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January 29, 2013 11:45 AM Nobody Here But Us Liberals….

By Ed Kilgore

I would direct your attention, however briefly, to a fairly typical tirade by Fox News’ Kirsten Powers on the Fox website about the bottomless fear in the hearts of all Foxies at the many threats to their freedom and livelihood posed by the tyrant Barack Obama, who is annoyed the brave, lonely island of dissent will not “fall in line and treat him as emperor.”

She never does get around to identifying any actual threats to Fox of any action that would endanger its freedom of expression, and seems mainly concerned about a proposed Media Matters campaign to “shame” Democrats out of appearing on Fox. And that bugs her, presumably, because she likes to identify herself as a Democrat, and mirabile dictu, in the midst of the tirade we are talking about, as “a liberal.”

As it happens, I think we do indeed need a cone of tolerance within which Democrats and liberals can be critical of the president or other party leaders when they feel it necessary. But to be effective, this open atmosphere requires a degree of trust that the people taking advantage of it actually are Democrats, and not just faking it to make a living pretending to represent non-existent Democratic constituencies on Fox News. For that reason I no longer consider people like Pat Caddell or Doug Schoen or Kirsten Powers Democrats at all, since it’s been years and years and years since any of these people has said anything positive about “their” party. That doesn’t mean I want to revoke their free speech rights, but they need to just go ahead and switch parties and stop serving as props whereby Fox viewers are deceived into thinking they are watching and hearing “bipartisan” discussions.

And before anyone says it, no, this is not what the Democratic Leadership Council used to do. Yes, DLC types often criticized Democrats, but always in terms, however wise or foolish, of how to help Democrats win elections and govern effectively. In my years there, I also wrote hundreds of thousands of words criticizing Republicans, often in fairly vitriolic terms. I won’t by any means defend everything the DLC did (see this essay if you want my own assessment), but confusing it with the kind of game Kirstin Powers is playing just isn’t accurate.

Meanwhile, I do wonder how long Ms. Powers can sustain her attitude of perpetual outrage toward anyone to the left of her, which means well over half of everybody. So much heat, so little light!

UPDATE: Ms. Powers and her fans (via Twitter) have taken great umbrage at this post, based on claims that she does, indeed, defend Obama and take “liberal” positions on-air all the time. I will freely admit I do not watch Fox often, and will not do so in order to confirm or refute my impressions of Kirstin Powers, derived from her occasional non-TV utterances. So I apologize for over-generalizing, and readers who do watch Fox for whatever reason can offer their impressions in the comment thread.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • max on January 29, 2013 11:53 AM:

    For that reason I know longer consider people like Pat Caddell or Doug Schoen or Kirsten Powers Democrats at all,

    I'd agree with you about Kirsten Powers except I don't watch Fox and I have no idea who she is. And I don't care either, actually.

    max
    ['Good post though.']

  • Quaker in a Basement on January 29, 2013 11:59 AM:

    Let me simplify that for you, Ed: Fox lies.

  • c u n d gulag on January 29, 2013 12:12 PM:

    Instead of a "cone of tolerance," how about we put the right under 'the cone of silence?'

    Ok, Chief...
    Would you believe... a boyscout with a pen-knife!

    FOX is, though, an equal oppportunity station.

    It hires all manners of people willing to prostitute themselves for a buck.
    Former Liberals, former old-school Conservatives, men, women, blacks, white, hispanics, young, old, etc.

    If only they had someone on who was gay.
    I mean, "openly gay," Doocy's, father and son.
    You can rest easy in your closets.

  • rrk1 on January 29, 2013 12:15 PM:

    No self-respecting Democrat worthy of the name will anymore allow him/herself to ambushed by the loathsome gaggle of snakes on Fox Faux News. Thus the 'Foxies', as you cleverly call them, have to create pretend Democrats as a straw man to satisfy the blood lust of their audience.

    Let's not take anything that happens on Fox as serious journalism, or anything other than the crudest Rethug propaganda. Unless someone is a serious media-watcher, or scholar, there are definitely better things to do than watching Fox: like watching paint dry, or picking one's nose.

  • Mac G on January 29, 2013 12:16 PM:

    DLC did some good things, but they earned their Pro-Corporate, Pro-Iraq war, Anti-Labor rep for a reason. Harold Ford is such a hack. We don't have Medicare buy in at 55 because of Joe Lieberman's ego. F that Guy. Kos is correct.

    I agree with you that these fake Fox News Democrats are not like the DLC.

