Tuesday, May 24, 2011

FOX News is bad for journalism, America, and the GOP


An excellent article by Mark Howard. By their behavior, the Tea Party types of right wingers prove they have no ability to discriminate real news from faux news. They swallow whole whatever Fox Noise tells them. Although the white supremacists among them are proud of their racist beliefs, many other Tea Partiers don't seem to recognize their own racial prejudice against Obama, and try to justify their hatred of him and all things "liberal" by listening to the Fox ideologues spouting fanatical/fantastical lies -- and proclaiming it to be "truth."  They send out e-mails filled with neocon "truthiness" (I love Stephen Colbert's euphemism for "lies") that are often tinged (or liberally (oops-pardon the word) splashed) with racist remarks. Yet they protest loudly and deny it vehemently if their prejudicial proclivities are pointed out to them.  Their leaders, such as Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter and the like, are the blind leading the blind.  Bill O'Reilly's quote in the Excerpt below is a laugh-out-loud example of right-wing blindness.

“If crazy ideologues have infiltrated the news business, we need to know about it.” ~ Bill O’Reilly, 7/16/09  (an incurable case of inability to recognize oneself in the mirror)

Well said. The Fox News audience is being dumbed down by a parade of paranoid know-nothings. This strategy appears to be successful for Fox in that it has attracted a loyal viewership that is eager to have their twisted preconceptions affirmed. The conflict-infused fare in which Fox specializes has been a ratings juggernaut – just like any good fiction. However, this perceived popularity is having an inordinate impact on the GOP platform. By doubling down on crazy, Fox is driving the center of the Republican Party further down the rabid hole. They are reshaping the party into a more radicalized community of conspiracy nuts. So even as this helps Rupert Murdoch’s bottom line, it is making celebrities of political bottom-feeders.

That can’t be good for the long-term prospects of the Republican Party. Most Americans do not believe that we are on a march toward socialism, led by a Muslim alien, and bankrolled by a Jewish Nazi sympathizer. The truth is that most Americans think that the loopy yarns spun by Fox News are fables told by madmen – and believed by even madder men and women who wallow in their doomsday utopia.

Consequently, the Party of Fox News has materially damaged their political allies in the GOP. Many of the recent candidates endorsed by Fox were embarrassing losers. There was Christine O’Donnell (DE), Joe Miller (AK), Ken Buck (CO), Linda McMahon (CT), Carly Fiorina (CA), Sharron Angle (NV), and Carl Paladino (NY). In every one of those cases the Tea Party candidate ousted the more establishment Republican, and then went on to defeat. And that was during a Republican wave election cycle.

This is a textbook example of how the extreme rises to the top. It is also fundamentally contrary to the interests of the Republican Party. The more the population at large associates Republican ideology with the agenda of Fox News, and the fringe operators residing there, the more the party will be perceived as out of touch, or even out of their minds.