Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The working class and Fox News

It's common for a lot of liberal writers to implicitly write off workers, even if they don't go so far as to go all the way with it. Usually there's some sort of euphemism used, like right wingers or ultra conservatives, but the sentiment is there. I don't, of course, write off workers, but I will say that there's been a steady campaign by the right, done from the most elite levels down, to woo workers away from liberal and left causes and into far right beliefs. Fox News is a great example of this. Their whole programming schedule is filled with commentary against 'liberal elites', railing that everyone who supports them is un-American, deluded, out of touch. A similar initiative is in place by Regnery Press, which used to be a conservative publisher of the William F. Buckley type, that is to say elitist and academic, before it turned over to publishing folks like Ann Coulter and other folks following in the same vein, now including Glenn Beck. Rush Limbaugh and right wing talk radio does the same thing as well. All of these institutions I would argue serve to try to keep the working class in line and away from radical causes that might disrupt the status quo. Like anything else, trying is not the same as succeeding. There's no rational reason why folks who are workers wouldn't support liberal causes or be attracted to socialism. Adopting the idea that what Fox News wants to make the norm is how workers really are concedes the field without a fight.
That said, media manipulation doesn't get people off the hook for decisions that impact the rest of the country. I have yet to see a breakdown of the 2004 election by social class, but the campaign that rode to power used right wing populist rhetoric over and over. In this case the real actions and decisions of people had extreme consequences, and folks should be held accountable for them. But workers and the working class as a whole, and the country in general, can do better than this. The effects of all of these institutions have to be countered somehow, and if that can be done something better can develop and hopefully come to pass.

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