How To Take On The Lies, False Equivalencies And Blatant Hypocrisy Of Fox News And Other Conservative News Outlets
The world that Fox News has been creating with lies, false equivalencies, and blatant hypocrisy should be a flimsy one. But with the right talking points created by Karl Rove and Frank Luntz repeated for months and even years, the GOP facade has more rigidity than physics should allow.
There are two types of people that fall for this crafted vision, this “GOPtopia.” There are the Donny Dittoheads of the world, those who swoon over all the vitriol that Limbaugh dishes, ready to vilify on demand. Then there are the Patty Propers, actual conservatives with kind hearts but no sources for information on the dots they should connect.
GOPtopia has only been able to survive this long on lockstep obedience. But the Trump and Tea Party brands of extremism don’t mesh with establishment Republicans. These different versions of reality have GOPtopia creaking and ready to crumble. And the preoccupation with hate and bitterness is losing its luster. Wives and kids and coworkers shed little bits of light on the absurdity, and climate change is now a daily reality.
Truth may be closing in, but without the critical insight available through MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and others, the evidence has no sway on Donny or the more amiable Patty. But we can penetrate their isolationism, putting a late-night infomercial on the air and lure them in with the Texas drawl of Jim Hightower in his cowboy hat.
Here is my vision for what this could look like:
Start with Hightower, author of the Hightower Lowdown and perennial pundit for the left, laying into the Republican brand and exposing its dark underbelly. His wit will perfectly capture the GOP’s pessimistic but effective mechanisms for manipulation through deceptive assertions, disproportionate dismay, and defiant distraction. Delivered with subtle snark in a way that rings disturbingly true, Hightower will set the table for some cold hard facts.
Next we bring in Robert Reich with his rapidly drawn diagrams, picking from one of the ten short videos he made with MoveOn.org. in a series called, “The Big Picture: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy.”
Then we shift back to Hightower again to explain why the travesties Reich has displayed have roots in the GOP’s plan to maintain power and their ultimate goal: “Move all the money to us.” Hightower then focuses on the tools billionaires and the GOP use to disenfranchise voters. Through cookie-cutter state legislation such as new voter photo ID laws provided by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, billionaires like the Koch brothers can throw out hurdles to get to the ballot box. This way the poor, African Americans, the elderly, and students have their ultimate freedom – having a tangible political voice – compromised for no other reason than for the political shift that that loss is expected to provide.
To expand on this and election fraud issues we turn to Brad Friedman, creator of the Brad Blog and fury behind it’s never-ending quest to pinpoint election irregularities and follow up on court battles to correct them. Friedman can spell out the nuts and bolts of all the ways election results can be swayed either at the precinct or downstream electronic tabulation.
By this point in the show conservatives may see the tiniest of cracks in that aforementioned facade. Voting is freedom, and that freedom is compromised if there are attempts to limit who gets to vote, when they can do it, and how many voting booths will be available once they get there.
This gives Hightower an opportunity to differentiate between true conservatives and the CORPservative Republicans owing allegiances that are strongest with billionaires and CEOs. Here is a way to do that in words that I hope Hightower will utter:
“If a politician claims to be a conservative, but that conservatism starts with his words yet doesn’t follow all the way through to his actions, then he’s not a real conservative. He’s something else. And when that deviation benefits billionaires far more than you and me, then perhaps Senator Silverspoon is what I call a CORPservative. He’s out for CEOs not Average Joes like you and me. A CORPservative is a guy that votes for tax breaks for outsourcing American jobs overseas. He’s a guy that voted against funding for a Consumer Protection Agency.
