On the day Donald Trump gave his speech accepting the nomination of the Republican party, Roger Ailes left Fox News. Ailes’ work here was done. Trump’s speech was the culmination of the Fox News project. One con man has left the scene, a new con man enters from stage far-right.
Trump’s candidacy is the direct and inevitable consequence of decades of Fox News pumping out its propaganda, hate and outright lies, every single day, conning its audience into supporting the agenda of an elite few. Every delegate in that convention hall and every Trump voter is the product of Fox News and the rest of the conservative media machine, products packaged up and delivered to billionaires.
Fox News presents its audience with an alternative world full of terrifying enemies. It instructs its audience that government and “liberals,” and especially Democrats, are their deadly enemy, to be destroyed at all costs. It teaches that people of color and of other religions and nations are their enemy, women are objects to be ogled, the poor are parasites. It tells them that everything bad happening in their lives are because of these. Fox tells them that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by “socialists” who hate “capitalism.” Capitalism and “free markets” are the answer to every problem society has. Government spending – even on things like infrastructure – “takes money out of the economy.” Government borrowing is a plot to weaken and destroy America. “Government schools” indoctrinate children into communism. Taxing corporations and the rich kills jobs. Cutting interest rates to help the economy will produce hyperinflation. Tax cuts increases tax revenue … and all the rest of it.
None of this is true; it is a carefully packaged illusion that serves the right-wing billionaires and corporations (especially oil companies) who drive this self-serving ideology. For them it is all about rounding up votes by any means, and providing cover for an agenda of tax cuts, deregulation, contracts, subsidies, monopoly grants and the rest of the corruption they have made of what used to be “the system.”
The Republican “base,” thoroughly indoctrinated, believe what they have been told and are upset that the party elites have not delivered on the promise to kill government, to jail liberals, to provide jobs. The party has “betrayed” them by not fixing the country’s problems as described by Fox News and they have had enough.
Donald Trump and his speech to the convention is the result of decades of Fox News propaganda. People who have been convinced that climate change is a hoax, even as everyone can feel the world getting hotter, are not people who can figure out when a con or scam is being played on them. Ailes out, Trump in.
Please read Richard Eskow’s important post, “Trump’s Terrifying Pitch: It Was Better Than You Think“:
To be fair, this speech needed to be long. Trump needed to present a number of false and contradictory identities to the electorate, and that takes time. He was both a firebrand populist and a rock-ribbed Republican. He was an enemy of big business, and he swore to deregulate industry. He was compassionate toward all people – but he’ll build a wall to keep millions of people out.
Trump also needed time to present an America that’s a study in contrasts: a war-torn landscape with a bright future, a desolate wasteland filled with untapped potential, a desperate and dangerous dystopia that will become an Eden as soon as he is sworn into office.
That’s Demagoguery 101: Terrify, then reassure. Threaten people with destruction, then reassure them with the warm embrace of your fatherly arms. It’s what kidnappers do to instill Stockholm syndrome in their prisoners. And Trump’s eerily good at it.
Trump is promising relief – from the fear he and his allies have instilled, but also from an economic order that has failed millions of Americans. Even though there’s no chance he intends to make good on his promises, Clinton’s Democrats have their work cut out for them. They’ll need to convince voters that they don’t represent the “centrist” status quo. That means firm and believable commitments on trade, wages and other issues where they have tacked right in the past.
Also please read Terrance Heath’s post, Roger Ailes: How The Russ Meyer of the Newsroom Sped His Own Demise,
Launched in 1996 as the “fair and balanced” answer to the so-called “liberal media,” Fox News started as a 318-page plot by Ailes and other aides to then president Richard Nixon to get around the “prejudices of news networks,” titled “A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News.” It became the most successful, most profitable, and least accountable arm of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. But even as it made household names of people like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly and Glenn Beck, Fox News remained most closely identified with Ailes. “He is Fox News,” said former commentator Jane Hall.
What was for a while the key to Fox News’ success led to its current crisis. It became too much like its chairman, until what ailed Fox News was Ailes himself.