Dancing with the Tea Party
…like a hooker, the mainstream media gets pimped by the Palins in pursuit of dirty money, regardless of how she demonizes them or smacks them around…
The most recent season of Dancing with the Stars has come to an end, and the finale was quite the event, with controversy swirling around Bristol Palin’s extended run in the competition despite a performance that was, well let’s just say she danced pretty much like a slightly overweight, out of shape 20 year old with no prior dance training or inherent natural grace should dance…kinda clumsy, kinda clunky, and kinda cringe inducing. But still, she gave it her all.
Of course, as we now know, because of her mom’s notoriety leading voices in the Tea Party movement and the conservative blogosphere came to the conclusion that keeping Bristol in the competition despite her mediocre to poor performances would be a way to flip the proverbial bird at the liberal elite and the media. Or as one conservative blogger, Kevin DuJan of Hillbuzz.org, childishly proclaimed “You … can actually vote together and send Bristol over the top … while sending Leftist heads into meltdown.” (Really Kevin? Are you serious? This would send “Leftist heads into meltdown”? With all the things we have to worry about in this country, this is what you focus on? Good lord, the Tea Party movement is in worse shape than I thought with childish idiots like you leading the charge. But I digress.)
Due to the get out the Tea Party vote effort, as the finale approached with Palin still in the running to win over clearly superior performers, ABC found itself in quite the conundrum. On one hand, the controversy surrounding Palin and the skewed voting was a huge ratings bonanza with millions of people, like yours truly, actually watching a show for the first time. But to the negative, the fact the outcome would be an obvious travesty could potentially damage the credibility of the show for good.
Now it is kinda hard to feel sorry for ABC for finding themselves in this mess, or for the entire corporate media establishment’s messy involvement with the Palins for that matter. I mean when it comes to the Palin phenomenon, it seems that there is some sort of collective amnesia in the fourth estate, with them forgetting what happened when ‘Sista Sarah’ was introduced to the world at the 2008 GOP Convention. During her acceptance speech, she famously took on the media when she said…
“ I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.”
What followed was 30 seconds of booing, catcalls and derisive chants of “NBC, NBC, NBC” that got so bad that one person in a press area located in the middle of the convention floor actually said they became frightened being surrounded by hundreds of angry red faces, some with veins bulging and spittle flying as they booed, chanted and pointed with menacing intent (you can view this part of the speech at the 6 minute mark in the video at the bottom of the article).
But judging by the slavish media attention being given all things Palin, that has all been conveniently forgotten in pursuit of ratings and revenue. Never mind that most of what Palin says or represents is counter to what’s good for the country or our democracy, like her AP Lie of the Year regarding ‘death panels’ to prevent needed reform that would help millions, or her irresponsible ‘drill baby drill’ cheerleading on behalf of corporations like BP, the architects of the disastrous spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Nope, like a hooker, the mainstream media gets pimped by the Palins in pursuit of dirty money, regardless of how she demonizes them or smacks them around. It really is a sad reflection of where the media, and our country has gone.
There is however, one ironic positive to emerge from the Dancing with the Stars debacle. In a unique twist, the Tea Party may have inadvertently helped hasten the end of that which they hold most dear.
You see, one of the great disconnects to the whole Tea Party movement is trying to rationalize where this white, upper middle class, middle-aged demographic was during the Bush years? Why was there no hue and cry from these people as Bush exploded the debt, expanded government, trampled Democracy like a Fascist, sent young men and women off to die in wars started on a lie, and basically let our economic foundation rot away until it was on the verge of collapse? How come there was no anger at the promises made and then broken to what was then Bush’s base and that now constitute the core of the Tea Party like repealing Roe v. Wade, or imposing a constitutional ban on Same Sex Marriage, or restoring honor to the White House, or institutionalizing prayer in schools? None of those things happened, yet nary was a peep heard from those who were lied to. My guess is, instead of paying attention to how they were being lied to and screwed by their chosen leaders, those that are now the Tea Party were, as they do now, letting the Bush apologists on Fox News tell them what they should believe. And when not dancing to O’Reilly or Beck’s siren songs of lies and misinformation, they were immersed in reality TV shows like American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, or America’s Got Talent that demanded their attention to the point where they cast more votes for who won or lost a meaningless talent show than they did for the representatives who decided how their money was spent, their laws were enforced and in some cases, whether their sons and daughters lived or died.
However, by leveraging the Tea Party demographics’ tendency to let other people tell them what to believe or do, and their sick obsession with reality TV shows to jigger the vote on Dancing with the Stars, geniuses like Kevin DuJan and his fellow conservative and Tea Party brethren may have planted the seed that will ultimately lead to the demise of the reality show genre. Much like the American quiz show scandals of the 1950s, where a series of revelations that contestants of several popular television quiz shows were secretly given assistance by the show’s producers to arrange the outcome of a supposedly fair competition, ABC has been forced into a position where they can either let unfair voting destroy the competition, or try to protect the image of the program by secretly making sure the obvious winners win. Either way, the public is likely to never view Dancing with the Stars the same way again. And much like the quiz show scandal eventually led to the downfall of the entire genre, it isn’t unreasonable to think that as doubt creeps into the minds of viewers, reality TV could suffer the same fate as the quiz shows of the fifties.
For some of us, we can only pray that it does. Perhaps then, Americans like the majority who populate the Tea Party won’t have to limit their viewing to contrived competitions and Fox News idiots like Beck, Hannity and O’Reilly. Then they’ll have the time to broaden their sights and pay attention to what is happening to them and around them so they can actually begin forming their own opinions and making their own judgments, rather than being told what is real and what to think by the corporate power brokers who control the media and try so hard to control our lives.