An Insider’s View: The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America

In deep-red white America, the white Christian God is king.

Source:AlterNet

Author:Forsetti’s Justice / AlterNet

Emphasis Mine

(N.B.: at the end of the day, belief in a White Christian God is the problem…)

As the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump is being sorted out, a common theme keeps cropping up from all sides: “Democrats failed to understand white, working-class, fly-over America.”

Trump supporters are saying this. Progressive pundits are saying this. Talking heads across all forms of the media are saying this. Even some Democratic leaders are saying this. It doesn’t matter how many people say it, it is complete bullshit. It is an intellectual/linguistic sleight of hand meant to throw attention away from the real problem. The real problem isn’t east coast elites who don’t understand or care about rural America. The real problem is rural America doesn’t understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no interest in finding out. They don’t want to know why they feel the way they do or why they are struggling because they don’t want to admit it is in large part because of choices they’ve made and horrible things they’ve allowed themselves to believe.

I grew up in rural, Christian, white America. You’d be hard-pressed to find an area in the country that has a higher percentage of Christians or whites. I spent most of the first 24 years of my life deeply embedded in this culture. I religiously (pun intended) attended their Christian services. I worked off and on, on their rural farms. I dated their calico skirted daughters. I camped, hunted, and fished with their sons. I listened to their political rants at the local diner and truck stop. I winced at their racist/bigoted jokes and epithets that were said more out of ignorance than animosity. I have also watched the town I grew up in go from a robust economy with well-kept homes and infrastructure turn into a struggling economy with shuttered businesses, dilapidated homes, and a broken down infrastructure over the past 30 years. The problem isn’t that I don’t understand these people. The problem is they don’t understand themselves, the reasons for their anger/frustrations, and don’t seem to care to know why.

In deep-red white America, the white Christian God is king, figuratively and literally. Religious fundamentalism is what has shaped most of their belief systems. Systems built on a fundamentalist framework are not conducive to introspection, questioning, learning, change. When you have a belief system that is built on fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t “coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans.” The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views are automatically discounted. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with rural white Americans and whenever I present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they WILL NOT even entertain the possibility it might be true. Their refusal is a result of the nature of their fundamentalist belief system and the fact I’m the enemy because I’m an educated liberal.

At some point during the discussion, “That’s your education talking,” will be said, derogatorily, as a general dismissal of everything I said. They truly believe this is a legitimate response because to them education is not to be trusted. Education is the enemy of fundamentalism because fundamentalism, by its very nature, is not built on facts. The fundamentalists I grew up around aren’t anti-education. They want their kids to know how to read and write. They are anti-quality, in-depth, broad, specialized education. Learning is only valued up to the certain point. Once it reaches the level where what you learn contradicts doctrine and fundamentalist arguments, it becomes dangerous. I watched a lot of my fellow students who were smart, stop their education the day they graduated high school. For most of the young ladies, getting married and having kids was more important than continuing their learning. For many of the young men, getting a college education was seen as unnecessary and a waste of time. For the few who did go to college, what they learned was still filtered through their fundamentalist belief system. If something they were taught didn’t support a preconception, it would be ignored and forgotten the second it was no longer needed to pass an exam.

Knowing this about their belief system and their view of outside information that doesn’t support it, telling me that the problem is coastal elites not understanding them completely misses the point.

Another problem with rural, Christian, white Americans is they are racists. I’m not talking about white hood-wearing, cross-burning, lynching racists (though some are). I’m talking about people who deep down in their heart of hearts truly believe they are superior because they are white. Their white God made them in his image and everyone else is a less-than-perfect version, flawed and cursed.

The religion in which I was raised taught this. Even though they’ve backtracked on some of their more racist declarations, many still believe the original claims. Non-whites are the color they are because of their sins, or at least the sins of their ancestors. Blacks don’t have dark skin because of where they lived and evolution; they have dark skin because they are cursed. God cursed them for a reason. If God cursed them, treating them as equals would be going against God’s will. It is really easy to justify treating people differently if they are cursed by God and will never be as good as you no matter what they do because of some predetermined status.

Once you have this view, it is easy to lower the outside group’s standing and acceptable level of treatment. Again, there are varying levels of racism at play in rural, Christian, white America. I know people who are ardent racists. I know a lot more whose racism is much more subtle but nonetheless racist. It wouldn’t take sodium pentothal to get most of these people to admit they believe they are fundamentally better and superior to minorities. They are white supremacists who dress up in white dress shirts, ties, and gingham dresses. They carry a Bible and tell you, “everyone’s a child of God” but forget to mention that some of God’s children are more favored than others and skin tone is the criterion by which we know who is and who isn’t at the top of God’s list of most favored children.

For us “coastal elites” who understand evolution, genetics, science…nothing we say to those in fly-over country is going to be listened to because not only are we fighting against an anti-education belief system, we are arguing against God. You aren’t winning a battle of beliefs with these people if you are on one side of the argument and God is on the other. No degree of understanding this is going to suddenly make them less racist, more open to reason and facts. Telling “urban elites” they need to understand rural Americans isn’t going to lead to a damn thing because it misses the causes of the problem.

Because rural, Christian, white Americans will not listen to educated arguments, supported by facts that go against their fundamentalist belief systems from “outsiders,” any change must come from within. Internal change in these systems does happen, but it happens infrequently and it always lags far behind reality. This is why they fear change so much. They aren’t used to it. Of course, it really doesn’t matter whether they like it or not, it, like the evolution and climate change even though they don’t believe it, it is going to happen whether they believe in it or not.

Another major problem with closed-off, fundamentalist belief systems is they are very susceptible to propaganda. All belief systems are to some extent, but fundamentalist systems even more so because there are no checks and balances. If bad information gets in, it doesn’t get out and because there are no internal mechanisms to guard against it, it usually ends up very damaging to the whole. A closed-off belief system is like your spinal fluid—it is great as long as nothing infectious gets into it. If bacteria gets into your spinal fluid, it causes unbelievable damage because there are no white blood cells in it whose job is to fend off invaders and protect the system. This is why things like meningitis are so horrible. Without the protective services of white blood cells in the spinal column, meningitis spreads like wildfire once it’s in and does significant damage in a very short period of time. Once inside the closed-off spinal system, bacteria are free to destroy whatever they want.

The very same is true with closed-off belief systems. Without built-in protective functions like critical analysis, self-reflection, openness to counter-evidence, willingness to re-evaluate any and all beliefs, etc., bad information in a closed-off system ends up doing massive damage in short period of time. What has happened to too many fundamentalist belief systems is damaging information has been allowed in from people who have been granted “expert status.” If someone is allowed into a closed-off system and their information is deemed acceptable, anything they say will readily be accepted and become gospel.

Rural, Christian, white Americans have let in anti-intellectual, anti-science, bigoted, racists into their system as experts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, any of the blonde Stepford Wives on Fox, every evangelical preacher on television because they tell them what they want to hear and because they sell themselves as being “one of them.” The truth is none of these people give a rat’s ass about rural, Christian, white Americans except how can they exploit them for attention and money. None of them have anything in common with the people who have let them into their belief systems with the exception they are white and they “speak the same language” of white superiority, God’s will must be obeyed, and how, even though they are the Chosen Ones, they are the ones being screwed by all the people and groups they believe they are superior to.

