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Mar. 31 2010 - 3:04 pm | 847 views | 0 recommendations | 5 comments

The Conscience of a Conservative, lol

Obviously, it is no great scoop to note that there exists some pro-Palin blogger who is dishonest or incompetent or both. Hear me out, though, as there is another point to be distilled from the madness below.

Let us recap the nonsense of the past few days: Fox promotes a Sarah Palin-hosted program with clips of an LL Cool J interview. A great number of people receive the impression that LL Cool J will actually be appearing on the show. LL Cool J notes that he will not, that the clips are being recycled from a 2008 program that didn’t even appear on FNC, and that he is not particularly happy about this. Certain conservatives lash out at LL Cool J because certain conservatives are intellectually dishonest and incompetent.

Conservatives4Palin, a blog which has come to some prominence lately and may often be seen popping up on Memeorandum whenever Palin needs defending, has deployed some scrub named Ian Lazaran to explain why this is LL Cool J’s fault and not Fox’s:

LL, how exactly did Fox misrepresent your old interview to the public? Here’s what Fox News states in its official press release regarding his involvement with the show.

The program will also feature country singer, Toby Keith, who will explain the inspiration behind his song, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” Additionally, rapper and actor, LL Cool J, and the former Chairman and CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, will both speak about their success in this country in a segment entitled, “In Their Own Words.”

I’m not sure what Lazaran thinks this press release says that it ought not to have been taken to indicate that LL Cool J and Welch would be appearing on the show, and should have more naturally been taken to indicate that the show would feature a bunch of two-year-old clips of LL Cool J. I’m more certain as to why Lazaran does not say a word about the actual commercial spots that Fox was running and which featured clips of LL Cool J, that having been the particular thing which most parties had referenced in reporting that this show was actually going to feature Cool J alongside Palin – as well that the particular thing to which Cool J referred in his message to the effect that he had been misrepresented. As he wrote:

Fox lifted an old interview I gave in 2008 to someone else & are misrepresenting to the public in order to promote Sarah Palins Show. WOW

So, Cool J points out that, everyone concerned to the contrary, he is not appearing with Sarah Palin. He notes this after there occurs a news cycle in which a great number of people were openly wondering about such an appearance. He expresses some surprise and contempt at Fox for having taken someone else’s footage of him and splicing it into a commercial ahead of one of its own  programs. And this dishonest Lazaran fellow replies thusly:

As you can see in the press release, Fox News never stated that Palin interviewed LL Cool J. It’s not Fox’s fault that others in the press misconstrued what the press release actually stated to mean that you and Palin talked.

Nor is it their fault that they misconstrued the television spot, which happened to employ the very unusual practice of including clips with a personality with whom the station had not actually gotten an interview. It was simply foolishness on the part of the press involved – including The Weekly Standard and a great number of conservative bloggers, none of whom out to be blamed for misconstruing that which was designed to be misconstrued, except by Lazaran, who has accidentally implied all of them to be guilty of poor journalism. This is what is known within the U.S. intelligence community as  ”splashback”: unintended and undesirable consequences that stem from an attack on an enemy. In attacking LL Cool J and “others in the press,” this particular fellow has also attacked a great deal of his fellow Palin enthusiasts. I have just sent an e-mail to the Conservatives4Palin folks in which I ask 4 sum chat w/ the guy dat wrote dat post to see maybe if he would like to clarify and extend his remarks up in this mug, yo. I really, really hope he gets back to me.

Fox News and Palin enthusiasts have taken another rather bizarre and disingenuous stance in further hopes of trying to get this story to play out in some way that does not make either of those entities look bad, and this stance is perfectly conveyed by Lazaran by way of the following series of words:

Also LL, don’t flatter yourself my man. Fox News doesn’t need you to promote the show that Governor Palin is hosting. As everyone can see, you were little more than a footnote as your name was buried in the press release.

I try not to resort to numbered lists, but fuck:

1. Fox News clearly felt the need to use Cool J to promote the show that the non-governor is hosting, which is why Fox went to the trouble of digging up two-year-old footage of the rapper and splicing it into a TV spot in such a way as to have successfully convinced a great number of news outlets as well as both conservative and liberal bloggers that the fellow would be talking to Palin.

2. LL Cool J was hardly “little more than a footnote” in the press release, which I reproduce in full here for the same reason that this degenerate blogger Lazaran does not – because it shows that Lazaran is hilariously wrong, either through dishonesty or incompetence.

