In a previous column about our lawless beginnings, I asked the question, "If we are only as sick as our secrets, how much sicker are we because of our attempts to hide a secret as obvious as this one?"
We only need to look as far as the success of Fox News to find a thermometer. Have you ever thought about why a channel independently proven to be falsifying facts and disinforming viewers is the leading cable news organization?
The majority of their viewers can be recognized using their favorite meme, "we want our country back." Better understood if we change one word, "we want our illusion back." That's the illusion that Fox News sustains and reinforces: Beautiful blond ladies, white alpha male executives, racist, warmongering, support for unfettered Randian capitalism, in Yoda's words "the force is strong with this one."
That's the strong but subtle force that comes with a neurotic need to deny reality. In case you didn't know, a neurosis is a mild psychiatric disorder characterized by anxiety, depression, or hypochondria. But if we look deeper, we find these are symptoms that emerge as response mechanisms against facing a reality that one doesn't want to accept.
And in this case, that reality is made up of all the maladaptive cultural manifestations we see reported today in our popular press that have their roots in our racist, inhumane, lawless beginnings; the neurosis striving to perfect itself.
Fox News' defense of its extreme right, real American orientation? They claim "all the other news has a liberal bias." Once again, this assertion is better understood by changing one word, "all other news has a factual bias."
Please, before you accuse me of over-generalizing, I know that all news reporting has a bias. But it has been shown objectively that Fox News viewers are less informed than people who don't view any regular news shows. This fact alone calls into question the reasons for such consistent campaigns of disinformation. And I use the word disinformation with intention. As opposed to the possibility of innocently misinforming, it means "false or deliberately misleading information, often put out as propaganda."
The Fox News organization is the propaganda arm of the conservative right in the United States; the conservators of the illusion that hides the humiliating truth. It tries to conserve the illusion that keeps about 50 percent of the American people believing it, in spite of indisputable facts to the contrary.
This is why Fox News would rather feature a recipe on how to make banana nut bread than report on torture and lies by a Republican administration. (Take a breath, it's only an example to make a point)
My assertion in the above mentioned previous column was that you can't build a healthy society on a morally corrupt foundation. Further, until we expose, admit and hold ourselves accountable for that corruption, the daily maladaptive attempts to hide the truth in present times will continue.
We will continue to incarcerate more people than the rest of the modern world combined. We will continue to arm ourselves beyond any rational level and with that more of children will die horrendous deaths. More citizens will legally carry concealed weapons and police will walk around with their hands on their guns. More young black men will die. We will continue to be convulsed by waves of fear brought on by events that emerge from the deeper ills of our society.
And that fear will be magnified by Fox News. Because fear is the most powerful conservative tool. So the illusion may not be as perfect as they want it to be, but the truth must be even more fearsome for their viewing audience, given the pain they suffer to avoid it.
Purchase my latest book, Christianity in America, Friend or Foe, at your local or favorite on-line bookseller. Print and electronic versions available.