It has been said that if a lie is repeated often enough, people will believe it is the truth. For the last few decades, those on the right in the United States have been waging a campaign of one big lie, repeated so often and with so much vehemence that they have made almost everyone believe it is the truth. That lie? “The liberal media.” “The liberal bias of the media.”
There has never been such a thing here.
There are, or, more accurately were, facts. That those facts happen to align with liberal politics doesn’t make them any less factual. But the repeated conservative mantra, the big “liberal media” lie has made it so that facts are routinely unreported lest the reporting agency be accused of bias. News agencies go out of their way to report things with a more conservative slant. For instance, in this past week, local news agencies have repeatedly mentioned the number of attendees at Trump rallies while blatantly not mentioning the numbers at rallies held by Bernie Sanders, though those numbers are much higher. This underreporting of facts means that the media does now have a bias. A conservative bias.
Yet that doesn’t stop those on the right for continuing to rail against those who would continue to ask the hard questions and attempt to maintain some semblance of journalistic integrity. There is a systematic movement to quash such things. Verbal attacks on journalists, ridicule. An unabashed attempt to control the media through intimidation.
And that’s how it starts, folks. Control of the media is one of the core characteristics of fascism.
For those who aren’t familiar with them, those characteristics are:
- Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
- Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
- Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
- Supremacy of the Military
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
- Rampant Sexism
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
- Controlled Mass Media
Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
- Obsession with National Security
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
- Religion and Government are Intertwined
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
- Corporate Power is Protected
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
- Labor Power is Suppressed
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .
- Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
- Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
- Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
- Fraudulent Elections
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
If a good chunk of these sound familiar, well, then you’re dealing with fascism, folks. It’s just that simple. And the big lie has allowed this to happen because the media, so afraid to report the truth lest they be considered liberal, isn’t going to bring itself to say it. Sure, some stalwarts will stand up, though they have been ridiculed and unfairly discredited to the point that they are sidelined at best. (Dan Rather, anyone?) So their voices go unheeded. And so the rise of fascism goes unchecked because everyone is afraid to say that the emperor has no clothes.
Well, then, I’ll say it. Donald Trump embodies the vast majority of these qualities. He is bringing fascism to America. It’s knocking at your door. Do you really want to let it in and make it feel welcome?