David Brooks Needs Help

2 10 2009

I gotta hand it to David Brooks, when he proves how un-imaginative and wrong he is, at least he goes all out. Every paragraph in this piece has at least one piece of incorrect info, so lucky for David, this is an opinion piece.

If you read through this more than once you may come away feeling as I did, which is… David Brooks is very jealous of Rush Limbaugh and seems to have NO clue as to how Rush’s audience reacts as compared to how Glenn’s audience reacts to each radio personality. And, the one thing that David seems to overlook in his analysis is the fact that Glenn and Rush have a different audience. Sure they have some crossover but for the most part, they have their own niche. Now go ahead and see how many facts Brooks got wrong in his little diatribe.

Gio-

The Wizard of Beck

By DAVID BROOKS (Yeah, I know) Gio-
Published: October 2, 2009

AAwizardofozLet us take a trip back into history. Not ancient history. Recent history. It is the winter of 2007. The presidential primaries are approaching. The talk jocks like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and the rest are over the moon about Fred Thompson. They’re weak at the knees at the thought of Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, they are hurling torrents of abuse at the unreliable deviationists: John McCain and Mike Huckabee.

Yet somehow, despite the fervor of the great microphone giants, the Thompson campaign flops like a fish. Despite the schoolgirl delight from the radio studios, the Romney campaign underperforms.

Meanwhile, Huckabee surges. Limbaugh attacks him, but social conservatives flock.

Along comes New Hampshire and McCain wins! Republican voters have not heeded their masters in the media. Before long, South Carolina looms as the crucial point of the race. The contest is effectively between Romney and McCain. The talk jocks are now in spittle-flecked furor. Day after day, whole programs are dedicated to hurling abuse at McCain and everybody ever associated with him. The jocks are threatening to unleash their angry millions.

Yet the imaginary armies do not materialize. McCain wins the South Carolina primary and goes on to win the nomination. The talk jocks can’t even deliver the conservative voters who show up at Republican primaries. They can’t even deliver South Carolina!

So what is the theme of our history lesson? It is a story of remarkable volume and utter weakness. It is the story of media mavens who claim to represent a hidden majority but who in fact represent a mere niche — even in the Republican Party. It is a story as old as “The Wizard of Oz,” of grand illusions and small men behind the curtain.

But, of course, we shouldn’t be surprised by this story. Over the past few years the talk jocks have demonstrated their real-world weakness time and again. Back in 2006, they threatened to build a new majority on anti-immigration fervor. Republicans like J.D. Hayworth and Randy Graf, both of Arizona, built their House election campaigns under that banner. But these two didn’t march to glory. Both lost their campaigns.

In 2008, after McCain had won his nomination, Limbaugh turned his attention to the Democratic race. He commanded his followers to vote in the Democratic primaries for Hillary Clinton because “we need Barack Obama bloodied up politically.” Todd Donovan of Western Washington University has looked at data from 38 states and could find no strong evidence that significant numbers of people actually did what Limbaugh commanded. Rush blared the trumpets, but few of his Dittoheads advanced.

Over the years, I have asked many politicians what happens when Limbaugh and his colleagues attack. The story is always the same. Hundreds of calls come in. The receptionists are miserable. But the numbers back home do not move. There is no effect on the favorability rating or the re-election prospects. In the media world, he is a giant. In the real world, he’s not.

But this is not merely a story of weakness. It is a story of resilience. For no matter how often their hollowness is exposed, the jocks still reweave the myth of their own power. They still ride the airwaves claiming to speak for millions. They still confuse listeners with voters. And they are aided in this endeavor by their enablers. They are enabled by cynical Democrats, who love to claim that Rush Limbaugh controls the G.O.P. They are enabled by lazy pundits who find it easier to argue with showmen than with people whose opinions are based on knowledge. They are enabled by the slightly educated snobs who believe that Glenn Beck really is the voice of Middle America.

So the myth returns. Just months after the election and the humiliation, everyone is again convinced that Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and the rest possess real power. And the saddest thing is that even Republican politicians come to believe it. They mistake media for reality. They pre-emptively surrender to armies that don’t exist.

