Washington Journal on CSPAN is a wonderful show and truly does live up to the promise of giving viewers an unfiltered view of government. I prefer to hear the callers often wildly different opinions on matters as opposed to listening to only people who think as I do. I want to hear how both sides are evaluating the current political situation in America. Undoubtedly Trump loyalists will call in to defend him, which of course they have a right to do. Lately however, I hear within the thread of these callers a disturbing tone. Their parroting of right wing talking points has an increased paranoia, a visceral anger, some of the callers even advocating violence right on the air. One could take notes from the WJ callers and then watch the previous night's Fox News broadcast to discover the level of groupthink in effect here and it is staggering. Likewise one could trace the over exaggerated responses right back to their source, the most prominent mouthpiece of Fox News - talking head Sean Hannity.
Putting aside that everything about Sean Hannity is an absolute fraud, from his cookie cutter Fox News "look" to his cliche faux patriot bs, I take issue with his rhetoric. Now Hannity, like everyone else, has the right to freedom of speech, although they are not big advocates for it themselves. Fox News pundits will wave the Constitution in your face while simultaneously scream for the banning of any and all media that opposes their narrative. They have for example repeatedly called for a ban of The View, a left leaning panel discussion show featuring Joy Behar and Whoppi Goldberg. But I digress.
So now back to Hannity's patriot army. Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and other right wing blowhards are working feverishly every day to solidify the allegiance of Trump's devotees. Most people on the left write off such partisan nonsense and the devotees as merely Trump's brainwashed base. But I come to you with a dire warning. The rhetoric and language being put forth by Hannity and others have already kareened down the dangerous path of war style propaganda. Hannity and others equivocate any process of holding the president accountable, even the very mention of the balance of powers, with the complete destruction of our democracy. He makes any attack on Trump an attack on the country, an attack on everything our country stands for. Every criticism of Trump is the equivalent of burning the flag and every action by Congress, even when part of our decmocratic foundations, is a subversive, conspiracy to overturn democracy and institute a Communist regime.
Now this might sound ludicrous to you and I, but words matter, and the careful use of them over time, the increased intensity and frequency in repetition are extremely dangerous. If you don't believe me check out Sean Hannity's show from Tuesday, October 22, 2019.
He starts off with the outline of his upcoming discussion. That this "so called impeachment inquiry" is unconstitutional and a dangerous threat to democracy because - and this is the main argument here - that this is all an attempt by Democrats to "undo the results of the 2016 elections" by way of a COUP. Yes, a coup. Now, there are many uses of this word but the Merriam Webster's dictionary use to which Hannity harkens is that of the coup d'etat:
Definition of coup d'e'tat
: a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics
especially : the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group
Hannity's rhetoric exemplifies the psychological strategy being dangerously employed by right wing commentators. They are working most diligently to inspire their base to thoughts and feelings of violence. Not unlike Trump's own verbiage in calling the press the "enemy of the people", Hannity and Rush work day in and day out to solidify this one concept in the minds of their audience - that their "loyal patriots" are the only thing standing between freedom and totalitarianism, and they must, at any cost, protect their president.
Not missed by the rest of us is the fact that these exact tactics, this same propaganda has been employed by dictators and tyrants throughout history. The us and the them. Defining the enemy is the first step. I appeal to my progressive and liberal friends to recognize that you have been designated as the enemy. Not as a mere political party with different views of America. You are now a traitor to the Republic.
In fact, Hannity called this episode of his show, "Hannity on the Democrats' secret Soviet-style impeachment inquiry" and in the backdrop behind him picture of Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff superimposed in front of the Soviet flag. Apparently even the Putin loving right will revive the red scare tactics of McCarthy in an effort to drum up the paranoia, hysteria and hate required to obfuscate all evidence and logic. What Hannity is doing is the most disgusting and unAmerican thing any citizen of this United States can do. He is urging his patriots to condemn all forms of due process and fact finding as subversive, illegal and an act of war.
He says "we have big breaking news on multiple fronts" setting the stage right away by letting his audience know they are on the front lines. He promises his audience that "we are going to break down tonight in detail something corrupt and dangerous to this democratic republic that we love. We will expose on this program the Democrat's top secret their Soviet style impeachment coup attempt and how it is an unprecedented, unconstitutional attempt to nullify the will of the American people. The whole process is more corrupt lacking all due process, all constitutionality and constitutional protections. It is based on utter and complete nonsense. Zero violation of any law by the President. All the President is really guilty of is faithfully executing the laws of this land and fulfilling his Constitutional duty.
He then launches into a barrage of attacks on the democrats. "To be a Democrat you can't believe in truth, reason, common sense, this is now a lawless mob. Now nothing that we are witnessing is driven by facts, logic, law, constitutionality, no - a psychotic rage and hatred at all things Trump, even the mention of his name. These Democrats, their allies in the media mob, are triggered by the mere sound of President Trump's name, they are set off and triggered by the sight of a red MAGA hat on an innocent 16 year old innocent kid"
"What we are living through and witnessing is a level of madness as a country and we better stop or we're not going to have a country - and yes - it is that serious"