Deep in the basement of Fox News headquarters in New York, there is windowless suite of offices staffed with social misfits who shun sunlight and reason. They have been trained by specialists in disinformation and propaganda to manipulate stories and statements in a manner that reflects badly on President Obama and his administration.
The “Phony Scandals Unit” (PSU) has been busy during Obama’s term as president. Their production has been industrious and creative. Some of their notable achievements include Fast and Furious, Solyndra, New Black Panthers, Benghazi, and Tea Party targeting at the IRS. Of course, none of these have been associated with the White House, but that’s beside the point. The PSU’s purpose is not to report factually. It is to create suspicion and innuendo, and to give useless members of congress excuses to conduct frivolous hearings.
However, something is obviously wrong with the PSU team. While their previous scandal output was weak and contrived, it managed to draw the attention of the media to some degree. But their current projects seem to be lacking in plausibility to the extent that the whole division could become an embarrassment. For instance…
Hurtful Tax Cuts
The GOP has spent decades defining itself as the enemy of taxes in any form. No matter what the state of the economy, they advocate cutting taxes as the best way forward. In boom times or bust, it’s cut, cut cut, those taxes. After all, the government doesn’t need any money to operate or provide services or fight wars. If children starve of senior citizens suffer, it’s their own fault for not being wealthy.
So what might have caused the anti-tax Republicans to suddenly advance the notion that a corporate tax cut would hurt small businesses?
How could this happen when tax cuts are deemed by the GOP to be ordained by God? The answer is that the corporate tax cuts in question were proposed by President Obama, and the only doctrine that Republicans adhere to more strictly than tax cuts, is to oppose Obama regardless of what he says. So as soon as he proposed cutting taxes, Fox’s PSU went to work.
The PSU was working overtime to uncover a clandestine White House operation that they contend has a sinister mission. The “Behavioral Insights Team” is alleged by Fox wingnuts to be a Svengali-like operation charged with “tweaking behavior so people do everything from saving more for retirement to saving more in energy costs.” Saints preserve us. It’s the devil’s work.
The seeds of this dastardly plot lay in the work of a former White House aide, Cass Sunstein. He actually wrote the book “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.” Glenn Beck, when he was still on Fox News, had singled Sunstein out as “the most dangerous man in America.” And with good reason. The tactics about which he wrote could be used to get people to pay their taxes on time, or buckle their seat belts, or “say no to drugs” (thanks Nancy “the Nudge” Reagan).
The IRS Army
Finally, The right wing freakout hit a new low with the folks at Fox Nation, who are prone to freaking out without much encouragement. It appears that the number of agents at the IRS was a problem for the conservatives who hate the agency anyway.
So the PSU and the Fox Nationalists looked around and found that there were other organizations that had fewer people than the IRS. For some reason they settled on the German army as their comparison. Certainly they had no intention of implying anything.
Now, what does the number of German soldiers have to do with the number of IRS agents? Absolutely nothing. The IRS staff is determined by the workload and operational efficiencies. It’s requirements are in no way similar to those of the German military. General Motors has twice as many employees as either of them. So what? Walmart has 20 times as many employees. Does that suggest something evil about Walmart? Well, that might be a bad example.
Aside from being irrelevant, The story is wrong. It assumes that every employee of the IRS is an agent. Obviously that would come as news to the accountants, secretaries, lawyers, computer techs, file clerks, etc. This phony scandal is almost as idiotic as the one when Fox fear mongers said that the IRS was hiring thousands of armed agents to enforce ObamaCare.
What these three stories tell us is that the ability of the Phony Scandals Unit has deteriorated substantially. They are apparently incapable of developing a new scandal that isn’t laughably asinine. If this is the standard for the types of scandals that Fox News will be foisting on the American public for the next couple of years, then we are in for some rollicking good times. I can’t wait to see what they will cook up for Hillary. Perhaps it will have something to do with the buttons on her pants suits transmitting state secrets to the planet Kardash.