Friday, October 30, 2009

Pakistani journalists grill Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Apologies for the lack of updates on the APF blog, experiencing technical difficulties.

To get back in the swing of things, it seems America has successfully exported its brand of freedom to the Middle East. In this case bringing American-style braggadocio to Pakistani journalists.
Deadly Car Bombing Clouds Clinton's Visit to Pakistan
MARGARET WARNER: Well, today, yes, she met with the president and the foreign minister, but she also had this very contentious roundtable, for example, with Pakistani TV journalists.

One aide said it was like being in a room with Bill O'Reilly, Keith Olbermann, Glenn Beck, and Chris Matthews, and they're all shouting and firing questions at you. And she returned it...

And, so, she's trying to go beyond just the official meetings. Now, tomorrow, she is going to Lahore. And both tomorrow and the next day, though the schedule is being kept quiet for security reasons, she is going to have semi-public events, taking a little bit of a risk, but wanting to engage, really through Pakistani media, to the broader Pakistani public.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Newest APF member, Introducing Dennis Miller

In anticipation of his eventual GM guest hosting spot on WWE's Raw, I proudly introduce Comedian and Radio Talker Dennis Miller to the 'American Pundit Fighting' roster.

Dennis Miller first made a name for himself as a comedian and SNL cast member, moving on to host popular talks shows on HBO and CNBC. He currently hosts a daily three-hour radio show nationally syndicated by Westwood One, covering culture, current events and politics.

As a talker Dennis is distinctly known for his flowery way of speaking and use of obtuse references, which stylistically is not to dissimilar to fellow comedian (but political opposite) Janeane Garofalo. In recent years much has been made of Miller's "drift" rightwards to conservatism after 9/11.

Dennis Miller address these matters in an illuminating interview for The Politico
The Dennis Miller interview
How would you describe your political beliefs: Republican? Independent? Libertarian?

Well, I’d say it’s eclectic pragmatism at some point. I’m a moderate in some degree because I have wildly swinging opinions but through some sort of ideological feng shui they end up in the middle. Some swing far to the left, others to the far right. I’m for the war, but I’m also for gay marriage. I don’t care if two folks with the same genitalia want to get hitched, I just don’t want some a—hole from another country coming over here and blowing up their wedding to make a political statement.

In just the past few minutes you’ve referenced obscure figures ranging from a '60s-era general to a vintage talking doll. Given your audience on conservative talk radio, are you too hip for the room?

I never signed up for anything called "conservative talk radio." I’m on Westwood One, and my boss Norm Pattiz is a liberal. I’m just on talk radio. I don’t think I’m too hip for the room at all. I’ve got 194 stations after just 16 months, which I’m told is good, and my mind is boggled at just how wise and funny my callers have been. On occasion I’ll get someone who is off the grid and I’ll feel like I’m on the phone with [Ted] Kaczynski, but for the most part it’s a pretty urbane crowd. I don’t think I’m too hip for the room. People always say ‘it’s so eclectic,’ but I’m making references to the Jetsons’ robot maid — not exactly Ted Cooley or Bucky Fuller.
Newest APF member Dennis Miller:
Note: Like all new Pundit animations, click on the button on the bottom left to see an alternate costume for Dennis.

- Go to Dennis Miller's official website
- Find a glossary of Dennis Miller's favourite quotes and references

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rush Limbaugh to be dropped from group bid to buy St Louis Rams

Checketts drops Limbaugh
Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was dropped from a group bidding to buy the St. Louis Rams.

ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the story on Wednesday.

Limbaugh was to be a limited partner in a group headed by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts. Checketts said in a statement Wednesday that Limbaugh's participation had become a complication in the group's efforts and the bid will move forward without him...

A Limbaugh spokesman told ESPN that Limbaugh would have no comment on Wednesday. Earlier, on his syndicated radio show, Limbaugh was defiant, holding on to hope that he still could be part of the ownership group that buys the Rams.

"This is not about the NFL, it's not about the St. Louis Rams, it's not about me," Limbaugh said. "This is about the ongoing effort by the left in this country, wherever you find them, in the media, the Democrat Party, or wherever, to destroy conservatism, to prevent the mainstreaming of anyone who is prominent as a conservative.

"Therefore, this is about the future of the United States of America and what kind of country we're going to have."
If that is the case, this wallpaper might be the closest Rush and Rams fans will get to see of the potential pairing.

