By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2010, 11:06am PT  


Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), in the video at right, describes on the floor of the U.S. House this week what anyone paying attention already knows: how the "Rightwing Echo Chamber" works. He describes a completely false charge by Wall Street Journal's professional liar and GOP operative, John Fund, last November alleging --- with no basis whatsoever --- that Rep. Barney Frank (D-VT) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) would soon be introducing legislation for "universal voter registration."

Frank says, "It's a lie, it's a myth." But, he says, the "totally fictional allegation by John Fund with no basis whatsoever" was then picked up and reported as fact by the Washington Times, and naturally then repeated over the public's airwaves by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and on and on throughout the wingnut echosphere, as hoped. When Frank called Fund on it, he says, in a letter [PDF] and then by phone, Fund admitted he was in error, said he "told a few people" that he was wrong, but hadn't published any actual retraction.

"He's not only a liar, he's a coward," Frank accurately noted in his comments this week on the House floor. And here we had recently thought Fund was out of fresh lies.

But what Frank doesn't note in his comments above, is that the tactic described, as oft used by Fund and so many others on the Right, actually works very, very well...

It was the same tactic they employed after the 2008 election concerning Democratic plans to restore the Fairness Doctrine. Though there was never any notable Democratic effort or interest in actually restoring it (unfortunately), what little interest there was was pushed back after the wingnut echosphere told everyone "Democrats have declared war on 'conservative' radio!"

They never did, I wish they had --- the rightwing corporate takeover of the public airwaves should be an outrage enough to get every Constitution-loving American (including every real conservative, as opposed to the phony ones, like those mentioned above) into the streets to demand the return of real competition to our own public airwaves --- but they didn't.

In fact, the Righwing's declared war on the non-existent "War on 'Conservative' Radio" was so effective that it helped force the cowardly Obama Administration to remove, as I detailed at Alternet last year, the one tiny paragraph from their White House website announcing a hope to "Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum."

The GOP echosphere lie was enough to cut off any such real efforts for media reform at the knees, much as I suspect any effort to ensure every American citizen of age gets to vote, as they should, is also likely dead in the water following Fund's recent, brilliant, democracy-hating lie.

The lie works. And the Democratic Party's plan to do something about it? John Fund tells me that Frank and Schumer will be introducing legislation for that very soon.