But for anyone who's tried to raise children as Christians in the face of a hostile and ubiquitous liberal/progressive media complex, I think it's excusable to feel a bit of satisfaction at hearing someone in that complex complain about a family member being seduced by the right-wing media. One day last week someone posted on Facebook a link to this Salon article:
And I laughed. Only at the headline--the article itself is pretty much the usual stuff, and not amusing.
I don't like Fox News. I don't watch it. But the old media establishment bears a large share of the blame for the rise of Fox, Rush Limbaugh, and all the rest. By attempting to create an environment where liberal political and cultural assumptions were treated as self-evident dogma, and dissent from them as an aberration, they treated millions of people as if their opinions not only didn't count but didn't even exist. Those millions were delighted when someone started voicing their opinions out loud, on the air, with confidence and humor (I'm thinking of the early Rush Limbaugh, twenty-plus years ago). And they voted against the mainstream media in huge numbers by taking their attention elsewhere.
Fox is unfortunately not conservative in any meaningful sense--it's a business that makes money by attracting viewers, and right-wing views are on the whole more popular than left-wing ones, so that's what it pushes, but I think its simplistic and superficial approach is an essential contributor to its popularity. That doesn't speak well of The People, of course, and I regret having to say so. But look at all the other junk that The People have made hugely successful.
I wonder how the Salon writer's father views this situation. Perhaps he's the fanatic that his son presents, but we can be certain that there are two sides to this story, which is if nothing else clearly a sad one. And if the father is indeed a fanatic with a closed mind, the son, in a pattern as old as humanity, resembles his father more than he recognizes or would wish. He may himself live to be "old, white, wrinkled, and angry"; if he doesn't fall victim early to disease or accident, he won't have any choice about the first three.
And by the way, what happened to Salon? In its earlier days (ten years ago? more?) it was an online magazine that was often interesting and well-written and nicely presented. I didn't read it very often, because it had that odor of corruption that characterizes so much of contemporary intellectual life. But I remember some interesting pieces by people like Camille Paglia. Now it just looks like another hysterical political site, an ugly mess of frantic headlines and trashy advertisements, not much different from similar ones on the right. When I read the story I linked to above, this was among the recent comments:
The people behind Reagan, the World's Greatest Salesman, knew they couldn't take over the country without massive propaganda. They wanted, not just to win elections, but to stage a coup and install an oligarchy, and knew they couldn't sell that, so they had him push for scrapping the safeguards against propaganda in the name of free speech, making the world safe for Fox and hate radio.
They could not have destroyed the country to the extent they did without that....
Who's crazy? Who's hysterical? On the basis of a sample of eight or ten, I'd say the commenters on that piece are every bit as frenzied as the most wild-eyed Fox News fans.