In those dark days of 2003, before DailyKos, before Glenn Greenwald and Talkingpointsmemo and Air America and Keith Olbermann, when I felt isolated and alone and going insane as I watched my country consume itself with hatred, I made an important realization.
I had recently moved to Los Angeles from New York, and as I now owned a car I discovered "talk radio" for the first time. As I would drive around in Los Angeles I would flip from station to station. I discovered three main talk radio stations in Los Angeles.
All three were right wing propaganda machines.
All three made me want to puke.
I could only take a few minutes of them before I would turn them off in disgust. Listening to sanctimonious Dennis Prager or racist self-hating Michael Savage, I would turn off the station in disgust. But also very sad.
Because the programs convinced me of one simple notion: I was alone.
There was no one out there who thought like me. No one out there who saw through the fraud of George W. Bush. Who knew the Iraq war was completely unnecessary. That there was no evidence of WMDs. That once Hans Blix was let back into Iraq in late 2002, there was no reason whatsoever to go to war.
I would turn on Fox News, and I would feel the same thing. I was in the vast minority. I was in the fringe.
Why did I feel this?
Because the media was perpetuating the narrative that voices like mine did not exist as part of the discourse.
This is the key operation that began with the overturning of the Fairness Doctrine in the mid 1980s and also with the rise of Limbaugh in the early 1990s.
Because while we slept through the prosperity and relative safety of the Clinton years, the republican machine realized a key fundamental concept of propaganda: Control the discourse and you control the populace.
And so they built their narratives and perpetuated them endlessly through media channels. Until by 2003, in the aftermath of 9/11, they completely controlled the political discourse in this country. As such they could demonize opponents without fear of reprisal. Because there was no one to respond. The few voices of sanity that got through to the propagandists by calling in could simply be drowned out with shouting and hate. Simply turned off.
The media hate spewers discovered how profitable it was to sell their propaganda on Fox and talk radio and in the Murdoch media empire. Book deals. Lecture circuits. Lying became profitable.
Until slowly reality began to fight back.
Perhaps it was inevitable. All their predictions were proven false. One by one their fake "outrage" stories pumped through Matt Drudge and echoed through the empire began to sound false. The repetitive nature of the fear/hystria began to break. As Bush's incompetence was no longer hidden, as the war was exposed as a fraudulent and disastrous choice, their shouting couldn't drown out the truth anymore.
And this is my key point.
How did we fight back?
Through media. Through the internet. Through pushing for alternative programs like The Daily Show and Countdown and the tireless work of bloggers to shame the castrated mainstream puppets like Russert and Matthews until they had no choice but to begin to bring reality back into their bubble.
And that's what's going on right now in the incredile work of blogger Spocko and Mike Stark and the battle with the hate spewers in San Francisco.
Because this isn't really about politicians or bills or supply and demand, or government taxation or our military.
At it's core it's about who controls the narrative. It's about media.
That's why the harpies who call themselves republicans, those shameless and spineless frauds who play intellectual dressup and program their own minds to follow the collective patterns of group-thought are so distraught as we expose their structural propaganda machines. Because in their supply-side economic justification of "what's good for my bank account is good for the country" shamelessness, they have discovered a lucrative way to maintain power, money and fame. They must perpetuate the hate, fear and rage. They must sell xenophobia and divide the country so the structure can continue to function.
Because, metaphorically, republican media is like cancer.
It must consume to survive. It must reproduce itself through distorted replication of healthy cells (real world media) to ascend to the profit centers where it can be nourished.
We are in a battle for the heart and soul of this country, but the battle is not in Washington and it isn't at the ballot box. At least not in its heart. It is on our TVs and newspapers and radios and blogs.
The cancer knows this, which is why they shriek about "media bias" and claim that the media is "left wing." Because this fiction, this justification for their own moral, intellectual, spiritual and ethical bankruptcy must exist for them to maintain their own operation. Without this straw man "liberal media" beast for them to quixotically chase like so many children playing "adult" dress-up by putting on their parent's tie and glasses, they must face their own fraudulence just as a child is forced to admit to a parent when he's lying.
And they can't face themselves for what they really are. To reach this state of awareness is to pull back the curtain and reveal their own rotten soul, consumed by hatred and rage.
So they maintain their fiction as the lifeline by which they can continue living. There must be a "liberal media" out there holding back the great conservative movement. Without that straw fiction, without that mythical Other of which all evil springs, they are left with nothing but reality.
Cold, hard reality.
And cold, hard reality tells them their Iraq War was one of the most damaging foreign policy decisions in American history. That they've gotten thousands killed and wasted billions of tax dollars. That there are deficits and increasing poverty at home. That millions more lose health insurance each year.
To the movement that lives in false construction, the truth literally destroys their life.
So what are they really afraid of?
It isn't Hillary Clinton. It isn't Barack Obama.
It's the loss of their media.
The voices in the dark that reassure them that the falseness is okay are their one ritual protection from the painful truth of awareness. If they lose talk radio, they collapse.
Thus the danger when we expose KFSO in San Francisco, isn't simply the removal of a few hate spewing Z-list celebrities from their 75K a year job.
It is the removal of the curtain of false reality.
When you've spent years building a false reality, when you live in a bubble network of fact-free amplification and continual reassurance by like-minded cultists, this danger is as real as if a gun was pointed at your child.
That is why they shriek.
That is why they scream.
That is why they are terrified.
We are not threatening a radio station. We are threatening the fabric of reality that holds together their lives.
And we must tear it down with a wrecking ball.
They deserve to have reality shoved in their repugnant faces. They deserve no pity for choosing to live in a false construction of good/evil binaries and hero/villain simplicities. Their childhood comic book reality as spoon-fed to them through media is not excusable simply because they cling to it like a frightened five year old. We must never pity their ignorance and fear. We must never soften our response. They have cost our country too much to indulge their falseness for the past decade.
And when they finally begin to "turn," to realize their folly, they do not deserve applause. They have not made amends simply by giving up their security blankets of propaganda media echo chambers and endlessly repeating false narratives that tell them what they want to hear.
They will not have made amends until they actively work to restore the critical method, a dedication to truth, and work to repair the massive damage that their need to comfort themselves with cartoon realities has done to the real world they refuse to live in.
In short, fuck them.
Tear down their media empire, one harpy at a time, and there will be no political party left.