For years, conservative American politicians pushed for harsh drug laws that made it too convenient to incarcerate minorities, despite the fact that corporate America was getting high on the two-martini lunch.
All the while, another anesthetizing force took shape emanating from America’s radio and TVs. Originally called propaganda, media moguls determined misinformation and could also print lots of money. Play to people’s biases instead of challenging their corrosive beliefs proved powerfully profitable. Rush Limbaugh made nearly $80 million a year “duping” his viewers with a steady diet of false parallels, heuristic thinking, and outright prevarications. The integrity of news reporting proved less important than the imperative of profit as delivered by pundits such as Limbaugh, who has been followed by a host of others, including Sean Hanniity ($45 million), Tucker Carlson ($35 million), and Laura Ingraham ($20 million). Each of these polarized pundits realize there is big bucks in duping America. Like a drug, their followers get hooked on the high of the empowerment and anger gained by being told they are in a battle for America’s soul with the liberals, the greatest scapegoat since Hitler’s jews.
Most viewers of these Fox personalities are 60 and over and believe in an anachronistic America that once boasted nationalist and cultural hegemony. Hannity, Ingraham and Carlson won’t let that belief die. And, of course, with Donald Trump carrying the right-wing banner, it is not going away soon. Sadly, theses political puppets, who have become fantastically wealthy selling their souls supporting Trump, veer precarious close to running America aground on the perilous shores of authoritarianism.
But remember this my trifling triumvirate: For the first time in six years, the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner (WHCD) was held with the president of the United States in attendance on April 30 in Washington, D.C. The WHCD has been a tradition in Washington for more than a century and for the past several decades it has taken the form of a comedic roast of both the president, government, and the press. Thin-skinned Trump discontinued the tradition during his time in office.
Hosted this year by Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show,“ he reminded the journalists in attendance the importance of their profession. “If you ever begin to doubt your responsibilities, if you ever begin to doubt how meaningful it is, look no further than what’s happening in Ukraine,” Noah said. “Look at what’s happening there. Journalists are risking and even losing their lives to show the world what is happening. You realize how amazing that is?”
He continued: “In America, you have the right to seek the truth and speak the truth, even if it makes people in power uncomfortable. Even if it makes your viewers or readers uncomfortable. You understand how amazing that is?”
Noah pointed out that he had just stood there and made fun of the president of the United States and he was going to be fine. Then he contrasted that with the reality Russian journalists are living under Putin.
Hannity, Ingraham and Carlson, have the same right to criticize government and the president, and even serve as an apologist for Putin as Tucker has recently, all the while putting millions in their pockets. But the same hand you slap is the same hand the feeds you, and in this case, your largesse of millions.