Outrage Fatigue

Ratings for the evening MSNBC programs, including Rachel Maddow’s show, are significantly down. Digby notes that traffic is down across the board in liberal media generally, including blogs.

We’ve been through a number of elections, crises, other ups and downs over the past decade but I’ve not seen anything like the drop in interest over the past few months. If it was just me I’d attribute it to my little project having run its course but it’s happening across the liberal media spectrum. I don’t now what the answer is, but it isn’t that there isn’t a permanent audience. There was until very recently. It’s that the liberal audience is tuning out and one can only assume it’s because they don’t like what they see in our politics.

Annie Laurie adds,

“We” spent money and time and energy we could barely afford to elect President Obama, not once but twice, and thereby avoided the disasters of Presidents McCain and Romney. President Obama has not been an unmitigated blessing to the Democratic Party, nor has the Democratic Party always been a loyal servant to President Obama. And the Republicans are variously liars, thieves, grifters, ratfckers, self-satisfied morons and generally crazy people. Also, there is no cure for the common cold and no pill that will allow us to eat whatever we want and still loose weight. Welcome to the human condition, aka “politics”.

I have to plead guilty that I haven’t watched the evening politics talk shows in quite a while. Since the November elections I either spend evenings when I’m at home writing stuff, or reading, or playing Words With Friends, or watching teevee shows that are mostly fantasy, like Grimm, in which a Portland detective deals with fairy tale characters. After years of following today’s Republicans, Grimm feels like an oasis of sanity.

This is not because I don’t care. But I’ve been blogging here for nearly eleven years now, and while I have no plans to stop, at the moment I’m kind of exhausted with it. I’ve run out of entertaining ways to say that Republicans are variously liars, thieves, grifters, ratfckers, self-satisfied morons and generally crazy people. But we’ve got some interesting stuff coming up, like the George Zimmerman trial and the implementation of Obamacare, and next year’s midterms, so I expect to get back into the groove eventually.

19 thoughts on “Outrage Fatigue

  1. I believe that when normal folks look at the crazy on the other side they are naturally turned off by politics. It used to be that one could have a semi-civil argument with a conservative, no more. In fact I would argue there are no conservatives anymore, just bat shit crazy anti-government dimwittedteabagger types. I still watch some of the cable stuff but to be honest it all pretty much just sucks. I can’t take the lectures I get on msnbc, those stupid commercials where their on air “personalities” tell us what’s important? Really just fuck off already. I do watch Lawrence every night, he’s the best, he can take apart a hypocrite like no-body’s business, last night was Giuliani’s turn, it was epic!

  2. Burning out doesn’t mean that there are no embers to be stoked. To continue the metaphor we’re in a fuel gathering stage and will fan the embers once we’ve got new burning issues and policies that need our passion.

  3. And to be honest, I’m tired of reading about what a bunch of rtfking, lying grifters they are. It absolutely never, ever stops. It seems that at least once a week, some repug congressman or state legislator is saying something amazingly offensive. Racist, sexist, homophobic, outlandish and I can only read about so much of that until I just have to turn it off. But, that’s not good because then they win the battle if we aren’t forever diligent.

  4. Really, our politics has become just another WWF show. There’s only so many times a day that I can say to myself “look at that stupid thing that I can’t change” without despairing.

    Our so-called news has gone all-tabloid-all-the-time. Where’s the value in that?
    The impulse toward participating as a citizen is defeated by the impulse toward a satisfying life, or by laziness.

  5. From 9/11, through the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and Occupations, through torture, rendition, Terry Schiavo, Katrina, The Surge, and the The New Great Rec/Depr-ession, then election of 2008, then Obamacare, and the election of 2010, and, finally, last year’s Presidential Election, it’s been one crisis or outrage after another.

    After the most recent election, all people who aren’t Conservatives see that the country, going back to the days President Obama first took office, has been recovering, and the economy improving – albeit slowly, thanks to Republicans – and feel that they need a break.
    It’s also the late spring after that important election, and we’re heading into the summer news season – which has typically, been slow for any real news. So, it’s no wonder people started getting away from the news, and, after a decade of real ones, the faux scandals.

    And Liberals, in particular, feel particularly tired after over a decade of fighting “Baby Doc” Bush, and supporting the President and the Democratic Party – for all of his faults, and theirs.
    And what would we see if we tuned in? More Conservative attacks, more faux scandals? Well, they’ll still be there after Labor Day. We’ll be there if there’s something important. Until then, ho-hum, yawn, and let’s enjoy the summer.

    Conservatives, on the other hand, aren’t like the rest of the country – and certainly not, Liberals.
    They’re like agitated sharks, always having to move forward, hungry for more, searching desperately for some trace, any trace, of blood in the water.

    And that this is when FOX and the other conservatively oriented mediums, feel the need to drum up scandal after scandal, to keep their ratings up. And they do that by feeding the agitated stupid and ignorant suckers, marks, fools, bobo’s, half/dim/nit-wits, feckless feckn’ eedjits, morons, imbeciles, racists, misogynists, xenophobes, homophobes, and Jesus-freaks, their fix of non-stop anger, fear, and hate.

    You know – just like the other three seasons.

