First, a reminder:: If you have any questions about what Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is or how it works, plan to attend the local Fair Vote Washington chapter Zoom “Ranked Choice Voting 101” this coming Monday, January 11th, 7-8PM. These are the basics. It’s a great presentation with local people. This is one of the ways Washington State (and, later, maybe the rest of the country) can help avoid repeating the last four years. If you are available to join, please register to receive the join link. (I advertised a different meeting around RCV [See “Elections-A Better Way] that happened last December 14. Some of you may have attended. Our Spokane County Auditor, Vicky Dalton, was available to answer questions on that Zoom, which was great, but that Zoom lacked the time to go over the basics. RCV 101 covers the basics.
Fox News v. MSNBC on the insurrection/riot. Last week Wednesday, January 6, I was seated, socially distanced from two other watchers, in a waiting room seeing the violence and destruction in our U.S. Capitol Building unfold in real time on ABC TV. It was quickly apparent that the three of us were similarly aghast at the unfolding spectacle. After fifteen minutes or so, a late middle aged woman pushing someone in a wheelchair passed behind us, glanced over her shoulder at the television and declared loudly, “All you see there is lies. You need to watch OAN [One America News]!” All three of us realized that my response, stated calmly, “Lady, you need to crawl out of your news silo and come up for air,” had zero chance of changing her mind. Clearly, talking this woman out of OAN would be like trying to extract a believer from the Jim Jones cult before they drank the Kool-Aid. I’ve met other pro-Trump cult members devoted to the news they get from The Epoch Times, financed and run by the Falun Gong, now based in New York City. Copies of The Epoch Times are sprinkled across news stands in Spokane. You may have had one or several sent to you. And, then, of course, there is the whole QAnon cult. The people adherent to these sources of dis-information are among Trump’s most loyal followers.
I do not ordinarily have access to cable TV, but this weekend I did. The One America Network (OAN) was not offered, but I had access to Fox News and MSNBC on adjacent channels. Fox News (and the Wall Street Journal) are part of 20 billion dollar media empire owned and run by Rupert Murdoch and his family. [Aside: Some have cited the absence of Murdoch-controlled media in New Zealand as a major reason the Kiwis have done so well controlling Covid-19.] The contrast between the coverage and opinion could not have been more stark. MSNBC was wall-to-wall footage of the mayhem at the Capitol, the Trump speech just before that egged on the insurrectionists, and talk of resignation, impeachment, and the 25th Amendment.
On Fox I watched parts of Watters’ World and parts of The Greg Gutfeld Show, both talking head programs of which I had never before heard. The striking thing was the uniformity of message: The mayhem at the Capitol was deplorable. It was carried out by crazy people who needed to be punished! Both shows then went on to draw a grossly false equivalency between the BLM protests this last summer and the Capitol mayhem. Both shows featured clips of talking heads on other media who were portrayed as downplaying the violence last summer, and ridiculing them for any rage they expressed over the events of January 6. Even more striking was the absence of coverage of Trump’s exhortation to take over the Capitol. It were as if the rioters had simply materialized on their own. Impeachment would be an unjustified effort by crazed Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, all the “haters” intent on destroying the country with socialism. Goebbels must be smiling. When talking with any Republican you know with whom you can still have a conversation, beware that this false equivalency narrative may be fresh on their mind accompanied by little awareness of Trump’s blatant incitement to riot.
It is quiet long, but if you have access to the New York Times Magazine this is a great read: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/magazine/trump-coup.html?referringSource=articleShare, The article is entitled “The American Abyss.”
There is much to do, much to shore up, much to repair. This evening from 7-8 get informed about Ranked Choice Voting with the Zoom meeting RCV 101. Here’s the link for signup again: register to receive the join link.
Keep to the high ground,