Gays being allowed to marry are a threat. Blacks protesting the killing of their unarmed friends and family are a threat. Hispanics doing the cheap labor on their farms are somehow viewed a threat. The black president is a threat. Two billion Muslims are a threat. The Chinese are a threat. Women wanting to be autonomous are a threat. The college educated are a threat. Godless scientists are a threat. Everyone who isn’t just like them has been sold to them as a threat and they’ve bought it hook, line, and grifting sinker. Since there are no self-regulating mechanisms in their belief systems, these threats only grow over time. Since facts and reality don’t matter, nothing you say to them will alter their beliefs. “President Obama was born in Kenya, is a secret member of the Muslim Brotherhood who hates white Americans and is going to take away their guns.” I feel ridiculous even writing this, it is so absurd, but it is gospel across large swaths of rural America. Are rural, Christian, white Americans scared? You’re damn right they are. Are their fears rational and justified? Hell no. The problem isn’t understanding their fears. The problem is how to assuage fears based on lies in closed-off fundamentalist belief systems that don’t have the necessary tools for properly evaluating the fears.

I don’t have a good answer to this question. When a child has an irrational fear, you can deal with it because they trust you and are open to possibilities. When someone doesn’t trust you and isn’t open to anything not already accepted as true in their belief system, there really isn’t much, if anything you can do. This is why I think the whole, “Democrats have to understand and find common ground with rural America,” is misguided and a complete waste of time. When a 3,000-year-old book that was written by uneducated, pre-scientific people, subject to translation innumerable times, edited with political and economic pressures from popes and kings, is given higher intellectual authority than facts arrived at from a rigorous, self-critical, constantly re-evaluating system that can and does correct mistakes, no amount of understanding, no amount of respect, no amount of evidence is going to change their minds, assuage their fears.

Do you know what does change the beliefs of fundamentalists, sometimes? When something becomes personal. Many a fundamentalist has changed his mind about the LGBT community once his loved ones started coming out of the closet. Many have not. But those who did, did so because their personal experience came in direct conflict with what they believe. My own father is a good example of this. For years I had long, sometimes heated discussions with him about gay rights. Being the good religious fundamentalist he is, he could not even entertain the possibility he was wrong. The Church said it was wrong, so therefore it was wrong. No questions asked. No analysis needed. This changed when one of his adored stepchildren came out of the closet. He didn’t do a complete 180. He has a view that tries to accept gay rights while at the same time viewing being gay as a mortal sin because his need to have his belief system be right outweighs everything else.

This isn’t uncommon. Deeply held beliefs are usually only altered, replaced under catastrophic circumstances that are personal. This belief system alteration works both ways. I know die-hard, open-minded progressives who became ardent fundamentalists due to a traumatic event in their lives.

A really good example of this is the comedian Dennis Miller. I’ve seen Miller in concert four different times during the 1990s. His humor was complex, riddled with references, and leaned pretty left on almost all issues. Then 9/11 happened. For whatever reasons, the trauma of 9/11 caused a seismic shift in Miller’s belief system. Now he is a mainstay on conservative talk radio. His humor was replaced with anger and frustration. 9/11 changed his belief system because it was a catastrophic event that was personal to him.

The catastrophe of the Great Depression along with the progressive remedies by FDR helped create a generation of Democrats from previously die-hard Republicans. People who had, up until that point, deeply believed the government couldn’t help the economy only the free market could change their minds when the brutal reality of the Great Depression affected them directly, personally.

I thought the financial crisis in 2008 would have a similar, though lesser, impact on many Republicans. It didn’t. The systems that were put in place after the Great Recession to deal with economic crises, the quick, smart response by Congress and the administration helped make what could have been a catastrophic event into merely a really bad one. People suffered, but they didn’t suffer enough to where they were open to questioning their deeply held beliefs. Because this questioning didn’t take place, the Great Recession didn’t lead to any meaningful political shift away from poorly regulated markets, supply side economics, or how to respond to a financial crisis. This is why, even though rural Christian white Americans were hit hard by the Great Recession, they not only didn’t blame the political party they’ve aligned themselves with for years, they rewarded them two years later by voting them into a record number of state legislatures and taking over the U.S. House.

Of course, it didn’t help matters there were scapegoats available they could direct their fears, anger, and white supremacy towards. A significant number of rural Americans believe President Obama was in charge when the financial crisis started. An even higher number believe the mortgage crisis was the result of the government forcing banks to give loans to unqualified minorities. It doesn’t matter how untrue both of these are, they are gospel in rural America. Why reevaluate your beliefs and voting patterns when scapegoats are available?

How do you make climate change personal to someone who believes only God can alter the weather? How do you make racial equality personal to someone who believes whites are naturally superior to non-whites? How do you make gender equality personal to someone who believes women are supposed to be subservient to men by God’s command? How do you get someone to view minorities as not threatening personal to people who don’t live around and never interact with them? How do you make personal the fact massive tax cuts and cutting back government hurts their economic situation when they’ve voted for these for decades? I don’t think you can without some catastrophic events. And maybe not even then. The Civil War was pretty damn catastrophic yet a large swath of the South believed and still believes they were right, had the moral high ground. They were/are also mostly Christian fundamentalists who believe they are superior because of the color of their skin and the religion they profess to follow. There is a pattern here for anyone willing to connect the dots.

“Rural, white America needs to be better understood,” is not one of the dots. “Rural, white America needs to be better understood,” is a dodge, meant to avoid the real problems because talking about the real problems is viewed as “too upsetting,” “too mean,” “too arrogant,” “too elite,” “too snobbish.” Pointing out Aunt Bee’s views of Mexicans, blacks, gays…is bigoted isn’t the thing one does in polite society. Too bad more people don’t think the same about the views Aunt Bee has. It’s the classic, “You’re a racist for calling me a racist,” ploy. Or, as it is more commonly known, “I know you are but what am I?”

I do think rational arguments are needed, even if they go mostly ignored and ridiculed. I believe in treating people with the respect they’ve earned but the key point here is “earned.” I’ll gladly sit down with Aunt Bee and have a nice, polite conversation about her beliefs about “the gays,” “the blacks,” “illegals,”…and do so without calling her a bigot or a racist. But, this doesn’t mean she isn’t a bigot and a racist and if I’m asked to describe her beliefs these are the only words that honestly fit. No one with cancer wants to be told they have cancer, but just because no one uses the word, “cancer,” it doesn’t mean they don’t have it. Just because the media, pundits on all sides, some Democratic leaders don’t want to call the actions of many rural, Christian, white Americans, “racist/bigoted” doesn’t make them not so.

Avoiding the obvious only prolongs getting the necessary treatment. America has always had a race problem. It was built on racism and bigotry. This didn’t miraculously go away in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. It didn’t go away with the election of Barack Obama. If anything, these events pulled back the curtain exposing the dark, racist underbelly of America that white America likes to pretend doesn’t exist because we are the reason it exists. From the white nationalists to the white, suburban soccer moms who voted for Donald Trump, to the far left progressives who didn’t vote at all, racism exists and has once again been legitimized and normalized by white America.

