Defeating Fascism, Monotheism, and Insularism.
By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2004, 3:17pm PT  

So what's really wrong with America? Take a step into the insular world that is the Conservative Echo Chamber of Talk Radio, Cable News and the Internet and the answer is easy to find?but only if you're actually looking for it.

It is to the shame of America, that most of the millions of folks who listen to Rush and Sean and all the rest of the Talk Radio cabal and who tune in religiously (pun intended) to the FOX News Channel, are NOT looking for what is really wrong with America. They are looking for validation that what they wish to believe is the only right thing for America.

They are looking to affirm their prejudices and cling to their long held intolerance by surrounding themselves in a world of others like them. A world which shuts out all opposing view points, but one which most insidiously of all, creates the fiction that they are actually ?fair and balanced?.

The lengths to which they will go to convince themselves that they have examined all reasonable points of view and have come to the only correct one is astounding. And yet, unless you are actually interested in taking a real look at the many sides of the various issues of societal debate today, you will quickly find the affirmation you are seeking to feel that you are right and everyone else is not only wrong, but ?crazy?, ?whacko? and dead set on the ?destruction of America and all it stands for?.

This is what passes for ?debate? in the Media today.

For example, ?the Left is against keeping our country safe from terrorism? (presumably then, they are actually hoping that Americans will be slaughtered by the thousands), ?they want to destroy the institution of marriage? (presumably then the left is made of entirely Homosexuals who despise Heterosexuality?), and are otherwise ?against the Rule of Law? (presumably then, they want to create an Anarchist state in America.)

For anyone without the desperate need to validate their own hatred and/or shore up their own insupportably weak political positions by finding someone or something to demonize (Saddam, the French, the Gay Community, Trial Lawyers), the statements above are obviously absurd.

But to the desperate Right Wing, clinging to the fading fate of Institutional Bias and Racism, it's not only important to demonize from the get-go, it's important to take the fight to the Left by creating their own set of false assumptions and arguments which are then easily defeated by common sense.

In other words, the argument is framed that ?the Media is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Liberal Left?. This argument immediately discounts the FACT that more folks listen and watch Rush, Sean, Drudge, Fox and the rest of the clan combined each day than the sum total of those who glance at the ?Liberal? media combined in a full week. (An argument that cannot be debated even if you are foolish enough to buy the straw man assumption in the first place that the rest of the media are ?Liberal? and that the Right Wing Media is just fair and balanced ?opposition view?).

But absurd assumptions are beside the point when you're looking for people to agree with you and join your cause.

Absurd assumptions are where the Conservative Echo chamber starts the day, after receiving Marching Orders about what matters on the Drudge Report, and then they play the rest of it out by arguing one side of a debate that doesn't even exist.

This morning Sean Hannity is at the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA, on his ?Hannitization of America? tour plugging his latest manifesto ?Deliver Us from Evil : Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism?. He's playing to a pack of live foaming-at-the-mouth Right Wingers who break into a frenzied standing ovation after Sean's every sentence. It doesn't matter what he says, they're in favor it!

?Andy Rooney has employed hate speech because he described Pat Robertson as a ?whacko' after Robertson reported that God spoke to him to inform him that Bush would be re-elected in a ?blowout'?. {STANDING OVATION}.

?The Liberal Left wants to destroy the ?Institution of Marriage' in this country!? {STANDING OVATION}

?Democrats don't believe that Business should be able to profit from their hard work in this country!? {STANDING OVATION}

You know the story. It goes on and on. Take a look at Chaplin's classic The Great Dictator (1940) to see how easy it is to rally a crowd seeking a leader who will tell them what they want to believe. Simply create a false premise, argue the one side of it that represents any form of reason, and then add someone like the hapless Alan Colmes to the mix for a few minutes to give the impression that the issue has been debated fairly. Never mind the fact that the real debate has never been put on the table in the first place.

And if all else fails, despite all attempts to the contrary, should the real debate actually show it's face ? as in the issue of the Constitutionality of Gay Marriage ? we can always try and change said Constitution to reflect what we wish to be true. No matter how much it may violate the heretofore Death Worthy Cause of defending that same Constitution.

That's their game, and ? as far as they know ? they are winning. If the debate can be framed as Good versus Evil, who could possibly defend Evil? Who would want to? So as far as they are concerned, they are winning simply because there is nobody in their room, on their air, or on their bookshelves to tell them otherwise.

So the question remains: Are they winning?

They certainly have a lock on the Free Mass Media, dominating Talk Radio, Cable News and the Internet. They will forgo and/or twist their own values without blinking an eye at a moments notice if it keeps one of their own ?in power? (never mind the stuff they used to care about, like Fiscal Responsibility, States Rights, Right to Privacy and Conservative Interpretations of the Constitution that were once held so dear). They will buy enough books to re-affirm what they already believe in order to get the Super Stars of their Fallacious Strawman Debates (Hannity, O'Reilly, Coulter, Ingraham etc.) to the top of the Best Seller Lists.

Winning a non-debate is easy. Who is there to defend the other side of the non-issue? They are counting on this. Appearance is everything.

So will they succeed in foisting their insular little world on the rest of the majority of Americans who actually do believe in Peace, Tolerance, Freedom, Property, Liberty and the Love of Constitution?

I don't know. I suppose we'll find out on November 2nd. They pulled it off once briefly (in 2000) and I suppose the question is whether America will fall for the same trick again.

If the Media is the Message, then the Message, no matter how falsely created and debated, wins the day. The Media is everything and the Right Wing owns it. No matter what you may hear when you tune into FOX NEWS or Rush.

If the people are smarter than to fall for that old trick ? and I have no real reason to believe that they are, even though they were smart enough to fend off the absurd attempted coup during the Clinton Era ? perhaps America can get back on course to become Ronald Reagan's ?Shining city on the hill? again. Though that won't happen if Sean Hannity and his insular, rabid, and determined band of Choir Preachers have anything to say about it.