The law of unintended consequences can often be a brutal one, and it seems that the effect of Fox News’ activities on the Republican Party is no exception. Anyone who actually watches real news stations knows that Fox is nothing more than a right wing propaganda machine, and people often wonder why the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) even allows that station to call itself news. However, their crusade to promote all things Republican is backfiring, and the media is taking notice. It is quite possible that Fox News actually played a role in the heavy losses the GOP suffered on November 6, and we aren’t the only ones who think so.
Media Matters reports on the many instances of recent attention to the relationship between the GOP and Fox News and its contributors, starting with Conor Friedorshorf of The Atlantic. He wrote:
“…right-leaning outlets like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh’s show are far more intellectually closed than CNN or public radio. If you’re a rank-and-file conservative, you’re probably ready to acknowledge that ideologically friendly media didn’t accurately inform you about Election 2012.
How many hours of Glenn Beck conspiracy theories did Fox News broadcast to its viewers? How many hours of transparently mindless Sean Hannity content is still broadcast daily? Why don’t Americans trust Republicans on foreign policy as they once did? In part because conservatism hasn’t grappled with the foreign-policy failures of George W. Bush. A conspiracy of silence surrounds the subject. Romney could neither run on the man’s record nor repudiate it.”
I must say that I agree with this 100 percent. The thing is, when all people listen to is shock talk like Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, et al, they buy into the baseless fear mongering. However, the more educated facets of society see it for what it is, and they stop trusting the people who put it out there, as well as the politicians they support.
The second columnist to go in this vein is Jon Carroll of The San Francisco Chronicle. He writes of listening to Fox, PBS, and MSNBC:
You had to wonder about Fox. This is the third presidential election in which Fox has been a major player, and the Democrats have won two of them. A combination of big money and big propaganda was supposed to carry the day for Romney and the Republicans, but it didn’t.
Could it be that the Fox model has played out? Could it be that the lack of civility and grace, the embrace of the most extreme candidates as long as they were Republicans, indeed, the whole idea behind Roger Ailes’ brainchild — a pimping station for the far right — may be politically bankrupt?
The thing is, even some Republicans — of the sane, moderate variety, that is — see Fox for what it is. Carroll hit the nail on the head when he said it was nothing but a pimping station for the far right. That is what Fox does, pimps ultra conservative values, and they embrace and champion the candidates who hold those views. Further, the understatement of the year here is the “lack of civility and grace” when referencing the politicians pimped by Fox. They are belligerent neanderthals who wish to turn back the clocks 50 years and have the country run by rich, old, straight white men like it was in times of old instead of embracing the rich diversity of this great nation.
Carroll goes on to ask in conclusion:
“Could a moderate Republican get nominated in the era of Fox News? I don’t think so. And as long as that’s so, Fox News hurts the GOP.”
He hit the nail on the head for real with that one. In fact, a conservative hero of old, Barry Goldwater, predicted in 1994 what the GOP was becoming, and, here we are, nearly 20 years later, and his fears are realized. He said:
“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”
There is no way that Goldwater or anyone like him could get elected to the Presidency or anything else in today’s version of the GOP, because the angry, aggressive base of their party would not be willing to see reason and compromise, and separate their religious beliefs from government and policy making.
The criticism didn’t stop there, as American Prospect’s Paul Waldman calls Fox New the GOP’s ‘Achilles Heel, saying that Fox and other conservative television and radio shows are good at:
“…whipping up stories out of nothing and forcing the mainstream media to pay attention, capable of keeping their troops in line and bucking up their morale, capable of quickly disseminating messages far and wide, creating new stars and enforcing discipline.”
He goes on to say that the success of these efforts resulted in the :
“…single most damaging moment for Mitt Romney in this election, the 47 percent tape.”
Waldman wasn’t done there. He goes on:
Where did Romney learn that number, wrapped as it was in an argument about the shocking numbers of Americans who mooch off the efforts of virtuous hard-working job creators? He almost certainly got it from Fox or conservative talk radio, where it had been in wide circulation for some time, and if it wasn’t directly from listening to Limbaugh or Hannity, it came to him from somebody who did.
Again, I agree. The people who watch Fox News and believe the, to use Joe Biden’s word, malarkey, they are selling live in a complete bubble, one devoid of any kinship with reality. By the time they realize that they are one million percent wrong, it is too late. Good for us liberals, not so good for the GOP and its supporters. The thing is, you can lie to yourself and your viewers as much as you like, Fox, but it doesn’t make a word of what you say true. Further, it results in things like the blowback that is going on right now. In my opinion, Fox’s meddling in politics and feeding their sheep these one-sided delusions are doing them no favors. Keep talking, Fox pundits. You’ll just dig the GOP’s grave.
The critics of Fox and their pandering to the ultra conservative base and its politicians continued on in that vein, with particular criticism of their actually giving advice to GOP politicians. This in and of itself lowers credibility, because that makes it clear (as if anyone with eyes and a brain couldn’t already tell) that they aren’t playing fair when it comes to their reporting. In fact, many times what they report is so skewed with right wing opinion that it could arguably be described as outright lies.
The thing is, Fox’s propaganda might work with a very small segment of the population: the hypocritical “values” ( and I use the word loosely) voters who are too ignorant to have any sort of cognitive relationship with reality. To that end, they are the only ones who are surprised with their November 6 losses. Stay in the dark ages, dinosaurs. The rest of us are moving forward.