What Are the Chances?
There seem to be two types of GOP/Fox News lies: outright ones, which can be pretty much immediately disproved, but nonetheless Fox watchers will still believe anyway, and conjectural ones, which rely on scary predictions that don’t ever have to come true to accomplish the goal of the moment, due to the mass-Alzheimer’s that afflicts the media and therefore enables the first kind.
The outright lies are always a little riskier, but not by all that much. Take, for example, the idea that our Wall Street fellating, oil-driller coddling, war escalating President Obama is, somehow in his heart of hearts, a Kenyan anti-colonialist. Lots of people, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, were unembarrassed to pretend they believed such garbage, but Forbes Magazine, quite understandably, took quite a bit of heat for publishing Dinesh D’Souza’s execrable and delusional cover “story” about how Obama’s (unfortunately nonexistent) “anger” stems from the sinister influence of his father, whom he barely knew and quite clearly doesn’t come within a mile of emulating. Though even some conservatives quietly distanced themselves from such baffling nonsense, the Fox-addled, who pride themselves on never reading such elitist (and wordy, too…) publications as Forbes, undoubtedly nodded their jowly heads in hearty approval. Ditto the horseshit about FEMA Camps, gun confiscations, reparations, and on and on. So a few cops got killed here and there; the rich got their tax cuts, which was the important thing, and that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
The conjectural lies are by far the bigger problem. From Mushroom Clouds to World Government, these cannot ever be exposed for what they are because, well, you never know, and no one in the media has the common sense and professional standards to come right out and say that whatever drastic and stupid action Republicans are about to take is based upon pure fantasy of things that will never, ever, happen. After all, it’s conjecturally (if not exactly theoretically) possible that global warming is a myth, low taxes on the rich create prosperity, and “small” government means spending a trillion a year on “National Security,” so why not let a bunch of Republican charlatans so obviously beholden to those who profit from such ridiculous notions repeatedly say so, unchallenged, on television each day? Fox went to court in the 90′s and won a landmark case that established that knowingly lying to one’s audience was protected under the First Amendment, and after that, Republicans were off to the races, as we’ve seen.
The best kind of conjectural lies (from the Republicans’ standpoint), and the ones that inevitably turn out to be the most damaging to Americans, are the “Opposite Day” conjectural lies, because they’re front-loaded to put Democrats into their seemingly favorite political dilemma: heads we lose, tails Republicans win. These tend to turn out predictably, as they did when Sarah Palin, defending the current Death Panelists of the health insurance industry, said Democrats, sometime in a future of her own imaging, would cut off care to the gravely ill the way for-profit insurance companies do every day, facts be damned, and it worked. To this day, a substantial number of people still think we have the best health care in the world, when we’re 37th, and spend more than anybody else.
Health Care Reform lies, of course, are relatively minor in their harmful effects compared to much more insidious opposite day lies like, “we have to fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here.” Ever since those words were so repeatedly uttered, the wars they credulously cheered on have, not for nothing, radicalized a generation of Muslims around the globe, just as surely as the first Gulf War radicalized Osama bin Laden, and the resulting deadly spiral of violence inexorably worsens year after bloody year. Never mind that it was the peaceniks, the Unserious hippies and civil-liberties absolutists who dismissed such war-mongering xenophobia as the contemptible proto-fascism it was who were right in the end; no one remembers any such helpful facts because all of them, from Ashleigh Banfield to Phil Donahue, were summarily hounded off the airwaves by the end of 2003, only to return when it was far too late.
The mother of all opposite day conjectural lies, of course, is being rolled out as we speak, in part I think to cover up for the rest of them, which is that Julian Assange of Wikileaks has “blood on his hands.” Like most opposite day lies, this one attempts to paper over its absurdity by choosing a person who can be conveniently demonized, rather than the less-refutable principle they stand for, because that’s a lot easier. You know the drill: if Michael Moore/Al Gore/Insert Truth Teller Here are for it, I’m agin’. And just like any other under-60 male (older if you’re Republican) Assange does have a sex life, which must be ripe for exploitation in some way or other, at least if nothing better comes up. As usual, creating comic book villains beats coming up with arguments to refute them, and thus the bloodiest hands around are now feverishly clutching their pearls at the horror of it all.
Why things that haven’t and probably will never happen are to be feared and prevented at any cost, while things that are happening, every day, are dismissed as the errant rantings of people who just don’t know any better is a question our media ought to answer, but for obvious reasons, won’t. No one could have predicted, we’ve heard ad nauseam, what actually happened, but yet they predicted, with disastrous consequences, a lot of things that didn’t, but well, you never know. Even stopped clocks are right twice a day, but that’s still a considerably better record than most Republicans boast.
Someone ought to alert the media.