I was doing my “usual” channel hopping news absorb cycle and, well, CNN had Wolf Blized come on, so I needed a different “left angle” channel in the jump loop. Every so often I’ve sampled a bit of MSNBC but they are a bit “much” to stomach most of the time. It’s often just a long litany of throwing rocks at the Republicans and not much else.
This time wasn’t much different.
I don’t know what the show was, or who the guy was (looked sort of Hispanic / Middle Eastern but could have just as easily been southern Italian) at any rate, he was large, with good looks, and presented well, so I hung out for a while to see what he was on about (having never seen him before, and him clearly being an Anchor, it was ‘new’ so interesting).
I learned a couple of things. Not at all what he wanted me to experience, but so it goes.
First off, there was a lot of talk about the value of what we were doing in Libya. All, basically, of the form “We are saving lives so it is good.” At one point he said that now we are at last “On the road to Justice”.
So here we have one of the more “looney left” of places on the planet, who have historically called themselves “anti-war” and he is finding justice and glory in the bombing, death, and destruction of people. I guess because it was “the right people”…
But what struck me most was the “smirk”. We’ll come back to that later… it was clear, though, that every time he mentioned, or a ‘guest’ mentioned, something they held as a positive value they got a bit of ‘happy juice’ from the thought… I’d sort of noticed it before, the glee at irrational emotional response on MSNBC reporters, and also a very dour demeanor when they would be on the “wrong” side of events, usually resulting in an emotional tirade (thus the p in pMSNBC some times). Lately, since Obama has taken over, they have had more ’emotional highs’ and the dour moments have been much fewer.
Oddly, the question of “talking to congress” came up. It was basically dismissed with a “meeting next week” and no discussion of the fact that the constitution kind of says “congress declares war before you do it”… Then The Big Smirk and “But Kadaffi was going to attack those people in Benghazi so we had to save them now.” You could almost see the “pants tent” forming as the shot of ‘happy juice’ to the brain worked its way down… I could feel him feeling “I’m saving lives, I’m good, the Others are evil”… with that slightly vacant look to the eyes as the happy button gets pushed… release those endorphins…
Then they moved on to discussion of Republicans and had great joy in showing old film of Col. North saying to congress that he had lied to them. That military intervention was being done without congressional approval. Did they note that this was held to be a criminal act? Nope. They equated gun running to the Contra to using our full military might to crush Kadaffi directly. And the “rightness” of the acts was not relevant, only that “republicans did it” so they can’t possibly have a moral grounds for complaint now. They were just reveling in the schadenfreude, nothing more. Smirks verging on grins all around…
Then on to slandering various Republican candidate prospects for president. Any inspection of positions? Views? What they might mean to the country if elected? Comparative strengths against various Democratic candidates?
Just one after another tossing insults, doing name calling, playing the “Gotcha! Game” writ large. Finding clips of candidates saying one thing in one context, another at a different time, then doing A/B for the “Aren’t they just Stupid! Gotcha!!” juice. More smirky grins and pants tents… you could just feel the emotional climax building.
I changed the channel…
See, this is the problem of a too strong “empathy”. Their “slovenly emotional undisciplined” slides into my Tidy Mind and is very uncomfortable. I find my self thinking things like “Can you really be that idiotic?” “I feel your joy, but from emotional torture of another? That’s evil.” “Is there no reason in your skull?” “Do others not see you for the fool you are?” “Have you never heard of ‘logical consistency’?” and so much more… The juxtaposed “feel the emotive happy juice by proxy” with “they have an empty brain” realization is just a very uncomfortable mix. I’m simultaneously feeling empathy for the person they are skewering (“feeling their pain”) and feeling the presenters joy at causing that pain. Seeing the world through the eyes and emotions of these “psychological idiot-bullies”, and it hurts.
Hearing the lie of “The Road To Justice”; and seeing that it’s paved with bombs, death, and dying, with ridicule of the checks and balances that are supposed to assure that there is, in fact, a just cause for killing and not just a pants tent moment for an emotionally undisciplined idiot-leader or “the Mob” of Democracy.
At any rate, for better or worse, with or without the Rule Of Law, with or without Congressional approval, we are now, per the Looney Side of Left, on “The Road To Justice”… Please, dear God, don’t let them help me, or anyone else, anymore… If they keep helping the world like this, we’ll all end up dead or damaged.
