“Forget about you baby ‘Cause I’m leaving to stay.” — Linda Ronstadt
There are always those moments when you want to pull your hair out. These things never seemed to happen before the days of social media. You had conversations with people you know and when you could hear the inflection of their voice or see the look on their face you could tell what you were dealing with. Sadly, that doesn’t happen with social media.
As I pointed out yesterday, I saw an entire Twitter dialogue between a group of conservatives that just kind of made you wonder if humanity could be saved. The whole thing was about how conservatives were being nice to Brandon and hoping he would pull through his battle with COVID. Certainly, the liberal media didn’t do that in 2020 when the former guy had COVID.
Let’s immediately dispense with a couple of things. The fact that many of these folks refer to Biden as Brandon is already a sign of disrespect. We know what that’s code for and it is just too clever by half. It’s hard to consider yourself an adult in the room while simultaneously speaking in code about the current president. However, we can ignore that for now as we know damn well that many of us had our own nicknames for the former president. So, I’m not attacking on this level.
I decided to engage anyway. I don’t know why I do these things because I know how they will end. I pointed out the specific right wing talking heads that were not wishing Biden well, so I pointed out that it was hard for conservatives to collectively consider themselves an adult in the room. Of course, I also pointed out that holding all conservatives accountable for the statements of some was irresponsible. Naturally, the reverse should also be true.
The response was breathtaking. That individual told me that they don’t watch conservative or liberal news. So, they weren’t aware of OAN or necessarily all of the shenanigans on Fox or Newsmax. However, they “knew” that the ratio was about “100 to 1”. I can only guess that refers to the fact that 100 times as many liberal media members were trashing and wishing ill will on Trump as conservatives with Biden.
I asked for receipts, but that is when the conversation ended. It usually ends there. You press someone for details or to back up their wild assertions and you get radio silence. She couldn’t produce any examples of liberals trashing Trump. Hell, I almost did the work for her because I looked up critical articles at the time and found a few. What those articles did is question why the liberal media was still on the attack when he was sick. It’s hard to ignore the context. Trump denied the virus and put us behind the eight ball. Then, he gets sick and continues his public schedule knowingly putting hundreds in danger.
He shows up to the first debate and purposefully shows up late so he can’t be tested. He then is within ten feet of Joe Biden the entire night. We can credibly prove he knew he had tested positive before that debate. We can’t necessarily prove he purposely intended to infect Joe Biden. At least we can’t in a court of law (I suppose one could charge him with attempted assault or attempted manslaughter) but a preponderance of the evidence suggests he knowingly had COVID and knowingly endangered the current president and hundreds of others.
That is what we call context. That is what we call nuance. It is not simply a case of both having COVID and one being treated kinder than the other. Sure, maybe that’s true if you ignore the context and nuance. The important thing is what those people did while they had COVID. It is also important to note how each has treated the virus while president. Those things matter. To ignore those details is to ignore the whole reason why the former guy was criticized.
Of course, the other fun tidbit was the notion of the liberal media outnumbering the conservative media 100 to 1. This notion is hilarious on its face. Since the Fairness Doctrine was struck down, talk radio has been proliferated with conservatives. It’s not even close. Many markets(including Houston and Dallas) don’t have any progressive voices. Obviously, radio isn’t as dominant a medium as television, but the numbers don’t lie.
Television is admittedly more mixed depending on who you ask. One thing that is fascinating from a propaganda standpoint is the effect of conservative media on conservatives. As we can see, when you take radio and television together we could reasonably say there are at least just as many conservative voices as liberal voices. Yet, conservatives are told that liberals dominate the media. So, mainstream media sources like the major networks become liberal. We get the simultaneous effect of conservatives believing the ratio is 100 to 1 while they are subjected to a bombardment of media in the other direction. It’s a powerful effect.
So, the upshot here is that when we are having a discussion with a conservative we must speak in specifics and demand that they do the same. They have succumbed to the propaganda that “people are saying” and other such nonsense that doesn’t really mean anything. What people? What exactly are they saying? How many people are we really talking about here.? The biggest question is whether we are talking about random people or actual prominent politicians and talking heads. That’s another point of distinction we need them to make.