Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Identity Politics and Bill O'Reilly's Memetic Assault on Obama

Conservatism is not fundamentally about ideology, but about the preservation of elite power, maintained as a form of identity politics. Elites then claim "natural" leadership, in the name of protecting, defending and exemplifying the group identity against evil, enemy "others." Ideology matters to the conservative project solely as a means for justification, including identity formation. It supports the forms of policies, practices and institutions that preserve group identity and power--and, thereby, elite rule. Consistency matters to this ideology only insofar as it proves necessary. Therefore, "the abandonment of conservative principles" is to be expected when those principles no longer serve those in power.

America's history of racism provides examples of how conservatism adapts, responding to repeated movements for social justice, which profoundly alter the relationships of radical, liberal and conservative forces. Inconsistencies are generated at multiple levels whenever this happens.
How Racism Changes Form--Conservatism As Identity Politics

O'Reilly spent the entirety of today's radio factor show making threats about the dire consequences to non-whites of continuing to call what he and his fellow ethnonationalists preach and practice "racism". He also excoriated Media Matters and liberal commentators who have labeled his pattern and praxis racist. At no time has the audacious scope and breadth of O'Reilly/Roger Ailes/Rupert Murdoch's propagandistic ambitions been more clearly evident than over the months during which O'Reilly has mounted a tragically effective, racially motivated and perpetrated campaign to damage Barack Obama's political prospects.

We are to disregard O'Reilly's clearly stated priorities, aims, funding sources etc.., and imagine that all the good works of Trinity United Church of Christ and pastor Jeremiah Wright are as nothing when compared and contrasted with the fiery 30 seconds of decontextualized dissent culled from a decade of his sermonizing? We need'nt decontextualize O'Reilly in any manner, form, or fashion in order to see precisely what he is and what he represents.

About that Roger Ailes; Roger Eugene Ailes (born May 15, 1940) is the president of Fox News Channel and chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group. He was a media consultant for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, as well as Rudy Giuliani’s first mayoral campaign in 1989.