FOX News Channel (FNC) will present the first installment of a new series, Real American Stories on Thursday, April 1st at 10:00PM/ET.

Hosted by Sarah Palin, Real American Stories will feature real-life tales of overcoming adversity throughout the American landscape. The debut episode will focus on a range of such stories including a Marine Medal of Honor recipient who gave his life to save his comrades. Also, the special profiles a wealthy stock broker who donates much of his fortune to underprivileged students so they can attend college.

The program will also feature country singer, Toby Keith, who will explain the inspiration behind his song, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” Additionally, rapper and actor, LL Cool J, and the former Chairman and CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, will both speak about their success in this country in a segment entitled, “In Their Own Words.”

The program will also be presented on Sunday, April 4th at 9:00PM/ET.

This press release (which, though I’ve yet to confirm comes from Fox, is at any rate the one our blogger friend here cites as “evidence” backing his claims) consists of a single-line intro, a single-line ending, and two brief paragraphs, one of which details the general nature of the program, with the other detailing the special guests that are to be included. Toby Keith, LL Cool J, and Jack Welch are mentioned, in that order. Lazaran decides to go with the LL Cool J Is Merely An Afterthought meme. Poor Jack Welch, who is thus of no importance whatsoever, having been “buried” below the “burried” Mr. J.

3. I think the fact that LL Cool J’s purported appearance drew considerable attention from the press whereby those of Toby Keith and Jack Welch drew far less attention would seem to contradict Lazaran’s assertion that Cool J is “flatter[ing]” himself.

I mean, I’m just saying is all.

Again, I will not blow many minds by pointing out the ridiculous and unethical behavior of a particular pro-Palin blogger, or even of several of them (another concluded his own post on the subject with the following attempted sentences: “The message here, don’t mess with Fox News. You are expendable.” You see, Fox took out the LL Cool J segments that LL Cool J didn’t want used in the first place, and thus this was a defeat for the rapper and a victory for all of the people who possess a psychological need to experience victory-by-proxy).

The real story here is this: despite the assertions by Palin and her followers that the media deals with them unfairly, they are in fact on the receiving end of one of the media’s actual structural deficits, which is its tendency to deal with almost all factions as if they are all at least potentially worthy of serious attention. The authors of the Left Behind series were once greeted on CNN with smiles and a notable absence of adversarial questions, for instance; they received the same treatment that one would give a six-year-old whose pet issue revolves around invisible monsters who live in basements. Now, that is a somewhat different dynamic than that applicable to most ridiculous factions, but it is worth noting in response to the complaints of religious conservatives that the media as a whole is out to get them, assuredly out of fear for their awesome ideas. Sarah Palin and her followers benefit from a different dynamic, which is the media’s widespread tendency to deal with each political faction in an “objective” manner regardless of the vast differences one finds in the respective behavioral tendencies of each faction.

Economic conservatives, foreign policy hawks, and other factions of the right in this country all include reasonable and honest commentators who bring something to the table in terms of the national dialog. Sarah Palin and her backers do not. Never in recent memory has there arose such a concentration of our nation’s most incapable and unethical citizens. This is not a matter of conservatism versus liberalism. Here, we have something more fundamental.

Having said that, conservatives who know better, or should, have largely embraced this movement. They have been given a chance to look upon those whom destroyed the movement and the party, and thus they have been given the opportunity to choose how they will approach the 21st century. We see how they have chosen.

Update 8:11 PM EST

Now that Toby Keith has also objected to Fox’s misleading promotional practices, we shall soon get to see if Fox, Ian Lazaran, and others who have taken up the unenviable task of turning this into some sort of victory for movement conservatism will give Keith better treatment than they did Cool J. Tomorrow morning, likewise, we will get to learn if the sun rises once again, thereby providing our side of the planet with light, heat, and other forms of energy necessary to our very lives. I hope that this is the case! GO PHOTOSYNTHESIS GO GO GO! Seriously, it’s important.

Update 5:20 AM EST: Still awake for some reason

Ian Lazaran of Conservatives4Palin was good enough to acknowledge my request that he address my criticisms of his recent attack on LL Cool J (whom I never thought I’d find it necessary to defend, yet here we are). However, he was apparently not in the mood to write yesterday evening and thus he leaves my fisking unanswered for now, opting instead to direct me to a post by a certain Steve Krakauer of Mediaite. Says Lazaran: “[m]y thoughts are pretty close to him on this matter.” Krakauer’s post doesn’t seem to include any of the assertions to which I was originally objecting; presumably, Lazaran has given some additional thought to his original argument and largely dropped it as a consequence, which is all well and good.

