As the few sane and rational Republicans left in this country are quickly realizing, the vast majority of the conservative media has become a massive problem for not only the Republican Party, but the entire country.
Lifelong conservatives are being shunned and attacked as “RINOs” (Republican in name only), not necessarily because their views have changed, but because the right-wing media, seeking bigger ratings and more money, embraced the unhinged, radical elements of conservatism to such an extent that the Republican Party of today isn’t even recognizable when compared to what it was just a few years ago.
Forget no longer being the “party of Lincoln.” Republicans lost the right to claim that decades ago. Today’s GOP isn’t even the party of Ronald Reagan anymore.
Conservative Charlie Sykes wrote a book I highly recommend called How the Right Lost Its Mind. In it he goes into great detail breaking down how the conservative media’s devolved over the last few decades. One-by-one, high-profile conservative radio hosts, writers, journalists, and pundits betrayed their beliefs to embrace the conspiracy theorists, racists, bigots, and crazies that had always been there — but were mostly ignored.
While the left definitely has its own problem with radical leftists buying into conspiracy theories, irrational behavior, propaganda, and hypocrisy, in my opinion, it doesn’t come anywhere close to what’s happening on the right.
The far-left wanted Bernie Sanders, a sane, rational person who wants to help people gain access to health care, higher education, and the ability to learn a living wage. The far-right chose Donald Trump, an incompetent, racist buffoon who pushes conspiracy theories, calls some Nazis “fine people,” lies quicker than fact-checkers can debunk his propaganda, has the maturity of a petulant tween who lacks any semblance of impulse control, and has turned the United States into a global laughingstock.
So, no, the two sides aren’t comparable.
While there are many reasons why today’s GOP has become what it is, for me, it all starts with how conservatives get their “news.”
Or should I say, how they get their entertainment.
If you really pay attention to most of the go-to sources to which Republicans flock, most aren’t seeking out quality journalists or actual news — they’re following conservative entertainers.
Con artists such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge, Tucker Carlson, Bill O’Reilly, Breitbart, The Five, Fox & Friends — these are some of the most-watched, listened to, or followed conservative sources among the right-wing media and none of them are credible journalists or websites.
They’re conservative entertainers chasing money, ratings, power, and influence.
You think someone like Limbaugh, Hannity, or Jones are going to lose a huge chunk of their audience — and millions of dollars — to someone out-crazying them by pandering to what many Republican voters want to hear, no matter how fictional it is?
Of course not.
They’re going to see where the money is going and do their best to out-pander the other frauds who also present themselves as “news and information people” (even if they deny that title, it’s clearly what they’re trying to be) when they’re nothing more than conservative entertainers trying to produce a “show” their audience wants to follow.
And that’s the problem.
In the realm of the conservative media, the entertainers are king. It’s where a huge chunk of — if not most — conservatives get the totality of their “news and information.”
All Donald Trump did was build a campaign based on one simple notion: Pander to the top comments you’ll find on your typical right-wing blog.
He essentially did what the vast majority of the conservative media has done over the last few decades. He didn’t build a fact-based campaign predicated on actual conservative principles, values, or facts — he pandered to an audience by telling them what they wanted to hear.
No lie was too big or outrageous. Conservative voters couldn’t have cared less, just as long as what Trump was saying was what most of them wanted to hear.
That’s what makes countering conservative ignorance so incredibly difficult. You’re trying to counter millions of people who think individuals such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Glenn Beck are legitimate, credible journalists — when that’s not remotely true.
These frauds are nothing more than actors and entertainers playing a part. That part just happens to be that of someone trying to portray themselves as a credible source of information.
It’s an incredibly dangerous situation. This isn’t some reality TV show or made-for-TV drama, this unethical, corrupt nonsense is impacting the lives of every American and tearing this country apart.