Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tammy Bruce on planting stories in the MSM

Tammy Bruce was once a feminist whiz girl. She became President of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW when she was in her mid twenties. She resigned from NOW in an ethics protest: NOW's national leaders clearly decreed that NOW's assets were to be used - not to promote women's issues - but rather to promote the Democratic Party. Bruce tried to persuade them off of their stance, then resigned.

Bruce is an interesting character: pro choice, a fiercely independent thinker, originally a mainstream liberal - she became an influencial radio talk show host, even as she evolved more and more to the political right. Bruce openly states that, at the beginning of her talk show career, she considered Christians to be neanderthals. Yet she came, very quickly, to appreciate Christians and conservatives for their genuine attempts to persuade through reason. Tammy Bruce says she was surrounded by angry activists most of her life. She says - and even wrote a book about, the unreasonable hostility of the political left to anyone - like Tammy Bruce, who disagrees with any portion of leftist dogma. Bruce wrote that the left, by resorting to reflexive and constant ad hominem, is losing its ability to logically and reasonably debate issues. She noted, with interest, during the early days of her radio show, that the Christians and conservatives who called her show seemed genuinely happy with their lives. They were different from the way she was accustomed to people being.

I have listened to Bruce on radio, and have read several of her writings. I consider her extremely credible. Last night, she gave a fascinating interview to Bill O'Reilly, part of which touched on interest groups planting stories with a willing and complicit media. You can see video of the interview for yourself: link, or you can read the last portion of the interview, which I have transcribed:
O'Reilly: Okay, now there is also a list [...] of mainstream media people [...] who are used by these far left websites, fed stuff directly to them, and then they put it in the papers.

Bruce: Oh yes. I used them. I mean, my best friend, when I was President of NOW, I could dial the phone, and I would move a story through all of the New York Times owned newspapers. It was a network that I could rely on. There I was, sitting in my basement, alone, running the National Organization for Women in Los Angeles, and as I would get an idea, and package it, I would move it nationally the next day. [...] I used, essentially what is a conspiratorial network of people in the newspaper and television industry at the time, and they would move whatever it is that I wanted moved.

O: And we have elements at NBC, [...] Newsweek, [...] the New York Times. But you're telling me that you actually had people that you could feed stories to

Bruce: Yes.

O: that they would print verbatim - wouldn't check em, wouldn't check em, you could just feed what you wanted to

Bruce: Well, yes

O: and pop it right out there [into the mainstream media].

Bruce: Yes. It was mostly, but, it was mostly theory. It was attitude. It was the idea itself. And we'd move it through the New York Times, and of course it would move to The Boston Globe, and and and

Oh absolutely. And on the wire, and out [unintelligible]

Bruce: Yes

O: And now you have Rosie O'Donnell

Bruce: Well the wires were, the Rosies were, the wires were particularly important.

Right. Right. And now you have Rosie O'Donnell, who is now doing this [moving someone's agenda] in the entertainment realm. They contact her

Bruce: Yes.

O: They feed her this crap

Bruce: Yes

She spits it out

Bruce: [nodding yes]

uh, in front of all the women who are watching her on ABC, and this is how it goes.

Bruce: Well you have multiple impressions using different media. You've got newspapers, and of course people like [NYT columnist] Frank Rich; its moved through the guarantors, uh, on camera, like Rosie O'Donnell. So - regular Americans hear it from so many different avenues

O: that they believe it

Bruce: that they believe its true


Bruce: and, but, they [American people] get really immersed in it. Our job is, and part of what I see as my job now, is to expose that method, so that Americans can finally make up their own mind. And that [happens] through talk radio and the Internet.

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