The Fox News/Rush Limbaugh Alternate Reality Machine And The Dumbing Of America!

Below are some of my thoughts and observations on the strange competing realities in our political universe.

Once upon a time in America there was a media that was known as the 4th estate, a term that is attributed to Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797), a British politician, as quoted in Thomas Carlyle’s book, “Heros and Hero Worship in History” (1841)…

Burke said that there were three Estates in Parliament, but in the Reporters Gallery yonder, there sat a fourth Estate more important far than they all.

I remember when I first became aware of politics, in my teen years…the mid to  late 70’s…the role of the press was still focused on presenting the truth. It was a noble goal that all major media outlets adhered to. I think All the President’s Men shows it very well. Sure there were differences of opinions and op-ed pages and politics was politics, but facts were also facts back then. I think politicians and people in the media were a lot more careful about what they said, especially if it was being recorded in some way. I imagine there was a lot of trash talking going on “off the record”, which was a concept that used to be respected too. Now we have people secretly recording or openly recording damn near everything. Twitter is causing all sorts of trouble for people, especially if they didn’t think before they tweeted.

With Rush Limbaugh rising to national attention around 1988, a whole new dynamic began in the media that in the mid 90’s was magnified by the introduction of Fox News. I first listened to Rush Limbaugh during the summer of 1992, I believe. I was painting a house and thought I should listen to what the opposition was pushing in the lead up to the presidential election. It as maddening to listen to, he was blatantly and unabashedly lying without any remorse. If he ever took a call from a listener, it was a supporter or the person was shut down pretty fast if they challenged him at all. I was enraged. That was my first exposure to the right-wing’s master plan of misinforming the mass electorate and conditioning them to block out any conflicting information.  They are given Frank Luntz generated slogans to repeat whenever they are confronted with information that doesn’t fit with their well programmed beliefs. It is really an alternate reality that they’ve created, sort of like the one President Bush worked within, from Ron Suskind’s classic piece on the Bush presidency…(emphasis mine)

The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

And I would add to that the fact that Fox News and Rush Limbaugh were the media wing of that reality. The effect of all that alternate reality is a whole lot of confused people in this country. You can’t really necessarily blame these people, many are unknowing victims of the misinformation. Recent polls where they break out the Fox News viewers, show some pretty stunning results…

  • 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
  • 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
  • 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
  • 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
  • 49 percent believe income taxes have gone up
  • 63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts
  • 56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout
  • 38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP
  • 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)

For the trolls out there nodding in agreement, every one of those bullet points is the opposite of what is true. Just so we’re clear.

The other impact that Fox News and Rush have on the misinformed masses is to stoke anger and hatred towards President Obama and the Democrats in general. Media Matters has hundreds, perhaps thousands of examples of how they do that. Some of it is subtle and much of it is not so subtle. They clearly like to throw fuel on the fire of racism that continues to burn, particularly in the south. Probably the best examples of this are the folks at the Tea Party rallies who speak up about how they feel. I really don’t understand how someone can be so hateful and let that hatred direct all of his/her opinions. The Republican noise machine and brainwashing apparatus that is Fox News has warped their ability to distinguish lies from reality. This noise machine seems to inoculate their followers from either knowing that it is a lie or subconsciously they may know it, but they play along because the hatred and demagoguery overwhelms any moral reservations they might have about lying. This phenomenon has become more and more pervasive and since the compliant, agenda driven media never seem to call bullshit on them, it only encourages them to continue. Don’t feed the damn bears, people.

What is the answer to this phenomenon? I certainly don’t know the answer to that, but I certainly will do my part to help shine a light on these people that seem to be intent on destroying our democracy.


7 thoughts on “The Fox News/Rush Limbaugh Alternate Reality Machine And The Dumbing Of America!

  1. The REICH has been playing from the Joseph Goebbels playbook for quite a while and the propaganda…the BIG LIES…seem to be paying off for the millions of Americans who lack critical thinking skills. I had a great political discussion with a bartender in Barcelona who feels the USA is on its way to becoming a closed fascist state. The Spanish who suffered many years under the fascist dictator, Franco, should know a little about the REICH wing.

  2. The answer to a survey depend greatly on how the question is asked.

    The stimulus swindle created very few permanent, Full Time jobs. They should have spent the money just paying people to sit around, that’s right they already do.

    The healthcare lie will raise the deficit according to the CBO who raised their estimate on it;s cost.

    The envirowakos changed the name of Global Warming to climate change. Climate change has been taking place since the start of man so nothing new here.

    49% of people believe there were no Income tax cuts in the government giveaway. Taxes have gone up but not income tax, misleading question.

    It would be easy to remember tarp and stimulus.
    Tarp saved the US economy and was Republican based.
    Stimulus is another word for giveaway, cost billions, failed and was democrat based.

    Obama as a US natural citizen. That is a very brilliant move by Obama’s handlers. They divert attention away from his destroying the country and toward proving he was born an American citizen. He could easily put an end to this by just releasing his birth certificate but then he wouldn’t have anything to divert attention.

  3. You’ll never get people like Ralph to admit that they are brainwashed. You can point all you want that they are wrong and delusional but they never listen. Most of their hatred is based either on racial or political/religious ideology. When it comes down to it the more a person watches Fox, especially an uneducated person the more susceptible that person is to propaganda.

    Even an educated, college graduate person can become susceptible to propaganda if that person happens to have some sort of mental illness or other ailment. I myself am mentally ill but don’t believe in the propaganda perhaps I’m not delusional enough to believe in their crap though.

  4. One of the biggest problems we have is that the majority of AM or talk stations in general carry this bullshit across the country. Even in radio markets where Republicans don’t have a shot of winning any form of elected office you’ll still find multiple right wing stations vs a lone or no progressive station in that market.

    On top of Fox News, the media enables this shit, anytime Fox News report something they got from a right wing blog for a few days or weeks the regular media feels the need to cover it. And once the media figures out they’re echoing crap from a right wing blogger hiding out in the basement of CATO or Heritage they give some half ass statement clearing up the matter.

    Or worst of all the media play that game of this is what this person said vs what that person said and it’s up to you to find out who’s telling the truth.

  5. There is a lot of attention paid to Fox news by the left. You seem to forget the leftists control the media of newspapers and television both over the air a paid. MSN, CNN,ABC, CBS, NBC are all controlled by the leftists and one lone station, Fox, has you so upset. It is true that the majority of talk radio is conservative. Why aren’t there more leftist radio. Because the left would rather bitch than buy. The one holdout is NPR and that is because they are publicly funded, for now but that should end soon.

    I don’t watch Fox but it is amusing to watch the excitement you have toward them

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s