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The Republican Party and its Frankenstein Monsters: An Analysis
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2016-04-13 10:03:31
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“The Republican Party has enjoyed its dance with the devil. Now it must pay the piper”


Everybody knows by now, even the village idiots and the so called “poorly educated,” that the Republican Party has been enthusiastically fomenting anger in its own base for years, at least since the election of Barack Obama as president of the US; but one can easily trace the phenomenon further back.

The party has created Frankenstein monsters who are now ready to destroy it. How has this hatred been disseminated? Mostly via the network of extremist media, right-wing talk radio, and most prominently, the Fox News Channel; by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Dana Loesh, Bill O’Reilley, Sean Hannity, just to mention the most infamous and well known names. These “superstars” spew forth from their powerful megaphones anger and hatred every day of the week, and they have been at it for at least a decade now.

To those who have a modicum of knowledge of history, this is not a new phenomenon. We have seen it before, not that long ago. All one has to do is to rewind the movie to the epoch of Nazi Germany when a powerful propaganda machine (headed by Joseph Goebbels) managed to alter the views of the whole population of Germany and convince it to follow the maniacal aspiration of an Adolph Hitler and go to war against the world. Propaganda, which usually disseminates misinformation and lies, is capable of that kind of feat. All you need to do is to repeat a false and corrupting message consistently and often enough, as Goebbels believed, every day, as people go about their business, till those messages begin to sink in and take effect. The impact upon society in general will be enormous. In Germany, the consistent message was that the German Aryans were the superior master race and that the country was under imminent threat of destruction by its enemies. Internal threats were also part of the propaganda: various segments of the population (the so called “undesirables” such as Jews and homosexuals, and Communists) were to be eliminated, like a cancerous tumor, from the body politics. This perverse, paranoid view soon took hold of the entire population of Germany. A national powerful war machine came to be seen as a necessity.

Closer at home, a more contemporary example is the Bosnian War from the early 1990’s that shockingly occurred in the heart of Europe right near Italy and Greece. The government of Serbia deployed propaganda to incite its Christian Serbian population to turn against the Bosnian Muslim ethnic group. Previously, however, the Serbs and the Bosnians had lived together in peace for generations in the very same towns and villages. But the propaganda from the nationalistic Serbian government whipped-up its population into a frenzy that resulted in former neighbors and friends killing each other in horrifying atrocities of ethnic cleansing, systematic mass rape, and genocide. There are genocides occurring as we speak around the world. It appears that the message of Nuremberg about crimes against humanity being susceptible to prosecution by the UN International Court of Law at the Hague has not proven very persuasive yet. 

Indeed, propaganda is powerful stuff. Many people are susceptible to it and can easily be swayed by it, especially the poorly educated. In America today, the right-wing media network is engaged in this very same activity through Fox News and extremist talk radio. This network is constantly barraging its audience, day-in and day-out, over and over again, with a stream of consistent messaging which is overwhelmingly negative and destructive. The messaging consists of common themes that recur over and over in various forms. One central theme is a fierce opposition against government, especially so called “big government.” This reappears in various sub-forms as well, such as rage against bureaucracy, regulations, Washington, D.C., the IRS, the Environmental Protection Agency, and federal politicians.

This is what unfortunately the Republican Party has been doing for the last eight years of the Obama presidency: thrashing the US government and the very identity of the nation as a democracy by the people, for the people, of the people. It rants that America, now that it has an African-American living in the White House, is a disaster out of control, a real mess. It is alleged that the government no longer follows the Constitution of the US; that it is about to take away your rights, especially that of the right to bear arms which one needs to defend all rights and even one’s freedom from a malevolent government. Your religious liberties are about to be taken away. You are a victim, whether you are aware of it or not. This narrative is currently wildly popular in the Republican party.

lin02_400_02Another common theme is xenophobia or the fear of foreigners, or outsiders. We must protect our own in-group from the vague and mysterious threats posed by those who are  different from us. The particular targeted group changes with the times, but it has included Muslims, illegal immigrants, Syrian refugees, Russia, China, Mexican immigrants and communists. The concept however remains the same. Why would an opposition legally elected by the people as an opposition, would wish to take away all rights including their own is never fully explained. It seems unnecessary to explain such incoherence. What seems more important is to instill fear, anger and discontent. Which is to say, a political platform consisting of hate anger, and discontent has now become a political strategy. The question arises: will it work for a national party whose founder was none other than Abraham Lincoln, a great democrat, with a small c?