  • Kimmrz on January 29, 2013 12:40 PM:

    Oh please, like a single one of you would be critical of the president. Kristin earns respect by being fairminded, and you criticize her for that? Tell you what, I'll trade you Colin Powell for Kristin any day.

  • Wilco on January 29, 2013 12:52 PM:

    At least there's little chance Kucinich will follow suit.

  • Stephen Reginald on January 29, 2013 1:09 PM:

    What is disturbing about pieces like this is that unless you adhere to a certain kind of orthodoxy you’re a “faux” Democrat. I’ve been watching Kirsten Powers for years and she’s a strong defender of Democratic and progressive causes, and overall supports the president. However, she’s not a mindless ideologue. When MSNBC has as many Republicans expressing opposing views of its all-Democratic hosts, than maybe we can talk. And all the Fox outrage from people who never watch the network, but instead take their orders from Media Matters and yourself, is truly amazing.

  • Anonymous on January 29, 2013 1:19 PM:

    "Oh please, like a single one of you would be critical of the president"

    It happens every day here, buddy.
    Not with Ms Powers' intensity, of course

  • schtick on January 29, 2013 2:04 PM:

    Who would want to give up 10 IQ points just to watch Faux to see if she is telling the truth? And since when does anyone on Faux tell the truth? Please. Spare us the drama, mama.

  • Vail Beach on January 29, 2013 2:04 PM:

    For that reason I know longer consider people like Pat Caddell or Doug Schoen or Kirsten Powers Democrats at all,

    How precious that you think you have the right to do that.

    FWIW, it is true that Caddell is a critic virtually every time he appears on the tube. But that's not the case with Schoen. And Powers, for Pete's sake, defends Democrats and attacks Republicans in about 70-80 percent of her commentary.

    But that's what make her the most threatening to your beloved narrative. She is a liberal Democrat, strong feminist, defender of entitlements and bigger government. But she does not slavishly follow the party line every time, which might lead others to...gasp... do the same thing. Too many Dems thinking for themselves could ruin everything, because it might sap the effectiveness of the ideological bullies of the left who try manfully to keep everyone else in line.

  • Mitch on January 29, 2013 2:13 PM:

    "Oh please, like a single one of you would be critical of the president."

    Hi, there. You're obviously new here. Please allow me to explain a couple of things that you won't learn on Fox News.

    "Liberals" are critical of Obama on a daily basis. Indeed the Democratic Party is, as the phrase goes, like a herd of cats. If you have ever been here before, you will quickly see that we argue and debate about EVERYTHING.

    I, for example, am very vocal about being upset with Obama for continuing the misuses of power that began under George W Bush; drone strikes in nations that are our technical allies (Pakistan) set a bad precedent for the future.

    Indeed, I don't understand how anyone can suggest that Liberals are a bunch of Yes-Men (and women) considering the way that we act like a rowdy mob of individuals.

    Conservatives, on the other hand, have Dogma. If you don't agree 100% with conservative Dogma, then you are apostate. It doesn't matter who you are, or how long you have supported the GOP. Disagree with conservative Dogma and you are out of the club.

    Compare that to how Democrats do not ostracize each other when we disagree. We don't NEED to force each other to share 100% of our ideology. We're generally happy to allow each other to have different points of view (even though, by god, we will argue about things until we are blue in the face). We don't HATE each other for being different, and that ensures that we are all free to disagree.

    That's probably a big part of why we are all Liberals in the first place.

    Sorry, Kimmerz, but you do not have a clue.

  • Vail Beach on January 29, 2013 2:52 PM:

    Gosh Mitch. You are almost as patronizing as middle-period Al Gore. Wow, congrats!

  • Motezart on January 29, 2013 3:15 PM:

    No one who defends Fox news as anything but outrageous GOP
    lies and propaganda is a dem or a liberal...

  • trex on January 29, 2013 4:09 PM:

    Kirsten Powers is a "liberal Democrat" like I'm Mussolini. Here is just a sampling of her articles at the Daily Beast:

    She is a Benghazi truther, alleging Obama tried to cover up a terrorist threat by attacking Romney.

    She touted Paul Ryan's economic plan prior to the election.

    She pushed the line that the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare was a "threat to religous freedom." [Hint: it's not]

    She wrote an article attacking Planned Parenthood's claim that access to contraception reduced abortions as false. It was pointed out to her that her use of statistics was deeply flawed and she was forced to recant [You think anybody dug up that article and read the recant?]

