April 14, 2007
-- by Dave Johnson
Jamison Foser writes in this week's "Media Matters",
In the midst of a torrent of comments about "femi-Nazis" and "bitches" and "hos," these more subtle problems are rarely even noticed, and even more rarely discussed among the media elite and those who appear on their shows.I gave a talk a few weeks ago to an organization that supports public education. My talk as titled We're All In This Together. I began the talk by playing a video clip of Neil Boortz on Fox, saying that teachers unions are more dangerous to America than terrorists armed with nuclear weapons because a nuke could only wipe out 100,000 people but public schools are "destroying a generation."
And that may be the most damaging effect of the kind of commentary that we routinely hear from the likes of Imus and Limbaugh and Coulter: Rhetoric that should be unacceptable becomes merely outrageous; that which should be outrageous becomes merely controversial; and that which should be controversial is barely noticed, if at all.
I talked about the terrible things right-wingers routinely say. Then I explained the Right's Overton Window strategy of walking people's thinking up a ladder that turns unthinkable ideas into acceptable and even reasonable-sounding.
After explaining the Overton Window I said,
NOW we can understand the role of people like the guy from the video clip. He is out at the extreme – on the right side of the see-saw. Anything LESS extreme sounds almost moderate by comparison – in the window of “thinkable.” THIS is why they say those outrageous things. They’re walking people up the ladder. It’s part of the long-term strategy.If you're interested, I have the whole thing posted over at the Commonweal Institute blog, along with links to reference materials.
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Dave,I read "We're All In This Together" Amazing stuff once again. Thank you!
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