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Media Matters devolves into self-parody with "Two Minutes Hate"

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Posted on August 5 2009 10:30 am
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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I hadn’t watched any of progressive “watchdog” group Media Matters‘ “Two Minutes Hate” series of videos before tonight. At NewsReal we primarily keep an eye on the cable news shows rather than an ear on talk radio.

Out of morbid curiosity, I decided to take a look and see what nuggets of “hate” Media Matters had supposedly unearthed. The clip above features excerpts from such conservative talkers as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Lou Dobbs. I’m never really been a regular listener to talk radio — it’s just not my style — but it was honestly quite shocking. Is that really the worst that Media Matters could find? That’s the “hate” that it needed to highlight?

Then I remembered 1984 and what the two-minutes hate was really all about. It’s not that the people in the video are hateful, it’s the people watching the video who are filled with hate. Media Matters must have thought they were being so clever by naming their video series “Two Minutes Hate.” But apparently whoever decided on it never actually read George Orwell’s 1984!

Wikipedia has a pretty good summary:

In George Orwell‘s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Two Minutes Hate (more properly, “Two Minutes’ Hate” or “Two-Minute Hate”) is a daily period in which Party members of the society of Oceania must watch a film depicting The Party’s enemies (notably Emmanuel Goldstein and his followers) and express their hatred for them and the principles of democracy.

The film and its accompanying auditory and visual cues (which include a grinding noise that Orwell describes as “of some monstrous machine running without oil”) are a form of brainwashing to Party members, attempting to whip them into a frenzy of hatred and loathing for Emmanuel Goldstein and the current enemy superstate. Apparently, it is not uncommon for those caught up in the hate to physically assault the telescreen, as Julia does during the scene. The film becomes more surreal as it progresses, with Goldstein’s face morphing into a sheep as enemy soldiers advance on the viewers, before one such soldier charges at the screen, machine gun blazing. He morphs, finally, into the face of Big Brother at the end of the two minutes. At the end, the mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted viewers chant “BB” over and over again, ritualistically.

Media Matters is inviting its viewers to play the role of indoctrinated members of a totalitarian state! And it’s making conservative talk radio hosts the symbols of democracy! The very purpose of the two minutes hate in the novel is to serve as a tool to indoctrinate the masses. What could Media Matters be thinking as it all but imitates the tactics of a satire of a communist party?

It’s now official: Media Matters has completely slipped into a state of self-parody.

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