It’s lucky that most of you aren’t near me when I watch Fox News. It’s an ugly experience since I inevitably become enraged and the language gets more than a little bit salty. If I didn’t have to watch it I wouldn’t but it’s important to my work to keep up with what they’re saying. (As citizens you can follow Media Matters and Right Wing Watch to get the highlights without subjecting yourself to the horror of Fox News.)
One of the people who inevitably turns my rage level up to 11 is Mollie Hemingway. So I enjoyed this piece in the New York Times about the certain breed of right wing personality who cleverly evades some of the Dear Leader bootlicking in favor of another tried and true wingnut crowd pleasing strategy:
Ms. [Mollie] Hemingway is part of a group of conservative commentators — who have large social media followings, successful podcasts and daily Fox News appearances — that has helped insulate the president and preserve his popularity with his base, even as many Americans say they are likely to vote against him in November.
What these writers and pundits don’t tend to do is make the doggedly pro-Trump defenses that appear on Breitbart and erupt from the mouth of Sean Hannity. Often, they don’t bother at all with the awkward business of trying to explain away Mr. Trump’s latest folly. Instead, they offer an outlet for outrage against those the president has declared his enemies, often by reducing them to a culture war caricature of liberalism.
Some media scholars see the desire to pick apart Mr. Trump’s critics as a form of entertainment disinformation. “They try to get you not to believe other kinds of information that you might hear in the larger media sphere, and it’s just fun,” said Khadijah White, a professor at Rutgers University who studies race, gender and the media. “It’s really fun to see the other side lose. And that just buttresses the idea that maybe Trump is corrupt, but they’re corrupt too.”
This is the future of the Trump Cult. They will seamlessly move from their love of Trump to their hatred of “the libs” because it’s never really been about him — it’s about them. He said what they were thinking and what they were thinking is how much they hate all their enemies. They don’t really care about trade or America being laughed at or taxes or Jesus. They just hate liberals, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Muslims, all foreigners of all races, ethnicity and religion, and all uppity feminists. In other words, they hate everyone but themselves. And Trump made their hatred mainstream and took it all the way to the White House.
Wingnut welfare recipients like Hemingway will continue to make a tidy living feeding their hatred with lies, propaganda and cant. There is absolutely nothing new about any of that. It’s just that their political leaders (with the exception of clowns like Steve King and Louis Gohmert) left it to the wingnut welfare queens and hate radio hates to feed that grotesque impulse directly. Politicians would indirectly validate these people with attention, dogwhistle their endorsement of the hate, but usually left the crude insults and blatant lies to them so they could appear to be above it all.
Trump was too stupid to understand how that worked. That’s why he could never get out of the low 40s. It’s also why his core base loved him so much. He was one of them.
It’s not about class or region. It’s about who you hate.
The article goes on to look at The Federalist, Hemingway’s home, which is sort of interesting but I can’t say that it’s doing anything that we didn’t see in plenty of conservative rags in the past. It’s just going with the Breitbart model — and the Newsmax model and the American Spectator model and Drudge and blah,blah, blah. It has shadowy funding which means it’s got a rich right wing sugar daddy and that’s also nothing new. This is how the right wing gravy train works.
Republicans who are no fans of Mr. Trump or the turn that their party has taken under him say that its fuming commentariat is a symptom of a deeper problem: its inability to govern. Though the G.O.P. controls half of Washington, its leading voices still often sound like the aggrieved opposition party.
“Ask them what they are building, and they can’t answer,” said Evan McMullin, who ran against Mr. Trump in 2016 as a third-party candidate. “They aren’t trying to build anything. They’re just tearing things down.”
Yeah, ok. Again, nothing new about any of this. McMullin only thinks it is because Trump is such a brutish ignoramus.
Maybe Trump has lowered America’s tolerance for right wing bullshit but I’ll believe it when I see it. This is a financial model that benefits rich Republicans and professional GOP propagandists. If it ain’t broke …
Published with permission of Hullabaloo