If you pay attention the the Republicans it often seems like they’re living in their own little world. A recent Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll seems to indicate that impression may be correct. Not surprisingly we’ve got FOX News to blame for it:
Spend any amount of time watching FOX News and it’s clear that they’re helping to promote many of the flat out lies that Republicans are shouting at various town halls. All the major news channels have their opinion/editorial shows, Rachel Maddow is one of MSNBC’s, but if you watch the reporting of news outside of those shows it’s clear that the FOX anchors inject their opinions into their reporting quite a bit more than any other network.
It brought to mind the time before cable was available when we had just the big three networks and, if you were lucky, a smattering of UHF channels to choose from. The UHF channels often didn’t have much, if any, news programming so you watched one of the big three to find out what was going on. Now this may just be the fuzzy memory of nostalgia kicking in, but as I recall the big three news programs generally reported the same set of facts on most stories with any editorializing being labeled clearly as such in its own segment. Sure sometimes one network would scoop a story, but overall if you saw a news report on one network the facts would be pretty much the same as either of the other two networks reporting on it.
With the advent of cable and the 24 hour news channel the race to get a story first resulted in a lot more speculation and hearsay showing up in any reporting of something happening right that second. That’s annoying enough, but with the rise of FOX News we’ve moved beyond having to deal with a lot of air time devoted to anchors guessing at what’s happening and scrambling for info to anchors actively trying to spin news stories to match the talking points of one of the two major political parties. Throw in “pundits” that are willing to spout off the most batshit insane bullshit you’ve ever heard from someone who wasn’t wearing a tinfoil hat and you have a recipe for what we have today.
Which isn’t to say that MSNBC and CNN are paragons of TV journalism, but it’s amazing how less misinformed viewers of either of those two networks are compared to the folks who follow FOX News. Consider this survey by Public Policy Polling*PDF file in which of the questions was: “Do you think the Government should stay out of Medicare?”
The results? 39% of respondents said YES! An additional 15% said they weren’t sure. (Note: For those of you who aren’t clear on the issue, Medicare is a government run program. I say this not to the usual SEB audience, but to any morons who might be passing by.)
Now not all of the people who answered yes to that question considered themselves Conservative, some felt they were Liberal or Moderates, but when you break it down by those categories you find that 59% of those who answered “yes” identified themselves as Conservatives. Now it’s possible that some of the people misheard the question and thought they had said “health care” and not “Medicare”—and there’s a part of me that hopes that’s the case—but that’s still a lot of people who don’t know that Medicare is run by the government.
It says something that the pundits on FOX News have made heavy use of the word socialism in addition to suggesting that the Obama administration shares a lot of similarities with the fascist Nazis. Glen Beck alone has made heavy use of Nazi imagery when ranting and crying (literally) over some perceived outrage on the part of Obama. So what do we end up seeing at various town halls across the nation? Angry Republicans with pictures of Obama as Hitler yelling about the socialist programs Obama supports blissfully unaware of the fact that Socialism is pretty much the opposite of Fascism. I guess that’s just a sign of how evil Obama really is that he manages to be two opposing -isms at the same time.
Or perhaps it’s a sign of how fucking clueless your average Republican is these days.