The honest truths that rural, Christian, white Americans don’t want to accept and until they do nothing is going to change, are:

-Their economic situation is largely the result of voting for supply-side economic policies that have been the largest redistribution of wealth from the bottom/middle to the top in U.S. history.

Immigrants haven’t taken their jobs. If all immigrants, legal or otherwise, were removed from the U.S., our economy would come to a screeching halt and prices on food would soar.

Immigrants are not responsible for companies moving their plants overseas. Almost exclusively white business owners are the ones responsible because they care more about their share holders who are also mostly white than they do American workers.

No one is coming for their guns. All that has been proposed during the entire Obama administration is having better background checks.

Gay people getting married is not a threat to their freedom to believe in whatever white God you want to. No one is going to make their church marry gays, make gays your pastor, accept gays for membership.

Women having access to birth control doesn’t affect their life either, especially women who they complain about being teenage, single mothers.

-Blacks are not “lazy moochers living off their hard earned tax dollars” anymore than many of your fellow rural neighbors. People in need are people in need. People who can’t find jobs because of their circumstances, a changing economy, outsourcing overseas, etc. belong to all races.

They get a tremendous amount of help from the government they complain does nothing for them. From the roads and utility grids they use to the farm subsidies, crop insurance, commodities protections…they benefit greatly from government assistance. The Farm Bill is one of the largest financial expenditures by the U.S. government. Without government assistance, their lives would be considerably worse.

-They get the largest share of Food Stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

-They complain about globalization but line up like everyone else to get the latest Apple product. They have no problem buying foreign-made guns, scopes, and hunting equipment. They don’t think twice about driving trucks whose engine was made in Canada, tires made in Japan, radio made in Korea, computer parts made in Malaysia.

-They use illicit drugs as much as any other group. But, when other people do it is a “moral failing” and they should be severely punished, legally. When they do it, it is a “health crisis” that needs sympathy and attention.

-When jobs dry up for whatever reasons, they refuse to relocate but lecture the poor in places like Flint for staying in towns that are failing.

-They are quick to judge minorities for being “welfare moochers” but don’t think twice about cashing their welfare check every month.

-They complain about coastal liberals, but the taxes from California and New York are what covers their farm subsidies, helps maintain their highways, and keeps their hospitals in their sparsely populated areas open for business.

-They complain about “the little man being run out of business” then turn around and shop at big box stores.

-They make sure outsiders are not welcome, deny businesses permits to build, then complain about businesses, plants opening up in less rural areas.

Government has not done enough to help them in many cases but their local and state governments are almost completely Republican and so too are their representatives and senators. Instead of holding them accountable, they vote them in over and over and over again.

All the economic policies and ideas that could help rural America belong to the Democratic Party: raising the minimum wage, strengthening unions, infrastructure spending, reusable energy growth, slowing down the damage done by climate change, healthcare reform…all of these and more would really help a lot of rural Americans.

What I understand is that rural, Christian, white Americans are entrenched in fundamentalist belief systems; don’t trust people outside their tribe; have been force-fed a diet of misinformation and lies for decades; are unwilling to understand their own situations; and truly believe whites are superior to all races. No amount of understanding is going to change these things or what they believe. No amount of niceties will get them to be introspective. No economic policy put forth by someone outside their tribe is going to be listened to no matter how beneficial it would be for them. I understand rural, Christian, white America all too well. I understand their fears are based on myths and lies. I understand they feel left behind by a world they don’t understand and don’t really care to. They are willing to vote against their own interest if they can be convinced it will make sure minorities are harmed more. Their Christian beliefs and morals are truly only extended to fellow white Christians. They are the problem with progress and always will be, because their belief systems are constructed against it.

The problem isn’t a lack of understanding by coastal elites. The problem is a lack of understanding of why rural, Christian, white America believes, votes, behaves the ways it does by rural, Christian, white America.

See:http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/rural-america-understanding-isnt-problem?akid=14946.123424.kspCKT&rd=1&src=newsletter1068152&t=2

Welcome to the GOP’s Age of Rage: Shocking New Study Shows How Anger Is Fueling the Republican Party

Source: AlterNet

Author: Heather Digby Parton/Salon

Emphasis Mine

According to the latest Pew poll, Republicans are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. They are, as usual, deeply confused about what government does and what they want it to do, but whatever it is, they’re very angry about it. Thirty-two percent of GOP voters say they are mad at the government, while only 12 percent of Democrats say the same. According to Pew, among the truly engaged (like those, say, who go to a political rally a year before an election), 42 percent of Republicans are angry compared to 11 percent of Democrats.

Both sides say you cannot trust the government, but Democrats’ views don’t change depending on who is in the White House while Republicans are far more trusting of government when one of their own is president:

In Barack Obama’s six years as president, 13% of Republicans, on average, have said they can trust the government always or most of the time – the lowest level of average trust among either party during any administration dating back 40 years. During George W. Bush’s presidency, an average of 47% of Republicans said they could trust the government. By contrast, the share of Democrats saying they can trust the government has been virtually unchanged over the two administrations (28% Bush, 29% Obama).

It doesn’t appear, then, that despite their constant bleating about the predations of big government, this mistrust is truly a matter of principle with Republicans. Republican voters simply believe that government is the enemy unless Republicans are in charge of every bit of it. This famous quote by Grover Norquist in the wake of the 2004 GOP victory perfectly expresses how they believe government is supposed to work:

“Once the [Democratic] minority of House and Senate are comfortable in their minority status, they will have no problem socializing with the Republicans. Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant, but when they’ve been fixed, then they are happy and sedate. They are contented and cheerful. They don’t go aroundpeeing on the furniture and such.”

And while one might think that having majorities of governors and state legislatures, running both houses of Congress and a majority on the Supreme Court would make them hate the government less, without having control of every branch, they are convinced that they are an aggrieved minority who are losing at every turn: “large majorities of both conservative Republicans (81 percent) and moderate and liberal Republicans (75 percent) say their political side loses more often than it wins.” And heaven forbid they might compromise to get some of what they want. If they can’t have it all, it’s not worth anything.

None of this is really news to anyone who’s been watching the presidential race unfold this year. The Trump phenomenon alone is enough to convince observers that while a large chunk of the Republican base is ticked off at just about everything — especially immigrants, Muslims and President Obama. But what really makes them see red, and what Trump (and to some extent Carson) articulates the best, is the visceral loathing for what they call “political correctness.” (That’s what what people used to call “good manners” or “basic human decency.”) The social disapprobation against being rude and demeaning completely enrages them.

Some conservatives openly defy any restriction on their God-given right to be puerile jerks:

(Helen Keller jokes were considered gross and out of bounds even when I was a kid and that was long before the term “political correctness” existed.)

Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham come to mind as similarly infantile and crude. But mostly they are screaming mad. They are the leaders of the angry right who have been stoking the discontent of their audiences for many years, creating the subculture of right wing rage that is finding its political expression in the candidacy of Donald Trump.