“Here’s a good way to see how and when a conservative idea goes CORPservative. Senator Silverspoon says he’s pro-life. Abortions should never happen, period. But when that baby is born, he’s done with it. Life is precious, but apparently the quality of that life is inconsequential. That’s the split, right there, where CORPservatism takes over. A true conservative has a heart, and that heart says minimize the suffering of that child. To do that, you have to start by giving each family a better foundation for thriving. Senator Silverspoon can claim family values all he wants, but his legislation shows that he doesn’t VALUE FAMILIES. If he truly did, then he’d be the first guy fighting for a living wage, access to affordable daycare, freedom from medical and educational debt, and sufficient funding for schools and police. But he doesn’t, does he? He may talk the talk, but the walk he walks is right to the bank with the money of rich political donors who want Republicans to stay in control.
“Why doesn’t Senator Silverspoon want more funding for police and fire departments? That should be a no-brainer, right? Well many years ago Senator Silverspoon and almost all of his non-ficticious Republican associates signed what’s called the ‘Norquist Pledge‘ to a rich guy named Grover Norquist. This pledge was a commitment to never raise taxes, period, forever. If somebody had the audacity to vote even once for a raise on anybody’s taxes, no matter how rich, that guy would be ousted in the primaries because Norquist and others would put frighteningly large amounts of money into the campaign of his chosen successor. And almost every Republican in Congress has that Norquist Pledge hanging around their necks. Because of that, all the good things we could do with more tax money like creating jobs, repairing our infrastructure, and helping out the poor just have to wait until Republicans no longer have the power to stop reasonable tax increases on the really, really rich.”
At this point we put in interviews of former Republicans that have gone Democrat because of the vitriol, the crazy extremes, and the evidence they see all around them that Republican ideas aren’t meant to work for them.
Now that we’ve established the CORPservative label, we can revisit many of the actions and rhetoric of the GOP as evidence of the fissure that separates them from true conservatives. Then we come again to Hightower:
“To my conservative friends I ask you this favor. Please purge your party of all your CORPservatives and let actual conservatism return to the fore. I may be a liberal, but the concept of a Republican Party full of logical people with integrity and consistency in their views might be a foundation for workable mutual respect. Absolutism may sound inspiring to some, but compromise is where the work gets done. These actual conservatives might be a lot less prone to hate, if Christianity is their guide and not just their leverage. The other side of the aisle would look a lot less threatening, and I think actual conservatives might be inclined towards that most basic conservation: keeping our planet livable.”
Hightower can wrap things up by saying that conservatives don’t have to flip to Democrats. But voting Democratic just this once would sure put a cap on the crazy. The Republican Party needs to understand that their formula of hate, racism, misogyny, division, trickle-down economics, and billionaire tax breaks just doesn’t have anything that America needs anymore.
Here’s a truth the show can close with that reflects just that:
Vote Democratic for your children’s children
Vote Republican for your boss’s boss
Paid programming like this can be a step towards easing conservatives towards that tipping point where they finally are able to acknowledge that the GOP’s Swiss cheese Christianity wants them to Loathe Thy Neighbor Unless He Looks and Thinks Like Me. True conservatives need to realize that Democrats push for an Inclusive America while Republicans win if they can create the Divided States of America.
This production will have more impact than what it yields at 1 a.m. It will also reside on a YouTube channel where like-minded state and national candidates can link to it, perhaps even telling of these links in their TV ads. Why? Because we can say the things that the Democratic Party might be hesitant to. No direct “blame” will fall on any candidate for the full extent of the conclusions it contains. There are 15 years of GOP travesties, so evidence will be plentiful.
And there are other benefits. PACs for candidates can pay for these nighttime slots because they mention no names. By skewering the Republican brand in a particular market, the Democrat will benefit by default.
Wouldn’t you want to see what this could look like, finally hearing on TV all the dirty truths about how politics is played by the GOP that even Rachel Maddow can’t utter? With Hightower’s matter-of-fact delivery and Reich’s diagrams, the picture will be painted very clearly.
You’ll note that we haven’t mentioned Bernie or Hillary in any of this. Either campaign, or its local affiliates, could be willing to bring attention to what our late-night message means for the inevitable direction of America. We are the tourniquet for global climate change. Four more years under Republican power puts us as a species that much closer to bleeding out.