All these video clips have a commercial at the start… I couldn’t find the most clear example from today, so these are a bit “tame” in comparison. This isn’t the clip I saw, but it’s similar. Watch for the slams / smirks (though the emotions are a bit lower in this clip, more like “guys having fun a bit”):
More Republican bashing with giggle and smirks here (builds toward the end):
Oddly, this coverage of the recent events in Jordan, Syria, and Yemen is an example of good news coverage from them (you have to scroll to the bottom and click the video link directly as the embed code they give does not work with wordpress…)
Ron Jordan, at least, knows how to tell the story of the news with both “The Facts” and “The Feeling” and without “The Spin”. Good for him.
So whatever “it” is, it’s mostly in their “opinion sections” (that, unfortunately, seems to be most of what they have…)
Also, FWIW, their present coverage is saying that what Obama is doing is inside the War Powers Act and that Obama is “following the letter of the law” and so has 60 days.
As I recall it, the War Powers Act was for cases where we had been attacked, not a 60 day carte blanche for nuking the word or “having a bit of fun with aircraft carriers” in the Middle East… Perhaps congress needs to “fix it”, if this is how it will be used.
A Modest Suggestion
If you can take it, pick a bit of time to watch just a bit of the MSNBC fare. I’m good for about 10 minutes of it, then need something more centrist like Al Jazeera or the BBC to clean it out of the brain… ;-)
In particular, watch for the emotional “hit points” where the smirk comes, the giddy glee at rock tossing, the Gotcha! Gimmick; and all the rest.
It seems to me that they are, most likely without realizing it, providing a textbook model for what makes The Looney Side of Left so looney. It is those emotional defects that let them feel such joy in the pain of others, that lets them dismiss important restraint on application of death dealing measures with “The Road To Justice” and the “ends justify the means” thinking. All the “good intentions” in the world don’t change where that road leads. Mid afternoon seems most full of this stuff, but I’ve seen it on some evening shows too. Just watch for the “Glory in the Schadenfreude” attitude.
Don’t know what this might mean about others. My Democrat friends typically don’t have it. (Well, one does, but only a little and he feels a bit embarrassed about it). Is it a pathology only of the ultra-left? Or more pervasive, even into the ‘middle of the bird’? Does it strengthen again when you get out to the other end at Libertarians? Does it have a peak at the Republican Extremist end? I’ve not seen nearly so much there… but I’ll be watching more for it now.
Also, for the inevitable attack: Yes, you can find some schadenfreude on the “right” as well. But not nearly so much (1/10 as much?) and they do feel guilty about it, or at least a bit introspective.
So for me, the “working hypothesis” is that “The Far Left” has an emotional control disorder. They are addicted to the emotional “high” of inflicting pain on others along with an unjustified sense of moral superiority (and more ‘joy juice’ from that self actualization as well…) They claim high empathy, but it is a very selective empathy, and always filtered through the Agenda.. if you are defined as “bad” then it’s ok to enjoy hurting you… We’ve seen where that path leads. That “Jewish Question” style of labeling… Just put “Republican” in as “The Republican Question” and you could easily see them happily loading the rail cars and locking the doors. And in Libya now it’s just “The Kadaffi Question”… and they know the answer lies on The Road To Justice… after all, their intentions are good…
Sidebar on “Me”: I don’t have a position on “good vs bad” in Libya. Saving life is usually ‘a good thing’, but I don’t really know who is on which side of what there. I do know that if we wanted to save lives, we would have done something when the revolution was outside the doors of Tripoli, not waited until they were almost slaughtered. And if it really is about Kadaffi being evil, we ought to have a team go kill “just him”, and leave the rest of the country alive and intact. Why kill 10,000 civilians (or let them be killed) while wringing hands over how bad Kadaffi is? Why talk of “arming the revolution” instead of “bombs landed on all Kadaffi’s tents last night and he’s not been heard from since”…
No, there is something more going on in this game. While I don’t know what all it is, I do know it has an odd aroma…
And I really don’t see why I ought to be paying for it, why I ought to be backing a “side” that I know nothing much about, nor why I ought to be happy with folks shredding the constitution and using US Military Forces inside a foreign land just because the Arab League and the UN wanted to do so… and then Obama will get back to congress with a “progress(ive) report” later…
Maybe it is just. Maybe it is a good idea. Or maybe it isn’t. But “learning by trial and error” was never my favorite way of answering questions.