Until about 2 months ago I never, ever watched Fox News. Never. What little I knew about them came from the clips here on C&L in posts (I've been a C&L reader since 2005). I knew they were horrible because of those clips.
But a few months ago I decided the time had come to face the Fox beast head-on and really see if it was as bad as I thought it was. I discovered it was worse. And the Frank Luntz/Sean Hannity special on the "real voters of America" has to be one of the worst examples of it.
In this Hannity
propaganda piece special, they claim to have compiled an audience of voters who are a blend of Obama voters and conservatives. They're careful to note that they're Obama voters, not Obama supporters. There is a difference. Assume the audience is a group of ultra-conservatives, conservatives, and conservative independents who crossed over to vote for Obama.
The premise is to deal with why people hate government, feel disconnected, have no confidence in Congress. The true goal, in my opinion, was to reinforce why people hate government. To bring on Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan and their insane plans for this country under the pretense of understanding voter anger is absurd. To bring on 18 tea party freshmen Congressmen just makes them bigger lying liars than they already are. And to cap it off with Jeb Hensarling and Rob Andrews just proves that it's not about any sincere effort to bring "government and the people" together. It's about giving Republicans free air time to sell their odious plans with Frank Luntz guiding the discussion with handheld meters of approval or disapproval. Suffice it to say, whenever a Republican opened his or her mouth, the HappyMeter went up to 100%.
If a casual viewer were to flip through channels and land on this special, they'd think that every American on the planet stays awake at night wondering how their precious little babies will pay off the national debt, that there's only one party in Congress, and there are no alternatives other than to lower taxes on the rich and end Medicare and the entire social contract which has worked so well up till now.
Which is, of course, exactly what these evil men want people to think. I don't often call people evil, but what is going on right now in the media at the hands of Fox News is evil. Pure, bold, propaganda.
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I have one final clip for you. In this one, they play a commercial which ran in Wisconsin, sponsored by unions. In particular, watch the reaction lines, which start out quite low and rise. Predictably, Democrats approve of it and Republicans disapprove. But when the audience is asked to react, there isn't one Democrat speaking. Only conservatives who loathe -- abhor -- unions. There isn't enough hyperbole in the English language to express how dishonest this segment is. It isn't until one audience member speaks up and says he's a teacher and resents the suggestion that he doesn't work hard that any "liberal" voice is heard.
Luntz sums up this segment by saying he understands why Wisconsin looks and sounds like it does. Oh really? Because I really don't think his understanding and mine come even close to being the same.
Here's what I really want to know. Of the most vocal tea party members in the audience like the woman in this union segment who practically spits venom when she talks, how many of them are high-level operatives and how many are just "ordinary citizens"? I'm betting they might have "forgotten" to disclose that information.
The show concludes with Luntz claiming a Citizens United ad run back in January against deficit spending is universally popular with his "bipartisan audience." And just for good measure, he points to paintings of Lincoln and Reagan as evidence that our country has been far more divided than it is right now.
There appears to be no bottom low enough for them to scrape.