It’s Casual Friday! Sam and Emma host Heather Digby Parton, contributing writer at Salon.com and proprietor of the blog Hullabaloo, to round up the week in news. Then, they’re joined by author and documentary filmmaker Greg Mitchell to discuss his newest work “The First Attack Ads: Hollywood vs. Upton Sinclair,” out on PBS and streaming now! Sam and Emma first run through updates on Biden’s Cannabis pardons, setting weed on the road to decriminalization, the escalating nuclear tensions in Ukraine, and more, before diving deeper into the Right funneling out their drug fearmongering on CNN to paint Biden’s executive action as radical (despite mass support in public opinion). Then Digby joins as they parse through Biden’s recent comments on nearing “nuclear armageddon” with Putin’s continued aggression in Ukraine centering more and more on the threat of nuclear action, discussing the various channels of diplomacy between Biden and Putin, before exploring the greater role the United States has begun to play in this conflict, capitalizing on this opportunity to engage in a proxy war where our opponent is already severely weakened and likely to lose, and what a practically anti-war foreign policy would look like. They then reflect on the classic GOP fear-mongering tactics in the leadup to midterms, from the four-year buildup of ACA fear-mongering from 2010-14 to the 2018 “Caravan” that had Minnesotans worried, looking at the recent impact of Fox’s “Fentanyl in the Halloween Candy” as a return to a small-scale classic. Then, Greg Mitchell joins as he dives into the story of Upton Sinclair, a writer and early muckraker who published an exposé on Chicago’s Stock Yards, before using the success of FDR to jumpstart a mass socialist movement in California heading into the 1934 governor election, where he appeared likely to emerge on top. However, Mitchell then dives into the bipartisan and Hollywood-backed coalition that came together against him, essentially becoming the first example of a modern negative campaign, featuring cinematic attack ads, outside political parties, the use of political consultants, national fundraising, and the outsourcing of advertising to Madison Ave and Hollywood Boulevard. Mitchell, Sam, and Emma walk through the major electoral archetypes that came out of this movement against Sinclair, where we still see them today, and how the backlash to this campaign lead to the liberalization of Hollywood.
And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma dive deeper into the nuances around being anti-war and pro-Ukrainians, why the Hitler comparison is nonsense, and why Putin’s nuclear capabilities have to be taken seriously. They also explore the GOP’s withdrawal from Herschel Walker, with Georgia’s Lt. Gov coming out against his credentials, tackle the impact of the current economic moment and the role of recession discourse, and watch Mark Kelly call out Blake Masters’ resting rich face. Greg Gutfeld talks about the attractiveness of college students, Matt Walsh cares more about consent in cancel culture than in sex-with-minors, and the crew touches on Dr. Oz the puppy-killer, plus, your IMs!
Check out Digby’s work on Salon here: https://www.salon.com/writer/heather_digby_parton
Check out Greg’s movie here: https://www.pbs.org/show/first-attack-ads-hollywood-vs-upton-sinclair/
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