The morning hosts on Rupert Murdoch’s FNC had fixed on a minor detail to denigrate the Democratic National Convention’s virtual first night, chortling that television ratings were down from four years ago.
It wasn’t quite so. CNN Digital had welcomed nearly thirty-one million unique visitors on the first night. The Democrats’ opening night in 2016 drew an audience of twenty-six million, the Republicans twenty-three million.
But the ratings celebration had an interruption.
Donald Trump was live and sticking his foot in it. He was ridiculing Michelle Obama for taping her speech ahead of time, and for understating at 150,000 the number of U.S. casualties from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump was too self-absorbed to realize what he was doing, namely driving home a central theme of Obama’s speech. Ego and a total lack of empathy are the defining characteristics of the forty-fifth president.
In Obama’s words: “That’s not just disappointing, it’s downright infuriating.”
The sniping continued Tuesday, with Tucker Carlson sneering that Obama had taped her talk at Martha’s Vineyard. He denounced her speech as a “total lie, a calculated lie,” a lie designed to make America more fearful.”
Michelle Obama wants “dominion over you,” he charged.
Low ball was followed by low ball by another multimillionaire Fox host… Sean Hannity, who sneered that Bernie Sanders has three houses.
Don’t these people have any fresh material? Can’t they stop Trump from the habit, while looking out for number one, of constantly stepping in number two?
The right wing misinformation machine in America is formidable.
Usually, it is able to coordinate themes across the country, for instance, moving from one city to another to suggest that streets are ruled by thugs.
A bloviating Rudy Giuliani was suggesting Monday on FNC that Black Lives Matter should be classified by the Attorney General as a terrorist organization.
But these shouting guys can’t get their acts straight.
The 2020 Democratic ticket has them flummoxed.
Trump has denounced running mate Senator Kamala Harris as the most “far left” member of the Senate. The Republican National Committee has decried her for being too harsh as a prosecutor. The Democratic ticket is “the most far left” in American history, Hannity declared on Tuesday.
An hour earlier, Tucker Carlson had described Harris as a tool of Wall Street.
It’s awfully hard to be all of these things.
The far-right media is driving home its theme of urban violence, and I’ve become used to KTTH host Jason Rantz slandering my city. But they’re run into genuine public outrage over slashing the post office, discontent borne of vital tasks performed by the Postal Service apart from delivering ballots.
“Democrats should be deeply embarrassed that their leadership has embraced conspiratorial claims about the United States Postal Service,” Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, tweeted Tuesday.
Huh? Americans of all ideological stripes, not just Democrats, began to suspect something fishy with delays in mail service, suspicions rooted in appointment of a Republican megadonor (Louis DeJoy) as the Postmaster General.
The Democrats’ ticket is presenting a basic, very big problem for right wing media. The public is comfortable with Joe Biden.
By contrast, Donald Trump has given us more than three years of West Wing and executive branch chaos, with the chaos spreading over to his campaign.
Kamala Harris is an immigrant success story. The lowest dwellers in right wing media have tried to besmirch her character. What has Rush Limbaugh called the ticket? “Joe and the ‘Ho”. Carlson has condemned Harris for joining the ticket of a man accused (in a constantly evolving story) of unwanted touching.
The propaganda machine will get its act together, even if Trump doesn’t.
As if to remind us of this, onetime George W. Bush political aide and Republican dirty trickster Karl Rove was ubiquitous Tuesday on Fox.
So were junior press aides to Trump, claiming the potential for “massive fraud” in mail in voting, offering no supporting evidence.
Senator Lindsey Graham is all over the place, showing that longtime friendship with Joe Biden means nothing when you are Trump’s strumpet.
Dinesh D’Souza, the pundit who peddled he’s really from Kenya nonsense against Barack Obama, sneered at Michelle Obama, writing: “With its vacuous platitudes and empty moralizing, Michelle Obama’s speech was perfectly designed to appeal to shallow people for whom the display of virtue substitutes for virtue itself.”
No wonder he had the nickname “Distort D’Newsa” at Dartmouth.
Listeners loved the Michelle Obama speech. Her autobiography, Becoming, has settled on the most-read list for more than a year.
She is nobody for a snotty extremist to mess with.
The overall impression, looking at reaction since Harris was named: Right wing media is seriously out of touch with the country.
All the shouting is directed at a core group of those Limbaugh refers to as “dittoheads” — a dull, suspicious, defiantly uniformed minority.
Fear can be used to arouse such folk, witness the nonstop images (some photoshopped) of Seattle, Portland, New York and Baltimore.
But the country has progressed in its views on racial justice, and Trump seems tone deaf with his appeal to “suburban housewives.”
Still: it’s a dirty game, but somebody has to play it.
If they know what’s good for them, never again will Democrats fall into the trap of thinking or saying: “The American people will never believe falsehoods being thrown at our candidate. They are too intelligent for that.”
The presence of Karl Rove on Fox should serve as a warning.