Vitriolic is a new word that I’ve learned since I began following politics more closely. Maybe politics have always been vitriolic and I just never noticed. Vitriolic means caustic or severe, corrosive, cutting or sharp. Has politics become more vitriolic with the growing popularity and proliferation of conservative and right-wing media? I remember hearing about the John Birch Society 30 or 40 years ago, but it was kind of a fringe thing promoted basically by word of mouth, person to person. But now we have many conservative and right-wing TV and radio shows with Fox News leading the way. According to Wikipedia, Fox News has been described as practicing biased reporting in favor of the Republican Party, the Trump administration and conservative causes, while slandering the the Democratic Party and spreading harmful propaganda intended to negatively affect its members’ (Democratic Party) electoral performance.
Fox News was launched on October 7, 1996 by media mogul Rupert Murdoch who installed Roger Ailes as the founding CEO. Roger Ailes is the creator and designer of Fox News. A book about the life of Roger Ailes called The Loudest Voice in the Room by Gabriel Sherman was made into a Showtime mini-series called “The Loudest Voice.” The Washington Post published a critique of this mini-series called “The Loudest Voice ‘really sticks it to Roger Ailes” by Hank Stuever which was then published in the June 16, 2019 edition of the Burlington County Times.
According to Stuever, the mini-series describes Ailes as a political operative, right-wing paranoid, manipulative network producer, who has carried within him a rueful, seething rage and bitterness since childhood, and who was a failure as a decent human being. He counter-programmed to the forgotten American conservative with a sneer at the liberal tech-topians who just launched MSNBC. He purposely appealed to a simplified patriotism using belligerent commentary, leggy blondes and a jingoistic fealty to the flag.
It has been reported that information provided by Fox News is 85% false. It is an assault on decency wrapped in false patriotism. It is the magnification of the rage and bitterness stemming from one person’s unhappy childhood. Ailes needed a therapist, not a platform. The demonization of democrats and liberals in general by the right interferes with the ability for discussion and compromise which is necessary for good government. I don’t know if there is any hope of healing for the 40% of voters who have bought into the vitriolic Ailes worldview. Conservatives and liberals must work together for the survival of our democracy. I have tried to meet halfway, but the other was unwillingly to move just a little to the center.