I don’t know if it’s the copious amounts of coffee I’ve drank this morning, or the hour long conversation Brittany and I had earlier about this, but I feel like ranting.
It would take less than five minutes of looking over my blog or Facebook wall to be able to tell that I’m pretty fucking unhappy with the state of the country right about now.
But, what I got to thinking about today, is, how did it get this way? I have a theory, and most of it goes back to conservative media.
I remember a time when everyone sat down to watch the six-o’-clock news, I remember real journalism. I remember when journalists would call out politicians on their bullshit, and not in a sensational over the top way, but by reporting on what politicians say, then presenting the facts.
I remember news anchors who sat stoically behind a desk reporting current events in an even matter of fact tone.
I can’t remember exactly when the sift happened, but I feel like it was some time in the mid to late 90’s, suddenly news got much more sensational. Fox News started becoming very popular among the “media has a liberal bias” crowd. Conservative talk radio seemed like it started becoming much more popular. The opinion that the media had a liberal agenda suddenly got very widespread, and “the press” - journalism, suddenly lost all creditability.
Suddenly, the “press” which had traditionally acted as a sort of “check” against the government, meant nothing of value to the general public.
Then conservative talk radio started getting very popular.
Have you ever actually listened to any conservative talk radio? This shit is ludicrous, but there is one overreaching theme, one that I’ve noticed among conservative commentators on a whole. That’s this whole mentality of, “People who don’t agree with me are stupid.”
They seem angry and fired up presenting their “facts” (like if there is a refrigerator in your home, you can’t possibly be poor) and add colorful commentary, it’s a very slick psychological “hack” they tell you this shit and then add that you’re stupid or a pin-head or whatever if you don’t agree with them.
Remember the “cool” kids in school? Remember how so many people kissed their asses no matter how big of a douche nozzle they were and wanted to be like them?
Think about this, diehard liberals or conservatives don’t win the “big” elections, swing voters do. The people sitting on the fence make the most important contribution to the political process among the people.
Going back to the high-school analogy, lets say the die hard conservatives are the jocks and the popular kids, and lets say the diehard liberals are the nerdy kids, the hippie kids and socially awkward kids.
The swing voters are everyone else, the faceless masses, the average Joes, the kids the jocks and popular kids don’t go out of their way to pick on. The same kids that would just stand there and watch while a jock bullies the shit out of a nerdy kid, then comment to their friends about how “[insert jock kid’s name here] beat the shit out of [insert nerd’s name here].
These people sway with public opinion, and in the high-school example isn’t going to call out a jock or popular kid because there could be a backlash from them.
Now look at the people that listen to conservative media and get all fired up about it. They think anyone who disagrees with them are crazy or stupid and they have confirmation about this everyday through conservative media.
They start talking to other people about it, people who are easily swayed by popular opinion. They might not even keep up with current events much, but they hear how stupid liberal socialists are going to destroy our country and take our jobs.
We like to believe swing voters are the ones who rise above partisan politics, who vote according to issues with concern them, and while some of them may be like that, there are several more who are like the faceless masses in high-school. They go with popular opinion, they don’t want to be seen as a “loony leftist” or “stupid liberal”.
The aggression with which the right attacks the left pushes the masses right, they don’t want to be the “dumb ones” they don’t want to be filthy hippies or lazy socialists, they don’t want to be seen as stupid.
Though their specific use of language, emotion based ad-hominem attacks on the left, suddenly everything on the left is invalid, stupid, “tinfoil hat”, pin-head rhetoric, and no one wants to be seen like that.
Look at political arguments on Facebook, twitter, and even right here on tumblr. Look at the tone from conservatives, snarky down their nose, morally superior, attacks sounding a lot like what you hear from conservative media.
How many of the faceless, sitting on the fence, swayed by public opinion masses are going to stand up against that.
Not many, just like the kids in school, they are going to sit there and maybe even snicker a bit, while the jock gives the geeky kid a wedgie.
And when they grow up they’re going to vote at the polls with emotions, with not wanting to be seen as “stupid”.
It’s my honest opinion that conservative media and it’s collective tone has done more to divide this country than any other force.