As I’ve noted previously, this is really one of the best political blogs going. Very smart, very educated, very careful.
Ed Kilgore takes a look at a couple of the questions put to Obama last night and delves into the conceptual framing that gave rise to them. I’ll note one of the two here.
The question came from Jennifer Loven of AP, which Kilgore properly describes as a “head scratcher”:
Your treasury secretary and the Fed chairman were on Capitol Hill today asking for this new authority that you want to regulate big, complex financial institutions.But given the problems that the financial bailout program has had so far — banks not wanting to talk about how they’re spending the money, the AIG bonuses that you mentioned — why do you think the public should sign on for another new sweeping authority for the government to take over companies, essentially?
The more interesting aspect of the questions is the mindset they reflected. The planted axiom in Loven’s question was that government screwed up the bailout of financial institutions, and thus the immediate remedy is to reduce, not expand, the power of government. This assumption is central to the GOP’s effort to make “activist government,” not Wall Street, the villain of the story, and to shift the focus away from the causes of the financial conflagration to the would-be firefighters.
I’m not necessarily accusing Loven or Todd of agreeing with those somewhat disguised assumptions: it’s legitimate in a press conference to raise often-heard criticisms of the convener, whether or not the reporter happens to agree with them. But it’s important to note that we’re going to hear variations on these two themes a lot in the future, whether they are expressed in GOP agitprop or in the loftiest prose of op-ed writers.
Here’s the value, propaganda-wise, of feeding a particular ‘narrative’ into the multiple Washington news media outlets from multiple source points. An impression of consensus is created or facilitated and it is the inertia of a growing (or accepted) consensus which tends to establish ‘reality’. It’s really that simple.
It’s exactly why the right has purposefully built up an ‘echo chamber’ which includes not merely the expressly rightwing outlets but also has worked very dilligently to place rightwing voices in ALL media outlets.