Saturday, May 20, 2006

All posts were moved (11/2006) to

Oh, really, O'Reilly?

Fox News (the U.S. network, not the spin doctors at Los Pinos), broadcasts what it calls "fair and balanced" news and opinion. It's viewship is older and more conservative than the other U.S. media, generally considered the least reliable of all the U.S. major media sources (it likes the attack the others as "mainstream media", implying the News Corporation of America is some little upstart company. It's much, much larger than their perceived "enemies" like the New York Times Corporation). It's famous for newsreaders who are "spun" as opinion leaders, and for manufacturing grass-roots movements based on ... whatever. My favorite example was the call for a boycott of the island of Aruba, based on continual news coverage of a minor story -- the disappearance of an American girl while on vacation. Tourists disappear once in a while, but this was a pretty white girl from a wealthy family (and I never have met poor families that vacation in Aruba). SO... News Corporation was running story after story about this disappearance -- interviews with the family, smears against the guys she was last seen with, interviews with private eyes they paid to dig around in Aruba, and on and on and on. AND... they pimped for a tourist boycott. For Aruba, which depends on tourism, it's a real threat. HOWEVER, showing Aruba again and again and again on news programs with an older, wealthier viewership meant the rather obscure Dutch possession was in the minds of those who can afford Caribean vacations. Aruba did well out of it. Now comes Bill O'Reilly, of the "O'Reilly Factor". I guess about half his viewers watch his program with the same enthuasm people a hundred years ago when to circus sideshows. It's a little more sophisticated that gawking at a two-headed calf, but the "O'Reilly Factor" has it's twisted entertainment values. A recent example -- O'Reilly, who protests (too much) that he isn't a racial bigot -- claimed the New York Times believes "believe "the white Christians who hold power must be swept out by a new multicultural tide". On another famous occasion, he carped that the the reason actor George Clooney, was active in supporting action in Darfur and the Sudan had to do with the "color" of the Sudanese. Clooney, it might be noted, is a "white guy". Bill O'Reilly is an absurd, pompous "media elite" (he's a graduate of Harvard University) from a comfortable New York City suburban background, who is presented as the "voice of the little guy" (the little guy with a hefty salary, a good pension plan and born to advantage, that is). His latest clown act is a call to boycott Mexico -- "If the Mexican government files one lawsuit in the U.S.A., one, pertaining to the National Guard, I will call for a total boycott of Mexican goods and no travel to your country." COOL! If they boycott Mexican fruits and vegetables, they hurt the U.S. corporate giants more effectively than anyone else. Incidentally, given that the Mexican family farmer can't compete against subsidized corporate agribusiness in the U.S. and Canada, it will mean more farmers having to leave the land ... and a good number will be going to the United States. I think Mexican oil should be sold on the open market, especially to Europe and India. And that the U.S. needs to cut its dependence on oil in general, foreign oil in particular. So, maybe boycotting their #2 foreign oil supplier wouldn't be such a bad thing. Americans are overweight because they drive everywhere. With no auto parts, maybe they'll walk more. And Americans consume half the world's narcotics. I think Mexico should get out of the narcotics manufacturing and transport business (and there isn't enough domestic market for that industry) and invest more in other agricultural and pharmaceutical enterprises. Alas, I doubt narcotics users are the kinds of folks who check out "country of origin" when making their purchases, nor that they make their purchases based on political considerations. Watch Bill foam at the mouthhere (Quick Time or Windows Media Player). ------------ Suing in U.S. courts, by the way, has been a particularly cost-effective, low-pressure, "conservative" solution to diplomatic wrangles (and to discharging Mexico's responsibilities to protect its citizens abroad). There's nothing new in what O'Reilly calls "a threat". Screw him.


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