This is a wonderful interview, and like most of the Washington Journal good stuff, it was buried in the early morning segment when only we hard core @cspanWJ watchers even saw it.

You really need to spend some time with this segment. He covers a lot of ground, and he knows his subject(s) really well. He's got a gift for casually, but concsisely discussing the practical and hypothetical issues raised by this Bizarro-world remix of modern conservatism, Republican cronyism, and all the Batshit crazy that we've been calling the Tea Party, lately.

Watching this segment, I thought about how much I really dislike the term "Tea Party," because it romanticizes a contrived and entirely wrong conception of what the real Tea Party was. But it also fails to describe what is happening in this "movement," or who and what it really represents, or where's it's going. And it's just too fucking informal for a trend that might ultimately take down the entire American experiment.

So, as is my wont, I set about to define it.  It seemed to me that what is happening is a perfect astroturfed storm consisting of:

  • Generally Republican crony corporate capitalism,
  • Fox-news-fed "big government" protesting under the guise of fiscal conservatism.
  • Resurgence of the John Birch Society and other fringe social conservative groups.

The triple-threat might neatly be termed, Trio-conservatism."  

So I liked it so much, I just submitted it to Urban Dictionary as:

Trio-conservatism A more formal designation for the socio-economic blending of corporate, fiscal and social conservatism that now typifies the so-called "Tea Party" movement in the United States.

Love it? Like it? Hate it?  Think I should burn this post and never bring it up again?

If UD approves it, it should be published sometime tomorrow.  I can improve the definition after they do. It's too annoying to spend time making the perfect definition, only to have some UrbanTard editor reject it for totally random reasons. There is no appeal.

About Dave Weigel

Typically, whenever some new event prompts a collective cry of disgust or outrage, the right wing noise machine leaps into action with some demonstration of false or exaggerated equivalency. In minutes, freedom rings with the sounds of "both sides do it." Whatever the meme, be it racist, violent, anti-semitic, or unpatriotic, the right uses an army of social media users and bots to blather 24×7 with noise designed to obfuscate any real event or issue, and exonerate any conservative of anything other than peaceful, "decent," expressions, as is their "constitooshinal rite."

Every other day, some other blogger on the left is wailing and wringing hands over the "disgusting, outrageous, vile, repulsive" indignities from these right wing Hatriots with little or no regard for degree of offense.  Ugly banners are interspersed with death threats on Facebook so often, that it's hard to conclude much of anything except that there's a lot of cranks and sociopaths in America.  And the right is correct when they say that "both sides" have their share of them. Thus, using such 'outrages" as pretext for some larger point or argument is inviting the other side to toss out deflections and red herrings as counterpoint, and it's all one big road to nowhere. It distracts our media, politicians and personalities from the all the lying about facts, policies, and things that really matter. 

The latest exercise comes to us in this less-than-easily-verified document:

Death Threats Against Bush at Protests Ignored for Years

Here's one sample photo from it:

Together with my favorite investigative partner, @Karoli, we're going to keep an eye on these efforts, but until we have something larger to say, just a few observations and thoughts:

  • The page in question is a collection of photos submitted to the sharing site,, by a "user" named "PortoNovo KajaNazimudeen."
  • None of the source links work. They are actually enclosed in A tags (links), but the href= attribute is blank. Hmm. Now why would you make a link to nowhere, unless your purpose was to "suggest" that the links were real, but just "broken." (Most people would never know how to "inspect" the links behind the scenes in the source code of the document.) One might do this so that the reader would not all too easily discover that almost all of them come from a few sources, and without working links, it's a lot of work to confirm that they even come from the sources indicated. But I did check a few, such as Ringo's pictures. (We'll return to him)
  • While Ringo suggests he took most of his "in L.A. over 6 years," many of the posted images look like they could come from any of the many foreign protests over 8 years of the Bush administration. British, German, Dutch, and South American Bush haters (and anti-globalists) all used such rhetoric and images routinely.
  • With today's Photoshop and digital title generators and filters, repurposing such photos is easy to do. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these were originally aimed at Saddam, Carter, Bush I, or Obama, and just "tweaked." There are photo magicians all over the web who love to do such work. I am going to send some to a photo forensics specialist and see what he thinks.

Having said all of this just because I like to be thorough, I believe that most of these pictures are probably real and undoctored, although taken from many different contexts, which makes them hard to evaluate, qualitatively. But that doesn't mean they are not gamed, somewhat anyway.  As mentioned, quite a few of them come from a far-right wing, pro-Israel, nuthatchery called Ringo's Pictures (the oft-debunked, and highly manipulative pro-Israel MEMRI is all over this site).  Just take a look at the editorializing he does on each picture, to see where he's coming from. 