    She wrote a numbers of glowing pieces on insane Michele Bachman during the primaries, ignoring the insanity and just focusing on her gender.

    When she isn't directly attacking liberal policies, the Democratic Party, or the Obama Administration directly she concern trolls them, damning with faint praise or resorting to terms like "arrogrant" to describe Obama. And that's just a sampling, and that's just from the Daily Beast. Who knows what ridiculous shit her position as Trojan Horse liberal forces her to spew on the air at Fox News.

    Sorry Kirsten, the jig is up. You may pretend to be one of us andyou may have found a way to monetize that pretension - but you're not. No matter how you slice it, you're just another right-wing tool.

  • Peter C on January 29, 2013 4:13 PM:

    It is really funny to hear FOX News play their persecution card. "We really ARE a legitimate news organization, REALLY!"

    Sorry, that train left the station yonks ago. They are irretreivably hacks. FOX has no liberals, only people who play them on TV.

  • boatboy_srq on January 29, 2013 5:15 PM:

    She never does get around to identifying any actual threats to Fox of any action that would endanger its freedom of expression, and seems mainly concerned about a proposed Media Matters campaign to “shame” Democrats out of appearing on Fox. And that bugs her, presumably, because she likes to identify herself as a Democrat, and mirabile dictu, in the midst of the tirade we are talking about, as “a liberal.”

    Typical of a wingnut to be all about principles until it interferes with his/her wallet. Or in this case about feigned principles which pad her wallet until the padding is obvious and pointed out. Powers wouldn't be nearly so upset if a) the suggestion she's neither liberal nor a Democrat didn't have merit and b) quitting the Fox gig wouldn't cramp her lifestyle.

    @Peter C: It's going to take a couple decades of blandly covering the news without feeling the need to twist it before anyone considers FauxNooze (or all of NoozCorpse) a genuine, legitimate journalistic outfit again. And that ain't happening so long as Murdoch and/or Ailes calls the shots.

  • Sparky Satori on January 29, 2013 6:04 PM:

    She's just pissed off because delegitimizing Fox as a news organization is the job of those who work there.

  • Col Bat Guano on January 29, 2013 8:11 PM:

    Gosh Mitch. You are almost as patronizing as middle-period Al Gore. Wow, congrats!

    You might want to look up patronizing in a dictionary sometime.

  • Robert Waldmann on January 30, 2013 8:13 AM:

    On the DLC. I think it did end up in the K Powers Rolex -- you wrote hundred's of thousands of words criticizing Republicans, but how many Times were each of those words read ? Someone at even the liberal TNR quoted an anonymous suor c'è at the DLC complaining than reporters only contacted the DLC When they wanted hot Dem contra Dem quotes.

    Now you get stragi hot through to readers and the DLC no longer esists. Better no ?

  • DesertAnnie on January 31, 2013 8:12 AM:

    Kirsten Powers has been drinking the "Fox Kool-Aid" for too long now & I've decided she's 'crossed on over' -- which is exactly what happens when anyone with a 'less than strong mind & a personal conviction' watches & listens to Fox's propaganda rap too much! I used to like Kirsten, & would find myself in her corner many times, when she'd be setting Hannity straight on some faux pas (as in a LIE) he'd uttered! But that's been a long while now; as she is slanting way too far over to the right, & I don't like to even hear what she has to say at all anymore! When she refers to our President as 'weak' & accuses him of being 'unfair' in his criticism of Fox, etc. etc. she might as well just jump on over into their 'playground' & play 'footsies' with the likes of her former nemesis, Hannity, and/or O'Reilly, et al & start singing Kumbaya!

  • Jana Dixon on January 31, 2013 8:14 AM:

    Kirsten Powers has been drinking the "Fox Kool-Aid" for too long now & I've decided she's 'crossed on over' -- which is exactly what happens when anyone with a 'less than strong mind & a personal conviction' watches & listens to Fox's propaganda rap too much! I used to like Kirsten, & would find myself in her corner many times, when she'd be setting Hannity straight on some faux pas (as in a LIE) he'd uttered! But that's been a long while now; as she is slanting way too far over to the right, & I don't like to even hear what she has to say at all anymore! When she refers to our President as 'weak' & accuses him of being 'unfair' in his criticism of Fox, etc. etc. she might as well just jump on over into their 'playground' & play 'footsies' with the likes of her former nemesis, Hannity, and/or O'Reilly, et al & start singing Kumbaya!