Wednesday, November 07, 2012

All Hail "The Fact"

Aside from representing a sweeping progressive victory, the elections stand as a reassertion of the American faith in science and The Fact.

It turns out that just saying something over and over again doesn't mean it's true, nor will it fool everyone.

The durability of The Fact began to impose itself even before last night's results swept away the counter-narrative cooked up on the right 'lo these many years.

It played loudly in the debate cycle when the premise cooked up in the Republican bubble, that Obama did not consider Benghazi a terrorist attack, was put to rest by the moderator, who noted that the president had, in fact, characterized it as so.

The wall against obvious and verifiable truths began to crumble even as Republicans, faced with a television graphic quoting the president on this matter, chose to deny what was before their very eyes.

The American people did not. If you have a tape and transcript of the president saying something, it's fair to accept that he said it, based on the evidence.

Then there were the polls, those science-based thermometers cooked up by liberals to mislead voters about The Fact of a new and silent majority in America. A multicultural, youthful, sexually tolerant, weed-supporting mass that does not caterwaul much, does not parade, and did not go in for political kitch and lawn signs this time.

But they came out to vote, just as the polls predicted they would.

All of which brings us to the further diminished status of the untruth wurlitzer itself, Fox News.

On Election Eve, the highway scribe soaked up the Fox Team's frustration and marveled at the herd of experts predicting a Romney landslide in contrast to what the Non-Fox Media ("The NFM" as per Anne Coulter) was saying.

Trapped in their own ghetto, convinced their hatred was national and universal, the Foxies banged pots and hammers about Bhenghazi and "Obama's Katrina" to the general indifference of everybody else.

The image of Karl Rove campaign hacking from his perch on an election night panel at Fox was a new low in the Fair and Balanced bull chips the news operation serves up.

The guy had a ton of skin in the game and yet there he sat, posing as an expert whose objective opinion should be respected. Days before, Rove too, predicted a Romney landslide in a major American newspaper owned by the guy who signs his checks at Fox.

One has to wonder what Fox's credibility will be going forward with the true believers who kneel daily in its church. For months it posted news and facts from an alternative universe that never ceased to insist the president's coalition was coming undone and that red state redemption was just around the corner.

Fool them once, shame on Fox. Fool them twice, shame on them.

For the second election cycle -- this one spent attacking the president 24 hours a day -- Fox has been unable to impact the final outcome of either the Republican nominating process or the general election.

For a time, its reign as the first partisan news operation gave it a leg up. But its diversion from American journalism's long striving for objectivity led to the establishment of a similar enterprise at the opposite political pole.

MSNBC, while equally harmful to older journalistic traditions, does a nice job of articulating and packaging progressive views into palatable, televised messages and debate. It helped.

The center-left network's existence erases the old Fox advantage at partisan mind-bending while serving as effective check on its ability to manufacture its own truths out of whole cloth.

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