Actually, the imperatives behind this strategy are not political as much as they are economic. The extremist right-wing network of Fox News and talk radio was not created by politicians, and it is not funded by a political party. It is not supported by donations from people seeking political expression. It was created for one central purpose: to make money. This urge for getting rich—the profit motive--seems to be as powerful as the urge to assert one’s racial superiority exhibited by White Supremacists. Some have identified the expression “let’s make America great again” as dog whistle blowing for “let’s make America white again.”

Be that as it may, it turns out that the business of peddling hate is highly profitable. How so? Consider this: Rush Limbaugh earned $80 million in 2015 alone. Sean Hannity has earned $30 million. Glenn Beck is personally “worth” over $100 million. Bill O’Reilly’s television show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” generates over $100 million per year in advertising revenue. If these front-men are making this much money, well then you know that their corporate masters are making even more. Fox News has dominated the ratings as the number one cable news channel for the last 14 years and reportedly earns over $1 billion in profits annually, making it a golden goose in the overall Fox corporate empire. Fox itself is one of the most valuable brands in the world with of over $13 billion. And the tycoon behind Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, is personally worth $12 billion. This is indeed Big Business. It has nothing to do with folks just yearning to express their opinions and exercising their right to free speech.  This operation is being driven by big money.

Of course, politics is also involved but not as a primary motivator. The content spewed by this media network champions right-wing issues, right-wing politicians, and the right-wing Republican Party. This is no accident. Corporate profits are greatly impacted by governmental policies. Corporations, therefore, desire the government to be controlled by whichever political party is the most favorable to corporate profits. And this, of course, is the Republican Party. We have actually seen this playbook before, by the likes of William Randolph Hearst but most poorly educated followers of Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump don’t have the foggiest of who Hearst might have been.

So it appears that while the media content is highly political, the purpose behind influencing politics is to serve the primary objective of protecting big profits. Corporate profits is what led to the creation and expansion of this extremist right-wing media network. The network builds an audience by appealing to people’s fear, insecurity, and anger, and simultaneously directs its audience to support the right-wing political party that best protects the network’s own profits. It’s like a rigged game; a game about which we have been receiving some instruction by Senator Bernie Sanders. The content disseminated over the network masquerades as being objective and informative, but in reality the content has instead been carefully designed to promote the network’s own business interests.

From a political perspective of creating a cohesive society and maintaining peace and harmony among the population, this is indeed disastrous. But politicians in the Republican Party could not resist. The extremist right-wing network of Fox News and talk radio had built up an audience that could easily be exploited for political support. Even though the extremist media network was fomenting anger and hatred that is disastrous for society overall, the network could also be used to deliver political votes to Republican politicians. That explains the anecdote narrated by Donald Trump of Senator Lindsay Grahams calling him to ask if he could put in a good word with Fox News.

It turns out that the Republican Party has made a deal with the devil. An unholy alliance has been formed. The Republican Party would allow the extremist right-wing network to promulgate its destructive propaganda throughout society in order to generate its enormous profits, and in exchange, the network would direct its audience to vote for the Republican Party. The allure of easy votes was too great. Exercising true leadership was too difficult.  Republican politicians, the likes of Ted Cruz, who thrive on anger and division, jumped on the bandwagon. They began preaching the same destructive messages and appearing on the extremist right-wing network all across the nation.  It worked and the fact that it worked has encouraged a Cruz, and others of his ilk, to continue with his dubious political tactics.

The base of the Republican Party is growing more and more angry, even in the time of presidential campaign where people have to be brought together in order to win. Its resentment against our very own government is still expanding. Its sense of victimization on the part of the establishment has became more acute. And then, quite predictably, it backfired. The base of the Republican Party became a Frankenstein. It became radicalized into an extreme movement that has turned against the established order, including the leadership of the Republican Party itself. It has become a monster of its own that is now roaming the countryside and terrorizing the very political party that created it. This is the reason behind the rise of candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. The Republican Party establishment despises these candidates, but the Party has no idea how to slay these dragons. These candidates now pose the enormous threat of potentially causing a giant split within the Party that could lead to the utter destruction of the entire Republican Party itself. Some call it poetic justice, but it remains a remarkable story nevertheless. It would be imprudent to assume that the story will come to an end on November 2016. It may continue for a while longer, to conclude with a recovery of political sanity or with a headlong jump  into the political abyss, and this may affect both parties, indeed, the entire nation. Time will tell which option will be chosen, but one thing remains sure: Lincoln must be turning in its grave at the sheer absurdity of such an anti-democratic spectacle.

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