    And I’m to blame, too.
    I don’t watch Rachel as much as I used to.
    And Ed’s gone over to weekends.
    Besides, I spend the day on my laptop reading and commenting on Liberal blogs (if I’m not doing chores, or cooking, or cleaning, or laundry), so now, to take a break from the news, after the 2012 election, in the evening, after my Mom and I watch Colbert and Stewart, I go to by bedroom, and read – rather than tune in to MSNBC, or go back to my favorite blogs, until bedtime.
    I don’t watch much TV, except for those two great comics, and some sports, so I like to read fiction in the evening – I suppose I could get that same dose of fiction by watching FOX, but I don’t want to get so angry and frustrated, that I can’t sleep. So, fiction it is – recently, I love historical mystery novels. This way, amidst all of the death and mayhem and ‘detective-ing’, I may learn something.

  6. Yes, I’ve noticed something similar. My general sense for the past few months has been that things are kind of quiet in politics. Obviously nothing is going to happen in Washington while the Republicans remain dedicated to total obstruction, so instead we get these pseudo-scandals that no one even understands, let alone cares about.

    The optimistic view is that we just have to wait however many more election cycles it takes for the conservative movement to complete its death spiral.

  7. There’s something else at work here that I believe explains my losiing interest in some lefty blogs. Many of them seemed to think Barack Obama could just wave a magic wand and make all opposition to his policy proposals dissolve. This is one reason I quit reading Digby’s Hullabaloo; the whole tone of that site is that everything that hasn’t been perfect since January 2009 is Obama’s fault.

    That’s one reason I still come here; because Maha knows the Repubican party still exists and still fights for what it wants.

    It’s like a lot of lefty blogs still employ the same snark and scorched-earth outlook that was very appropriate during the Bush era; they haven’t shifted gears.

    I do NOT mean that Obama shouldn’t be criticized, but the outlook is very different when you want to build on a success and help good policies get implemented than when you want to prevent rotten ones.

  8. I lost interest last year, but hung on through the Romney Ryan defeat, doing what little I could as a keyboard kommando. When November ended, I walked away for a few months and regrouped.

    I think the recent drop in lefty “viewership” is due to the spate of scandals. I suspect the numbers for right wing media have correspondingly risen.

  9. Maybe this is just nature’s way of saying, “We know this, but what are we going to do about it?”

  10. Not sure about anyone else, but when winter is over my tv spends a lot of time gathering dust. I have a life and I suspect most people do to. Little league games, yard work,concerts..there is too much going on when the weather gets warm to excuse sitting on ones backside in front of the tv. My excuse is riding- if it isn’t raining I am out on the Harley. Baggops on the other hand build their lives around the hate they hold for half the people in the country..it’s their food and they have to maintain a steady diet of it to survive. They will put their life on hold to refill.

  11. OT but did anyone see the Rude Pundit’s post on the jackass who took his gun to disney land? Or did you see the huffington posts piece on the Utah nra lobbiest who got busted when he drove his army vehicle and a gun to his ex wife’s place to threaten her new hubby?

  12. I find more lefty sights that just do nothing but bash Obama day after day after day; and Hullabaloo is one of those. As we all know, Obama hasn’t been perfect; but, for crying out loud, he is a human being and I have never met a perfect human being in my life. He has had more obstacles put in his way and more criticism than any President in my lifetime. (I go back to Truman.) I watch Chris Hayes and Rachel most every day; but, sometimes just cannot bear the Obama bashing. With friends like these, Obama doesn’t need any enemies. The spate of scandals presently are just the same three being reiterated over and over with little or no new info to show they are truly scandals. Most of us lefties know they are not. I would rather see the press get beat up for NOT making a better effort to find the truth. Something the mainstream media seems to have forgotten about–the truth. If Obama could get just one-fourth of the support from the lefty media that W got from the rightwing media, they might find some readership and a following again. Additionally, I’ve always said that us liberals/progressives have more things going on in our lives so that we don’t need to sit in front of the TV day after day.

  13. I thought that it was just me. For the last 2 – 3 months I find it impossible to finish a TRMS or a Hardball.

    I know why I have lost interest. The Right wing continually attacks POTUS and the Administration and I do not see POTUS using the Bully Pulpit to excoriate the spineless bastards/bitches on the extreme right.

    Those two Reich Wing Senators from Oklahoma are an embarrassment to the human race.

  14. It would help me if I saw the Democrats getting in front of cameras more often. The Republicans gets tons of coverage for their insanity. A swarm of Democrats speaking in clear, fact-based, consistent ways that point out the crap from the Republicans could be effective. Instead they allow Bachman’s retirement to dominate the news. It is clear to me that the news can be “used” by coordinated groups. So why can the Dems not do better? Overall, they’re looking ineffective and allowing the “scandals” meme to continue its prominence.

  15. People are beginning to realize that Obama is no savior and protects the wealthy and privileged in much the same way that Republicans do. The differences are at the margins. Until we create a political party that serves the interests, we are going to have malaise and an overall decline of civility and human decency.

  16. I concur with most of the comments above, except for Zinsky. I too have cut back on watching television news, i.e., Rachel Maddow and others. I’m tired of the scandals, the hypocrisy, and all that goes with today’s politics. I’m still interested, and come fall, I’ll probably start watching some of it again. I still read the blogs, especially this one, and get all the news I need just by logging onto Google or Facebook! But I’ll be watching and listening and ready to vote when the time comes – liberally!

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