In the About page for his collection of photos, Ringo does try to suggest that he's just a simple, humble, magnanimous truth teller (who hates liberalism), offering up these words of faux-moderateness (Wingnuts so love to posture smugly that they are the only truly devoted, non-violent paragons of civic virtue and temperance):

I do not offer these images as a defense of any similar tactics now being employed by some anti-Obama protestors, in fact, I plead with those opposed to President Obama's agenda to avoid the adolescent behavior displayed by anti-Bush activists over the previous eight years. Remember, just as the media went out of their way to shield the public from the vulgar and anti-American behavior of many anti-war demonstrators, so too will they go out of their way to shine a light on any offensive behavior by even one protestor opposed to President Obama. I offer these photographs only to show the hypocrisy of those on the Left who pretend to be shocked, as if such tactics are new or unique to our current President and his policies.


Assuming that all or most of these pictures are in fact genuine, let's look at the range of nutcases presented? We have mostly ANTI-WAR rallies, where passions always run high among activists.  That's not exactly the same context as a "tax" or "big government" protest, such as we see with the so-called Tea Party rallies. And even within these protestors, we have a smorgasbord of crazies from Truthers to Larouchies. And remember, a lot of Bush haters were skinheads and assorted right wing hate groups who didn't think Bush was tough enough on immigration and affirmative action. I am reasonably sure that many of these photos are from this group.

But none of this really matters anyway.

The real issue is NOT whether people's politics make them say stupid things and craft goofy misspelled signs.Both sides DO do that, at times. But the contexts and degrees count.

I side with Rachel Maddow here.I like all that noisy, ugly democracy at work.  I think the real issue is the much more serious matter of recklessly inciting the violence with either deliberately violent imagery (reload), urging people to show up with weapons,  and generally conditioning people of limited range and self control to get much too excited about how they express themselves.

The words and gestures coming coming from the likes of Palin, Bachmann, Limbaugh, and other not-so-bright conservatives, Tea Party advocates, and Fox personalities are designed to fire these people up to keep the passions lit; passions they are pretty confident will carry conservatives back to power so they can ruin these people's lives even more than they already have.

I think the Pulitzer prize winning conservative columnist, Kathleen Parker, probably said it best in today's Washington Post.  I will leave it to her to finish my point:

What Americans can do to discourage future McVeighs — by Kathleen Parker

But words matter, as we never tire of saying. And these are especially sensitive times, given our first African American president and unavoidable fears about the worst-case scenario. If Jodie Foster could bestir the imagination of Hinckley, a Sarah Palin in the Internet age could move regiments.


End Game

This issue has been mostly concluded for dozens of news organizations and Keith Olbermann. So who am I to wonder why no one is now interested in this "Ed Snider" person who makes big investments in right wing networks, allowing them to borrow his parent company (Comcast)'s name for their early marketing.

I'm just a silly blogger and Twitter cat.

CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO MOST RECENT UPDATE, concluding this issue, (for now), or:

Read on to start from the beginning…


Been here before? This page is being updated regularly as it unfolds. Jump to Updates.

The Next Dose Of The Purely Outrageous

In the most despicable and arrogant gesture since the Citizen's United decison itself, Comcast (-Spectacor*) is now partnering with Tea Baggers to create a purely right wing, cable and Internet outlet called the "Right Network." This PDF shows you just how ambitious these professional propagandists are.

How appalling, given that conservatives already outnumber liberals by 3-1 in the general media, and 20-1 on talk radio. And of course, they already have that 24×7 Fox news channel. A right network seems rather redundant, eh?. But that won't stop them from playing the same old "we just have to balance the liberal media" lie. Sort of like how they had to put a stop to those "activist judges," by installing the most activist judges in history.

This "network" will be a nonstop, wingnut bullshit megaphone. A Hulu of hooey. These people are ruining America, in the name of saving it, and until the left wakes up and does something about it, these selfish billionaire-stooge zealots will own what they've wrecked. But that won't make anyone feel better about it.

@Karoli tells the (early part) of the story at Crooks and Liars

Comcast is fighting its way through a battle to acquire NBC and related assets (including MSNBC) without being deemed a monopoly (which they are, and should be barred from owning NBC). For a preview of how dangerous it is to have one corporation control access to the Internet and cable TV, have a look at their new joint venture: RightNetwork.


