On a regular basis, I see people posting right-wing media links here on our website or elsewhere on the Internet as proof that there exists a vast liberal conspiracy to deprive them of their guns, or whatever the newest media hype is. Immigration, health care, gay marriage, Planned Parenthood or Jade Helm – these are just a few of the issues that the right-wing media are constantly promoting to keep their followers angry and tuning in for their next outrage fix.
While this is a very profitable venture for Fox News, Infowars and the countless other right-wing media sources out there, it is very frustrating for politicians who have to placate the angry voters who show up at town halls demanding they impeach President Obama for whatever the conservative outrage is in the current media cycle.
Via Media Matters:
When it comes to national issues, Republicans fret that the conservative media has pushed the party “far to the anti-government, anti-compromise ideological right.” Republicans pointed to the conservative media being “on the wrong side of history” and at odds with public opinion on “gay rights, insurance for contraceptives, climate change, and budget policy.” They also complained that right-wing pundits have destroyed Republicans’ ability to help pass comprehensive immigration reform.
One Republican Senate aide claimed that it’s “the conservative media pushing us to take these positions, these extremist positions. And of course there are those who are more than willing to take them because it gets them press. It’s a vicious cycle: The shows want ratings — they’re a business. The members want publicity. So it’s just this unholy alliance.” (Source)
They’re right, it is a vicious cycle and it isn’t solely confined to right-wing media either. There are some, but not nearly as many, liberal sources that use some of the same tactics to keep their followers engaged. As an example, we have performed fact checks on the liberal Facebook page and website Occupy Democrats, which has also performed very poorly under scrutiny from Politifact.
However, nobody seems to be able to outdo the right-wing media when it comes to promoting ignorance and paranoia, except for perhaps the March Against Monsanto organic food lobby which Infowars is tied into. As we saw in 2012, Mitt Romney had to tack so far to the right to win the primaries, he lost in an electoral college landslide in the general election. Many other Republican politicians find themselves in the same bind in other elections, simply because of the fact that the people who subscribe to The Blaze or Breitbart tend to show up at the polls more than the people who might turn to the Wall Street Journal or The Economist for their information.
This will prove to be a serious issue in the 2016 primaries as Republican candidates struggle to keep from saying things that would sink them in the general election, while trying to appease voters who are convinced that every mass shooting is a false flag designed to confiscate their guns. Thanks to the likes of Infowars and Town Hall, their chances of winning grow ever smaller while the shrill, paranoid rhetoric grows ever louder.
Fear-mongering is often how you stay in business if you’re in the media. It works great for keeping followers angry and buying guns or Viagra, but it comes at a great cost to the same political party the right-wing media goes to bat for every single day.
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