NEW Rush/Rams Wallpaper
st louis rams, rush limbaugh, nfl, Dave Checketts
St Louis Rams x Rush Limbaugh wallpaper

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rush Limbaugh interviewed and profiled on NBC's 'Today Show'

VIDEO: Rush Limbaugh profiled on NBC's 'Today Show'

On the October 12 edition of the 'Today Show' NBC correspondent Jamie Gangel profiled and interviewed influential conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

One of the more interesting revelations is Rush's admission that he revels in manipulating the media. This recalls an argument made by Leonard Pitts Jr who described Rush as a "clown who perverts conservatism for attention".
RUSH LIMBAUGH: When I now say "I hope he fails" it is to tweak the media. I know how to do it. I know how to yank their chain. I know how to send them into insanity. I know how to make them spend the next two days talking about me.
GANGEL VOICEOVER: Rush brand of satire also keeps everyone talking... Critics say they are offensive but Rush is unrepentant
GANGEL: You know its going to illicit a strong reaction
LIMBAUGH: Would you ask anybody who writes for Saturday night Live these questions?
This exchange were Rush shows joy and confidence in his ability to get the media talking and people tuning in follows the playbook he outlined in this classic interview where Rush describes "How Talk Radio Works"

Minimising one's seriousness is a tactic often used to neutralise oneself from controversy. Glenn Beck has often referred to himself as a "rodeo clown". Allahpundit of HotAir describes Rush' revelation and compares Rush's shtick to Jon Stewart's.
Video: The obligatory "Today interviews Rush Limbaugh" clip
No one who’s listened to the show for 10 minutes will find that revelatory, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard him acknowledge the degree of manipulation as candidly as he does here. (Money quote: "Would you ask anybody who writes for Saturday Night Live these questions?") Listening to this, his approach sounds like the opposite of Jon Stewart’s. Whereas JS [Jon Stewart] dons the clown nose, attacks the right, and then retreats into his "lighten up, I’m a comedian" shtick when they hit back, Limbaugh holds his clown nose behind his back where only his fans can see it and comes at the left as a serious commentator, going over the top to piss them off and then having a laugh when the inevitable liberal freakout comes.
Jamie Gangel previews part 2 of her interview with Rush at the end of the segment "In his usual blunt style he's going to tell us what he thinks of everyone from Hillary Clinton to Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck"

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fake pundit Stephen Colbert compares himself to "fake" pundit Glenn Beck

One of my favorite things to highlight on this blog is reality folding onto itself with art imitating life. It is this very thing that draws me to pro-wrestling and as illustrated here happens often in Politics and Punditry.

Stephen Colbert reports on the criticism leveled at Beck questioning the authenticity of his emotions and passionate theatrics. Following that premise Glenn Beck taunts "if I'm acting, I'm the best damn actor on television. I want the daytime Emmy!". Jumping off from here Colbert goes meta and takes Glenn Beck with him. Stephen pits himself against Beck to see which pundit is more authentic, the caricature of a pundit or the caricature pundit.

VIDEO: October 8, 2009: Bend It Like Beck
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bend It Like Beck
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMichael Moore

STEPHEN COLBERT: I feel ya brother, cuz people have said the same thing about me...
(Media clips shown of Colbert being described as a fake pundit)

For the past 4 years I have meant every word I've felt. So all we really need to do to gauge Glenn Beck's sincerity is to compare him to me
(video rolls of Beck/Colbert comparisons)

Its like looking into a mirror - after you've just done a tonne of coke of of it. Clearly Glenn Beck is as sincere in what he says and does as I am...

Michael Moore VS Sean Hannity 2009: talking Capitalism, the war and religion

Sean Hannity and Michael Moore debated on Fox News' 'Hannity' program. It was a largely cordial debate with both men being gracious toward each other and even yukking it up. They recounted how they made a bet on their last encounter on Hannity's radio program in 2002 which incidentally Moore lost.

michael moore, sean hannity was right, white house In this photo Michael Moore carries a sign that says "Sean Hannity was right" holding up his end of the bargain after losing the wager that George W Bush would be impeached from office.

This latest debate was quite broad and meandering partly due to Hannity's way of constructing questions and Moore never fully engaging, mostly facetiously "uh huh-ing" for this first half of the segment

VIDEO: Michael Moore on the Sean Hannity Show - October 6th, 2009 (Part I)

Sean Hannity is one of the few high profile conservative pundits willing to challenge equally formidable liberal counterparts. Sean Hannity previously debated progressive Utah mayor Rocky Anderson in a ticketed live event. Hannity also previously sparred with Michael Moore by becoming a counter guest of honor for the students of Utah Valley State College. This was expertly documented in the 2004 documentary 'This Divided State'.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rush Limbaugh interested in purchasing St Louis Rams + Animation and Wallpaper

st louis rams, rush limbaugh, nfl, wallpaper
St Louis Rams x Rush Limbaugh wallpaper
Rush Limbaugh has been in the news lately for his interest in co-owning NFL Team, The St Louis Rams.
Rush Limbaugh says he's trying to purchase Rams
It appears conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh wants to be an NFL team owner.

