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The Staple of Cable as Poster Child; O'Reilly as Father Coughlin Fascist Copycat

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Message Danny Schechter

“We are in an industry that benefits from a very deregulatory regime,” boasts National Cable and Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow. “We think our customers benefit from that. We think we’re the poster child for how leaving most decisions to the marketplace.”

Ah yes, leave it to the market place. Where have we heard that before? Answer: at every business meeting in America and echoed almost every day in our media. The market is our icon and fetish built on the assumption is that it acts freely, guided by an “invisible hand” in Adam Smith’s phrase, and always clear of external pressures except the occasional-and I would say systematic—act of corruption.

No one talks about what this word market really means or what its impact is. In theory, we have a market system that reflects the democratic impulses of buyers and sellers.

In practice, there is nothing free about it. It is dominated and monopolized by a handful of companies who choke off real competition and exclude players who challenge their dominance. How is it that AlJazeera’s English channel can get on cable all over the world-even in Israel-but be denied access on America cable even though the company is one of the world’s leading brands?

A “deregulated regime” guarantees market failure and all the problems that go along with it.

I am sure Mr. McSlarrow is not thinking here of the other poster children that the FCC worries about in its recent report on the pervasive violence on cable outlets or how babies have their health s put at risk by overexposure to TV as overworked parents used their boob tubes as a babysitter.

I am sure he’s no longer thinking of the spewing or racism on the cable spectrum now that IMUS has been surgically removed from the airwaves after a flap that purged his presence but left so many other demagogues unaffected.

And what about Bill O’Reilly of Faux Nooze Channel? What is he a poster child for? I haven’t heard the cable association weigh in on his role as a poster child.

Read this new study by researcher at Indiana University. They found that

“Bill O’Reilly calls a person or a group a derogatory name on average once every 6.8 seconds during the “Talking Points Memo” portion of his cable news show.

According to a more detailed press release provided by the University today, the researchers used a technique developed after World War I and made an astounding discovery.

“The same techniques were used during the late 1930s to study another prominent voice in a war-era, Father Charles Coughlin. His sermons evolved into a darker message of anti-Semitism and fascism, and he became a defender of Hitler and Mussolini. In this study, O’Reilly is a heavier and less-nuanced user of the propaganda devices than Coughlin.”

Here are some of the findings of the study regarding O’Reilly’s perceived enemies.

“The researchers identified 22 groups of people that O’Reilly referenced in his commentaries, and while all 22 were described by O’Reilly as bad at some point, the people and groups most frequently labeled bad were the political left — Americans as a group and the media (except those media considered by O’Reilly to be on the right).

Left-leaning media (21.6 percent) made up the largest portion of bad people/groups, and media without a clear political leaning was the second largest (12.2 percent). When it came to evil people and groups, illegal aliens (26.8 percent) and terrorists (21.4 percent) were the largest groups.

O’Reilly never presented the political left, politicians/government officials not associated with a political party, left-leaning media, illegal aliens, criminals and terrorists as victims. “Thus, politicians and media, particularly of the left-leaning persuasion, are in the company of illegal aliens, criminals, terrorists — never vulnerable to villainous forces and undeserving of empathy,” the authors concluded”"

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at See
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