No less than the Wall Street Journal made note of their influence and how they’ve managed to turn it against the very establishment that helped create them:

Consider the folks who regularly tune in to conservative talk radio. These listeners expect a steady diet of Obama-bashing, so it’s hardly surprising that not one surveyed for a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in late October approved of the job Barack Obama is doing as president.

That anger translates to how these Americans view the country as a whole. Some 98% think the country is headed in the wrong direction, a view regularly reinforced on the airwaves by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and other talk-radio hosts who don’t have much nice to say about GOP leaders in Washington, either.

A decade ago, Republicans touted conservative talk radio as a foolproof medium to communicate directly with their most ardent supporters. Democrats and liberal groups tried to replicate that success by building their own left-leaning television and radio stations, with far less success.

Now, the tables have turned. Republican leaders in Washington are under siege from their own activists, in part, because conservative radio hosts are almost as likely to rail against the party brass in Congress as they are to lament Mr. Obama’s failings in the Oval Office.

This is a switch from the days when Rush would have the whole Bush family on his show in 2008 so they could kiss each other’s rings:

RUSH: What are…? (interruption) Interrupting for what?

THE PRESIDENT: Hello!

RUSH: Oh, jeez. The president?

THE PRESIDENT: Rush Limbaugh?

RUSH: Yes, sir, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: President George W. Bush calling to congratulate you on 20 years of important and excellent broadcasting.

RUSH: Well, thank you, sir. You’ve stunned me! (laughing) I’m shocked. But thank you so much.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s hard to do.

RUSH: (laughing) I know, it is.

RUSH: Well, thank you, sir. You’ve stunned me! (laughing) I’m shocked. But thank you so much.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s hard to do.

RUSH: (laughing) I know, it is.

THE PRESIDENT: I’m here with a room full of admirers. There are two others that would like to speak to you and congratulate you, people who consider you friends and really appreciate the contribution you’ve made.

RUSH: Thank you, sir, very much. Put ’em on.

THE PRESIDENT: How you doing? This is my swan song? If this is all you got for me, I’m moving on.

RUSH: (laughing) No! The show’s yours; take as much time as you want.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m just calling along with President 41 and the former governor of Florida. We’re fixing to have lunch here, and I said, “Listen, we ought to call our pal and let him know that we care,” for you. So this is as much as anything, a nice verbal letter to a guy we really care for.

RUSH: Well, thank you, sir, very much. I’m overwhelmed. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this and how much you’ve surprised me.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that was the purpose of the phone call.

RUSH: You succeeded.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. There was trouble in paradise even then, however, although the Bush family may not have been aware of it. You may recall that President Bush had tried to pass immigration reform and was thwarted by one of the earliest exercises of right wing muscle in Congress. Former Senate majority leader Trent Lott left no uncertainty as to who and what was to blame:

Comments by Republican senators on Thursday suggested that they were feeling the heat from conservative critics of the bill, who object to provisions offering legal status. The Republican whip, Trent Lott of Mississippi, who supports the bill, said: “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.”

There’s nothing they can do about it. That “problem” continued on unmolested and ended up empowering the Tea Party right to create an obstructionist bloc in the House, destroyed the political career of the House Majority Leader last year and is now fueling the angry crowds who are showing up to cheer on Donald Trump as he eschews all human decency to “tell it like it is” in exactly the terms these talk radio folks are used to hearing it. And today, as then, racism and xenophobia are their main motivators.

Like Limbaugh, Levin, Savage and Ingraham, Trump channels their anger and feeds it back to them. The Pew Poll reported:

Donald Trump is viewed more favorably by the nearly one-third of Republicans and leaners who are angry at government (64% favorable) than by those who are frustrated or content with government (48%). Other GOP presidential candidates (Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson) also get higher favorable ratings among Republicans who are angry at government than among non-angry Republicans, in part because they are better known among the “angry” group.

And if you want to know why establishment Republicans are so unwilling to challenge talk radio’s toxic spew and the political virus that grows from it, the Journal explains:

Republican presidential contenders would be unwise to write off this bloc; roughly a third of Republican primary voters strongly identify with conservative talk radio, about 10 percentage points higher than the share of GOP primaryvoters who consider themselves moderate or liberal, according to the survey conducted by the Democrats at Hart Research Associates and the Republicans at Public Opinion Research.

There are way more of these talk radio acolytes than there are any other kind of Republican. They run things now. And they are livid — at least until the Republicans manage to control all of government and enact their agenda precisely as talk radio tells them it must be enacted. Then they might calm down. But I wouldn’t count on it. Rage is their life blood now. They can’t live without it.

Heather Digby Parton, also known as “Digby,” is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

 

 

See: http://www.alternet.org/welcome-gops-age-rage-shocking-new-study-shows-how-anger-fueling-republican-party?akid=13706.123424.EYfW1-&rd=1&src=newsletter1046254&t=12

Carly Fiorina and the GOP Outsider Boom

Most weeks, New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich speaks with contributor Alex Carp about the biggest stories in politics and culture. This week: Carly Fiorina’s rise, Scott Walker’s fall, and Donald Trump being Donald Trump.

Source:New York Magazine, via RSN

Author:Frank Rich

Emphasis Mine

arly Fiorina has risen faster than anyone in the Republican field since the last debate, while making a series of statements that have some commentators describing her “willful disregard … or ignorance of reality.” How do you explain her rise?

A willful disregard or ignorance of reality is hardly disqualifying in the GOP presidential sweepstakes! If nothing else, Fiorina’s fictional Planned Parenthood video suggests she might have more success cooking up gory B-movie scenarios in the San Fernando Valley than she had running Hewlett-Packard in Silicon Valley. In that real-life business horror story, Fiorina slashed 30,000 employees, not to mention shareholder value, while mismanaging what had been one of the most fabled corporations in American business.

Fiorina’s rise after the last debate is coming at the expense of the previous “skyrocketing” Republican contender, the retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson. The theory had been that Carson was the kinder, gentler “outsider” who would finally usurp Donald Trump. But, as it happened, the good doctor proved to have all the pep on-camera that one of his patients might exhibit shortly after being given anesthesia. Worse, despite his ostensible prowess as a man of medicine, Carson waffled when confronted with Trump’s debate fiction about a link between vaccines and autism. That both Fiorina and Carson have enjoyed booms, however transitory they may prove to be, makes one thing clear. The base would prefer almost anyone, and so far Trump most of all, to Jeb Bush or any of the other choices that the GOP Establishment has put its big bets on. In new polls out over the past couple of days, from Fox News and Quinnipiac, the results are markedly similar in the spreads separating Trump from Carson and Fiorina, and show that a majority of Republicans favor one of these three outsiders over the rest of the field combined.

