Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. spoke out against conservative media and Fox News yesterday on Huffington Post Live. He blasted Fox for having divided the country "in a way that we haven't been divided probably since the Civil War," and blamed it for enabling the rise of "Tea Party ideologues who control the Republican Party." The clip is now featured on Huffington Post's media page so presumably they give the opinion some credence. So why is Arianna Huffington inviting Sean Hannity to blog there?
After noting that 22% of Americans say Fox is their primary news source, Kennedy said in the clip below:
"It's divided our country in a way that we haven't been divided probably since the Civil War, and its empowered large corporations to get certain kinds of politicians and ideologues who are in the United State Congress elected -- the Tea Party ideologues who control the Republican Party."
I've long said that it's important for the left to confront and denounce the tactics that Fox News employs and promotes. Quite frankly, we need more Kennedys willing to speak truth rather than pussy foot around the elephant in the media room ready to trample everything in its way. So it's more than a little disappointing that Huffington and Washington Bureau Chief Ryan Grim, two people I otherwise like, admire and respect, are not just ignoring Sean Hannity's starring role in what Kennedy describes above but sucking up to it.
Greta van Susteren’s show now takes this to the level of including Limbaugh’s rants as part of her daily mash-up of right wing attacks on Obama, including several GOP congresspeople looking serious and concerned, and then including Limbaugh as though his musings had any weight.
There’s definitely something off about a situation where you have Limbaugh, who has no formal education to know anything about tax law, constitutional law or about the history and politics of this country outside of his own limited feelings about such things. being held up as some kind of expert on conservative philosophy and an authoritative voice for GOP politicians to hear. The same goes even farther for Sean Hannity, who dropped out of school. Add to that multiple personalities on Fox who are completely uninformed or are just bitter (Gutfeld, Bolling, Huckabee) and one former schoolteacher who left that profession very quickly to be a TV personality (O’Reilly) and a former lawyer turned pundit who conveniently forgets the law when opining about right wing positions.
The result is that you have a lot of people who know very little about history and politics repeating right wing talking points to each other and to a hard-line fan base that just wants to hear those talking points repeated to them. The result is the kind of polarization we’ve been seeing in this country for at least 25 years. Things were already in a nasty place by the time Nixon took office, but having this intense echo chamber amplifying the anger has taken the nastiness into the stratosphere.
I can’t remember the specifics, but a year or two ago, there was a blog entry or whatever that openly endorsed/supported some right-wing economic scheme as though there was really no viable alternative. I wish I could recall who the author of the piece was but I know it was some fool connected with Cato Institute or Heritage (I’m more inclined to say Cato but it’s not like there’s any real difference) and I posted a comment expressing my shock that HuffPo would allow such right-wing tripe on the site. And yet, you’ve got the right-wing nutcases hanging out there who genuinely believe (or are seriously deluded) that HuffPo is a “liberal tool.” Usually when I encounter some RWNC who’s decrying HuffPo’s “liberalism,” I can’t help but ask why the fool is bothering with the site. (What’s even funnier are the RWNCs who’ve obviously been there a while—it’s hard to post thousands of comments and garner hundreds and hundreds of fans unless you’ve been hanging out/trolling for a significant period of time.)