A new era of disinformation, ushered in by a powerful conservative media universe, has threatened democracy in ways the Framers never could have anticipated.
By David Todd McCarty | Thursday, June 4, 2020
Republicans have long believed that they could use their version of the Jedi Mind Trick on the American Public in order to avoid being held accountable for their many corruptions, but it was Donald Trump, a con’s man con-man that showed them the real power of lying without remorse.
The thing is, it works. It works surprisingly well. By the time you’re done unraveling the pack of lies you’ve just been told, you’ve nearly forgotten the substance of the original falsehood and the simple-minded targets of the lie have already moved on, taking with them only the internet meme and a new piece of misinformation has now been permanently embedded in their psyche.
With a confident lie and a little wave of their remote control, they simply deny a thing is happening, even if there is direct video evidence, and you, in fact, are standing right there watching it happen. They accuse their opponents of the very thing they are they themselves doing at that very moment, without any evidence to back up their claim, and worst case scenario, they revert to the strategy that you can’t trust the media and anyhow, everyone does it, so what does it really matter?
Ever since the explosion of conservative media outlets that could be counted on to tow the Party line, Republicans have been able to spread disinformation with frightening ease. Fox News has been a godsend for a political party, and their requisite donor class, that feigns populism yet promotes the most elitist agenda imaginable. They have done a spectacular job of brainwashing nearly half the country, that the Republican Party is the moral, ethical, patriotic and populist answer to saving America from the ravages of the heathen left and their globalist agenda.
Donald Trump, the lead proponent of this sociopathic behavior, uses Twitter as a blunt weapon to bludgeon his opponents with and keep his sycophants in line. His messaging lends itself perfectly to 280 characters, and in fact he was probably better off when it was only 140, because Trump traffics in sound bites that don’t always make logical sense, but nearly always make their emotional appeal clear. He doesn’t know much but he knows how he wants you to feel.
Twitter has allowed Trump and the GOP, along with countless media outlets, to saturate the airwaves with their lies and disinformation to the extent that if that’s your only source of information, it’s also your reality. That is what is true.
If Donald Trump tweets that the sky is red, and every Republican backs him up on it, as well as every news source you come in contact with, then obviously anyone saying the sky is blue must be a pinko-liberal, traitor trying to destroy America, Walmart, Jesus, Baseball and all else that is good and wholesome in the world. That is your reality.
There has always been outlandish propaganda from political parties and leaders. The other side has always been the bad guy, but rarely have we seen the sort of demonization we see today. The other side isn’t just ideological wrong or mistaken, they are evil and hell-bent on the destruction of everything you care about—whatever that may be.
There was a time when Americans universally trusted the news media, regardless of political affiliation, and we enjoyed a shared set of facts with which we could bolster or deny a particular ideological argument concerning how best to form a fair and equitable government. We might have arguments over the role of government or business in our everyday lives, but we didn’t disagree on basic principles of factual integrity.
Now you have the President of the United States publicly stating that the police didn’t use tear gas in order to clear a path for his photo-op at a nearby church, even though there is indisputable video evidence and eyewitness testimony to counter that claim. Kelly Anne Conway, one of his senior advisors, tried to use some form of GOP judo to claim that it was spiritually insensitive to call Trump’s visit to the church a photo-op, when it was so clearly nothing more. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader, stood on Capitol Hill and stated without irony that he was “not going to critique other people’s performances” with regards to Trump’s handling of the protests directly outside his door, when mere days before he had asserted that former President Obama “should have kept his mouth shut” concerning Trump’s coronavirus response.
The Republican Party has been entirely consumed by the soulless ideology of Donald Trump, rendering it free from morality and substance, leaving only a hunger for power and an absolute refusal to accept responsibility for anything that doesn’t make their dear leader shine.
There is no political calculus to winning a war of ideas against an opponent that refuses to engage in power sharing with any sort of intellectual, let alone literal, honesty. American politics is no longer two sides having an argument. It is one side doing everything in their power, no matter how vile, illegal, immoral or unconstitutional, to remain in power. There is only one way to combat that sort of undemocratic behavior, which that is to beat them so badly that they are forced to scurry back into the darkness of shame, hiding again under their white hoods of fear and hate, never to be seen from again.
To those who say we must find common ground and learn to work together once again, I say no. That time has long since past. We must permanently destroy the Republican Party that Trump has created in his own image, and trust that a new one rises up in its place. We welcome a conservative party of thoughtful intellectuals willing to keep a liberal party in check, for there is nothing to be gained from an unchecked political party, no matter how well-intentioned.
Until that day, we must strive to begin anew, confident in the ideal that all men are created equally, born of the same God and endowed with the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, so that one day, we might once again believe the claim that we live in the greatest country on earth.