The Gullible Ones Who Watch Faux News
Jim Rutenberg, media writer for The New York Times, nailed one of the problems with the electorate in a column this week. Writing about how Sean Hannity looks like a reporter behind a desk on FAUX News while all the time pimping for Donald Trump allows for –how shall I say it–the cerebrally challenged to eat up a whole line of utter horse rot. What are offered as ‘facts’ are in fact something quite different.
I am one of those who think following the defeat of Trump this November that an audit needs to be made of our educational systems to understand how in hell so many uneducated rubes have been created in this nation. Who can honestly tell me that anyone with a dose of common sense or one iota of intelligence could stomach even a couple minutes of Sean Hannity without seeking the remote to stop the crazy or blush that some one might catch them wasting time with such a lightweight?
Yet the overnight ratings show that there are more gullible people in this nation than most of us would care to think possible. There are times we need to weep for our nation.
On other days, he has lent his prime-time platform to wild, unsubstantiated accusations that Hillary Clinton is hiding severe health problems. He showed a video of a supposed possible seizure that was in fact a comical gesture Mrs. Clinton was making to reporters, as one of them, The Associated Press’s Lisa Lerer, reported. He also shared a report from the conservative site The Gateway Pundit that a member of Mrs. Clinton’s security detail appeared to be carrying a diazepam syringe, “for patients who experience recurrent seizures.”
A simple call to the Secret Service spokeswoman Nicole Mainor, as I made on Friday, would have resulted in the
People in Mr. Hannity’s audience of 2.5 million who are inclined to believe the health allegations, and who believe the mainstream media are covering for Mrs. Clinton, are unlikely to be impressed by the Secret Service’s explanation.
That’s the ultimate result of the hyperpoliticized approach Mr. Hannity and so many others use in today’s more stridently ideological media: A fact is dismissed as false when it doesn’t fit the preferred political narrative.
But while this informational nihilism appears to have hit a new high, the last two weeks have signaled the start of a possible reckoning within the conservative media.
First there was The Wall Street Journal’s deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens, who, after trading insults with Mr. Hannity over Mr. Trump, said on the MSNBC show “Morning Joe” that “too much of the Republican Party became an echo chamber of itself.”
Those who spend an inordinate amount of time “listening to certain cable shows” and inhaling the conspiracy theories promoted on “certain fringes of the internet,’’ he said, wind up in a debate that’s “divorced from reality.”
Then there was the conservative radio host Charlie Sykes, who lamented in an interview with the Business Insider politics editor Oliver Darcy, “We have spent 20 years demonizing the liberal mainstream media.”
That criticism was often warranted, Mr. Sykes said. But, as Mr. Sykes said, “At a certain point, you wake up and you realize you have destroyed the credibility of any credible outlet out there.” Therefore any attempt to debunk a falsehood by Mr. Trump, he said, becomes hopeless.