In a statement released today, Limbaugh said he's partnering with St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts in a bid to buy the St. Louis Rams. Limbaugh didn't go into details, but said he and Checketts "have made a bid to buy the Rams and are continuing the process."

It's unclear whether Limbaugh and Checketts will try to buy the team outright or purchase a majority or minority stake in it. Georgia Frontiere's children own a 60% stake in the team, and billionaire Stan Kroenke owns a 40% stake.
Rush is an avid sports fan having once been a sports analyst for ESPN. He commented cautiously on the ongoing negotiations on his radio program.
Rush Confirms Interest in Rams; State-Run Media Runs With Story
RUSH: I have not commented on this on this program, even though the news has been out there since Monday. I had to confirm it when I was asked about it. It was reported Sunday on the CBS NFL Pregame Show by Charley Casserly that I am part of a group with Dave Checketts that has put in a bid on the St. Louis Rams, and that's all I can say. That's true. But Goldman Sachs is handling the sale. There's a confidentiality clause. None of the bidders can disclose anything, can't talk to anybody. We don't even know who the other team bidders are and we can't do anything other than confirm it since it's a leak. I can't discuss it. So it's out there and that is true.
As RadioEqualizer reports, the majority of reportage on Rush' bid has been tinged with outrage over Rush' history of [non-football related] controversy and the infamous Donovan McNabb statement about the media being "very desirous... and interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well..."

Read RadioEqualizer's argument of "bias against a conservative owner".
TAG TEAM: WaPo, Others Gang Up To Stop Rush's NFL Bid
Since news broke early this week that Rush Limbaugh was part of a consortium bidding on the NFL's St Louis Rams, the state-run media's outraged response remains baffling. Why do they care who owns a football team?
Animation: Rush' St Louis Rams variant

Apart from the use of the wrestling term "Tag team" in the RadioEqualizer post there is another odd wrestling link to this story. The current 40% owner of the Rams, billionaire Stan Kroenke was in a recent high profile feud with WWE owner (and football fan) Vince McMahon.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Glenn Beck appears on Fox Business' Imus in the Morning

Glenn Beck recently appeared on Don Imus' new show on Fox Business. Imus played devil's advocate by bringing up perceived frictions with stalwarts Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh who Beck threatens to eclipse in ratings and influence.

VIDEO: Glenn Beck on Career, Life Choices

Imus in the Morning
October 5, 2009: Glenn Beck on Career, Life Choices
DON IMUS: Saw you on the cover of Time Magazine. Your book's #1 I noticed this week. Sean Hannity, Rush they both hate you
GLENN BECK: No. No they don't
IMUS: They all hate you
BECK: They don't, they don't. Why? Why? Why must you stir up the hate?
IMUS: You're telling me Rush is happy you're on the cover of Time
BECK: No actually I got a note from Rush
IMUS: What did the note say?
BECK: "I hate you"
(group laughter)
BECK: Rush has - you know what- been very gracious. The whole time he has.
IMUS: Fine
BECK: Do you hate me?
IMUS: No, I'm not competing with you. They are...
For some background, read Jason Linkins speculation on Hannity's concern over Glenn Beck's ascendancy
Is Sean Hannity Afraid Of Glenn Beck?
I can imagine that Hannity might find the attention lavished on Beck to be a little bit galling. Hannity's had the longer career, after all, during which he's dutifully suited up, sat behind a desk and occasionally had to fend off actual arguments: from Alan Colmes in the pre-solo days, to various panels now. The deck was always stacked in Hannity's favor, of course, but he had to at least offer the appearance of an honest broker of debate. Beck doesn't have to do any of that. Beck gets to stand up and riff about whatever he wants, pull morning-radio stunts and, really, not even worry about making any sense at all.

Friday, October 2, 2009

NY Times David Brooks likens Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity to Wizard of Oz

NY Time Columnist David Brooks challenges the myth of influence Right-wing talkers like Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck have over the GOP base. Key players in what is derisively dubbed as the "Political Entertainment Complex". It is a reiteration of the questions raised after Huckabee's emergence and McCain's Lazarus-like return during the GOP primaries despite resistance from the "conservative-entertainment complex.
The Wizard of Beck
So what is the theme of our history lesson? It is a story of remarkable volume and utter weakness. It is the story of media mavens who claim to represent a hidden majority but who in fact represent a mere niche — even in the Republican Party. It is a story as old as "The Wizard of Oz," of grand illusions and small men behind the curtain.

