With families getting ready to sit down together for Thanksgiving dinner, here’s your cheat sheet for when some of your family members start yelling right-wing nonsense at the dinner table next week.
Get ready to argue about the “outrageous porn” on the right.
Years ago, Tim Kreider coined that term in The New York Times to describe how cable news and radio producers, as well as online voices, interpreted any story with a racial angle, any video of violence and mockery of elites to “He irritates us all with righteous indignation.”
Since then, what was a steal of huge ratings has become much more dangerous.
Now it’s about intentionally selling naked distortions as political news to provoke emotional outrage.
As Ryan Holiday, a media critic wrote, the more hateful and threatening the language, the more time people will spend looking at it because “people like to get angry almost as much as they like real pornography.”
That media strategy is a safe bet for getting more clicks and attracting more ad dollars, as we recently learned from the internal targeting disclosure of Facebook, a site that nearly a third of all Americans “regularly” hear about, according to the Center. Research Pew.
It is also a good way to get indigestion at Thanksgiving dinner.
How can you have a good, civil conversation with people who get excited about a daily immersion in a swamp of hate?
So get ready for a Thanksgiving showdown with that crazy relative who can’t turn off the right-hand talk radio.
Prepare to sit next to people who whisper to you about QAnon and other conspiracy theories they have found on Facebook.
Here’s a fact-to-quote cheat sheet in gloomy tones as that crazy bloke unloads.
First, Big Bird is neither a communist nor a propagandist.
Yes, the fictional character recently said that he has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Big Bird has long encouraged children to eat healthy foods and get vaccinated. That was before far-right media realized that it is good for their audience ratings to turn the COVID vaccine into a political issue.
Second, prepare to hear that the government is exaggerating when it reports that more than 750,000 people have died from COVID.
The Kaiser Family Foundation reported last week that right-wing media fans believe the numbers are inflated by the government.
Sorry, those numbers come from local health departments and are added by non-political actors like Johns Hopkins University.
Third, President BidenJoe Biden US Bishops To Consider Whether Biden Should Receive Communion Barrels Of Congress Towards Year-End Clash Biden Turns On Former New Orleans Mayor Landrieu To Lead Infrastructure MORE he’s not trying to “give $ 450,000 to every illegal immigrant,” as the Senator put it. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz’SNL ‘slaps Cruz for labeling Big Bird vaccine tweet’ propaganda ‘on Sunday shows progress: Biden administration faces rising inflation McConnell won’t go to signing ceremony from the White House for the MÁS infrastructure bill (R-Texas) recently tweeted.
The reality of the story, which has received enormous coverage in the conservative media, is much more complicated and much less scandalous.
In fact, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is trying to settle cases for damages that have been brought by parents and children who were separated at the southern border in 2018 at the time-President TrumpDonald Trump Stoltenberg Says The Jan. 6 Siege Was An Attack On “ NATO Core Values ” Christie Says Her Only Regret About Preparing Trump’s Debate Is Catching The COVID Woman Who Invaded The Sea- a-Lake Trump deported to China MOREOrders from.
In other words, the Justice Department is trying to deal with legal exposure caused by Trump’s inhumane policy, which experts at the time said amounted to child abuse.
Fourth, try not to cover your ears when the screams about critical race theory begin.
Just say that it is not being taught as a course in Virginia public schools, despite claims from the far-right sparking races in the run-up to Virginia’s run for governor.
What is outrageous and true is that a Monmouth University poll released last week found that 43 percent of Republicans oppose teaching “the history of racism” in America’s schools.
How can you teach American history without mentioning slavery, the Civil War, President Lincoln, or the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that guarantees equal rights?
But if you dare to make that argument, prepare for the smile that dismisses you as one of the elites trying to make white schoolchildren feel guilty.
Fifth, there is no reason to pretend to laugh when a family member offers to share a video posted by Rep. Paul gosarPaul Anthony GosarMeadows is the subject of increasing attention on the January 6 panel. Gosar faces increasing odds of censorship in the silence of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, deafening after January. 6 threats of violence escalate MORE (R-Ariz.) Showing a cartoon version of himself killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezGosar faces increasing odds of censorship in the GOP’s deafening silence in the House of Representatives after January. 6 threats of violence escalate Inflation poses new challenges for progressives MORE (DN.Y.).
It’s also best not to laugh at merchandise that bears the slogan “Come on, Brandon,” code for a profane chant that degrades the president.
And it’s okay to leave the table while condemning anti-Semitism when you hear laughter accompanying Rep’s story. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneGOP’s Efforts to Minimize the Danger of Capitol Riots Increase The Memorandum: Now What for Anti-Trump Republicans? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Says She Will Meet With Trump ‘Soon’ In Florida MORE (R-Ga.) Blames the California wildfires on space lasers somehow linked to a prominent and wealthy Jewish banking family.
And finally, prepare for a Thanksgiving stomach ache when that cranky relative repeats the “Big Lie” that Trump won the 2020 election.
In a CNN poll conducted in September, 59 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents said that believing Trump won the 2020 election is “very important” or “somewhat important” for being a Republican. In other words, they believe that it is important to believe a lie.
Despite a mountain of evidence showing that Trump made an authoritarian attempt to defy the Constitution and stay in office after his defeat, a Quinnipiac University poll last month gave him an 86 percent favorability rating among the Republicans.
That is a cult thought. It is a hostile takeover of political reality by an alternate reality created by Trump.
In the absence of a full family intervention at Thanksgiving dinner, it will be difficult to get that angry relative to stop viewing “outrageous pornography.” They are addicted to emotion-laden distortion.
Forget about an exchange of political views at the dinner table.
It is that many in the Republican Party are drunk with grievances and misinformation that cannot contribute to a real political debate about the government of the nation.
By next Thanksgiving, one of the two factions, reality or the right-wing alternate universe, will celebrate a political victory in the 2022 midterm elections.
At this point, it is difficult to know where the national political conversation will be headed between now and then.
But as we pull the turkey fuze, I’m not optimistic.
Juan Williams is an author and political analyst for Fox News Channel.