When a political party suffers a “political lobotomy” in public during election season, the entire nation’s reputation suffers.
Top international news magazine Spiegel (think Europe’s version of Time or Newsweek) ran an article written by Marc Pitzke calling the Republicans a farce who are ruining our country’s reputation. The article is entitled, ‘The Republicans’ Farcical Candidates; A Club of Liars, Demagogues and Ignoramuses.’ In this article, Mr. Pitzke writes what our press here won’t:
The US Republican race is dominated by ignorance, lies and scandals. The current crop of candidates has shown such a basic lack of knowledge that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein. The Grand Old Party is ruining the entire country’s reputation.
We knew it was true, but it hurts to read it. We won’t often read such stark condemnations in the mainstream press here.
It probably helps that Spiegel has “most likely the world’s largest fact checking operation”. Yes, Virginia, their press actually checks facts unlike ours, who reports what both sides have “said” and the runs away, eagerly clutching their invite to John McCain’s ranch party like an hysterical tween Twilight fan waiting for Edward. This is the same American press that jumped in to defend Fox News from President Obama’s easily and obviously true charge that it was not a news outlet.
The American press has twisted themselves into self-effacing, obsequious contortions of false equivalence in order to appease conservatives until they’ve become an embarrassing parody of a political entourage rather than a functioning fourth estate. Our press are also quite cozy with their corporate bosses who like our news to be so conservatively “balanced” that it tips over with lies and distortions.
Now, thanks to the press, we are “debating” science versus belief as if both are equally factual, which is not the same thing as debating the merits of science versus belief or the necessity of either or the choice, even, of faith over proof. No, we are drowning in an avalanche of deliberately and cynically invoked stupidity that threatens our nation’s standing among other civilized nations; while we are debate if people walked among dinosaurs other nations get on with the business of addressing serious matters.
Republicans have humiliated America internationally time and time again. Whether it was monosyllabic Neanderthal Jim Inhofe in Copenhagen charging that climate change was a hoax sold by liberal elites in Hollywood or a winking Sarah Palin’s treasonous siren call of hatred in China, the hits have kept coming.
Meanwhile, certain other Republicans couldn’t travel to certain countries lest they be arrested for international war crimes, and still the party held its head high and blustered poutrage from their imaginary moral high ground and the American press hunkered down in their bunker of neurotic, co-dependent GOP-pleasing, endlessly apologizing to the outraged Republicans at their first whine of wolf.
The toxic Tea Party brew of Old Testament bigotry and hatred combined perfectly with the Koch brothers neo-Bircher agenda to create a neo-Fascist corporatized and glossily worshiped stupidity.
Held captive by our collective numbing and dumbing down, we were barely shocked when union members were blamed for Wall Street’s destruction of economic opportunity. We had been prepared through years of merely “reporting what they said” versus fact checking reality, and so we fought an uphill battle against a Luntzian meme sold to us from Fox but trickled into the mainstream by the Republican Fan Club of the mainstream press who know that Republicans hold grudges. Access is King.
We were told all points of view were equal. But of course, that’s not true. In the free market of ideas and intelligence, some people are actually smarter than others and some theories are actually supported by evidence. Both of these things should matter when you’re leading the free world if its exceptionalism you crave and meritocracy you tout.
Cowering in shame from Right wing charges of elitism, the press ensured that we were ripe for this year’s clown show. The press now demands that we all lower ourselves in a disingenuous and phony show of respect for the “values” of conservatives (adultery, ethics violations, sexual harassment and Randian death wishes for the poor). This press is so steeped in back-stabbing condescension combined with blindly ambitious self-service as to embarrass the watcher. The press knows better, but they’re happy to go along with the notion that the “ideas” emanating from the most uneducated bigots among us deserve equal air space with the Nobel Laureates.
We call this American exceptionalism because it keeps us from noticing that any chance we had at exceptionalism is now gone, swept away with a distorted capitalistic system meant to enrich the most unethical players instead of the hardest workers. So died the American dream of economic opportunity. The press distracts from this reality by suggesting that Rick Perry or Herman Cain are presidential material, which is a pat on the head to the deliberately dumbed down among us lest they notice how they got screwed.
Yes, you too can be president, see nothing is a matter of merit anymore! Even the most recent study showing that watching Fox makes you more ignorant than watching no news will not convince the Fox Followers that they are being used.
It is only now that “serious minded” (the quotation marks are for their cynical silence in public during the last 3 years, pretending they didn’t see where their party was going) Republicans such as Peggy Noonan and George Will are speaking the truth that the press dares to point out factual inaccuracies in Republican debates. Noonan, calling the line up a “freakshow,” has been perhaps most blunt. Are they to be congratulated for finally daring to speak up, only after they see their party in real political peril?
It didn’t serve the Republicans for the press to speak the truth and so the “serious thinkers” among the conservatives ignored the glaring break from reality as the Tea Party charged the President with socialism. It suited them then, but three years later, they don’t like the result.
And so now they have started to denounce the party, as if they didn’t see this coming when they themselves conspired to sell the public on the absurdity that Healthcare reform was socialism. The pied pipers in the mainstream media are taking their cues and gingerly beginning to call out minor problems with the Republican candidates as if there were any way to do the utter horror show of stupidity justice in one correction.
One imagines the mainstream journalist seeing him or herself as the brave warrior daring to fact check a Republican, when in fact they were given the green light to do so and without such permission would have remained silently complicit in the ruination of this country, bowing down to charges of sexism and liberal bias while selling the entire country down the river of revivalist tent, snake oil mediocrity passing itself off as Republican ideology.
We laugh at the current crop of Republicans the way some people laugh at a funeral; the horror so unreal as to be incomprehensible, the grief for our nation suppressed with a thin layer of hope that this is an anomaly. But of course, it’s not.
Republican party leaders must surely be amazed in private at their ability to sell us anything; even they must be shocked and somewhat saddened that they have gotten away with it all.
The mainstream media knows that most of the Republican candidates ooze hubris the way only a small mind looking for a quick slice of spoiled American pie can. They know that a party running grifters, con artists and carnival barkers as Presidential material shouldn’t be giving a sane President a run for his money — and wouldn’t be, if only they had done their jobs.
But without a horse race the financials of a corporate press look glum. So we are taken along the for the ride of the relentless struggle for the lowest point to which the Republicans can sink without dying, aided and abetted by the mainstream press.
The fact that any of these candidates, save Jon Huntsman, are taken seriously is an alarming indicator of the imminent fall of America. We’ve been dragged down kicking and screaming by a Right wing so attached to its own superiority that it refused to acknowledge when it was wrong.
Instead of reassessing what it means to be a conservative post Bush-debacle, conservatives put a flashier cross on their ideas, more supercilious padding on their epistemic closure and jacked up the hate and division; hence creating the farcical show we’re all being subjected to today.
And they wonder how they got here while we wonder how we let them ruin this country and cause us international embarrassment.
The press won’t stop greedily licking the crazy crumbs off of the Republicans’ floor long enough to have even a moment of clarity, but since the GOP’s political death comes painfully dished out over numerous humiliatingly-televised debates, the press will cover the bleeding demagogues of the Republican Party just as they did Anna Nicole’s death. They will never discuss their complicity in allowing the Republican Party to become the sad clown it is today, let alone behave as the fourth estate should.
The big show goes on, as the foundation of our nation caves under the inestimable weight of the collective ignorance and hubris.