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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Matthews’

Everything is Fake Now: The Virtual Reality of Politics

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away,” Philip K. Dick said, when asked to define what reality is. Dick was a Science Fiction writer and that seems appropriate enough we are living in a Science Fiction world where there is no reality anymore, because the real goes away, but the unreal does not.

Virtual reality, it turned out, was not some complicated gizmo that made you look like a blind skier and allowed you to enter into another world, instead it was an unreal world being comprehensively overlaid on top of our own. The lines between the real and the unreal haven’t blurred because the unreal has gotten so much more sophisticated. The unreal is more fake than ever, but discerning that has become more difficult now that the real has gone away.

As we watch the news covering a story, what we are actually watching is the media making up a story and then telling that story incessantly and embedding it in every nook and cranny of their coverage. This blurring of the lines between the real and the fake is not happening thanks to the magic of technology, but the prosaic methods of complete insincerity.

The fake is being overlaid on the real, like men fighting on top of a board with a movie of a train passing by in the background to give the impression that they are fighting on top of it. Such cheap trickery defines our media environment where reporters barge into events and badger the participants into playing along with their movie. Or they just play the clip of actual events and frame them so that everyone hears their version of what is going on.

There’s Godzilla and we know he’s real because we can see Tokyo in the background. There’s the latest media narrative and we know it’s real, because we can see Tampa in the background as some blow-dried buffoon does breathing exercises before commencing to tell us that the Republican Party, which supports things that would have made Ike and Ron have coronaries, has gone so far to the right that it might as well be a Godzilla of reactionary running dog capitalism.

This is our shoddy virtual reality with a CNN or MSNBC logo planted on top. There is you still sitting on your same old couch, watching Chris Matthews yelling himself hoarse about racism, because racism is our virtual reality. It is the world that we are supposed to live in and Chris’ job, for which he receives some 5 million a year, is to convince us that we are living in it.

“Racism,” Chris yells at the screen, like the idiot shaman of some stone age tribe, and those dull-witted enough to believe him nod knowingly, because it makes them feel as if they know something. And in a world where nothing is real, knowing something makes them feel a little less confused. They don’t understand why the prices are suddenly so high and the bank won’t give them a loan– but they can understand that Republicans are bad people and somehow responsible for it.

Some 70 percent of Barack Obama’s Twitter followers may be fake, but why quibble at such numbers. The people who decided to make Obama popular did so through constant repetition that translated into the peer pressure of the trend. Obama became a trending topic and everyone followed along because in an unreal world, you follow the unreal leader.

Obama is fake, his popularity is fake, but it’s also real, because fake is now the ultimate reality. The purveyors of fakeness have demonstrated their ability to transform the unreal into the real through manufactured consensus. By insisting that something unpopular was popular often enough, they made it popular. And by insisting that something popular is really unpopular, they did the opposite.

The Solomon Asch study showed that people will change their correct answers to conform with the wrong answers that are being given by others. The false consensus has operated on that same paradigm, convincing people of two lies. The first lie is that the wrong answer is the right answer. And the second lie that everyone else has already agreed that the wrong answer is correct.

Media Pinheads On Parade

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

The Media Research Center is out with its annual Best Notable Quotables in recognition of the most biased, outrageous, or unintentionally humorous media quotes from December 2008 through November 2009.

These are a few of the Monitor’s favorites (as was to be expected, the media’s worship of President Obama came in for heavy representation among this year’s entries). To read the complete selection and to find out which statement was chosen as Quote of the Year, visit www.mrc.org.

Let’s Slander Rush

● “Limbaugh’s perceived racist diatribes are too many to name but here’s a sampling: He once declared that [words on screen] ‘Slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark,’ said Limbaugh.” – CNN’s Rick Sanchez promoting a made-up quote on the 3 p.m. ET hour of “Newsroom,” October 12.

Saint Ted

● “The heavens were weeping for Teddy Kennedy today.” – Andrea Mitchell noting the rainy weather for Kennedy’s funeral, August 29 “NBC Nightly News.”

● Mary Jo [Kopechne] wasn’t a right-wing talking point or a negative campaign slogan…. We don’t know how much Kennedy was affected by her death, or what she’d have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history…. [One wonders what] Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about Ted’s death, and what she’d have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded. Who knows – maybe she’d feel [her death] was worth it.” – Discover magazine deputy web editor Melissa Lafsky, who formerly worked on The New York Times’s Freakonomics blog, writing at the Huffington Post, August 27.

Saint Barack

● You’re so confident, Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken? Do you ever wake up and say, ‘Damn, this is hard. Damn, I’m not going to get the things done I want to get done, and it’s just too politicized to really get accomplished the big things I want to accomplish’?” – CBS’s Katie Couric in an exchange with Obama shown on “The Early Show,” July 22.

● “The president showed his analytical mind…. He was at his best intellectually. I thought it was a great example of how his mind works…. What a mind he has, and I love his ability to do it on television. I love to think with him.” – MSNBC’s Chris Matthews during live coverage following Obama’s February 9 press conference.

● [Star Trek’s Mr.] Spock’s cool, analytical nature feels more fascinating and topical than ever now that we’ve put a sort of Vulcan in the White House. All through the election campaign, columnists compared President Obama’s unflappably logical demeanor and prominent ears with Mr. Spock’s…. Like Obama, Spock is the product of a mixed marriage (actually, an interstellar mixed marriage), and he suffers blunt manifestations of prejudice as a result….” – Newsweek’s Steve Daly in his May 4 cover story, “We’re All Trekkies Now.”

● “Reagan [at the 1984 D-Day commemoration] was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is, ‘We are above that now. We’re not just parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, we’re not just provincial. We stand for something.’ I mean, in a way, Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world. He’s sort of God. He’s going to bring all different sides together.” – Newsweek’s Evan Thomas to host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” June 5.

● “Between workouts during his Hawaii vacation this week, he was photographed looking like the paradigm of a new kind of presidential fitness, one geared less toward preventing heart attacks than winning swimsuit competitions. The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week, and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games.” – Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow in a December 25, 2008 front-page story about Obama’s vacation fitness regimen.

● “When they were both walking to the helicopter the other day, Marine One … you could tell, like, they were experiencing the – I’m getting old here – the grooviness, the excitement of being this first American couple heading towards Marine One, which is cool in itself, heading from there to Air Force One, to a quick flight across the Atlantic, on your own plane, and to meet with the world leaders as, like, the centerpiece of the world…. I’m saying it again, I’m getting a thrill…. We agree, we girls agree. I don’t mind saying that. I’m excited. I’m thrilled.” – MSNBC’s Chris Matthews talking to Michelle Bernard of the Independent Women’s Forum and Washington Post writer Lois Romano about the Obamas’ trip to Europe, April 1 “Hardball.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/media-pinheads-on-parade/2009/12/30/

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