The devolution of American politics has been noticeable on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter for some time. The rancid outbursts and shrill animosity is inescapable. Much of what is posted is flagrantly false and rooted in crackpot conspiracy theories concocted by foreign, adversarial governments like Russia. And sadly, Donald Trump is one of the foremost diseminaters of this toxic dialog,
This online divisiveness and hatred has also been adopted by official representatives of the Trump regime. The wild assertions that many of them make in public – and particularly on Fox News – are indistinguishable from the trolls that inhabit the darkest recesses of the Intertubes. A perfect example of that occurred in a commentary by Trump’s Attorney General, William Barr, during a recent interview with Martha MacCallum of Fox News. Barr seems to be making a habit of these appearances. On this occasion, MacCallum asked him about remarks he made during a speech that was rife with the stench of political partisanship (video below):
MacCallum: You talked in your piece about “social justice DAs” … What does that mean?
Barr: Well, there’s this recent development where George Soros has been coming in, in largely Democratic primaries where there has not been much voter turnout and putting in a lot of money to elect people who are not very supportive of law enforcement and don’t view the office as bringing to trial and prosecuting criminals but pursuing other social agendas. And they have started to win in a number of cities and they have, in my view, not given the proper support to the police. And they’re following policies that are ultimately gonna lead to an increase in violent crime and more victims.
There’s a lot of ugliness to unpack in that diatribe, beginning with Barr’s reference to George Soros. The right-wing Internet has been attacking Soros for years with vile inferences of evil intent and world domination. The attacks were typically comprised of common anti-Semitic tropes that accuse Jews of seeking to control everything from the banks to the media to the moral fabric of society. And as a self-made billionaire, Soros was used by the right to symbolize the most repulsive lies propagated by conservative hate groups. And now Barr is doing the same thing by asserting that Soros has some otherworldly power to shape society in terrible and frightening ways.
Barr’s accusation naturally springs from Soros’ wealth as the tool of his dastardly deeds. Great wealth, however, is only seen as the Devil’s plaything when it’s held by liberals. According to Barr, Soros is “putting in a lot of money” to install his minions in the upper ranks of law enforcement. And from there, Barr believes, they will implement an agenda that frees up villains to embark on unfettered crime sprees.
What’s more, Barr also says that any effort to hold the police accountable for bad behavior is an expression of disrespect. Of course, the opposite is the truth. Wanting the police to have the best reputations for honorable service is far more respectful than ignoring and excusing their faults. But to Barr, any constructive criticism should be viewed as “not supporting the police” for which the result could be that citizens “may not get the police protection they need.” That’s an overt and irresponsible threat that shouldn’t be tolerated coming from the chief law enforcement officer of the United States.
The assertion that Democrats are hostile to law enforcement is demonstrably false, but it’s been a longstanding plank in the Republican platform. Trump himself has alleged that Democrats actually want more crime. He tweeted earlier this year that “the Radical Democrats are a Party of open borders and crime.” And that’s just one example of many.
What we’re seeing from these officials in Washington today is the sort of extremist garbage that was once reserved for the likes of Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. But now it has been openly taken up by Trump and Barr. It is worse than merely insulting and dishonest. It is insane and dangerous. And yet, it is now routinely a part of the discourse by the White House and its surrogates. This needs to stop ASAP. If not by impeachment and removal from office, than at the ballot box in November.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.