Conservatives, we have a problem. There is a disturbing trend among some of the most outspoken “conservative” voices to advance their agenda at all costs. It’s a dangerous approach. One we’ve seen the left use for years, Conservatives used to stand for something, and while many still do, recent events tell us that some are merely excited to finally feel as though they are in a position to lord power over others. They wanted an Obama of their own. Trump’s election has given them the affirmation they were seeking, now some are intoxicated on the illusion of this power and it could give us all a hangover.
Matthew 16:26: What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
When I first started watching cable news on a daily basis post-9/11 — the “conservative awakening” — I found myself watching Fox News more and more not because they were cheering for George W. Bush, but because they were reporting all sides of the story. Something that had been missing. Their tag line “Fair and Balanced” and “We Report You Decide” of their daytime news programming was carried over into their primetime line-up.
Back in those early days, Fox News was fighting for market share and aggressively targeted those of us who had read Bernie Goldberg’s book “Bias”. We wanted a news outlet that actually presented the news, not the liberal interpretation of the news. Fox News was the first place to give us that option.
As cable news transitioned from simply breaking news to the talk show format, Fox News offered shows like “Hannity and Colmes” which gave viewers from both sides of the political spectrum reason to tune in. It also gave us reason to be angry, to think about the other perspective. Bill O’Reilly’s show was known as the firebrand show, “The No Spin Zone” hosted by the guy who was on “Inside Edition”.
The right of center audience was thrilled to find a cable news channel that offered more than liberal opinions. Leaving behind what many mocked as the “Clinton News Network”, viewers flocked to Fox News. Over the next fifteen years, Fox News skyrocketed to the #1 cable news network in the country. “The Most Trusted Name in News” as they say. For the majority of Americans who tune in to cable news, Fox News is where they go.
This is a good thing. Or rather, it was. Now we have a new problem: Fox News has changed. While their line-up is still the most conservative friendly platform, they’ve shifted into what I imagine “Trump TV” would look like in primetime. With the exit of Megyn Kelly, who has been replaced by Tucker Carlson, their primetime hosts could do one of those age progression photos together.
Tucker Carlson is a wonderful host, engaging, fiery. He’s also a nerdy white guy who wears a bowtie and interviews people from Teen Vogue as part of his red meat presentation. This isn’t Carlson’s fault per se, every host now must pray that one segment per show goes viral on social media. Kudos to his producers for realizing this fact of life. Having said that had Fox News replaced Sean Hannity’s show with Tucker Carlson, it would send an entirely different message.
As it stands now, Tucker Carlson will follow Bill O’Reilly and lead into Sean Hannity. Not exactly a panel with broad reaching appeal. Of course Sean Hannity has been “evolving” his position on Julian Assange, giving the international fugitive extended airtime to plead his case. Hannity’s spiral down the rabbit hole of Wikileaks, is probably one of the most disappointing developments of the election.
I knew that Hannity was a died in the wool partisan, what I didn’t realize is that it blinded him to simple things like right and wrong. Giving Julian Assange a sympathetic platform is wrong, even if you think he helped your guy win. Perhaps it’s even more egregious because your guy won. The Democrats are trying to delegitimize the election results by claiming foreign influence, and Hannity is handing them ammo by “Thanking” the guy he thinks did it. In what world does this make sense?
In a world where, “the end justifies the means”, all is fair play now. Some self-proclaimed Conservatives have changed, maybe they’re just revealing their true nature. I’ve realized that while I thought Conservatism was about shared principles it turns out for many, it was only about gaining power and seeking revenge on their perceived enemies. The ludicrous “Pizzagate” conspiracy taught us that people will believe literally anything about people they don’t like. Case in point, the horrific story of the man tortured in Chicago, with a video of the assault being placed on Facebook.
This is a mind boggling crime. It’s just beginning to unravel, however there have already been four arrests. There are more questions than answers at this point, but that didn’t stop many in the Conservative social media from immediately tying the event to “Black Lives Matter”, where is absolutely no proof that Black Lives Matter has anything to do with it. It makes it impossible to demand accountability from Black Lives Matter or any group, when you are falsely accusing them. BLM has done plenty to deserve scrutiny, no need to make things up about them.
Let me be clear, the same people who spent the last two years justifiably complaining about those in the mainstream media perpetrating a lie with “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” are now gleefully sharing the hashtag #BLMKidnapping with zero sense of irony or self awareness. A good rule of life… If you want to be believed, don’t lie.
Have the Obama years made us all so divided that we can no longer process a critical thought? That we can only absorb information that confirms our political beliefs? I knew that liberal were like this, I always prided myself that conservatives were different. I convinced myself that conservatives were the open minded ones, the people who were able to hear different points of view, to discern between nuanced issues. I believed conservatives as a whole, really sought more freedoms, more ideas, “more voices”, as Andrew Breitbart once said, “not less”. As recent events have shown, I was wrong, so very wrong.
What some conservatives really wanted was power. The election of Donald Trump has given some the vengeance they’ve been seeking. It’s troubling to watch as some on “our side” have taken to acting like the Democrats. The liberal media’s bias coverage was such that it resulted in the election of Donald Trump, why would any thinking conservative want to emulate that in reverse?
If conservatives want to continue to grow the movement, maybe it’s times to reflect on what sparked the interest. Intellectual curiosity, critical thinking and respect for differing views seem like a good place to start.