I am fascinated—masochistically, no doubt—by the ways in which crazy lies about liberals are generated and repeated endlessly via emails, blogs, and “news” sources. And no, while liberals sometimes get things wrong too, the sheer scale and audacity of the lies told within the republican echo chamber, the conservative cone of crap, the bullshit bubble, far surpasses any committed by liberals. Are there liberals out there receiving constant emails asserting outlandish lies about conservatives, lies that one Google search or Snopes check would reveal as such? Yeah, me neither.
An article by Rick Perlstein in The Baffler, “The Long Con: Mail-order Conservatism,” provides an excellent take on right-wing truth deficiency and gullibility. And sociologists and psychologists are producing interesting research about the conservative personality.
One example I encountered recently involves a supposed plot by Chicago liberals to pave one of Reagan’s boyhood residences and put up a parking lot FOR OBAMA’S LIBRARY!! By now this lying sack of shit story has been deconstructed by Mother Jones and others, but when I initially saw the headline “Reagan’s Childhood Home to Become Parking Lot for Obama’s Library” next to the Newsmax logo posted on a right-wing relative’s Facebook page (accompanied by requisite credulous outrage), my Google search brought up only repetitious iterations of the same story on Fox, the Examiner, Drudge, etc. ad nauseum.
The source that inspired the Newsmax story—and thus, all the others—was written by a reader in the Washington Times’ “neighborhood” or “community voices” section (i.e., even more not-news than their regular not-news in that rag). The writer spins a series of paranoid speculations from the one fact in all of this: that the U of Chicago Medical Center, plans to build a parking lot on the site of one of Reagan’s boyhood homes, after the site was denied landmark status. This community voice then spools out a series of questions based on familiar right-wing phantasmagoria. Some tidbits:
“…some powerful Chicagoans are planning to demolish Reagan’s historic home. Is it politically motivated? Is Mayor Rahm Emanuel behind the move?”
“While the university is planning to kill Reagan’s home, University of Chicago is also aggressively lobbying to be the site of President Barack Obama’s presidential library. Could the Reagan site become a parking lot for Obama’s library? Opponents of the demolition say yes.”
If opponents of the demolition say yes, it must be true.
Titled “Reagan’s Home Could Become a Parking Lot for Obama’s Library,” this one little piece of the typical liberal-hating conspiracism spawned a string of stories that reinforce the overarching narrative that the godless, liberal, brown, i.e., “un-American” hordes are taking over and desecrating the righteous past—when (white) men were men, and women and non-whites were in their place, when christianity was sovereign, when government existed only to foster and protect business, when business was free to exploit people and land, and when men like the (idealized version of the) Gipper ruled the world. One little word change in the headlines of these articles serves to further inflame the righteous anger/fear of the right-wing (de)base: from Reagan’s home COULD become an Obama lot to Reagan’s home TO become such a lot. A fact is born.
This fake fact was/is now passed around among the right-wing oppressed, a lie both created by their delusions of persecution and then added to the shit-pile mountain of “evidence” of their persecution, of liberal evil machinations to crush, dominate and obliterate all that is intrinsic to the “real” America and its values. So with truth and reality akimbo, Newsmax reports that “The University of Chicago Medical Center has announced plans to turn Ronald Reagan’s childhood home in Chicago into a parking lot for President Barack Obama’s library.” Anyone see that press conference?
It’s comical now to watch conservatives scramble to “re-brand” their message (not their failed policies). They’ve already mastered the art of manipulative lies, doing a marvelous job of galvanizing the old, white, sexist, bigoted, christian, dumb (or gullible, whatever), fearful bloc of Americans. Thus righties like my relative will keep posting those lies on their FB pages, building a lasting legacy of vast mountains of sacks of shit.