Funny how we only hear about dangerous threats from those networks who declare them dangerous.
Let’s take a look over a list of items we are told are absolutes in our political landscape these days:
- Conservatives the country over are committed to The Big Lie.
- Donald Trump is blindly followed by every Republican.
- Qanon feeds the mindset of anybody who is right-of-center.
These truths are well known and perpetually broadcast, but there is a core foundational reality behind these maxims. The subjects in each of these entries is followed more intently and the information is disseminated to the populace with far more energy by the mainstream press industry.
It is interesting that while I am supposedly obsessed with President Trump I learn about his opinions and activities mostly through journalists. While I get accused of fostering the push of denying the 2020 election results I only hear instructions on the matter via CNN and MSNBC, and as someone allegedly transfixed by Qanon’s dictates I only ever hear about the directives from this nebulous source from clips of Brian Stelter and Chris Hayes.
It seems like in order to become a mindless conservative drone one needs to download Rachael Maddow’s podcast and sign up for Chris Cillizza’s newsletter, and this is why it is with great amusement that I learned about Mike Lindell — the CEO of the My Pillow conglomerate — staging a 3-day election fraud symposium. I was not privy to this through some backchannel message board or conservative PR firm flooding my inbox with credentials. I did not get marching orders sent to me on social media nor see this on a pop-up ad while scrolling through a voter fraud website on the Dark Web. I saw it on CNN.
The media is in the throes of a desperate and craven attempt to make the wildest claims and weirdest characters in politics accepted as the mainstream thought leaders of the GOP. Note how someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene is blared in their headlines on a regular basis when she is nothing more than a freshman Representative whose words should be listened to only by her Georgia constituents. It says everything that her comments are said to be dangerous and a threat to our democracy, and at the same time, the press replays those same comments on a video loop and repeats her dire quotes in headlines.
The same can be said of Lindell and his quest to overturn the election. Lindell’s quest is pretty damned daft, and you would be fair to call it a con job, which is just what Philip Bump said at the Washington Post. But if he were truly regarded as such Lindell would simply be written off. Instead, Bump goes on at length about the man and his conference — for 1,500 words. This has been followed by a column by Aaron Blake today and preceded by another long piece that details many of Lindell’s claims. If you want in on the My Pillow Conspiracy Club, all it takes is a WaPo subscription.
On CNN, they also featured the conference, with their conservative critic Donie O’Sullivan in attendance. He delivered a video clip to display the ridiculousness of the affair, which is something that has already been known to all of us who did not attend.
— Donie O'Sullivan (@donie) August 12, 2021
Note that as he is mocking Lindell for not being able to back up his claims, O’Sullivan makes up his own conspiracy on the spot. “This is a spectacle — it’s easy in some ways to laugh at it, but this is very serious stuff. The guy does have a big platform.” Really, Donie? Where is your proof of this, to back up your claim that Mike Lindell has this big platform? By the looks of things the biggest outlet for him to get his message heard has been…on your network.
Following along with the diligent coverage was The Daily Beast, where Justin Baragona is covering things and he amazingly (but not surprisingly) gets things right, while also not getting it. He detailed what has been the biggest takeaway from the symposium — Lindell has no proof, and he spent most of his time raging at Fox News for not covering his event.
One powerful network is completely ignoring it: Fox News.
Huh, you don’t say, Justin. This is what it looks like when a reporter makes the exact point and ends up missing the point at the very same time. How is it that the most hated news outlet, the one supposedly trafficking in the narratives of The Big Lie, did not cover what is allegedly the big event of The Big Lie?
In a statement to CNN on Tuesday night, a Fox News spokesperson confirmed that the network had not sent any reporters to cover Lindell’s event.
Much has been made in recent weeks about Lindell removing his commercials from Fox News, but that is not what led to the network apathy. Fox has been ignoring Lindell for a lengthy spell now, and it has been that lack of support that has angered the sleep entrepreneur and led to him to pull his ads.
Fox coverage of the MyPillow mogul’s various antics has been virtually non-existent in recent months, despite his repeated attempts to make MAGA-friendly news (including a rally this summer that featured Trump himself). According to media monitoring service TVEyes, Lindell has only been mentioned on Fox News five times in the past six months—and only in passing. Fox’s digital site has similarly ignored the pillow boss, publishing zero articles about him in recent months.
Do you folks in the press see how that is done? It is actually possible to not report on every inane utterance and every wing-nut conspiracy theory. But they cannot do so; the intention here is clear. The press wants desperately to smear conservatives as conspiracy nutters, claiming that Republicans are hanging on every word delivered by an unknown internet crank and an unhinged pillow tycoon. For this reason, the press HAS to detail every crackpot theory that comes out, in order to make it appear as if these are the primary discourse of the right.
The unintended result, however, is that in doing so they become the primary source for these allegedly dangerous theories. Funny how it is — if I want to learn how best to destroy democracy I need to watch CNN and read the national newspapers.