you-tube, and looked for another complete version of the clip pertaining to the alleged assault, you would find out that Tobin's claim is false. In a separate claim, Tobin claims as he is being interviewed that he was threatened by an elderly man behind him just barely off camera. Again caught by a separate passerby in entirety, the alleged threat was a lie. Your assumptions and conclusions are not based on solid evidential analysis and reek of armchair anthropology. Your commentary might hold more water if you got from behind your desk and came to Madison to do a little fact-checking on your own.

The Left is losing, so they step up the propaganda. I love how "context" is essential when someone like Shirley Sherrod is questioned on her statements, but anyone on the Right – especially "eeeeevil Fox News!" – doesn't deserve the same context.

O'Reilly and Fox presented facts, and correctly labeled their film. Fail once again, TPM. Not even a good try.

(@Cody – I don't like to feed the trolls, but I will comment on the Tobin attack. I was extremely frustrated with Fox when Tobin was reporting. When Tobin said he was just hit by a protester he was off camera; amazingly, the Fox crew did not switch from the rolling canned film of protesters to Tobin! He was only on voice-over, stating – twice! – that a protester had hit him, but the Fox crew did not broadcast it. Fox lost the opportunity to show the world that the protesters were getting physical.

That is Fox's real shame, IMHO. They are the only news outlet that does not take their talking points and news gathering from the WH administration – i.e. Stephanopoulos and co. meeting with them and discussing the push points at Caribou Cafe. They blew their chance to expose the protesters.)

I was hoping for a "Plame Tree Lie." Dang.

The left thinks:

It's getting warmer when it's getting colder
The cure for debt is borrowing
The path to peace is appeasement
Religion is bad but Marxism is good
Christianity is bad but Islam is good
Jews are bad but Muslims are good
Capitalism is bad but socialism is good
Globalism is bad but internationalism is good
They support science when they loath science
They love the truth when they love lies
They support the people when they loath the opinions and culture of the people
Big military is bad, big government is good
Fascism is bad but communism is good
Abortion is OK, the death penalty is not OK
Big government does not mean less freedom
Trains are good but cars are bad
Bicycles are good but cars are bad
Public is good but private is bad
Regulation is good but liberty is bad
Profit is bad but non-profit is good
GMO are bad but heirloom seeds are good
Local is good but national is bad
National is bad but international is good
Big is bad, small is good – except government
Success is bad but failure is good
Kobe beef is good but BBQ is bad
They are right but everyone else is wrong
They are virtuous, everyone else un-virtuous
Expensive is good but cheap is bad
Cuisine is good but McDonald's is bad
Whole Foods is good but Walmart is bad
Business is bad but unions are good
Feminism is good, strong conservative women are bad
For their children private schools are preferable over public schools
The ends justify the means

Things become clearer once one realizes that FOX is NOT a right-wing station. It is a left-wing station. It's not as far left-wing as CBS, CNN or MSNBC, but it's still left of center.

As evidence I cite FOX coverage of the activities in Madison I happened to see two days ago. FOX referred to Union protesters as "workers," a misleading label. Of course the vast majority of workers in the US (and in Madison, for that matter) are not members of any union, so there is no justification for treating "union members" and "workers" as synonymous concepts. "Union protesters," "union workers," even the perjorative "union goons" would be less misleading terms.

FOX has already surrendered the narrative to the Left and its sycophants. No good Righty would fall into such a trap.

Cody, you're making his point for him.

sort of runic rhyme | March 3, 2011 at 11:12 am

"Your assumptions and conclusions… reek of armchair anthropology" is one for the What They're Saying About Me sidebar.

So, Professor, what do you think it says about us that we've gone from Bertoia and beanbags to LazyBoys and office swivels, and back again?

Its hopeless to try to have a conversation. Either comments resort to labeling or views are so set in stone, that any attempt to explore solutions or find common ground has become an exercise in futility. It's a shame that everyone believes they alone (and like-minded thinkers) own the only valid world-view.

Labor Loses Big In Ohio

"(Ohio Gov.)Kasich is on the verge of passing an equally significant bill (as Wisconsin), restraining collective bargaining rights in the Buckeye State. The bill passed the state Senate by the narrowest possible margin – and now is virtually assured of being signed into law by the governor next week."

National Journal

Ohio public colleges support efforts to curb union rights

Student Free Press

Cody, are you following ALL the videos out of Madison? Or just the ones you're told to watch?

Ann Althouse's husband has captured multiple instances of assault, and at least one of battery. It's hard to trust your claims when they're simply not in line with the facts.

I think Micael Barone had it right early on when he said that the left blogosphere was detrimental to the left's cause while the right blogosphere was very beneficial to conservatives. Legal Insurrection, Powerline, Instapundit, Hot Air, and others perform an invaluable service while their counterparts on the left foment hysteria and paranoia. The average American, who may not be a news junkie, but who likes to stay reasonably informed as much as free time permits, has to notice this.

More and more you see the left blogosphere divorced from reality. It never ceases to amaze me how the same people who, before the advent of Fox News and the internet, labeled people who complained of media bias as delusional … saying that media bias couldn't possible exist … now see it at every turn with Fox News. They are like the frightened Snow White in the forest; they look at trees and rocks and other ordinary objects and see monsters and devils.

As ABC's Jake Tapper queried WH Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, "I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a ‘news organization’ – why is that appropriate for the White House to say?"

Before the coming of Fox, suggesting media bias from a media organization composed of thousands of individuals was considered insane by the left. Now they consider the proposition common sense.

Common sense and the left. Putting the "moron" in oxymorons.

Cody, Cody, had you bothered to watch Fox and see the clip where Mike Tobin said he had been hit, twice, you would have seen that a protester had first put his hand over the camera lens and then a large poster so that the camera could not continue filming Tobin.

Of course, the violence by union thugs is not new. I suggest you watch the video clips from last year in St. Louis when SEIU thugs beat up a black man by the name of Kenneth Gladney. Or perhaps the video where a union goon asks a black man how many children he has, THAT HE CLAIMS.

But let's just address the actual videos coming from the Wisconsin State Capitol; how many of those squatters look old enough to be teaching? Or how many of them look simply to be what they are, hangers on who are ditching college classes and are there because they want to relive their glory days of their former SDS parents?

You do prove one thing, Cody; there is nothing as absorbant as a liberal brain. It will absorb anything put out by leftist talking heads. It is a shame you are allowed to reproduce.

Fox lies, Bush lies, Palin incites violence, Obama is post-racial, Pelosi is by-partisan, jihadists are peaceful, Jews are behind every wrong on earth, right wingers should spend the rest of their lives in re-education camps…

Cody at 9:15am:

It's customary, when claiming that some Youtube video proves your case or shows how someone else is wrong, to provide a link to that video. You speak, in your comment, about several Youtube videos that you claim show Tobin lied about being hit, but then you fail to link to them.

You make it easy to dismiss your argument this way.