If the news-heavy week that was is any indication, it shows that right-wing media pundits are really starting to sweat. So much that they're losing both their credibility and what's left of their minds.
Last week's Iowa Caucus was the backdrop for much of this. The overall positive media buzz was on the Democratic Party, and the sensational turnout for their top three candidates. The U.S. Senator from Illinois Barack Obama is the one getting the most buzz, with many pointing out the large influx of young people and new voters. Hillary Clinton got most of the scorn after finishing a close third, and John Edwards, with only a small fraction of the money Obama and Clinton had, finished a respectable second with his populist message, though the media seems to be pretending he doesn't exist. Our media trying to play kingmaker? Whodathunk?
But that's a different tale for a different time. Over on the GOP side, at this point, if you ain't Mike Huckabee (or John McCain for that matter) you ain't shit. That goes for Mitt Romney and all the millions of dollars he's scattered to the winds in Iowa, most likely spending a huge chunk on Dapper Dan hair grease. That also goes for sleepy Fred Thompson. And President of 9/11 Rudy Giuliani, who's made a mint walking over the corpses of the thousands of people who died in that terrorist attack, is practically worm food himself after finishing just above ultimate nobody Duncan Hunter. And what about libertarian maverick Ron Paul? He finished well above Ghouliani.
Paul's success in finishing nearly toe-to-toe with the 'other white meat' throws an interesting monkey wrench of sorts into the whole race. While his competitors are fighting for leftover scraps and remnants of the fizzled neocon movement loved so much by our current commander-in-thief, Paul is a stone cold reminder of what the GOP once was. He's a conservative in the Barry Goldwater mode, a throwback to less government, lower taxes for working people and protection of the Constitution. Sounds about as conservative as one can get.
Paul is campaigning against many of the major neocon excesses of the past seven years, including the Iraq War, the War on Drugs and the Patriot Act. He would have been called a conservative 30-40 years ago, but now he's classified as a Libertarian. While his support of the whole 'free market rules everything' idea that has caused many of the problems we currently face would keep me far, far away from throwing my support behind his camp, I do respect his being in the race, as he provides a startling reality check for the GOP, the right-wing media and the other candidates. He's also been pulling in far more donor money that the other guys, who actually have to spend mostly out of their own pockets. And that's why they all hate him so much. How much? FOX 'News' channel won't even let him participate in their televised debate scheduled for Sunday. Never mind that their golden boy Giuliani, who got crushed by Paul in Iowa, is invited, or that the televised debate last night on ABC welcomed him with open arms. FOX Nuisance would rather he didn't exist. Of course, the exclusion has brought a serious backlash from Paul supporters and Republicans alike. They're pissed! The New Hampshire Republican party even withdrew support for the debate over this. Right-wing media entities like FOX News are obviously intimidated by Paul, who exposes the neocon house of cards FOX has helped prop up for the sham that it is, in the most honest way possible, and I most certainly respect him for that.
Overall, this has been a pretty harsh week for FOX Noise. News sources revealed that their much-ballyhooed FOX Business Channel is a flop, garnering a piddling 6,300 viewers during the day and 15,000 in prime time over the past few months, compared to rival CNBC's average of 283,000 viewers. Shit, even Air America has way more listeners than that! And the winner of the Iowa Republican Caucus was a guy neocon stalwarts like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Club For Growth can't stand (Huckabee), though it's not like their slate is highly desirable anyway. And head honcho Rupert Murdoch's preferred Democratic candidate, Clinton, ain't doing too hot either.
Perhaps that's why right-wing goons like Bungling Bill O'Reilly are imploding right before our very eyes. According to Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet, following Obama's victory last Thursday night, O'Reilly got into a confrontation with an Obama aide after he started screaming at him while trying to strong-arm his way through the dense crowd in an attempt to get Obama's attention.
O'Reilly tried to rough up Obama's National Trip Director Marvin Nicholson, as he yelled at him to "move," so as to get Obama's attention. O'Reilly yelled in Nicholson's face, grabbed his arm and shoved him, according to eyewitnesses. The 6'8" Nicholson also said O'Reilly called him "low class."
"He grabbed me with both his hands here," Nicholson said, gesturing to his left arm and O'Reilly "started shoving me." Nicholson said, " He was pretty upset. He was yelling at me."
Nicholson also claimed, "After he shoved me and after he stopped yelling at me, I went… I just went over and asked, I said, sir, I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t shove me anymore."
Secret Service agents who were nearby flanked O 'Reilly after he pushed Nicholson. They told O'Reilly he needed to calm down and get behind the fence-like barricade that contained the press. As they hauled O'Reilly away, he could be heard screaming "Don't tase me bro!" Okay, just kidding about that one. Nonetheless, in an unsurprising move, O'Reilly did play the victim card. As
Gomer Pyle Huckabee would likely exclaim, "Surprise, surprise..."
O'Reilly later imperiously justified his breach of security by declaring, "We're sorry we had to have that little confrontation, but no one on this earth is going to block a shot on "The O'Reilly Factor." It is not going to happen," O'Reilly said, according to the Associated Press. Evidently, O'Reilly doesn't have much respect for the Secret Service and the tough job that they do.
Obama was preoccupied and did not see any of this brewhaha, though he did eventually talk with O'Reilly for a few seconds. The encounter was described as cordial. At least Obama has some class.
Evidently, the presidential outlook for the GOP this year must be wearing down hard on the right-wing media. Could this explain the utterly strange behavior of radio and TV host Glenn Beck earlier this week? Granted, Beck's health woes and the goings-on of the presidential horse race are for the most part unconnected, but many wonder if Beck has finally lost what's left of his mind. As the nation's focus was on Iowa, Beck decided for some bizarre reason to channel Rosie O'Donnell by publicly releasing a rambling video of him from his own bed, talking about his recent botched surgery (of which exactly he didn't divulge), railing against the hospital where he was treated, comparing his own plight with that of the soldiers at rat-infested Walter Reed Hospital and how the mistrreatment and lack of compassion from hospital staff made him almost "full fledged suicidal." Vincent D'Onofrio pulled this act off better in that infamous bathroom scene from Full Metal Jacket.
Beck is obviously trying to garner sympathy for his personal plight, though it is highly ironic given that this so-called libertarian endlessly spouts Republican talking points and talks about his desire to kill (yes, KILL) people he doesn't agree with, such as documentarian Michael Moore, who ironically made Sicko, a well-received documentary last year about (surprise) the flaws of the U.S. health care system. Yes, the same health care system that bore the brunt of Beck's rambling wrath. The irony's thick enough to slice with a chainsaw. Perhaps Beck has finally shrugged, thrown up his arms and returned to his much-loved vices of booze and coke as a crude way to effectively self-medicate. Regardless, it's tough even for a compassionate liberal to garner up much sympathy for this whiny, hypocritical mean-spirited mess of a man. As the old saying goes, those who choose to live by the sword will likely die by it.