What are Fox News, and Breitbart, and Rush Limbaugh, and the whole infrastructure of right-wing media, really? I’ll tell you what: the hugest, most impenetrable SAFE SPACE ever created.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that regular viewers of Fox News are significantly less informed than those who get their news from other sources, often less informed than had they watched no news at all. The most well known of these studies was conducted at Fairleigh Dickinson University several years ago, but more have followed, with similar results.
Given this combination of knowledge deprivation and dainty sensibilities these are folks scared dumb.
So sensitive are these Americans to what they see and hear in this big, bad world of ours they cower from objective reality like snails looking down the business end of a box of Morton’s salt. So incapable are they of facing up to negative facts, and negative truths about their preferred political party and its politics, an entire biosphere was constructed to protect them.
Why do right-wing radio shows and websites proliferate like mosquitos? Why do huge audiences tune in regularly to Fox News bellow-a-thons? Because such is the desperation of tender right-wing souls to get in out of the rain (of reality) and to stay there. The quest for shelter against the tempests of objective fact is boundless.
Rush Limbaugh may be the exemplar of this sheltered milieu. Held in the right’s esteem as a real bad ass, he blusters from the safety of a sealed studio, never venturing into public debate, or neutral forums, or anywhere else he might come face-to-face with an actual adversary. Emulated by keyboard warriors in mothers’ attics everywhere, this is a shoot from behind a rock crowd if ever there was one.
While the rank and file rarely venture beyond the perimeters of the Snowflake Industrial Complex, a few of their heroes, such as Milo Yiannopoulos, and his prototype Ann Coulter, show up for the public fray. They can’t debate. So they set themselves on fire, and let the audience watch the flames rise.
Were it simply a matter of these fragile “conservative” dandelions living in their ideologically absolutist wonderland it wouldn’t matter much. But after a couple of decades. the right now can claim real progress in making their alternative reality competitive with the real thing.
Though bulbs already dimmed from exposure to this radioactive fallout of misinformation can’t get significantly dimmer, ordinary folk simply looking in good faith for reliable information find themselves confused, struggling to distinguish the fact-checked, journalistically sound from the propaganda stream, a task especially difficult in our electronic age, when a thousand lies a second can be launched from multiple platforms at the same time.
Since the days when Richard Nixon was being dethroned, due as much as anything to a dogged press, the right has sought to delegitimize objective reporting, and eventually supplant it with ideologically filtered reality: propaganda presented as news.
And who better to serve as Grand Wizard Snowflake in this empire of resentful, self-pitying hideaways, than that whiner’s whiner himself, Donald Trump. This most insecure of human beings, whose papier-mâché skin is pricked countless times a day by a brutally uncooperative reality, challenging, even mocking his illusory world, and delusional superiority.
Despite his floundering presidency and highly visible swampiness, he remains beloved by his loyal herd of dreck-fed moo cows for the same behavior that earned their devotion to begin with, the lashing out at Meanies, doing so as crudely and clownishly (and ineffectively, though they don’t quite understand that part) as they do.
Notice however, that while Trump and his amen chorus will squeal unashamedly and dismiss outright any story unfavorable to their ilk appearing in the New York Times or Washington Post for instance, let one of these publications print a negative story about Hillary Clinton, or any person or organization considered left of center, and Donald and the legions will go forth trumpeting those reports like the stone tablets Moses trundled down from the mountain. They’ll be extolled at every pep rally from sea to shining sea.
“Media bias”is such fat and ripe humbug that any garden-variety astigmatic with a whiffle ball can nail the target from a block away.
The right-wing personality has always had a preternatural constitutional intolerance for contradictory information (To challenge their beliefs is to challenge their authority) and a commensurate capacity for pushing away the evidentiary inconvenient to held convictions and reflexive assumptions (Neuroscience explains the degree to which these propensities and behaviors are rooted in the rightist brain).
Always remember that much like the right-wing chicken hawks who reliably bluster for war with militaristic bombast, even though they turned up their noses and ran like rabbits in the other direction when asked to serve themselves, these wingnuts bellyaching about political correctness and sensitivity when called out for crudely inane, often racist detritus spewing out of their gobs, are themselves the original shrinking violets.