The Left’s Politics of Paranoia

The liberal media and its allies see right-wing extremists everywhere.

The following remarkable revelation hit the internet on April 14, courtesy of Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert. It succinctly sums up not only the world view of George Soros’ steno pool, but of much of the rest of the left. Says Boehlert:

“Fact: Without Fox News and the national platform it gives the haters, there essentially would be no 'anti-government' movement in this country today.”

Fact? Admittedly, I am not blessed with a degree in journalism like Boehlert, but that statement sounds more like something we used to call an opinion. Boehlert and his fellow fellows look at Fox’s ratings and conclude that they must be – just have to be – leading the gullible, unwashed masses who are otherwise incapable of original thought or of getting information anywhere else but via the Murdoch empire. That’s obviously where all this “antigovernment” stuff comes from. Now, we used to have another word for “anti-government” called “anarchism,” but using the latter term would make the writer sound ridiculously inflammatory, so naturally the left avoids associating the right with either Sacco or Vanzetti. The more honest description of the mind-set that drives conservatives and libertarians to protest the policies of the Obama administration would be “limited government,” or “small government,” but those terms sound entirely too reasonable for the left to utilize.

If you’re paranoid and delusional, you naturally to see the rest of the world in those terms. After initially trying to dismiss the tea party movement as an unimportant, small collection of extremists, the left finally woke up to the fact that tea partiers are going to flex a lot of electoral muscle in November 2010. At that point, full-scale paranoia kicked in. The left grudgingly acknowledged the importance and size of the tea party movement, an admission that occurred seemingly overnight, but then, in their world, it naturally followed that the tea partiers’ message had to be far more sinister than they could have ever imagined. The left’s paranoid response to realizing that the tea party movement was something more than an unimportant, isolated fad was predictable: the left decided that the tea partiers were even more paranoid than they are. To them, the tea party movement just has to be about racism, fascism and violent revolution.

An April 9 article in Newsweek entitled “Hate, antigovernment extremists are on the rise—and on the march” penned by Evan Thomas and Eve Conant was about as paranoid as any liberal could want. Thomas and Conant paint a frightening picture of simmering right-wing hate, ready to explode in bloody, righteous outrage. They go to great, if dubious, lengths to link today’s disgust with the Obama administration’s neo-socialist policies to extremists like Timothy McVeigh and Father Charles Coughlin. The lesson, according to Thomas and Conant, is clear: America is teetering on the edge of falling into the abyss once more. Here’s a taste:

“Economic distress and social change make for fear, and fear makes for anger, now and always. Night riders terrorized the defenseless after the Civil War. During the Great Depression, two demagogues in particular whipped up conspiracy theories against Jewish bankers and the rich elites to arouse angry mass movements. Huey Long, governor of Louisiana, later a U.S. senator who wanted to soak the rich, and Father Charles Coughlin, an anti-Semitic Catholic priest whose radio show reached 40 million people, seemed a political threat to FDR, until Long was assassinated and Coughlin became increasingly unhinged.”

Of course Long was a Democrat and a populist who pushed the kind of “progressive” policies that would do the Obama administration proud. “Soak the rich” doesn’t cover the half of it. Coughlin may have “reached 40 million people,” but the fact that America united to fight a war that was, in large part, dedicated to defeating the most murderous anti-Semite in history suggests that he was not so nearly as influential as Thomas and Conant imply. But hey, why let a few relevant historical facts get in the way of the narrative?

Still, one would think that an article like that would quickly receive a hearty stamp of approval over at Media Matters. No such luck. While Boehlert expressed grudging gratitude with regard to Newsweek’s  paranoid delusions, he still had a problem: Newsweek just wasn’t paranoid enough:

“The bad news? The phrase 'Fox News' does not appear until the last paragraph of the Newsweek piece.”

Of course. According to Media Matters, all attacks on the right are welcome, so long as such attacks are prefaced with the disclaimer: “the following outrages have been perpetrated at the behest of Rupert Murdoch.” For Eric Boehlert and his fellow “senior fellows,” and presumably Media Matters’ “junior fellows” along with their “deputy assistant fellows in training,” nobody would “essentially” be upset by an administration that rammed a health care bill down our throats, spent hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up failing businesses and thumbed its nose at our most important ally in the middle east, but for the nefarious influence of Fox News. We’re in the midst of the Age of Communication, but all of these issues would have somehow escaped our attention, were it not for Murdoch’s minions. What a bunch of dolts we are!

While Fox is a network powerhouse, there are millions of conservatives (me among them) who don’t watch Fox on anything approaching a regular basis. For the most part, I appreciate what Fox does, but I’ve also been critical of Murdoch’s network too. Still, whatever Fox says or does not say, it really doesn’t matter. There are plenty of other sources of information and the American people are savvy enough to know when salient questions aren’t being answered. That’s why we have Free Republic, Andrew Breitbart, Matt Drudge and, to put a point on it, David Horowitz. People are curious and hungry to learn more. If the mainstream media won’t answer their questions, they’ll find other outlets that will. Fox isn’t directing a conspiracy, they’re filling a vacuum.

The left seems entirely incapable of digesting that possibility. The tea-party movement and all of the other forms of protest against this administration, have been motivated by – more than anything else – the policies of the administration itself. It’s about assuming crippling debt, the tax-hikes any intelligent observer knows are sure to come and the creeping intrusion of more and more government bureaucracies controlling our lives. People don’t need Fox News, or any other media outlet, to understand that. All they have to do is to pay attention to what the Obama, Pelosi, Reid and their supporters have been doing and saying.