(Picture courtesy of willhumes at flickr.com.)
What time I spent yesterday listening to the Murdochs speak to their audience, represented by the Culture Select Committee of the British Parliament, was mostly a waste. From the conversations I’ve had since, with admittedly progressive cohorts at a few sites I visit regularly, there was some dismay but no surprise. We have heard these members of the right wing testify before.
Chief Justice Roberts insisted in confirmation hearings that he would show no bias. Donald Rumsfeld had no memory of what he’d done in office. If we’ve learned nothing else about members of the political right, we should have realized that, systematically, they deny what would otherwise incriminate them, consistently and without deviating from their tactics. Watching the Murdochs do this yesterday was just another lesson in fact avoidance.
The years the Murdoch family has spent building its FOX media has been effectively spent destroying the ability of its audience to make intelligent judgments. By giving determinedly biased reporting, the audience that responds will be counted on to consist only of listeners who agree with the viewpoint, in this case unremittingly right wing. The purpose of Fox ‘News’ is not to give facts, but to advertize to the easily swayed.
When a Bachmann sounds off that the floods on the Mississippi River are proof that the Pigford reparations for decades of discrimination are wasteful, the audience she speaks to is one that has been cultivated and will react with satisfaction to having their prejudices reinforced.
When a Perry boasts that he will shut out the EPA, his Fox audience will applaud the thuggish attitude for standing up to our Big Government. In an unnoticed reversal, that same audience will respond approvingly when a Perry rants about the Big Government prejudice against Texas – displayed by not sending big payments to fight the wildfires in TX.
If the audience reacts negatively, it can creep away to the much maligned alternative that Fox has represented as equally biased toward the left wing. On their opposite, MSNBC, we can only imagine what withdrawal pangs must ensue by listening to the likes of Ed Schultz presenting Jane Hamsher last night telling them what we think of putting the burden of recovering from economic disaster on the backs of older, mainly working people.
Something about accepting that reversal of their expectations makes me suspect, admittedly without any figures to back it up, that those unable to stomach any more of the right wing talking points will be more likely to switch off the news reports entirely, than find out it’s their own plight we talk about on the left.
The Murdoch tactics have developed an unthinking audience, one that doesn’t know what the truth sounds like or looks like, and will vote the way they are told to.