Fox News is teaching me
Three weeks and two days (feels like three years and two nervous breakdowns) since Trump was sworn (I think we were all swearing that day) in as president, and I still flinch to hear “President Trump today…”
I’m partially flinching to cover my vital organs against the day’s newest cruelty, but I also still cannot believe we elected such a vile TV character as our president. From fictional “reality” TV to fictional alternative facts. Still can’t believe it. It all caught me by surprise, and twenty-three long days into the misadministration it hasn’t worn off.
Not here in my liberal bubble of reasonable job availability, supportive peers, and all around plausible hope for the future. (Exorbitant property values notwithstanding.) It is clear that if I am to protect myself from further nauseous astonishment, and do my part to reintegrate a country divided by wealthy owners of corporate media and manipulative politicians ensconced in comfy outrage, I need to puncture that bubble.
But how? Actually go to a “Red State” and meet people? I’d friggin love to! But life is a busy thing.
(Three screenshots from January 30, me procrastinating on a Monday I guess)
So for now my phone will start the process. Some mornings I reach for it and one of the wizardlicious swipes and pokes brings me four trending news headlines. Some irresponsible editorialism sneaks in there, but for the most part I get three good news stories…and a Fox News.
It’s been fascinating.
The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and even poor beleaguered CNN report on what’s happening in America today (the algorithm rarely pierces our self-absorptive US borders) while that fourth line, oh tricky little fella, will so often eel itself with greasy dexterity into some sort of rage politics, celebrity scandal, Trump fanfare, or their favorite: bashing on Obama and/or Clinton.
They still beat on Hillary! Fascinating! That’s like running ads against Nancy Kerrigan. The lady’s career is over! She lost! But no, she’s still a beloved punching bag and distraction flare. Keeping people righteously outraged and problematically uninformed.
I’ll be honest. I’m almost rooting for the most inflammatory and irrelevant distraction stories possible. Almost. Except for the fact that it’s destroying the very fabric of human decency which underlays a successful society, much less government.
So day by day my apple info-bots are teaching me about America, one Faux News headline at a time. It’s a tiny dose, I should up my intake, but some days it’s all the bitter pill I can swallow.
Don’t stray too far into the abyss. Three times in three weeks two of my Trump-voting sisters have ripped me to shreds on Facebook for posting items that go against their opinions. The first item was a list of phone numbers of Senators to call to ask them not to approve DeVos as Education Secretary. My sisters’ FB comments were so filled with venom and hatred that I was forced to delete the whole post. On the most recent one—a link to an article about hate crimes against Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists etc—I was gratified by the comments of complete strangers who stood up for me. And in future I will post only about kitties and puppies. 😦
That is terrible, I’m sorry to hear that. What’s going on today is so much worse than mere “politics.” Normally I adhere to a doctrine of only discussing such things with people I know, and who know that I respect their right to an opinion (even if it’s ass-backwards) but if you ever need another lifeline of sanity in one of those things, let me know!
[I’m almost curious to see what someone could possibly come up with to advocate for Betsy DeVos, a woman so profoundly unqualified to run the Department of Education I don’t understand how anyone with a child in school wasn’t calling their congressmembers to object. And people…defending hate crime? Lord help them.]
LikeLiked by 1 person
In relation to the list of numbers to call about DeVos, one sister complained that I hadn’t said one nice thing about the US in the last 30 years, NOT ONE THING. Obviously she missed my reference to the importance of keeping the US public schools strong. Don’t think she used a lot of logic on the complaint either.
Oh, and the sisters weren’t defending hate crimes, but laid into me because I didn’t include a link or refer to the fact that, according to them, more Christians suffer from hate crimes than any other religion. ‘Go ahead and look it up,’ they said. If they are so sure of it, why didn’t they just supply the link?
Rant over. Thanks for the safe haven. Stay well back from the abyss. 🙂
Were they talking about hate crimes in the US? A quick google search brought up several pages which all agree that, surprisingly, Jews are BY FAR the largest victims of hate crimes, well above…Muslims. Christians are further down the list. [Lots of possible links to give them, but I find people tend to prefer Snopes. http://www.snopes.com/true-jews-are-more-often-victims-of-hate-crimes-than-muslims/%5D
If they were talking about worldwide, well, that’s harder to quantify but about 95% of the victims of terrorism are Muslim. Then there’s the problem that, in my opinion, the person doing the most to increase anti-Christian sentiment in the world today is Trump. If it would be useful I can try to dig up the letter signed by over 900 State Department experts who agree that the “travel ban” does not make America safer, for precisely that reason. (It’s mentioned here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-muslim-ban-wont-make-us-safer-majority-americans-polls-secuirty-immigration-travel-a7558016.html)
LikeLiked by 1 person
I don’t know how widely they were spreading the net of hate crimes, and that’s why I said according to them. Sadly too many people believe the lines that are being fed to them without fact checking. Thanks for the links. After a war of words with my sisters I have decided to confine my conversations with them to puppies, kitties, food, our children etc. I’m not going to change their minds anyway and I seriously doubt they’d read what I sent. The best aspect is that I know for sure that at least 2/3s of their children did not vote for Trump and have apologised to me privately on behalf of their mothers. Hope for the younger generation.
LikeLiked by 1 person
All one has to do is listen to Fox News and right-wing talk radio to understand where the current hateful, delusional mindset comes from. They have kept up a constant drumbeat for years and have been incredibly effective in whipping people into a frenzy about non-existent issues. Unfortunately, if you accuse people of being influenced by all the crazy talking points, it plays right into their theme that the liberal elite consider all Fox news listeners to be stupid and easily swayed by propaganda. Its a serious problem and I don’t see any easy fix.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Entirely so! I remember seeing a report by a guy who watched nothing but Fox News for a month. He confessed that he was starting to feel their influence too, and noted the way they manipulate by not reporting anything that might foster compassion, understanding, or awareness of anything but “They’re attacking America!” anger and fear. No stories about actual refugees, what was happening abroad, or ways that America benefits from being part of the world order.
Friggin scary, since you’re right that they’ve walled themselves off from discussion. Have I, also? I hope not.
Not that I’ve noticed! As far as I can tell, you are endlessly curious and open-minded. There is nothing wrong with having a point of view or with flatly disagreeing with Trump supporters and their positions. That doesn’t make one close-minded. What is frightening now is that Fox and its ilk have brought disagreement to a new level by creating a dangerous us vs. them mindset, vilifying those who “disagree,” and convincing its listeners that the “libtards”/elite/washington insiders/immigrants/brown people/LGBT/secularists/muslims/guncontrol advocates/uppity women/Obamas/Clintons and other boogeymen are mocking them and out to take away everything they hold dear. Rupert Murdoch has a lot to answer for. Yet, sadly, I imagine he sleeps well at night.