Though they never paid the price they should have, the young Senator John Kerry had just exposed Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush as criminals after doggedly pursuing the connection between the secret and illegal sale of arms to Iran and the funneling of the proceeds to fund the Contra Rebels in Nicaragua (in spite of the fact that Congress had voted against support for the Contras). It was called the Iran-Contra Affair and it mesmerized the country for months, including nearly non-stop televised coverage of the Congressional hearings.
In the end, in spite of a cast of actors committing perjury, obstruction of justice, withholding evidence, accepting illegal gratuities, and destruction of documents (National Security Adviser John Poindexter "destroy[ed] what may have been the only signed copy of a presidential covert-action finding" which would have directly tied President Reagan to the scandal), not one person served any time for their crimes.
This was not a good time to be the incumbent vice-president seeking the office of President. The taint of this scandal was all over George H. W. Bush. Democratic Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis was 17 points ahead of Bush in the polls and it looked like he would have an easy path to victory. But Bush had a weapon in his battle for the presidency: his new campaign manager, political strategist and consultant Lee Atwater.
ENTER THE BOOGEY MAN
Naturally this boogey man, singled out to scare the nation, was a black man. His name was Willie Horton and he was a convicted murderer. While out on furlough through a program begun under Dukakis' Republican predecessor, Horton kidnapped a young couple, tortured the man and repeatedly raped the woman. Two television ads were released; an official one by the Bush campaign called "Revolving Door," and one by an "unaffiliated" PAC.
And Michael Dukakis lost the race for the presidency to the criminal (he later admitted he knew about the illegal sale of arms to Iran while in office as vice president) who invoked the scary black man in order to win.
But for it to be the successful campaign that it was, they needed allies in the media. And they had one in Roger Ailes. As Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone Magazine describes him in "How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory":
|To watch even a day of Fox News – the anger, the bombast, the virulent paranoid streak, the unending appeals to white resentment, the reporting that’s held to the same standard of evidence as a late-October attack ad – is to see a refraction of its founder, one of the most skilled and fearsome operatives in the history of the Republican Party. As a political consultant, Ailes repackaged Richard Nixon for television in 1968, papered over Ronald Reagan’s budding Alzheimer’s in 1984, shamelessly stoked racial fears to elect George H.W. Bush in 1988, and waged a secret campaign on behalf of Big Tobacco to derail health care reform in 1993. "He was the premier guy in the business," says former Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins. "He was our Michelangelo." |
... Ailes has used Fox News to pioneer a new form of political campaign – one that enables the GOP to bypass skeptical reporters and wage an around-the-clock, partisan assault on public opinion. The network, at its core, is a giant sound stage created to mimic the look and feel of a news operation, cleverly camouflaging political propaganda as independent journalism.
For more than a quarter century we have been subjected to the Fright Wing Media Scare Machine that the Republican party relies upon to win election after election and dominate the narrative on policy issue after policy issue.
▶ Make a fist and tap it against your wife's as she hands the microphone over to you at a rally? That's not a sweet gesture of support between a loving couple, it's a terrorist fist jab!
▶ Enact a law that reforms health insurance so more Americans are eligible and covered? The government is actually trying to kill you with their "death panels"!
▶ Repeal a law that forced patriotic Americans who want to serve their country to hide in the shadows if they're gay? Democrats are destroying the military and we'll no longer be safe!
▶ You're the party that is bringing the country perilously close to default and is threatening to go through with it? You can rely on your Fright Wing Media friends to misdirect their viewers and tell them that President Obama is threatening take away seniors' Social Security checks and "exploiting seniors"!
▶ American Muslims dare to exist? What they're really doing is plotting the violent overthrow of our government so they can enact Sharia law and kill us all!!!
|... [T]he phenomenon of our rights being used to pursue our destruction has become undeniable – particularly now, thanks to an assiduously researched, peer-reviewed study published on June 6th by the highly respected journal, Middle East Quarterly.|
Entitled "Shari’a and Violence in American Mosques," this paper describes an ominous jihadist footprint being put into place across the nation. It is made up of ostensibly religious institutions, entities that, therefore, enjoy constitutional protection. But, according to the data examined by this study, most mosques in the United States are actually engaged in – or at least supportive of – a totalitarian, seditious agenda they call shariah. Its express purpose is undermining and ultimately forcibly replacing the U.S. government and its founding documents. In their place would be a "caliph," governing in accordance with shariah’s political-military-legal code.
The terrorists are coming to get you. Muslims are coming to get you. Liberals are coming to get you. Death panels are coming to get you. Democrats are "destroying our way of life."
Roger Ailes, Fox, The Washington Times, National Review, Christian Broadcasting Network, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Steyn, Phyllis Schlafly, Glenn Beck.
A seemingly-endless list of fear-mongers in the Fright Wing Media have risen up to drown out any commentator who may at any time have been either moderate or sane. These people have created an atmosphere of fear so deep that one man says his mother died from lack of medical care after a fall because she refused to go to a hospital where Obama's doctors would kill her. She knew this for a fact because she heard it on Fox.
BUT ONE PERSON IN PARTICULAR IS SCARIER THAN ANY OTHER
That would, of course, be the black man in the White House who hates America. You know how we know he hates America? Because he "pals around with terrorists," a lie declared by the candidate for vice president of the United States of America and regurgitated ad nauseum on the Fox network for months.
Right Wing News tells us the 10 ways Obama is destroying America. Never mind that not only is every single one of the allegations a bold-faced lie, but in reality (and not the fantasyland the writer is living in in her mind) most have been done by a Republican president: racking up unprecedented debt (See Bush, George W.), "lending aid, money, and support to tyrannies" (see above: Iran-Contra), and — Oh! My! G-d! — reducing the military budget (See: Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan & H.W. Bush).
But let's face it, they aren't really afraid of President Obama's policies. They're afraid of President Obama, the black man. The "Magic Negro." "Or-Bam-eo." The "Tar Baby." The Kenyan.
AND WHAT IS THE END RESULT OF THIS RACIST, HATEFUL FEAR-MONGERING?
Emboldened by their media filth-flingers, coupled with the anonymity of the internet (no need for white hoods anymore!) ... Pure. Undiluted. Evil. When you read this (and you really should read this), you may weep. It is truly that heart-sickening.
It's Willie Horton all over again.
At least Lee Atwater repented on his death bed.
The "right wing media" are in reality the Fright Wing Media. We should be calling them that every time we speak of them.
(h/t to my friend Keith Balmer for the term Fright Wing Media, which I shamelessly stole (with permission) from his most recent blog post, "I'm Sick of Rush Limbaugh." Read his blog — he's awesome.)
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." ~ Anne Frank