While many anti-Trump Republicans (and even some who are begrudgingly supporting him) have gone out of their way to make excuses concerning his success within the GOP despite the vile, racist, bigoted and outrageously ignorant things he constantly says and does, there have also been a few who’ve been fairly honest about what’s happened to the modern-day Republican party.
Though I haven’t found anyone from the right who’s described what we’re seeing as well as conservative radio host Charlie Sykes did in an interview with Business Insider where he fully admitted that the right-wing media has created an environment in which facts no longer matter to many Republican voters.
“We’ve basically eliminated any of the referees, the gatekeepers. There’s nobody. Let’s say that Donald Trump basically makes whatever you want to say, whatever claim he wants to make. And everybody knows it’s a falsehood,” Sykes said. “The big question of my audience, it is impossible for me to say that. ‘By the way, you know it’s false.’ And they’ll say, ‘Why? I saw it on Allen B. West.’ Or they’ll say, ‘I saw it on a Facebook page.’ And I’ll say, ‘The New York Times did a fact check.’ And they’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s The New York Times. That’s bullshit.’”
He also went on to explain that as a conservative radio host, even he’s faced backlash for fact-checking Trump, saying many people will call him a “sell out” for doing so.
“We’ve created this monster,” he added. “Look, I’m a conservative talk show host. All conservative talk show hosts have basically established their brand as being contrasted with the mainstream media. So we have spent 20 years demonizing the liberal mainstream media. And by the way, a lot has been justifiable. There is real bias. But, at a certain point you wake up and you realize you have destroyed the credibility of any credible outlet out there.”
While I disagree on the “bias” in the mainstream media (I’m sorry, just because liberals are more factual than conservatives doesn’t make the mainstream media “biased” toward the left), he’s absolutely right in saying that a large part of what the conservative media has become is this propaganda “monster” that constantly seeks to discredit factual information.
If anything, what I’m seeing is a lot of the conservative media going from simply spinning information toward a conservative slant to becoming blatant conspiracy theorists.
For example, Fox News’ Sean Hannity, one of the most well-known personalities on the network, has spent the last week or so pushing absurd conspiracies about Hillary Clinton’s health. And what’s been the “smoking gun” many who believe this nonsense have been using? A picture, from February, when she slipped on ice that many are trying to pass off as something that recently occurred. Other than that, this “story” is pure garbage… but it’s “news” that’s been featured on a major cable news network.
Even fringe right-wing propaganda sites like Breitbart have somehow become “credible news,” while I’ve seen more and more Republicans using InfoWars (a site that sells nuclear fallout gear and claims basically every mass shooting is a “false flag”) to support their nonsense.
What the GOP and the conservative media have done is create what’s essentially a political cult. It’s a party driven and supported by people who think credible news is all biased, fact-checking is fixed and the only “truth” they believe is what those who are feeding them propaganda will tell them.
Even now, Donald Trump is setting up a potential loss in November by saying that the only way he’s going to lose is if the election is rigged. So, that way, if he does lose, you can bet that the big “push” within the conservative media is going to be searching for any “story” they can twist into “proof” that there was voter fraud and Hillary Clinton didn’t really win. Though most of these stories (like we saw during the primaries) are often based upon people who are writing about these incidents not knowing what the heck they’re talking about, creating a “story” based on their own ignorance.
We are reaching a dangerous point in this country where nearly half the nation has become cult followers of a conspiracy-driven political party. And if the Republican party and the few sane conservatives left on the right-wing don’t do something about this soon, these crazy people are going to tear this country apart.
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