Fiorina may be impaled by the Washington shutdown, should it happen; she endorsed what Karl Rove has called the “suicide” strategy of holding the government hostage to the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Should she crater, be assured that she has a strong understudy waiting in the wings: Meg Whitman, the current CEO at HP, who just announced her plan to lay off another 30,000 workers. The similarities don’t end there: Like Fiorina, who ran for Senate against Barbara Boxer, Whitman ran as a Republican for statewide office in California in 2010 (for governor, against Jerry Brown) and lost by double digits. Should she, too, get fired by HP, she’ll have the perfect résumé for entering the Republican presidential race.

Scott Walker, who started his run for the GOP nomination as the reported favorite of the Koch brothers, now says he’s been “called to lead by helping clear the field” of candidates — starting with himself. Does his campaign’s failure show the limits of super-pac politics?

Not necessarily. Walker was a ridiculous candidate and would remain so no matter how much money any billionaires poured into his super-pac. Back in early July, a few days before Walker announced his run, I was at a small gathering in Washington where a prominent Republican political operative (not affiliated with any of the 2016 campaigns, and not speaking for attribution) gave a rollicking tour of the field. Of Walker, he said, “There are two reasons he can’t win. First, he has a bald spot. Second, he’s stupid.”

Suffice it to say that Walker’s presidential run was farce from start to finish, from his three different positions on the issue of “birthright citizenship” to his calling Reagan’s busting of the air-traffic controllers’ strike of 1981 “the most significant foreign policy decision of my lifetime.” At the CNN debate, he had all the charisma of a department-store mannequin. Yet not long ago he was a rock star. He’s “the one guy in the race who has shown how to defeat the media and Democrat coordinated attacks on conservatives,” said Rush Limbaugh as Walker entered the race. He’s “a truly impressive individual,” effused the right-wing Washington Post pundit Marc Thiessen. Fox News hosts fell over themselves to boost him as a union-busting “hero.” At FiveThirtyEight in March, Nate Silver used what he called “totally subjective odds” to rate the first-tier Republican candidates on the likelihood of their getting the nomination and deduced that Walker was on top (at 26 percent), ahead of Bush (24 percent) and Marco Rubio (16 percent).

This week, after Walker dropped out, The Wall Street Journal ran a news story explaining that Rubio would benefit by inheriting much of Walker’s fund-raising apparatus and donors, since he, too, is a “fresh face ready to shake up Washington.” Never mind that Rubio, unlike Walker, is already in Washington (where his strategy for shaking things up seems to have been to miss more Senatorial votes than anyone else in the race). Or that the voters Rubio might inherit from Walker do not even amount to a rounding error; Walker was polling at less than 0.5 percent at the end. In any case, Rubio’s candidacy is almost uniformly described by the press and Republican pols as more substantive than most (especially on foreign policy), and he’s been widely judged as one of the strongest contenders — if not the strongest — at both debates. But with recent polling numbers still averaging at roughly 10 percent, Rubio, like Bush, is thus far a candidate who looks theoretically great on paper to all the professionals in the media-political complex, but not so much to Republican primary voters who are the actual deciders.

Donald Trump again played the (barely) coded racism card when he didn’t contradict a supporter’s birther canards about President Obama. Can he keep doing this without paying a price?

Seems so. The true answer to this question can be found not in Trump’s various outrages — whether the latest or all those that came before — but in the fact that most of his rivals respond to his slurs by either agreeing with him or refusing to take a stand altogether. The only three candidates who immediately criticized Trump this time — Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, and Bush — had nothing to lose by coming out against bigotry. Two of them aren’t polling any better than Walker was, and Bush, though faring somewhat better, is fighting for his political life. The other candidates are cowering as usual or, in Carson’s case, going Trump one better by saying that Muslims should be barred from the presidency.

In 1961, Barry Goldwater advised Republicans that they should “go hunting where the ducks are” by currying favor with segregationist voters in the Deep South. Carson’s campaign manager, Barry Bennett, was similarly unapologetic about his candidate’s intentions in playing the Islamophobia card, telling the Associated Press this week that “Republican primary voters are with us at least 80-20.” Let’s not pretend otherwise.

 

See:http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/32646-focus-carly-fiorina-and-the-gop-outsider-boom

Rush Limbaugh Dropped By Longtime Indianapolis Station

Source: Media Matters

Author: Angelo Carosone

Emphasis Mine

Indianapolis’ WIBC has broadcast Rush Limbaugh’s show for 22 years. Despite this long history, parent company Emmis Communications announced April 13 that they are dropping Limbaugh’s show from WIBC’s lineup.

Charlie Morgan, an executive for Emmis, indicated that the decision to drop Limbaugh was about the “long-term direction of the station,” but also acknowledged that there was a “business element to the decision.” Underscoring the business considerations, Morgan explained to the Indianapolis Business Journal that the absence of Limbaugh could actually help WIBC’s advertiser prospects:

While Morgan expects some WIBC listeners to be “hugely disappointed” by the change, he said losing Limbaugh could open up the station to more advertising opportunities.

There are some–primarily national–advertisers that refuse to air commercials during Limbaugh’s show, Morgan explained. Emmis officials began notifying its advertisers of the change Monday.

“We believe this could open us up to a new group of advertisers,” he said.

Limbaugh’s show has been plagued with woes ever since advertisers began fleeing in the wake of Limbaugh’s multi-day attack on then-law student Sandra Fluke. Thousands of local and regional businesses refuse to advertise on Limbaugh’s show and the bulk of national advertisers are now reportedly boycotting his program. The cumulative effect of Limbaugh’s advertiser difficulties has created a problem so substantial that it has actually spilled over and is hurting conservative talk radio as a whole.

The Wall Street Journal recently confirmed the industry-wide damage resulting from Limbaugh’s beleaguered program. According to the report, the exodus of national advertisers has played a significant part in reducing talk radio advertising rates to about half of what it costs to run ads on music stations, even though the two formats have “comparable audience metrics.”

Further, the report also provides a look at the millions of dollars individual stations have lost. The chart below, which was taken from the Journal report, gives a before and after look at the advertising revenue of talker stations in some of the largest markets. Notably, three of the stations that carried Limbaugh originally (KFI, WSB, and WBAP) experienced the greatest losses:

What is happening at the stations identified in the chart is happening at other talk stations, especially those that carry Limbaugh’s program. While it was already reported that major radio companies were hemorrhaging millions of dollars due to Limbaugh’s toxicity, the Journal’s analysis of the effect at the local station level was revealing and may offer some additional insight into WIBC’s decision to drop Limbaugh.

WIBC is just the latest in a string of reminders that Rush Limbaugh is bad for business.

The Journal report also confirmed that advertisers continue to leave and stay away thanks to a dedicated group of independent organizers in the Flush Rush and #StopRush communities. Their participation matters and is having a tremendous effect.

 

See:http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/04/13/rush-limbaugh-dropped-by-longtime-indianapolis/203265

Rush Limbaugh’s Radio Decline Is No Fluke: Twitter-Fueled Advertising Boycott Could Usher In The End Of Host’s Deal With Cumulus Media

And what has been the result of this yearlong scourge of the companies responsible for Limbaugh’s livelihood? It has been working.

