I feel it. Do you? Finally, after decades of undeserved dominance, Fox News as we’ve known it is vulnerable. Why? Because the dramatic divergence between the channel’s coverage and the reality out here in the world is seeping through to the Fox audience. I don’t expect the death tomorrow or next month or this year of what Ailes wrought. But I do expect the outlet to fall gradually into shadow unless it morphs, relegated to niche status as a hangout for the folks who don’t want to know what’s out there beyond their fear and suspicion and resentment.
There ought to be a Serling Society open to all who appreciate that the Twilight Zone ranks with the great works of western civilization, on a par with Don Quixote and the original Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street.
A willfully ignorant, dangerously incompetent schoolyard bully whose mistreatment of women is taken for granted and whose chief motivation seems to be revenge for personal slights currently occupies the White House.
The leaders of the legislative branch of government, far from taking steps to remedy this, are allowing the debasement to continue for partisan political advantage. In the case of the Republicans, the goal is to secure Trump’s signature on legislation that ignores the values and interests of the majority of Americans, catering instead to the wealthy who fund GOP campaigns and the white identity voters who regard the GOP as their bulwark against having to participate in a genuinely just and diverse community.
In the case of the Democrats, the goal is to hang Trump around the necks of Republicans running in 2018, relieving the Democrats of the responsibility to fashion and offer a genuine platform of clear, fresh ideas to build a strong middle class. Just as the Republicans chose to run against Obama rather than for the majority of Americans, the Democrats hope to run against Trump.
The media also benefit immensely from Trump’s continuation in office. Viewership is up. Online is up. Journalists are in the midst of a golden age of political reporting.
The big losers in all this are the rest of us, and the rest of the world.
It’s impossible, at least for me, to watch the episodes of the brilliant Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary series “The Vietnam War” without drawing parallels to what’s happening now. What I might do is go back through the series over the next few days and list here the parallels that resonate the most. Meanwhile, I urge all Americans to watch the series.