Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why Jerome Corsi has work

Why is Jerome Corsi on your television and in the New York Times? He has been caught writing things under a pseudonym that would normally exclude him from ever showing up on TV again. He's a "reporter" for WorldNetDaily, a wingnut font of heavily aerated liquid bullshit (I wouldn't link to them for hard, cold cash). I don't mean the lies and innuendo against Democrats (John Kerry's a communist, fer chrissakes) - they're always fair game in a way that Republicans are not. I don't mean Muslims, either. He has said hateful things about Catholics.

Yet he's still on Larry King Live.

Corsi is a lunatic, but he knows how to work the media system:

  • As they do with all their vicious pets, Republicans will help him out even if he claims not to be one of them. After all, Mary Matalin, mainstream Cheneyite operator who can always be counted on to defend wingnut lies, published this book. If the GOPers have to, they'll drop him like a hot potato - but they'll keep paying him.
  • There will be no consequences for him personally. Libel is virtually impossible for a public figure to prove since New York Times Co. vs. Sullivan even if his actual malice toward Obama is stated explicitly in his book.
  • Wingnut interest groups (Richard Mellon Scaife, anyone?) will buy his scurrilous books in bulk and thrust it high on the NYT bestseller list. Who cares if anyone reads it?
  • Bulk purchases provide a nice payday so that Corsi can continue the manufacture of sleaze.
  • More important, they guarantee his presence on the TV screen. The media can't turn down a bestselling author, no matter how odious or dishonest.
Why would Simon & Schuster permit their brand to be sullied by association with these lies and all the other lies Matalin has thrust into print? Don't be a dummy! Money, nothing else. They'd ship boxes full of styrofoam peanuts if they could invoice a dozen copies per box of this rotten tripe.

So, why is there nothing like this on the left?
  • The right pays better.
  • Training by the American Petroleum Institute and the Tobacco Institute hews to the right.
  • Democrats still think that politics is about ideas. How stupid is that! (Of course, I keep pretending that, too.)
  • The left cares about fairness. Sometimes our caring is vestigial and compromised and incomplete, but that's what motivates us. The right cares about retaining the power to prevent their being called to account for their unfairness.

1 comment:

Sp ocko said...

Nice post.

The money thing is one that always gets me. One thing that I've figured out is that the right USES the left's misunderstanding of the first amendment (as applied to commercially supported broadcast radio) to support it. They also use the left's inability to sue because of a lack of resources or appetite for a prolonged fight.

I've been working at educating people about the difference between the government limiting speech and an advertiser refusing to fund some radio host who goes too far. I have been successful to a degree. I had to put myself in a position of being attacked to do it, but I was able to educate people.

I think the defamation issue can be the next battleground. I believe that many people on the left don't really WANT to see litigation over defamation. Why? Because they think that THEY will be the next targets for the right wing noise machine. The right has deep pockets and they love to use the courts (at the same time they love to scream about trial lawyers.)

One thing that I think might help is to separate the people who are doing the defamation from the ranks of journalists. You quote the New York Times case. Now, that is clearly a journalistic venture. But what about one that is not?
Is Hannity a journalist? Rush?

As we saw with the Don Imus, the attack of a non-public figure in an egregious way is suitable for a case. But as we saw, even in that cast lots of people RUSHED to defend him. And I think part of that was the feeling that "That could be me!" I remember seeing this look of panic on the face of someone on the left when I told them what I had done regarding the talk radio hosts. It wasn't until I explained the situation did they calm down. They see ANY suggestion that we could want to hold the right responsible for their lies and horrific comments as a bad thing. They worry, "They will do it to us!" I remind them that what I was objecting to was not their views of a political candidate, but their calls to target someone for death. And even THEN the idiots in the mainstream media (Howard Kurtz) said, "Don't you like Free Speech?"

The people who write these books actually go after public figures on purpose since they can use the shield of the "he's a public figure". The person that should do the suing is someone who is caught up in the smears who is not a public figure. And just like the Carol Burnette case sent a message to the tabloids, a message needs to be sent to the right wing radio and cable people who practice casual character assassination.