EDITOR: On election night, for the first time in my life, I spent more than 10 continuous minutes watching FAUX News without throwing a shoe at the TV. I just wanted to see how the network would handle the looming debacle that, for months, they had interpreted as a walk in the park for Romney.
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There were lots of losers on Tuesday: Romney, the Tea Party, Big Donors like the Koch brothers, and the GOP but, most spectacularly, FOX News. As the evening wore on, the network eventually stopped all pretense of covering the actual election results and created an alternative universe from the fourth dimension in which the “FOX reality” would become actual reality.
Of course, this is FOX’s normal modus operandi, but on election night it was impossible for them to fake the results. The surest sign of desperation was FOX passing off as “facts,” late into the evening, the wishful thinking of mendacious characters like Dick Morris, and Karl Rove. In 1975, when elections were not going its way, the Portuguese government turned off the news and showed a Reagan movie, “Bedtime for Bonzo.” FOX should have taken its cue from Portugal.
Months ago, as dutifully instructed by Roger Ailes, every pundit on FOX started predicting a “landslide” for Romney; GOP control of the Senate was also a given. On election night, even as FOX’s own numbers crunchers had called Ohio for President Obama, a desperate-looking Karl Rove kept claiming that Republican suburbs in Ohio would put Mitt over the top. Rove looked like Slim Pickens riding the bomb in Dr. Strangelove.
But the FOX nadir occurred when Bill O’Reilly, who also had predicted a Romney landslide, spoke after Obama’s victory was in the bag. “This is not traditional America; it is no longer the America of our parents.” Yes, indeed, this America is full of strange people who look different, who don’t speak English like I do, “who want things, who want stuff,” and to make matters worse, they vote the wrong way. O’Reilly was in his patented full vacuous, pompous ass mode. Why did his Irish ancestors leave Ireland? Did they want things, stuff —like food, shelter, education, freedom from English tyranny? My own ancestors would have called Bill O’Reilly “a schmuck and a schvants!”
On election night, the lie factory and GOP propaganda mill that is FOX was stripped of all pretensions of being a news outfit; and it is a low point for journalism to have the name FOX associated with news. What is most disturbing, of course, is that so many Americans want to believe what they hear on FOX, primarily because the network caters to their prejudices. However, as Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina so aptly put it, speaking of the FOX audience: “The GOP can’t win elections with just angry white males.”
But I hope they keep trying!