Posted this by mistake, but just consider it an extra…Sorry to clutter your inboxes.
I’ve often thought that if ultra-wealthy people like Bloomberg and Gates really want to help the country reject White Nationalism and misogyny, they would use their dollars to buy Fox News and its clones. (But no one ever listens to me…)
Evidently, however, some rich people on the Right have come to the same conclusion: propaganda can be effective if you dominate the information landscape. As Vox (among others) has reported, CNN-one of the world’s most powerful news outlets– is in the process of change, and that change happens to be in sync with the views of one of the world’s richest men.
OK–so CNN has a new owner, and a new boss. Changes are coming. There is nothing inherently suspicious about change–but in this case, the question is: will change come “because the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, its new owner, wants an overhaul? Or is it at the behest of a conservative billionaire investor in the company who sits on its board?
Malone has repeatedly wished, in public, for CNN to remake itself. And his prescription happens to sync with the new CNN agenda: a plan to steer the channel away from what Malone and others call a liberal bias they say muddles opinion and news. And to shift it toward a supposedly centrist, just-the-facts bent.
Just “fair and balanced,” right? (Malone has opined that Fox News is “real journalism.”..)
Those who now control CNN have hotly denied any meddling by Malone, and insist that their goal is a non-ideological middle ground between Fox and MSNBC. Time will tell, but suspicions of a political agenda raise a more basic question: can the various plutocrats who are “flooding the zone” with conservative propaganda, the Neanderthals in Red state legislatures, and the ideologues who’ve been appointed to the courts win the fight they are waging against modernity?
Can they take the country back to a time when rich White Christian men were in charge? A time when they didn’t have to share dominance with uppity women, people of color and immigrants from “shithole” countries?
I very much doubt it.
Don’t get me wrong–the forces of reaction can bring progress to a temporary standstill–and “temporary” can be a long time. As we’ve seen, GOP efforts to pack the courts can end up eviscerating constitutional guarantees and eliminating longstanding rights. The Tucker Carlsons of the world can give aid and comfort to the incels, militias and other assorted hate groups that litter the American landscape.
But ultimately, they can’t erase a century of cultural change. The America we currently live in is a dramatically different country than the one these people want so desperately to re-install.
Let me offer some homegrown examples.
Before I sat down to write this blog, my husband and I shopped at the Costco on the south side of Indianapolis. That location serves the suburban south side of town and the adjoining exurban and rural–very Republican– areas. The store carries a variety of foods catering to its wide variety of shoppers–as I browsed, I saw Sikh turbans, Muslim hijabs and a variety of “ethnic” folks.
I’ve previously noted that I read my husband’s Engineering World Record. (Yes, I’m a nerd.) A story in the current issue highlighted pilot projects testing out “smart roads.” Engineers in Kansas and Denver are working with technologies developed Germany’s Siemens A.G., by Korea’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and by France’s Renault. Companies from Israel, Italy and India are all in the mix.
Another article reported on several cross-country joint ventures focused on “green hydrogen.”
When I was a girl–back in the Ice Age–a trip to another continent seemed impossibly exotic. I would have been astonished to learn that I’d have a granddaughter living in England and a son living in Amsterdam–and that I would keep in touch with them between visits via that science-fiction-promised “picture phone”–i.e., FaceTime.
The frightened reactionaries trying to “stop the world” may well create an extended period of chaos, but there is simply no way they can “reverse engineer” the cultural changes that have brought us to today’s normal. Women aren’t going back to the kitchen and nursery; LGBTQ folks aren’t climbing back into the closet, interracial couples aren’t divorcing and Black Americans aren’t going back to the plantation.
The vastly increased diversity of America’s cities has spread to the suburbs. Outside of the most isolated rural precincts, most Americans have friends and relatives who don’t look or pray like they do.
The Rightwing can make acceptance difficult, or a Blue wave in November can accelerate it. Either way, the Right will ultimately lose.
America isn’t going back to the 1950s.