The election of Trump led me to look closer at the modern conservative movement. I found that Pro-Trump people had a completely different set of “facts” or “truths” than me. I was appalled by Trump’s immorality, ineptitude and autocratic behavior, while they saw him as the savior of American values. We were living in two different worlds. First, I noticed some unusual opinions or actions in others. Then I explored where these other views were being seen or heard. Then I discovered the source of these views and the underlying motivations. Surprisingly, Trump was not the source of the message, he was just the messenger. The fact that he was so brutish and un-clever in delivering it, made me sit up and take notice and to search for what was wrong. My search began with individuals, and then through right-wing radio, Fox “entertainment” News, and finally onto billionaires, the Christian Right and Republican operatives. Not where I expected to end up.
Back around 2010 a co-worker came to work like chicken little proclaiming that Obama was instituting Marshall law! I hadn’t heard that on my news station. When I looked into it, I found that every President reviews the plan once a year and this is what was reported, a review not an implementation. This person had said other odd things that didn’t fit in to my worldview, for instance, saying shareholders are more important than stakeholders, an unexpected anti-working class stance from a worker. I didn’t understand that point of view. Later, a waitress made an anti-immigrant comment when she saw that I was reading I Am Malala. That was shocking. Then I found myself on the totally opposite side of the political spectrum with a friend whom I thought I had a lot in common with. These are just three examples of my encounters with people living inside an alternate news reality.
I knew about right-wing AM radio shows with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, but saw them as fringe and not mainstream, appealing mostly to working class white males. Little did I know that these shows were creating and building the basis of a liberal-hating, anti-intellectual force that would eventually be visually crafted and disseminated to the masses by Fox News who was only in it for the money.
According to Tobin Smith, 14 year Fox News veteran contributor, “Roger Ailes and Fox News… got rich scamming…” Americans and selling out the soul of America. Fox News culture was focused on hating the liberal elites and all Democrats. Ailes scripted the shows to create an us versus them universe in an addictive professional wrestling format in which the Fow News show host scares and manipulates the viewers with outrageous claims before tearing the “…smug condescending know-it-all East Coast Liberals to pieces.” Smith continues, Fox created an “entertainment product of political/military/economic news and opinion that by careful design and staging… manipulated… (and ultimately addicted) people to the most powerful drug cocktail ever: Visceral gut feelings of existential outrage relieved by the most powerful emotions of all… the thrill of your tribe’s victory over its enemy and the ultimate triumph of good over evil.” The trusting Fox News fans do not understand that in the Fox partisan performance art programming (aka propaganda-like), the outcomes of the ‘panel debates’ have ALWAYS been carefully fixed (a staged scam) so that the home team (the conservatives) ALWAYS win and win on the side of justice. “Just like pro-wrestling, the panel opinion programs are carefully staged and choreographed… so the home team always wins over the poor pathetic (often fake democratic strategist analysts) ‘libtard.’ The Fox tag line “Fair and Balanced” is in reality “Fear and Unbalanced.” Ailes “…knew it was easy to manipulate fear and loathing…” in the viewers due to “…their endless desire to confirm the righteousness of their right-wing tribalism.” He knew “…they would NEVER see the Big Lie perpetrated every day to them by Fox News.” Fox fools people into believing they are watching a “fair fight,” and they don’t want to confuse everybody with a lot of facts and statistics. Fox News insulates their audience “…from opposing views – in part, by continually denouncing the mainstream media as liberal, biased and not to be trusted.” Viewers have lost touch with the non Fox reality. Many viewers believe that higher education destroys people as they (Fox viewers) consume a daily diet of right-wing fury, that is erroneously labeled as “news.” Ailes “…perpetrated the biggest TV scam ever.”
Many consumers of Fox News and right-wing media are pro-business, pro-small government and pro-deregulation while being anti-union, anti-public school, anti-intellectual, anti-expertise, anti-civil rights, anti-gay rights, anti-women’s rights, anti-pluralism and anti-multiculturalism. It seems like ordinary people are counter-intuitively giving up their rights to big business and corporations. Sadly, this modern “conservative movement” has been funded by a small group of billionaires to promote Republican, fossil fuel, financial, chemical and Christian nationalists causes. In fact, this handful of billionaires secretly funded the, so called, “grassroots” Tea Party movement.
Author, Anne Nelson, writes in Shadow Network: Media, Money and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right, that there is “…a small group of archconservatives (American billionaires) who realized that the tides of history had turned against them.” As increasing numbers of people of color, immigrants, “queer” people and atheists were “poised” to become a “decisive majority,” the archconservatives “…believed that their policy priorities would fail at the ballot.” To counter this, “…the media of the Christian Right, the finances of western plutocrats and the strategy of right-wing Republican political operatives…” joined forces. They have “…effectively taken over the country.” They have been enormously effective at lowering taxes and eliminating regulations that help them to the detriment of everyday Americans.
