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.


  1. retzilian says:

    I’ve decided to stop blaming the media and start pointing the blame where it really belongs: at the idiots who watch this schit, buy the sponsors’ products, and return day after day to have their fantasies affirmed by a bunch of liars.

    Eventually, the WWW will replace television and there will be no Fox News. There will be hundreds of mom-and-pop internet news sites, because producing the web news will be a fraction of the cost of broadcast news.

    Meanwhile, I just do what I can to respond to the bullshit – and I hear a lot of it from the Medicare beneficiaries every day. I do my part to bust the myths and correct the record. FWIW.

    Frankly, if people don’t realize what’s going, they are too effing stupid for me to care about anymore.

    • The Heel says:

      You go girl.
      That is really the best thing most of us can do. By the way, have you seen the movie “Idiocracy”? I just saw the first half hour and I am afraid we are already there…
      Sad to say so but most people are not in a position to vote, yet they can and do so. Brings me to the concept of “earning the right to vote” – similar to earning the right to drive a car. Both means responsibility and should not just be given.

      One can only hope that Republican’s owning the bible and the flag will eventually get too complacent to energize the masses with fear and guilt and patriotic patina.

      Merry X-mas :)

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, Retz… for the moment, we live in a world where if something wasn’t on TV, it never happened… I can’t not blame people who use the public airwaves and are protected by the first amendment doing such a lousy job. It’s shoddy and embarrassing.
      I’m with you on the apathy thing, though; I can survive a Republican crack-up as I’ve already done twice before, but as my mother used to say, “I worry about the little guys.” Never thought I’d say I’m glad I’m so old.

  2. michlib says:

    The demise of print media, consolidation of what remains in radio and TV – we are living in the Age of Stupid. Every Frank Luntz focus grouped sound bite ( byte ? ) nudges us a few inches closer to Head in Our Ass abyss, and this November showed the Stupid voting bloc to be large and in charge. Oy.

  3. retzilian says:

    Well, at least the kids don’t watch Fox, and that’s a good thing. They don’t watch any news, for that matter. The average age of Fox viewers is well over 55, so we know who is watching.

    Ironically enough, the generation that had the best lifestyle in the history of the planet, and who had the most secure jobs, cheapest healthcare, best pension plans, and lived during a time of great prosperity, is now the generation that wants to give the country to the tea party.

    They will die, like the politburo died, and the nomads and X-Gen and Y-Gen will run the country. Eff the boomers and my parents’ generation.

    Effing spoiled narcissists.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Ah, yes…. My dad rails about gummint when he’s had a lifetime of free VA care, for the brave act of running the movie projector on the USS New Jersey at the end of the war for two years. He made everyone watch westerns.
      The noive.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Pretty much the same as the previous PIPA study, but it’s nice to hear again. Really, given that Fox blames the fact that they’re always wrong about everything on the old “everybody else is just lying” excuse, a direct slap at the rest of the media, why the hell doesn’t CNN ABC NBC et al go after Fox with guns blazing every night?. If they had any pride they would, and they’d be more popular, too.
      But they don’t, and they don’t care.

      • avelna says:

        Well to be fair, Olbermann goes after Fox, one way or another, almost every night. But as far as I know, he’s the only one.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Yes, and so does Comedy Central… Why? Because it’s interesting, and it’s NEWS, that a “news” network systematically lies to its audience. That’s why you see it so studiously avoided on all the “no one could have predicted” channels.
          They’re embarrassed, and rightly so.

  4. nancy says:

    This essay from Front Porch Republic might make you feel better. Personally, I’m approaching looking at the horizon with about zero expectation of improvement. So, this is the 21st century and John Boehner is to play a role in my life?

    This is a somewhat lengthy piece, but sums up the last ten years pretty nicely. BTW, according to Wiki, of the 25 counties in the country with the highest median incomes, 11 are in the D.C. metro area. No wonder none of the Villagers get it. Inside the Beltway it’s darn comfy.