Source: International Business Times

Author: Christopher Zara

“The declining influence of Rush Limbaugh has been a topic of discussion for some time now — for so long, in fact, that there’s little left to discuss. Throughout the presidential election last year, if he was talked about at all, it was mostly in the context of how poisonous his divisive shtick has become to the Republican Party. That’s a far cry from the early 1990s, when the radio host changed the face of modern discourse with his ability to break down the country’s salient liberal-conservative divide into the most puerile of terms.

Now, Limbaugh is feuding with Cumulus Media Inc. (NASDAQ:CMLS), the company that broadcasts his radio program on 40 stations in 36 markets, over who is to blame for an ongoing decline in advertising revenue. Lew Dickey, Cumulus Media’s chief officer, has been pointing the finger at Limbaugh and in particular a grassroots advertising boycott that erupted in early 2012, following the infamous Sandra Fluke controversy. Limbaugh, in case you’d forgottencalled Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” after the Georgetown University student spoke out in support of insurance mandates for contraceptives. He later apologized — profusely so — but the damage was done. People were fed up, and they took to the Internet and social media to send a message to Limbaugh’s advertisers that they won’t support any business that supports Limbaugh’s brand of radio rabble-rousing. Jittery over the response, advertisers began to bolt. Some never came back, including Geico, Sears, John Deere, Netflix, Capitol One and hundreds of others.

The International Business Times reached out to some of those advertisers for comment. Only the Home Depot responded. In an email, spokesman Stephen Holmes said the company does not advertise on Limbaugh’s program or any opinion show. “It’s been our policy not to sponsor opinion shows, which would include Rush or any others, for that matter,” Holmes said. “An ad might run occasionally during a news break, but those are programming errors that occur at local stations from time to time.”

Meanwhile, StopRush.net keeps a running list of companies that advertise on Limbaugh’s program, including phone numbers, emails and Twitter handles of the companies’ contacts. (Several recent instances of Home Depot ads have been reported.) There’s even a Web browser extension — launched by ThinkContext.org — that helps users avoid businesses that advertise with Limbaugh. Of course, all of this comes with the usual online petitions from Change.orgSignOn.org and, yes, even WhiteHouse.gov.

And what has been the result of this yearlong scourge of the companies responsible for Limbaugh’s livelihood? It has been working. That free-market system that conservatives are so fond of touting is operating with machinelike precision — or at least that’s one way to look at Cumulus Media’s first-quarter results released on Tuesday. Adjusted Ebitda fell 22.1 percent from the same period last year, while net revenue fell 1.3 percent to $232.9 million due in part to “general lower advertising spending in some of our markets,” according to the company’s statement.

During a conference call with analysts, Dickey was asked if the decline can be attributed directly to the StopRush campaign. According to Daily Kos, his only response was to say that it was a “tough go of it in the last year and that the facts are indisputable.” He had a similar take in August when he reported that the company’s top three radio stations had lost $5.5 million in advertising revenue, which he attributed in part to the boycott.

One of the basic tenets of the free-market system is that the market participants choose what gets produced, and, from the looks of things, they’re not choosing Limbaugh. Not that Limbaugh himself sees it that way. On his radio show, he has made it clear that he believes “media buyers at advertising agencies are young women fresh out of college, liberal feminists who hate conservatism.” And according to the New York Daily News, he’s absolutely fed up with taking the blame for Cumulus’ advertising woes. On Sunday, Politico’s Dylan Byers reported that Limbaugh is even considering severing ties with Cumulus when his contract expires at the end of this year.

That would put Limbaugh’s show in potential limbo for Cumulus’ network of radio stations. The show could get picked up by competitors or Limbaugh could go the Howard Stern/satellite radio route, as Mediabistro’s Alex Weprin theorized on Monday. But even if that were the case, it wouldn’t bode well for the host’s declining influence. When Stern made the transition to satellite, he was left with a fraction of his former audience. And while he has publicly stated that he’s happier without the FCC-imposed restraints of terrestrial radio, his recent judging gig on “America’s Got Talent” is proof enough that he missed the spotlight.

Could a similar path be in the cards for Limbaugh? Imagine him sharing a panel with Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey on “American Idol.” It would certainly get people talking.

 

Emphasis Mine

see:http://www.ibtimes.com/rush-limbaughs-radio-decline-no-fluke-twitter-fueled-advertising-boycott-could-usher-end-hosts-deal?utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=bufferad318#

Rush Limbaugh Is A “Low-Information” Radio Host

Rush Limbaugh has frequently attacked citizens who voted to re-elect President Obama as “low-information voters,” but Limbaugh has made so many false and misleading attacks that he could be considered a low-information radio host.

From: Media Matters

Limbaugh Does “Low-Information Voter Segment” Of Celebrity News. In an effort to appeal to “low-information voters,” on the January 7 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh ran a segment on “breaking news from TMZ” about how “Kyle XY star Matt Dallas has come out.” [Premiere Radio NetworksThe Rush Limbaugh Show, 1/7/13, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh: “A Low-Information Voter Is Actually A High Liberal Information Voter.” On December 21, 2012, Limbaugh defined a “low-information voter” as “actually a high liberal information voter” that cares about celebrity news, and “there just isn’t much room left” in their brains for things like “deficits, tax cuts, economic matters, the country going to hell in a handbasket.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show,12/21/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh: Obama Won “Person Of The Year” Honor Because He Attracted Low-Information Voters.Limbaugh said that Obama was named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” because “he turned low-information, apathetic voters into people who vote.” Limbaugh added that Obama is “a symbol of the new low-information America” and “it’s only a low-information voter — we used to call them morons — that could think he’s outside politics.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show12/19/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Displays Debt Ceiling Ignorance While Attacking CNN’s Velshi. Limbaugh insisted that the federal debt ceiling is like a limit on credit card spending in an attempt to prove that CNN’s Ali Velshi was a “low-information reporter.” In fact, failure to raise the debt ceiling is actually like refusing to pay a credit card bill because it restrains the government’s ability to pay its debts, not future spending. [Media Matters1/4/13]

Limbaugh Falsely Claims Union Members Have No Say In How Dues Are Spent. Limbaugh claimed that “there a lot of union workers who are not Democrats, not liberals,” but they “have no control” over how union officials spend their dues on political activities. In fact, workers at unionized workplaces already can choose whether to pay for the political activities of the union that bargains on their behalf. [Premiere Radio Networks,The Rush Limbaugh Show12/12/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters, 12/11/12]

Limbaugh Mocks Fact That Unemployment Benefits Are Stimulus. Limbaugh denied that unemployment benefits have a positive effect on the economy, saying it’s a “crock” that extending them translates into economic growth. In fact, studies show that these benefits stimulate the overall economy and provide greater economic impact on growth than the Bush tax cuts for upper-income earners. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show12/10/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Dismisses Guns’ Role In Domestic Violence Deaths. Limbaugh dismissed the notion that Kasandra Perkins, who was killed in a murder-suicide by her boyfriend, NFL football player Jovan Belcher, would still be alive today if Belcher hadn’t had a gun. In fact, data show that guns greatly increase the probability that women who are victims of domestic violence will be killed by their abuser. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show12/3/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh: “Everything — Except The Polls — Points To A Romney Landslide.” Under the headline “Everything — Except The Polls — Points To A Romney Landslide,” Limbaugh’s website posted a transcript of his radio show in which he said his “intellectual analysis” of the election was that “it’s not even close. Three hundred-plus electoral votes for Romney.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show11/5/12]

