BY VERN TURNER
Many luminaries emerged from the smoke- and iron ore-laced mists of Trumball County, including a host of NFL football players led by Hall-of-Famer Paul Warfield.
Warren also produced actress Catherine Bach, Michael Capellars [former Compaq Computer CEO], David Gohl [formerly of Foo Fighters], my fraternity brother’s wife, Judy, and the infamous Roger Ailes.
Roger’s life is chronicled in detail in Gabriel Sherman’s biography, The Loudest Voice in the Room. It’s a sort of typical story about someone who was beat too much as a kid and became an obstinate bully in his own right.
Despite Ailes’ hemophilia, he was combative throughout most of his life, both physically and mentally. His biggest fault today, he says, is his being fat and overweight. Then, a glutton for success at any price has big appetites for everything in his or her life.
Ailes’ rise in politics accelerated with his shaping of the George H.W. Bush presidential campaign. Previously he worked for Reagan, Nixon and a host of down-ticket politicians, including Mitch McConnell when he ran for the Senate from Kentucky the first time.
Yes, there were campaign failures, but there were more successes than failures. Roger seemed to have the talent for the attack ad from the very beginning. He never seemed to hold back from being the meanest and most vicious attack dog in the joint while deflecting libelous blame to others and “misunderstandings.”
We are all familiar with the Fox News experience and its remarkable avoidance of facts that are harmful to extreme right-wing politics in America. For every deflection of the truth there is an attack on the opposition and its position.
This is not by accident, because Roger is in charge of Fox News. Roger Ailes is a martinet in management style. It’s his way or the highway. So, everything we see on Fox News is from Roger’s heart and soul. The faces you see are merely the props for his script.
Before Fox, though, Ailes was involved with the short-lived Television News Association, TVN, during the time when the Reagan Administration overturned the fair and balanced requirement from the FCC. This allowed right-wing talk radio and television to flourish and gave us creatures like Rush Limbaugh. From there, as is often said, the rest is history.
This piece isn’t about Roger Ailes’ life story, it’s about how he and his associates in the so-called conservative disinformation business hammered the American public with their inflammatory and misleading propaganda in order to get their employers elected.
Oh, yes, this was a for-profit undertaking. It still is. The money from corporate/banking America comes rolling into PACs, the PACs use that money to hire public relations firms and slick campaign advertising to produce the desired message in psychologically massaged forms that seduce the naive voters into picking this particular candidate.That’s what Advertising 101 teaches, too. It’s just another arm of capitalism that dupes consumers into buying something the producer wants them to buy.
However, the basic method from the Ailes School of Propaganda is: Attack your opponent on everything including his character and personal weaknesses. Never admit your mistakes. Blame your opponent for everything that is wrong.
You’ll notice that you don’t have to include your own policy statements here, just create an emotional crisis mentality in the voting public so that your candidate looks better than that creature he/she is running against.
The truth? Well, let’s just say the truth has many facets, some of which can be turned into vicious attacks on character, decisions made and personal foibles.
It’s not about governing. It’s not even about politics. It’s about winning elections. That’s what pays off.
Roger Ailes is directly responsible for the infamous Willie Horton race-baiting campaign ad used by Bush Sr. to help defeat Michael Dukakis. Joseph Goebbels would have cheered from the balcony had he seen it.
Roger Ailes, I think, is our Joseph Goebbels. He is president of Fox News, the most watched news programming in the United States. Rush Limbaugh is heard by four-12 million listeners every day. He gets paid almost $60 million per year to tell the naive and the ignorant how they are being destroyed by liberal policies.
Yes, it’s all about the lies. That’s what wins elections these days, isn’t it?
But wait! Maybe the American public has grown weary of the constant drumbeat of hate, lies and deceit from the media and the politicians. Maybe they’ve awoken to the fact that they’ve been had by some pretty sleazy and disreputable creatures that have made millions off of their laziness to check out the facts and the truth.
Who in their right mind, for example, would take seriously somebody like Ted Cruz who tells us that God speaks to him personally and tells him he should be president?
Well, as Roger has told us, “The truth is what people believe it to be.” His job is to make sure his clients [now the entire right wing of the political spectrum via Fox News] are presented in the most favorable light to all of America even though they would be considered lip-strumming crackpots just a few decades ago.
Perhaps America is waking up to the harm the delusion machine of Fox News creates. The very fact that Donald Trump, the king of bombast, has made Roger very, very angry and at the same time continues to lead in the polls speaks volumes about what people are sick of and how they feel.
Bernie Sanders, with his straight spoken populism is drawing larger crowds than ANY of the other candidates, Republican or Democratic. The corporate-owned media continue to ignore Sanders and the pundits keep saying he has no chance at the nomination. Maybe they should start asking the voters.
The polls are saying other things. The polls are showing Sanders gaining on Clinton daily. The polls are also showing super-majorities [over 60%] of approval for progressive agenda items like gun control, education loan relief, universal health care or Medicare for everyone [the public has always wanted it, but didn’t get it with ObamaCare], closing tax loopholes, expanded Medicaid, reducing the Pentagon budget, rebuilding our infrastructure, renewable energy development, acceptance of same-sex marriage, women’s reproductive health and choice, and the continued freedom of and from religion.
The corporate-sponsored conservative media dominated by Fox News and its rotund roster of anything progressive continues the drumbeat against this popular “uprising.” That won’t change, of course, until Citizens United is overturned [another super-majority want from the American people] and corporate money doesn’t buy politicians anymore.
The trick here is to get that super-majority to the ballot box and show Roger that his propaganda doesn’t always work all the time. People are smarter than that, but they have to overcome their social sloth and take back their country from the fascists and the oligarchs trying to destroy a democratic republic and turn it into a plutocracy.
PEOPLE: Learn about the candidates and the issues and VOTE!
– Vern Turner lives in Marble Falls, TX and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism, is available through Amazon.com.