Updates Posts are date &time ordered, most recent posted last.

Update 4/18/10 — @karoli: Who funds RightNetwork? Looks like the usual suspects.

Given the enormous costs to fund production and broadcast of a network startup — especially in the early days — some fairly hefty money has to be underneath it. So I started digging.

Also: Don't miss @karoli's same-day post about Koch's funding of Tea Party organizations.  It's entirely possible that soon she will find the connections between Koch and RightNetworks. I am willing to bet it's there.  Koch Industries denies funding tea parties, official filings say otherwise

Update 4/19/10 Politico: Comcast says no plans to acquire right-wing network

Gee, how often does a major media company respond to a lowly blog story like this, eh?  Oh, and the PDF mysteriously vanished yesterday, too.   Of course, someone had the good sense to save it, so you can still see the original :)

Update 4/19/10 — It has been pointed out to me by @KeithOblermann,

that the involvement with RightNetwork is by Comcast-Spectacor's Chairman, Ed Snider, and not Comcast itself. Given all the rest of the circumstantial connections, and he fact that Comcast owns 63% of Comcast-Spectacor, I strongly suspect this is a veiled sham to shield the network from this venture until it's established and proven, and they can ascertain the risks of extending their public profile (and equity) with it.  Even so, I apologize for not making the distinction clear.

Update 4/19/10 —  NY TImes: Comcast Denies Connection to RightNetwork

Comcast denied reports Monday that it is a partner in the RightNetwork, a red state start-up that promises “content that reflects and reinforces their perspective and worldview.”

Curiously, Brian Stelter leaves out the PDF text "On television, through partners including Comcast, RightNetwork delivers…"

Update 4/19/10Karoli Responds:  Comcast denies involvement in RightNetwork

Misleading? The sales material clearly states the intention to launch on television, web and mobile in the summer of 2010. Here's an image as it was in their PDF "lookbook" on the RightNetwork website before it was pulled last night.

Update 4/19/10 Having been reminded of the details by Karoli's response,

I am sorry I changed the title on my post (this one you are reading), when Keith Olbermann tweeted me about it. @Karoli has a 100% defensible position in calling it a Comcast partnership, The RightNetworks PDF explicitly refers to the comcast partners. Here's a screenshot of the relevant image where the text clearly trumpets "Comcast partners."

Update 4/20/10 — Crooks & Liars issues a fairly predictable statement to a displeased behemoth which feels it deserves all the respect that money can buy. It's so brief, i will include it in its entirety here:

Comcast says they will have nothing to do with RightNetwork

Comcast responded to this post, which caused quite a stir in the media yesterday. Their response confirmed to me that they have nothing to do at all with Kelsey Grammer's new right-wing outfit, RightNetwork.

Here is a statement from Comcast to clear up any confusion:

    "We have no partnership with this venture and have no plans to launch or distribute the network. As we have done with hundreds of other content providers, we have met with the network’s representatives. We do carry a number of independent networks on Comcast representing a wide variety of interests and diverse viewpoints.”

Keith Olbermann called RightNetwork liars for making a connection between the two.

    Olbermann: A head of one of its subsidiaries has some of his own money in the thing, so RightNetwork starts by lying about who's backing it….

As far as I'm concerned Comcast's answer is fine. We'll also definitely be keeping an eye on RightNetwork. It's got a fishy smell to it.

Update 4/20/10 — Jamison Foser from MediaMatters is the first to point out that Karoli's reporting about this matter was 100% accurate. She reported what was clearly stated in the marketing materials of a professionally produced, big budget multimedia presentation by a company invested in by a senior Comcast executive. What about the words "Partners with Comcast" can't some people understand?"

So, at least for now..this issue has been mostly concluded for dozens of news organizations and Keith Olbermann. So who am I to wonder why no one is now interested in this "Ed Snider" person who makes big investments in right wing networks, allowing them to borrow his parent company (Comcast)'s name for their early marketing. I'm just a silly blogger and Twitter cat.

So If You Think This Sucks…

Just wait until Comcast merges with NBC. We MUST stop this.  So please try to do one or all of these things:

  • PLEASE use green button to RT for this post.
  • Ask everyone you know to sign this petition

  • Tweet your displeasure.  Remember, comcast has huge social networking monitoring operations on Twitter and Facebook. Fill their databases with tweets like these:

    • Dear @COMCAST: Your right wing ploy just DOOMED your merger hopes. This WILL NOT STAND (ps RT)
    • Dear @COMCAST: Like we didn't have enough right wing hate RUINING our nation? #p2


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