They pay more attention to Rush’s imaginary millions than to the real voters down the street. The Republican Party is unpopular because it’s more interested in pleasing Rush’s ghosts than actual people. The party is leaderless right now because nobody has the guts to step outside the rigid parameters enforced by the radio jocks and create a new party identity. The party is losing because it has adopted a radio entertainer’s niche-building strategy, while abandoning the politician’s coalition-building strategy.

The rise of Beck, Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and the rest has correlated almost perfectly with the decline of the G.O.P. But it’s not because the talk jocks have real power. It’s because they have illusory power, because Republicans hear the media mythology and fall for it every time.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: October 3, 2009
A column on Friday by David Brooks incorrectly described the 2006 campaign by Randy Graf of Arizona for a House seat. He was trying to win the seat for the first time; he was not running for re-election.

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3 responses

3 10 2009
Eowyn

I stopped reading, watching, or listening to David Brooks ever since he went over to the Dark Side in the ’08 election.

For me, anyone who voted for Barry Soetoro Barack Hussein Obama is a deal breaker. It shows one or all of the following:

* A willful blindness to Obama’s many many Marxist, terrorist, racist friends and associates.
* A willful lack of concern for Obama’s lack of achievements.
* A willful disregard for Obama’s many missing records and documents, from his original birth certificate, to his school records from kindergarten to Occidental College, Columbia U., and Harvard Law School.

Double & triple the above for ANYONE, such as David Brooks, who claimed to be a conservative.

3 10 2009
Rebekah

Who did you vote for? John McCain, a man who showed a willful disregard for honesty AND the sanctity of marriage when he cheated on and later dumped his first wife so he could marry a rich younger woman?

Or did you cast your vote for McCain because of Sarah Palin, a woman who

1)Showed a willful disdain for honesty when she lied about supporting the “Bridge to Nowhere” project and her ties to the extremist Alaskan Independence Party.

2) Appointed over 100 campaign donors and/or their relatives to state posts after she was elected Governor of Alaska, despite the fact that many of these people were unqualified.

3) Abused her power as governor when she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan because he refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law, an Alaska State Trooper.

4) Is so ignorant, she believes that “dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time,” didn’t know that the U.S. is a NAFTA nation, thinks that Africa is a country, and claimed that the Vice President is the head of the Senate.

5) Supposedly has a degree in Communications, but can’t name a single magazine or newspaper that she reads regularly.

6) Shamelessly uses her handicapped child to promote blatant lies about “death panels.”

7) Hired a right-wing extremist with ties to a well-known white supremacist to write her upcoming book.

Republicans hear the media mythology and fall for it every time.

Excellent point by Brooks. This was perfectly illustrated by the recent 9/12 demonstration, which was heavily promoted by Fox, but failed to draw the millions of protesters that Beck and others of his ilk had predicted. Despite claims to the contrary, including desperate attempts by supporters who circulated old pictures of previous D.C. demonstrations hoping that no one would notice, local officials estimated the turnout at 60,000 to 75,000, tops.

3 10 2009
giovanniworld

This is funny. You being a supposed Navy vet and all, and yet you still couldn’t vote for the old white guy (retired Navy).

As for myself, I held my nose pulling the lever for McCain, but I did it for two reasons. One, I had done enough research just prior to Obama winning the primaries to know that he was/is a Marxist. That’s all I needed to know to keep me from even considering a vote for him. Second, it sure made my vote for McCain a lot more palatable knowing that Sarah was on the ticket. And then I did my research on Sarah. What I found was a gutsy, smart, Christian, family centered, all around American girl that can also hang with the big boys. Because I did my research, I can tell you without any reservations, the truth about your claims…

1. Not true!
2. Not true!
3. Not true!
4. Not true!
5. Not true!
6. Not true! And lucky for you, she wasn’t in the room when you wrote that.
7. I don’t know anything about this. But it would be helpful and instructive if you would give us the name of this supposed white-supremecist.

And your last paragraph has so many UFO and Big Foot type of claims that you can no longer be taken serious. You have simply gone from a person that served their country, and proud to do so, to just another whiny snot nosed marxist loving liberal. Or what most folks call an ASSHOLE!

Gio-

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