Twelve days ago the Tea Party dominated Republican House caucus shut down the United States government in an attempt coerce the majority of the Congress into defunding, delaying, or otherwise crippling the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare).
They were aided and abetted by their partners in political crime, Fox News. In fact, Fox News took a leadership role in disseminating disinformation aimed at either preventing ObamaCare from being implemented or poisoning public opinion to oppose it based on the lies that Fox manufactured.
Be Sure To “LIKE” News Corpse On Facebook
The ferocity of the Fox campaign was dialed up to maximum volume with absurdly dishonest claims that tested the boundaries of hyperbole. They coordinated their attack plan to traverse the Fox empire including their business network, the Wall Street Journal, and the notorious Fib Factory, Fox Nation. They spoke of non-existent death panels, encroaching socialism, largest tax increases in history, comparisons to slavery, and endless references to tyranny, Hitler, and the total destruction of America.
So what did Fox gain from that virulent assault on a law that was passed by Congress, signed by the President, deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court, and affirmed by the reelection of Obama? They emboldened the most strident extremists on the right who pursued a suicidal mission to impose their unpopular will on the nation. And their ultimate reward is that ObamaCare is now regarded more favorably than it was before the government shutdown (or “slimdown” as Fox calls it):
“[W]hat is perhaps even more worrisome for the GOP is the ‘boomerang’ effect: As the party has used the shutdown and fiscal fight to campaign against the nation’s health-care law and for limited government, the poll shows those efforts have backfired.
“For one thing, the health-care law has become more popular since the shutdown began. Thirty-eight percent see the Affordable Care Act (or ‘Obamacare’) as a good idea, versus 43 percent who see it as a bad idea – up from 31 percent good idea, 44 percent bad idea last month.”
Not only that, but while America has been warming up to ObamaCare (which most are only now getting there first personal exposure to), their dislike for Republicans is growing exponentially. For that they can thank the Tea Party nutjobs like Ted Cruz and the tiny faction of Teabaggers in the House who have such a firm grip on John Boehner’s cojones:
“By a 22-point margin (53 percent to 31 percent), the public blames the Republican Party more for the shutdown than President Barack Obama – a wider margin of blame for the GOP than the party received during the poll during the last shutdown in 1995-96.
“Just 24 percent of respondents have a favorable opinion about the GOP, and only 21 percent have a favorable view of the Tea Party, which are both at all-time lows in the history of poll.”
While this epic cratering of support was unfolding, President Obama’s favorability actually went up two points in the last month.
The inescapable conclusion to be drawn from this is that, despite Fox’s inflated ego and boastful self-importance, it is really a pathetically lame distributor of rightist propaganda. They threw everything they had at Obama and his eponymous health care program and came out farther underwater than when they started. This result is similar to last year’s election when Fox targeted Obama as something just shy of the Anti-Christ, but he still won by a sizable margin. And, not to be overlooked, it was a campaign that focused heavily on ObamaCare. More recently, Fox’s efforts to stir up their fringy malcontents to get them to take to the streets ended in an embarrassing flop.
There are plenty of reasons to worry about the destructive influence of Fox News. It is a bad example for other news outlets who think that conservative extremism might be a viable business model. It provides a platform and encouragement for crackpots like Cruz, Michele Bachamnn, Louie Gohmert, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, etc., to cling to positions that are wildly out of touch with the American people. It muddies the debate over critical public affairs with misrepresentations and lies. But one thing we do not have to worry about is whether Fox is effective at persuading Americans to join their Blockhead Brigade. On that measure Fox has proved to be pitifully feeble despite their exhaustive and desperate intentions.