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Monday 25 January 2010

A Stroll Across The Astroturf - 11

This morning, guest poster Zarathustra contributed a piece on Liberal Conspiracy concerning the activities of Astroturf lobby group Nurses for Reform. The following is from the comment I made in the follow-ups:

“I have no problem with anyone suggesting reform of the NHS. Where I do have a problem is when those wanting the reform start making comparisons with the Nazis, and with the platforms they choose to make their calls.

At the end of last week, the increasingly eccentric Glenn Beck, “star” of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) compared “progressives” to the regimes of Stalin and Hitler. The inference is that the latter controlled every aspect of peoples’ lives, and so anyone who approves of “Big Government”, which in the world of Beck means Liberals, is in step with 1930s Russia, or the Third Reich.

Many across the political spectrum may respond to Beck and his kind with derision, but there are Fox viewers in the US who believe this drivel, and when the Nazi comparison makes its way to the UK, folks here are bound to be wary. But, so what? Well, when darling of the Libertarian Right Dan, Dan the Oratory Man wanted to sound off about the NHS, he could have called for a debate in the pages of the UK press, or on TV here, but did not.

No, Hanann went on Froth Central – he appeared with both Beck and Sean Hannity – and issued a forthright denunciation. His appearance on Hannity implicitly endorsed a characteristically slanted and pre-judged segment, where before Hanann was consulted, Hannity said [IIRC] ‘let’s see what socialised medicine is like in Canada and England … doesn’t look pretty’.

It is when those advocating reform use the US Shockosphere as their pulpit that I have concerns. Moreover, it’s no coincidence that the behaviour of such media outlets is where Libertarian and Right leaning commentators in the UK have developed a blind spot. When Sunny Hundal referenced my post about the recent behaviour of the odious Rush Limbaugh, those commenters were in typical ‘non story … he didn’t mean it … doesn’t read that way to me’ mode.

It is touching to see that those who typically speak in favour of waiving the impartiality rule have the trust of Dr Frankenstein in the beast they would bring to life. And it would be to Young Dave’s eternal credit if he were to disassociate himself and the Tory Party from such ideas, and from any group digging up the Third Reich in order to frighten its target audience.”

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