But, of course, we shouldn’t be surprised by this story. Over the past few years the talk jocks have demonstrated their real-world weakness time and again.
David Brooks goes on to explain how pundits have managed to preserve their aura despite their many missteps. Its a similar perception juggling act found in wrestling - Aura: How pundits and politicians preserve their image
But this is not merely a story of weakness. It is a story of resilience. For no matter how often their hollowness is exposed, the jocks still reweave the myth of their own power. They still ride the airwaves claiming to speak for millions. They still confuse listeners with voters...

So the myth returns. Just months after the election and the humiliation, everyone is again convinced that Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and the rest possess real power. And the saddest thing is that even Republican politicians come to believe it. They mistake media for reality. They pre-emptively surrender to armies that don’t exist.
Rush Limbaugh returns fire via Politico, accusing David Brooks of being "jealous" and inconsequential - "how many Americans know who David Brooks is?". A sentiment echoed by talker colleague Mark Levin
Rush Limbaugh on David Brooks: 'JEALOUS'
"Here's a little insight into conservatives, conservatism and talk radio — we don't care what David Brooks has to say," Levin said. "He is irrelevant. He is incoherent. And you guys should rely less on The New York Times. Its circulation is plummeting for a reason."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dan Riehl: Is Glenn Beck in on the joke, is he "real"

I've spoken previously about how Democratic Strategists have been attempting to elevate popular but divisive figures like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin as representative voices for the Republicans in order to alienate moderates and create an extreme image of the GOP.

With rabble rouser Glenn Beck's popularity sky rocketing, Democratic players have shifted to elevating him as the face of the disgruntled movement against the Obama administration. Whilst Beck in true populist fashion is quick to denounce both sides, his primary support comes from GOP voters. In recent weeks conservatives like Mark Levin and others have begun to distance themselves from Beck worried that his hugely popular high wire act might eventually hurt the Republicans.

Allahpundit of HotAir succinctly sums up the Democratic calculation in shifting the focus away from Rush and onto Beck
Video: Scarborough goes after Glenn Beck
It’s the same shtick they pulled with Republican congressional leaders earlier this year vis-a-vis Limbaugh’s "I want him to fail" comment, but they’ll adapt it to GB going forward because (a) his exploding TV ratings make him a bigger media story than Rush, (b) he’s a richer vein than Rush for oddball material that can be used against the GOP, like that weird analysis of communist symbolism at 30 Rock from a few weeks ago, and (c) by hammering Beck they get to take a shot at Fox too. Why all Republicans should be asked to distance themselves from a guy who’s neither conservative nor Republican himself, nor even sure that he’d have voted for John McCain over Hillary Clinton, isn’t clear to me, but we’re talking politics here, not logic.
The most damning denunciation of Beck I've encountered comes from Dan Riehl. Dan argues that the Glenn Beck phenomena is a joke, but disturbingly it is a joke people are taking seriously. His argument ties in well with wrestling.

Read Dan Riehl's take on Glenn Beck and his reality
I Come Not to Praise Glenn Beck, But to Bury Him
Given the down feeling across the right after last year’s elections, it’s almost exciting to watch Glenn Beck inject a new vitality into the nation’s political discourse. Nearly every one of Beck’s shows packs the respect, depth, sincerity, and intelligence of a good joke at a funeral parlor into one uproarious hour after another. I don’t know how anyone can keep from snickering … at least a little bit. So, what’s the harm in a good joke?

The harm as I see it is that so many seem to be taking the joke seriously. But can you blame them? No, probably not...
Most people dismiss wrestling for being fake, I argue that it is 'Hyperreal'. People who watch wrestling know that its outcomes are prearranged, the appeal is in watching how events unfold for characters they've invested in. Whilst characters are implausible and outlandish, like in any good science fiction movie or Comic book as the long as the verisimilitude connects people will embrace the reality created.

Now the funny part, in wrestling some actors become so invested in their roles that they believe the myths and hype created by them and for them. As a wrestler's constructed persona is often informed by their real traits and personal history, it is sometimes difficult to separate what is real and fiction. Some wrestlers never break character (kayfabe) in public. Some wrestlers are so precious about their constructed legacies that they will refuse to participate in story lines detrimental to their image, whilst actors are slaves to the scripted fantasy and sportsmen are slaves to the unpredictable nature of competition. Wrestlers, which are a hybrid of the two are essentially a new beast of their own making. The closest analogy would be to a 'method actor' who becomes so engrossed in their dual role that they essentially create a split personality that authentically inhabits reality.

This dynamic is present in Punditry also. It's why some people speculate that Ann Coulter is a performance artist in the Tony Clifton mold
- It's why Bill O'Reilly is so adamant of his "Independence"
- It's why Alan Colmes has wondered "when does one trade a good buck and a great gig for one’s soul?"
- It's why Stephen Colbert has worried of losing himself in his on-screen character
- It's why people liken Glenn Beck supporters to wrestling fans.