While reading an article posted on Crooks and Liars about the utter ignorance of the some our fellow citizens, especially those who get their news from Fox, I felt my blood begin to boil – as it usually does when reading anything about that hate-filled and dangerous news orifice. Apparently Frank Luntz had assembled a group of ‘ordinary’ Iowan citizens to quiz them on why they hated President Barack Obama. He was of course was alluding to Bill O’Reilly’s outrageous and rude question put to the President on Super Bill Sunday. Incidentally you may have read that O’Reilly claimed that his would be THE most watched interview ever. For that to be true he needed over 70 million viewers, but only 17 million had their TV’s tuned to the channel, and many of those probably left their sets on during the pre-game show to fix dinner or some such thing. But I digress.
To quote the C&L article:
Luntz noted his group’s extremely negative reaction when, in his interview with Bill O’Reilly, Obama did not say he didn’t want the Muslim Brotherhood as part of a new government in Egypt. Then, feigning non-partisan curiosity, Luntz deliberately elicited a slew of condemnation by asking his group, “The reaction was so negative, so overwhelming, what’s the problem?”
But I wonder if Luntz knew what he was in for when one member of his group piped up with, “I believe that Barack Obama’s religious beliefs do govern his foreign policy.” When Luntz pressed her to explain what those “religious beliefs” were, the woman replied, “I believe that he is a Muslim.” “You do,” Luntz said. How many of you believe that here?” The majority of the group’s hands went in the air.
Up until that point, I was suspicious that Luntz knew his group’s beliefs in advance and had begun the Muslim Brotherhood discussion with an eye toward steering the discussion that way. But then Luntz sounded a bit dismayed as he said, “Now, do you understand the implications of what you’re saying here, what the media’s gonna say about this group and about Iowa caucus voters in the future? You realize what you’re opening up here?”
I do not think Luntz understood the implications of what this group was saying, which is: “Sorry Frank, but we are so naive, and so brainwashed, we are completely incapable of relating factual information about the political scene in general, and President Obama in particular.” Mr. Luntz should have ended the questions right there, and dismissed the panel. He didn’t.
This is the problem we all come across at times, with family, friends, acquaintances, even strangers and definitely in online political forums. What can you do when confronted by the willfully ignorant without seeming a elite snob? I caught some flak from a few Facebook friends last year when I posted in my status, “If you listen to and agree with even a small portion of the lies Rush Limbaugh spews – please de-friend me now.” A few people thought that a pre-emptively snobbish thing to write – even though they agreed with the sentiment. In truth this is the way I feel about those who regularly watch Fox news, as I believe if they believe what they hear is the truth then there is no hope for true discourse. But it goes beyond that, and this is why my blood boils: that they believe these lies damages my country. I would go so far as to say they are doing more harm than the leadership of Al Quaeda could ever hope to do. So there’s my dilema, how can I keep my blood from spurting out my ears?