Scott Stern writes that “…the rise of the far-right is the result of a deliberate organizing effort by a small coterie of uber-wealthy industrialists and financiers;” ….their motivation is “…greed of such a scale and an intensity that it led them to take a wrecking ball to the most beneficent American institutions; to destroy any lingering shred of independence within the media or judiciary; and literally let the world burn-so long as they got much richer,” (newrepublic.com “How Powerful is the Shadow Network” 2/19/2020). Stern continues that this small group of billionaires “…powered the modern conservative movement and have taken over the Republican Party.” This conservative movement is top down not bottom up as it may seem. The rise of authoritarianism and the government’s unwillingness to address climate change is caused by these few individuals who have “…set the world on fire in order to make more money.” Stern continues, “…Trump’s team effectively sold their campaign to hedge fund billionaires Robert and Rebekah Mercer (who actually backed Ted Cruz first), who bank rolled the failing operation in exchange for control over its messaging and ideological orientation.” Was Putin and Russia just a distraction from the real string pullers?
Also, “The Council for National Policy (who’s members are archconservative billionaires and Christian Nationalists) founded vast media empires that blanket airwaves in the Bible Belt and plains states. They control hundreds of stations (Salem Media Group, Botto Radio Network and American Family Radio) in 46 states in places where CBS, NBC, ABC and NPR coverage is sparse” (Nelson). These stations are pro-life, anti-gay, anti-Islam, pro-business/deregulation and climate science deniers. They are conservative platforms that demonize liberals and Democrats.
This small group of uber-wealthy archconservatives have funneled billions to support conservative candidates effectively controlling the conservative message and implementing anti-democratic policies. This was illegal before the passing of Citizens United. Therefore, Citizens United must be overturned and strict campaign reform must be implemented in order to restore a fair democracy.
Due to the growing diversity of the United States, white people will soon no longer be the majority. This demographic change makes it difficult for Republicans to win office and they have resorted to gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics instead of developing a platform that would win more voters. The billionaire funded right-wing message is that liberals are evil corrupt socialists that will destroy America. They use this false fear to win over ordinary folk convincing them that small government, reducing taxes and eliminating regulations are good for America. These things are not good because healthcare, education, infrastructure, environmental and consumer protections, livable wages and worker safety are all dependent on a well funded functional government. The only winners are the billionaires at the expense of everyone else. They are no longer vested in protecting our democracy, not if it includes everyone!
My questioning and bewilderment began with a few offhanded comments from a few ordinary people. Then the immigrant-hating escalator ride, the mocking of a disabled reporter, the grade school vocabulary and name calling and finally “good people on both sides” in response to tiki torch carrying white nationalists in Charlottesville focused my attention on “how can people I know and respect support this President?” As I tried to answer this question, I found an alternate information bubble where these character flaws were either dismissed or seen as behaviors of a powerful leader who is above “norms,” rather than as a self-serving, incompetent, destroyer of democracy seen outside the bubble. This antithetical worldview seems angry, anti-intellectual, anti-common good and anti-average people, a worldview that doesn’t benefit, but actually harms, the people who hold it. Next, my search uncovered a small cabal of billionaires, Christian Nationalists and Republican operatives who funded and message-controlled the alternate universe bubble and this president in order to fool voters into giving up their power which is embedded in our democracy. Billionaires want reduced taxes and deregulation, Christian Nationalist want to impose their religious interpretation on everyone else and Republicans want power. Together, they created an alternate information bubble to steal power, money and control from their fellow Americans, from us! They have turned us against each other! I fear that most people inside the bubble will dismiss what I found as lies from the left. But, we have to work together because divided we fall. We have to recognize that this division is caused by those who will benefit by it. Their benefit comes at our collective cost. The powerful cabal is trying to trick us into losing faith in our democracy so it can be replaced by their all powerful plutocracy.
Republicans no longer hold democracy sacred and are knowingly or unwittingly carrying out the bidding of the plutocrats. The lies within the bubble imbue unrealistic fear of the evil, socialist, Democrats. Even, otherwise well-educated, intelligent and decent people like Sarah Huckabee Sanders and William Barr, have demeaned themselves by repeating the lies and denying the truth. Either they’ve shut off their minds or their belief in the righteousness of their cause permits them to lie. In their mind, these falsely demonized Democrats threaten their very existence and fighting them excuses bad, immoral behavior on their part. Graham, McConnell, Jordan, Nunes, and Gaetz are just a few of the others who have fallen into this pit. They are so deep into the lie that they can’t even come to the table to govern effectively. Nearly 80,000,000 voters elected a President who has a history of working across the aisle, so maybe there is hope. Seek the truth. Know who is controlling and funding your bubble, why, and at what cost…
This journey opened my eyes! Am I being too cynical if I think that the billionaires directed Trump’s failed response to the pandemic because they would not mind having minorities, the poor, those with underlying conditions and the elderly dying off from the coronavirus?