I’ve complained many, many times on BC about how the Right Wing seems to give no consideration whatsoever to the importance of accuracy and factuality of the information they publish, but I can’t help but wonder just how big their lies have to be before Joe Everyman starts seeing the Far Right for what they really are. It’s not as if the Left is always completely truthful, but as I’ve pointed out so often before, it’s a matter of degree. The Right will see ONE fault by the Left and raise hell about it, and never seem to notice that their own faults are much more severe (see “Iraq War”, for one), and many times more numerous.
Just today we’ve been informed that a Mexican drug cartel has invaded Texas near Laredo and took over two ranches. The story was “confirmed” by the San Diego Examiner, and was also repeated by Michelle Malkin and (gasp!) Breitbart.tv.
The fact that it never happened doesn’t appear to matter that much. The Right is now backing off from the story, but is there any real backlash against those major right-wing media sites that repeated the story? Of course not. But if, say, the Huffington Post had repeated it, one can imagine how the Right would trumpet it to the heavens.
But the above is only the latest example. There’s O’Keefe’s fraudulent and totally false attack that took down ACORN, which was funded by Breitbart and aired repeatedly on Fox News, Then there’s Breitbart’s attacks on Van Jones last year about Jones’ name being on an unsavory website…never mind that the owners of that site admitted they never had Jones’ permission to use his name.
Just as egregious is Breitbart’s takedown of Shirley Sherrod by truncating a speech of hers in such a way that it falsely made her look racist and wound up getting her fired…and THEN when the elderly white couple that were the alleged targets of Sherrod’s “racism” spoke up and said that Breitbart’s accusations were completely false, Breitbart had the temerity to claim the two elderly farmers were not who they said they were, that they were part of a ‘hoax’ to cover for Sherrod. It’s worth noting that Ms. Sherrod’s father was lynched by a white racist who (with others) beat him for a half hour dragged him feet-first through the county courthouse to a jail cell where he later died. None of the circumstances of her father’s lynching are debated – except by the conservative site The American Spectator that says it wasn’t really a lynching.
Now – does the Right care one whit about this rack of malicious distortions and outright lies foisted on the American public by Andrew Breitbart? Apparently not, because guess who was a guest speaker at the “Uni-Tea Rally”, a ‘diversity celebration’ sponsored by the Tea Party? You guessed it! Andrew Breitbart! And let’s not forget the Republican National Committee, which confirmed that at a Beverly Hills fundraiser in mid-August that will be hosted by RNC Chairman Michael Steele, their “Very Special Guest” will be none other than…Andrew Breitbart! But then it does seem that a talent for race-baiting seems to be a definite ‘plus’ for potential pundits and newscasters at FOX News.
So where does this all mean? Mr. Breitbart engaged in distortions, fabrications, and outright lies…but such are NOT the real outrage! What IS the real outrage, the hypocrisy of epic proportions, is the fact that neither the Republican party nor its lesser-yet-more-vicious many-headed clone the Tea Party deign to call Mr. Breitbart on the carpet for lying to them and causing them to join him in falsely accusing innocent people!
Mind you, this is not the first time the Right has risen up in ‘righteous’ anger against a strawman of their own construction. There’s a list of over four thousand – four thousand! – distortions, misrepresentations, ‘innocent’ errors, and outright lies by Fox News Channel and its ‘commentators’…and this list contains only what they’ve recorded since November 2004!
(FYI, there is NO comparable list of ‘inaccuracies’ by what the Right calls the ‘liberal-controlled media’. Gather together all the inaccuracies broadcast by ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN over a similar period of time, and the cumulative total will still be FAR less than the total on Fox News Channel.)
That begs the question, then – WHY is it that the Right seems to be okay with being fed all these lies? It seems flatly impossible that those on the Right are so blind and ignorant that they can’t detect at least a significant portion of those lies, right?
Right. I cannot believe those on the Right are, well, that stupid. There’s got to be a reason why they cannot accept solid facts no matter how obvious those facts may be. I must give credit here to Roger Nowoleski, for he was the first one to point out to me that it’s not the facts that matter, but the emotions of the people. When emotions are involved, facts go right out the window.
That’s pretty much what this recent study found: “In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.” (italics mine)
This is apparently why the Right continues to trumpet the everlasting salvation that they believe lay in tax cuts for all and especially for the wealthy…never mind that Reagan Fed Chief Paul Volcker, Reagan Economic Advisor David Stockman, and Alan Greenspan ALL have said how disastrous the Bush tax cuts were for the American economy. But you know how it goes – now that the financial world’s two most powerful men of the last half century have come out against extending Bush’s tax cuts, well, that means they’re socialist communist nazis…and they might even be French! Horrors!
So that’s why they ignore the past ninety years of American history and pretend that the Republicans are truly the party of economic sanity. That’s why they ignore 97% of the world’s climatologists and the Mount Everest of evidence pointing to the reality of global warming caused by humanity (which now includes a 40% decrease of ALL the oceans’ phytoplankton since the 1950s – and the decrease is greatest in the parts of the ocean that have warmed the most). That’s why they ignored the war crimes committed by Bush/Cheney even when it included torture (which even George Washington and Abraham Lincoln refused to do when our nation was in far worse straits). That’s why they’re sure that racism plays little or no part in the Republican and Tea parties.
What’s the answer? How do we get them to listen to fact? I honestly don’t know…but here’s an observation: every time there’s an unseasonably cold day, my neo-con friend tends to point out about how it’s proof that there’s no such thing as global warming, and said exchange has become a bit of a standing joke between us. You see, he doesn’t care that the rest of the planet is so much warmer than normal – it’s what he physically sees and feels that matters. So is this the answer? Must those on the Right physically see and feel how bad the economy’s going to get under the GOP, how bad the weather’s going to get if we ignore the climatologists before Joe Republican starts to think, “well, just maybe those Democrats were right about something”? Is there a point where obvious facts will finally overcome their political dogma?
Maybe…but I don’t think so. I think it goes more along the line of Stephen Decatur’s famous exhortation of patriotism: “Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.” But in the case of the Right that has been steeped in the fantasies of “supply-side economics” and “Democrats and liberals are always wrong no matter how right they are” and spent the past generation in the thrall of an unelected punditocracy, I suspect their version of the quote will go, “Our Party! In her intercourse with those outside our Party, may she always be in the right; but our Party, right or wrong!” The Party (and its return to power) is all that matters…and fact-checkers need not apply.
Truly, none are so blind as those who refuse to see!