For his part, Krakauer provides a measured account of the whole affair; unlike Lazaran, he seems to acknowledge that the FNC television spot was constructed in such a way that viewers could have been (and clearly were) confused as to what exactly it would consist of; again, it’s worth noting that pretty much every blogger who commented on this, regardless of ideology, were under the impression that Palin herself would be interviewing Cool J – and many, particularly conservatives, were excited by the prospect and clearly more likely to watch as a consequence. That particular fact, I would think, refutes what both Krakauer and Lazaran have asserted, with varying levels of derision, regarding LL Cool J being of little consequence in terms of drawing in potential viewers.

Obviously, though, the point of all of this is not some rapper’s viability in terms of garnering ratings. It is not about Fox, which is driven day-to-day not so much by conservatism but, like all institutions of the sort, by the collective personal goals of its employees, many of whom don’t care about politics or even doing their jobs properly. I appeared on Fox News last year and was promptly introduced as being with the “American Atheist Society” (which I am not), the producer having been more concerned with handbags and other such bullshit than in figuring out who she’s about to put on national television on any given day and why. Incompetence, profits, and handbags are what fuel Fox, which is more a symptom than an illness. Ditto Sarah Palin. And neither Fox nor Palin are fundamentally different from their competitors; it is simply a matter of extent – except, I guess, that FNC is run by Roger Ailes, this being a more blatant fuck-you to the gods of intellectual honesty than Americans are generally used to seeing from their populist media outlets.

The problem here is not one of specifics. The problem is that we have in this country a great number of people who have no respect for the truth and who will thus attack someone for something as simple and reasonable as pointing out that people are being misled about them. The attacks will often be dependent on additional dishonesty above and beyond the dishonesty that brought on the incident in the first place. When called out on the dishonesty in question, and in such a way that even some of the attacker’s own ideological cohorts would probably be forced to acknowledge the obviousness of the case, the fellow will simply decline to take any responsibility for the demonstrable falseness of his claims, and those who read him in the past will read him in the future. In the end, the fellow will generally not have even missed his stride and will thus promptly go back to engaging in the same sort of dishonesty, and with the same negative effect on the citizenry. There does not seem to be any way to stop this; one must simply call it out, over and over again, in hopes of reaching those rare people who remain to be reached. Or, one can take advantage of the opportunities inherent to one’s environment, and in doing so, one may go about the effort of fixing that which needs to be fixed.

I am a young man and have not been around long enough to know for myself the degree to which this sort of dynamic has gone on in this country over the decades, but I will assume that such high levels of intellectual dishonesty constitute a recent development, as I cannot imagine a republic proceeding into anything but decline in the midst of such dishonesty as we see today. On the other hand, our republic does appear to be in decline.


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  1. collapse expand

    The strategy of a conservative: attack, attack, attack. Only that, after ten years of failure, their attacks have come to look like that guy in Monty Python and the Holy Grail — the one who’s lost arms, legs and weapons, but keeps yelling, ‘Have at you!’ Lazaran puts the consonants back in ‘loser.’

    • collapse expand

      Again, I should probably clarify that I don’t want to paint all conservatives of all sorts with this brush, as to do so would be inaccurate. There are plenty of people whom we term conservative who have no interest in behaving like this, and who bring solid ideas to the table. Sarah Palin, though, has attracted the most ridiculous and mendacious people in American society and brought them into a single movement.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    Maybe I overstated my claim. I should have said, perhaps, ‘conservatives who still think Karl Rove is a brilliant strategist.’

    Conservatives who bring solid ideas to the table? That’d be great news; it’s absolute news to me. Who are they? I mean, other than Daniel Larison (a genuinely intelligent man) and, on rare occasions, Frum. I’d love to hear about any other.

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    I'm the author of Flock of Dodos: Behind Modern Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the Easter Bunny; my second book, Hot, Fat & Clouded: The Amazing and Amusing Failures of America’s Chattering Class (Being a Partial Record of the Incompetence of Our Republic's Mainstream Pundits, Most of Whom Deserve to be Exiled or at Least Have Their Cars Vandalized), will be released in 2010. I'm a contributor to Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Skeptic, and The Onion, and my work has appeared in dozens of other publications and outlets. I also serve as director of communications for Enlighten the Vote, a political action committee dedicated to the advancement of the Establishment Clause.

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