Limbaugh: Climate Change Is “A Nonissue Anymore Because It’s Fraudulent. The Whole Thing Has Been Proven To Be A Hoax.” Limbaugh asserted that climate change is “a nonissue anymore because it’s fraudulent. The whole thing has been proven to be a hoax.” That statement was one in a long series of Limbaugh repeatedly denying the scientific consensus that climate change is driven at least in part by human activities. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show10/30/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters,12/19/11]

Limbaugh Falsely Claims Reagan “Inherited A Worse Recession Than Obama Did.” Limbaugh said that President Reagan “inherited a worse recession than Obama did.” In fact, the two recessions are not comparable; the recession in the early 1980s was caused by monetary restriction aimed at bringing inflation under control, while the 2007 recession was caused by a financial crisis, which typically takes more time to recover from. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show10/15/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters8/3/12]

Limbaugh Falsely Claims Conservatives Didn’t Attack Supreme Court Nominees. Limbaugh declared he and other conservatives “don’t try to destroy” the careers of Democratic nominees to the Supreme Court. But Limbaugh himself, backed up by the right-wing media, launched a string of vicious and offensive attacks on both Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Sonia Sotomayor during their appointment processes. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show10/12/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Peddles Unproven Conspiracy Theory That Jobless “Numbers Have Been Cooked.” Limbaugh said he agreed with former General Electric CEO Jack Welch that unemployment “numbers have been cooked.” In fact, experts dismiss the claims as unfounded conspiracy theories and agree that the numbers are accurate. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show10/8/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters,10/5/12]

Limbaugh Promotes Discredited Obama Gun Grab Conspiracy. Limbaugh claimed that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Operation Fast and Furious was hatched as an Obama administration plot to disarm Americans. In fact, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General found “no evidence” that the agents involved in Fast and Furious had “improper motives” and that the goal of the operation was “dismantling a dangerous firearms trafficking organization.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show9/21/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Spreads Discredited Rumor That Marines At U.S. Embassy In Cairo Didn’t Have Bullets.Limbaugh said that on the day of the attack on the diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, “the Marines didn’t have bullets in Egypt.” In fact, the rumor that Marines protecting the embassy in Cairo were prohibited from carrying live ammunition was debunked by the Marine Corps itself, which called it “not accurate.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show9/14/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters9/13/12]

Limbaugh Falsely Claimed Obama’s Election Caused 2008 Job Losses. Limbaugh encouraged his listeners to “[g]o back and look at the monthly unemployment numbers” to confirm his claim that job losses in 2008 were a reaction to President Obama’s election in November of that year. In fact, the U.S. economy began losing jobs in February, and the pace of job losses began to accelerate prior to the election. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show7/3/12, via Media Matters]

(N.B.: this is a an example of a Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy (after this, therefore because of this.) A confused relationship of antecedent-subsequence with a cause and effect relationship.

Limbaugh Returns To Years-Old Smear By Saying Obama “Trash[ed] The Founders.” Limbaugh claimed that Obama was “trashing the founders” by saying that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren “wasn’t that radical.” In fact, Obama was pointing out that because the Warren Court “didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution,” it was not as radical as its critics have claimed. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show7/2/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters10/28/08]

Limbaugh Falsely Claims IRS Is Hiring “16,000 New Agents” To Implement Health Care Reform.Limbaugh said that the Internal Revenue Service is hiring “16,000 new agents”  who will determine whether individuals and businesses are buying “the right kind” of insurance inder the Affordable Care Act. In fact, according to FactCheck.org, that claim is “wildly inaccurate” and “stems from a partisan analysis based on guesswork and false assumptions, and compounded by outright misrepresentation.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show7/2/12, via Media Matters; FactCheck.org, 3/30/12]

Limbaugh Entertains Absurd Conspiracy Theory That President Obama Might “Dispense With Elections.” Limbaugh said, “What if Obama decides that the 22nd Amendment is no longer relevant?” adding the idea is “worth throwing out” because Obama championed a health care reform law that “basically pees all over” the Constitution. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show6/25/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Rewrites Obama’s Dreams To Falsely Claim “Racist” Attack. Limbaugh used a new biography about President Obama’s life to claim he viewed his high school basketball coach and his team as “racist” and that Obama wrote in his book Dreams From My Father that “he played black ball, the coach coached white ball, and as such the coach was a racist, the team was racist, strategy of the game was racist, and Obama rode the bench.” In fact, Obama wrote that he disabused a friend who suggested racism was a factor in him not getting more playing time on the basketball team. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show,6/25/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Endorses Romney’s Discredited Allegation That Obama Knowingly Slowed Down The Recovery. Limbaugh said that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was “getting a lot of positive feedback” for claiming that the Obama administration “knowingly slowed down our recovery in order to put in place Obamacare,” adding, “That is something we would say and have said, but to hear a Republican presidential candidate say it, it is kind of cool.” In fact, the actual comments to which Romney and Limbaugh were referring make clear that the White House has always rejected the dubious claim that it could not focus on economic recovery and health care reform at the same time. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show6/7/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters6/6/12]

Limbaugh Promotes Dubious Story About “Necrophilia Law” In Egypt. Limbaugh hyped a thinly sourced column in an Egyptian newspaper about a supposed proposal to legalize necrophilia, saying that “one question I had of my own was, ‘Who provides the contraceptives when an Egyptian guy has sex with his dead wife?’ ” But Al-Arabiya reported that members of the Egyptian parliament were denying that any such law was ever proposed. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show4/27/12Media Matters4/30/12]

Limbaugh Revives Bogus Attack That Obama Supports “Infanticide.” Limbaugh said that while serving in the Illinois State Senate, Obama “voted for infanticide,” claiming that “Barack Obama voted to allow babies who survived an abortion to go ahead and be killed.” In fact, Obama voiced his opposition to the legislation as a state senator because it would have given legal status to fetuses and would thus have been struck down by the courts, and because Illinois already had laws to ensure infants who survived abortions would be given medical attention. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show2/23/12, via Media Matters; National Journal2/22/12]

Limbaugh Falsely Claims “There Is A Relationship Between Abortion And Breast Cancer.” Limbaugh said that “there is a relationship between abortion and breast cancer,” adding that “it’s been medically documented.” In fact, the American Cancer Society says that “research studies have not found a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and breast cancer,” and the National Cancer Institute states that it found that “having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.”  [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show2/3/12Media Matters11/19/09]

Limbaugh: Nobody Is Mentioning That Sandusky Is “A Gay Guy.” Limbaugh said that the media refused to identify former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who had been charged with child molestation, as “a gay guy,” due to the influence of a powerful “gay lobby.” In fact, experts say that men who molest young boys aren’t necessarily gay, and there is no credible link between homosexuality and pedophilia. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show11/18/11Equality Matters11/17/11]

