If you listened to Howie Carr lately, you have a great illustration of what effective, well done progaganda sounds like.
Howie Carr, for those who don't know, is yet another Right wing talk radio show whose show is syndicated only in the New England area. However, with the Internet his show is now available every day at the WKRO website.
I got to listening to him when I was back in Mass. His show is in a sense entertaining, though he also plays very nasty-as all Right radio hosts do.
What's unique about him is that he keeps a very much regional flavor to his show, to listen to it you do get a good idea of Boston, etc.
While the Rush scandal looks like it may hurt a lot of the Right wing hosts, Carr may be a little safer as his show has the more regional feel to it and his four hour show doesn't spend the whole four hours bashing Obama. Indeed he doesn't even always discuss national politics everyday.
He also wrote a book about Whitey Bulger. When they finally caught him it was big news and Carr's stock went up from this too. Even Laurence O'Donnell-Carr and O'Donnell are both Boston Irish though very different politically-had him on. I browsed the book after watching that interview and it's pretty good.
The last few days I've listened to Carr's show on the Net. It kind of takes me back to when I lived in Massachusetts. At the 3-4 o'clock hour Carr has been pounding the drum about Obama.
Today he was in top form. He reminded us of how in 1980 Reagan asked "are you better of today than you were 4 years ago?" though, of course, Reagan certainly was not the first to say that.
Carr declared that in 1980, Americans said ';no they weren't better off' and elected Reagan in a landslide. Then Carr declares that 'it seems to him' that Obama is much more responsible for the troubles today than even Carter was, which is funny, for at the time everything that went wrong in the world was Carter's fault. Into the 90s he was ripped at every opportunity.
Carr then says that people are more concerned now about how gas prices than the economy. As I went over in my previous post
a commentator, Ogden, pointed out that this belief that high gas prices are more important than the economy is not wholly irrational-it's kind of 'rationally ignorant.' It's sort of selfishly rational in a way as most people do work-the media American is employed. It is ignorant as Obama by himself has little power over gas prices-the things he could try to to, reign in the speculators, price controls, they don't want anyway.
Carr was playing all this to the hilt today. He even admits that "maybe it's not all Obama's fault. but what about what he and the Democrats were saying about Bush in 2008?'
He complains that Obama tried to hang high oil prices on Bush. I don't remember that specifically. I think by 2008 there was a lot more to worry about than just oil prices. And of course, by the election of 2008, gas prices had collapsed along with the economy.
Of course to an extent, his point is well taken. Obama did in 2006 speak out against raising the debt ceiling as did the rest of the Democrats. So last Summer the tables were turned and the GOP got to play politics with what should be a routine vote. To be sure there are some differences. The GOP pushed a high stakes game of chicken beyond what we've ever had before. The Democrats certainly had in the past played "gotcha" games rhetorically over the deficit.
But never had we gotten to the point were it really was in doubt for awhile whether the US government would sully it's own name. On gas prices it's true that the Democrats tried to hang high oil prices on Bush.
But this is the strange logic of Carr. He admits that gas prices are a phony issue-this is a great example of concern trolling. Then he belabors the point for 45 minutes. He points out that when Obama got to office they were only $1.89 and now, he, Howie Carr, had to drive a mile to find cheaper gas and the best he can come up with is $3.77.
It's not Obama's fault, but let's blame him for it anyway. He has callers all give their stories of how high gas prices are killing them. One guy, a cabbie, says it's eating into his profits and he's paying $150 a week more now.
It is true that many cabbies are being hit-while it doesn't entirely seem fair to me, they have to pay for their own gas. Bus of course, it's not Obama's fault as Carr admits. Give him credit though he is a fine Secretary for the Ministry of Information.
As the GOP can't win on the facts, they will try and win on baloney and they're counting on the gullibility and "rational ignorance" of the American people to get them there. I think we're going to prove them wrong.