This Is The One Goal I Wish Joe Biden Would Set And Achieve
Because this one factor lay behind almost all America’s problems today
Back in the late 1970’s, I remember listening to conservative commentary on AM talk radio in Mississippi. It may have been as late as 1980, but I distinctly remember hearing one such pundit call for all homosexuals to be sent to internment camps to keep them from spreading HIV to the general populace. It seemed logical to me at the time — after all, I was being raised as a strong conservative. The internet did not yet exist, so all the news we got was from “news shows” like this, or from the single television station the rabbit-ear antenna on our TV could receive (it’s so rural that even today, there’s no cable that reaches where our house was).
Even then, we were being told “you only get the real facts from us!” We got this message not just from pundits on the radio, but even more from televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson, and Jim Bakker’s “PTL Club”. Every single broadcast was filled with conservative invective against liberals, abortion, homosexuals, “welfare queens”, evolution…you name it. If the liberals supported it, conservatives had to be against it.
The 1980’s saw the rise of Rush Limbaugh who for twenty years was the single most influential conservative in the nation. No Republican could get elected if Rush opposed him…and the steady drumbeat of “thou shalt listen only to us because all other news is liberal lies” continued. The Iran-Contra scandal — wherein the CIA was selling missiles to Iran and using the proceeds to fund a rebellion in Nicaragua (all of which was perfectly illegal) — exploded across the headlines…and the Republicans told each other that it was all no big deal, blown way out of proportion. The only one who went to jail about it was LTCOL Oliver North, who ever since has been considered a bit of a hero and a valued source of commentary by right-wing media outlets. I remember how the Republicans were laughing about having gotten away with Iran-Contra.
Then came the rise of Fox News…and anyone reading this probably knows all too well how Fox politicized the news and then accused all other news outlets of doing the same, how Fox defended and excused seemingly anything and everything Republicans did (unless it involved gay sex), and how they took the “listen only to us” shtick of right-wing talk radio and put it on steroids…and threw out any pretense at journalistic integrity like last week’s trash.
It’s not right-wing politicians who have divided America into two partisan camps. It’s right-wing media, the pundits and preachers who (instead of the politicians) began setting policy for the GOP.
And it’s right-wing media that Joe Biden must address…because as long as right-wing media controls the mindsets and opinions of tens of millions of Americans as tightly as TASS ever did the citizens of the Soviet Union, it’s going to be very, very difficult to get the nation sufficiently united to address climate change or the pandemic or access to health care for all Americans.
How can Biden do so effectively? I don’t know. That’s way above my paygrade. But I do know that the one factor that is hindering our nation’s progress to the greatest extent on almost every issue is right-wing media.