Limbaugh Falsely Claimed Obama Is “Target[ing] Christians” In Uganda. Limbaugh said that “President Obama has deployed troops to another war, in Africa,” adding that the group being targeted, the Lord’s Resistance Army, “are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. … So that’s a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians.” In fact, claimed Christian ties of the Lord’s Resistance Army are reportedly part of a mish-mash of other religious and occult beliefs, and the group has a long record of alleged atrocities, including sexual enslavement and forcibly conscripting children. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show10/14/11, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Falsely Claimed That “The Democrat Party” Was Proposing To “Outlaw Your 401(K) Plan.”Limbaugh claimed that Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had a proposal to eliminate 401(k).  Rather, the idea of guaranteed retirement accounts — which was distorted by Limbaugh — was mentioned by a panelist from the Economic Policy Institute during a hearing held by Harkin and Sanders on retirement security issues. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show11/2/10, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Falsely Claimed That Obama Thinks Iran Should Have A Nuclear Weapon If Israel Does.Limbaugh claimed that President Obama believes Iran should have a nuclear weapon because “that’s fair,” commenting that “Obama knows he can’t make any other nation get rid of theirs” and so Obama has decided that “If the Israelis have one, the Iranians should.” However, Obama and his administration had repeatedly called Iranian nuclear activity a “threat” and demanded that they adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show10/13/10, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Falsely Claimed Center For Science In The Public Interest Wanted To “Ban Chinese Food.”Limbaugh discussed the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which advocates for nutrition, health, and food safety, and its intent to file suit against McDonald’s for its “unfair and deceptive” promotion of toys to children through its Happy Meals. The CSPI has lauded Chinese restaurants and labeled most Chinese dishes “healthy,” yet Limbaugh stated of the Washington-based group: “They wanted to ban Chinese food. These people want to get in your life and tell you what to eat,” and attacked them as “kooks, statists, [and] nannies.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show7/9/10, via Media Matters]

Emphasis Mine

see:

How Fox News Screwed the GOP

The grand experiment of marrying a political movement around a cable TV channel was a grand failure in 2012.

From: MediaMatters, via AlterNet

By: Eric Boehlert

“Suffering an election hangover after having been told by Fox News that Mitt Romney‘s victory was a sure thing (a “landslide [2]” predicted by Dick Morris), some Republicans have promised to break their addiction to the right-wing news channel in the coming year. Vowing to venture beyond the comforts of the Fox News bubble, strategists insist it’s crucial that the party address its “choir-preaching problem.”

Good luck.

This grand experiment [3] of marrying a political movement around a cable TV channel was a grand failure in 2012. But there’s little indication that enough Republicans will have the courage, or even the desire, to break free from Fox’s firm grip on branding the party.

For Fox News chief Roger Ailes, the network’s slash-and-burn formula worked wonders in terms of catering a hardcore, hard-right audience of several million viewers. (Fox News is poised to post $1 billion in profits [4] this year.) But in terms of supporting a national campaign and hosting a nationwide conversation about the country’s future, Fox’s work this year was a marked failure.

And that failure helped sink any hopes the GOP had of winning the White House.

From the farcical, underwhelming GOP primary that Fox News sponsored, through the general election campaign, it seemed that at every juncture where Romney suffered a major misstep, Fox misinformation hovered nearby. Again and again, Romney damaged his presidential hopes when he embraced the Fox News rhetoric; when he ran as the Fox News candidate [5].

Whether it was botching the facts surrounding the terrorist raid on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, parroting the Fox talking point about lazy, shiftless voters who make up “47 percent” of the electorate, or Romney’s baffling embrace of reality TV show host-turned Fox News pontificator Donald Trump, the Republican candidate did damage to his chances whenever he let Fox News act as his chief campaign adviser.

Fox viewers didn’t fare much better. Fed a year’s worth of misinformation about the candidates, and completely misled about the state of the race (all the polls are skewed!), Fox faithful were left crushed on Election Night when Romney’s fictitious landslide failed to materialize.

“On the biggest political story of the year,” wrote [6] Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic, “the conservative media just got its ass handed to it by the mainstream media.”

Indeed, Fox’s coverage of the campaign has been widely panned as an editorial and political fiasco. The coverage failed to move the needle in the direction of its favored Republican candidate, and the coverage remained detached from campaign reality for months at a time. (Megyn Kelly in July: The Obama campaign is “starting to panic.” That was false.)

Following another lopsided loss to Obama, Republican strategist Mike Murphy urged Republicans to embrace a view of America that’s not lifted from “Rush Limbaugh‘s dream journal.” (The Fox News dream journal looks nearly identical to Limbaugh’s.)

And San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll wondered [7] if Romney’s defeat marked the end of a Fox News era:

You had to wonder about Fox. This is the third presidential election in which Fox has been a major player, and the Democrats have won two of them. A combination of big money and big propaganda was supposed to carry the day for Romney and the Republicans, but it didn’t. Could it be that the Fox model has played out?

Is the Fox model of a cable paranoia played out in terms of ratings? It is not. Is the Fox model of cable paranoia played out as an electoral blueprint? It sure looks that way.

Of course, conservatives should have thought that through before handing over the control of a political movement to Ailes and his misinformation minions. They should have thought twice about the long-term implication of having irresponsible media outlets like Fox supersede leadership within the Republican Party, and should have figured out first if Fox News had an off switch to use in case of emergencies.

It doesn’t.

Yet as Fox News segued into the de facto leader of the Republican Party, becoming the driving electoral force, and with Ailes entrenched in his kingmaker role, candidates had to bow down to Fox in search of votes and the channel’s coveted free airtime.

And Andrew Sullivan noted [8] in January:

The Republican Establishment is Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes, Karl Rove, and their mainfold products, from Hannity to Levin. They rule on the talk radio airwaves and on the GOP’s own “news” channel, Fox.

There’s a reason New York magazine labeled Ailes “the head of the Republican Party.” And that’s why a GOP source told the magazine, “You can’t run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger Every single candidate has consulted with Roger.”

That meant campaigns were forced to become part of the channel’s culture of personal destruction, as well as to blanket itself in Fox’s signature self-pity. (Here [9] was Mitt Romney adopting the right-wing whine that the conspiratorial press was out to sink his campaign.)

Still, the right-wing bubble was a comfortable place to inhabit if you thought of Obama as an historic monster, or if you required to be reminded of that fact many time a day, every day of the year. The bubble is the place where followers for four years were fed the feel-good GOP narrative about how Obama’s presidency was a fiasco, that the Americans suffered a severe case of 2008 buyer’s remorse, and that the president’s re-election defeat was all but pre-ordained.

The one-part-panic, one-part-denial message may have cheered obsessive Obama-haters, but it didn’t prepare conservatives for the reality of the campaign season. And it cost the GOP a lost year in the Fox News bubble.”

Emphasis Mine

see:http://www.alternet.org/how-fox-news-screwed-gop?page=0%2C0&akid=9888.123424.2fM1Ms&rd=1&src=newsletter770394&t=19