Eli Stokols Pops Right-Wing Media’s Bubble

FOX 31’s Eli Stokols is out this morning with his list of winners and losers from last night’s election–we’re working on our own as well, and hope to have it up soon. In the meantime, we wanted to call attention to the final “loser” on Stokols’ list, which we think contains a vital lesson for Republicans attempting to process and rationalize yesterday’s many defeats:

Conservative media: Conservatives have grown so distrustful of everything they are told by the mainstream media, it becomes easy for them to fall into the trap of assuming that polls showing Obama winning are inherently flawed. Even last night, when any political novice could tell that the president was on his way to reelection based solely on the early indications from a number of eastern states, Karl Rove, sitting on the Fox News Channel set, refused to accept the network’s conclusion that Obama had won Ohio. His on-air tantrum became an instant YouTube sensation, a flashpoint of conservative anger that encapsulated the ugly truth that conservatives had long been living inside a Fox News Channel/Rush Limbaugh bubble, failing to acknowledge any events or viewpoints that didn’t mesh with their own conservative ideology and political fantasies.

Viewers and listeners so wrapped up inside that bubble with obsessive coverage of Benghazi didn’t realize how out of line they were with the rest of the country. In Colorado, conservatives dismissing the work of pollster Chris Keating on the grounds that he’s worked for Hickenlooper and Udall, overlooked a series of polls that were spot-on. A day before the election, Keating had Obama leading Romney 50-46; it was a four-point win for Obama, 52-48, in the end. [Pols emphasis]

Living within that conservative echo chamber doesn’t seem to serve viewers all that well, given that insulating oneself from reality only works for so long. Feigning confidence, hoping it’ll become a self-fulfilling prophecy, while ignoring or dismissing massive amounts of polling data because it doesn’t add up to a positive outcome – none of it seems to serve viewers all that well in the end, much less American democracy. Even the Romney campaign was drinking the conservative media Kool-Aid, with aides acknowledging Wednesday what was plainly evident from the candidate’s halfhearted, hastily thrown together concession speech – that they truly expected they would win.

As Rick Perry said, “Oops.”

24 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gray in Mountains says:

    Conservatives seeking power, primarily the tea baggers and Republicans do not want their voters to learn truth. So, they create “conservative” media which proclaim that they are the truthful ones. Fox gets high ratings but clearly is NOT anything close to news media.

  2. Gray in Mountains says:

    gets identified by conserrvatives as being no different from MSNBC the conservative power brokers are trying to manipulate the public  

  3. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    It is Flavor-Aid and not Kool-Aid.

  4. BlueCat says:

    The shrinking base will continue to buy the “lamestream media” crap from the spinners but most Americans can look at predictions v outcomes and see who is believable and who is out to lunch.

    The far right can only get weaker. The Limbaugh world excuse that it isn’t that they’ve gone too far but that Romney was a poor messenger for them is nonsense on its face.  Do they think some who voted for Obama would have voted for a more conservative rightie instead? Huh?

    We are clearly not a far right nation and the center left is a whole lot closer to the national center than today’s far, far, far right GOP.  The people they call moderates are old fashioned conservatives and the people they call socialists are mildly center left and, it appears, that’s fine for more than half of the voting public. It will only get better for Dems and worse for Rs as long as they stick to their present course.

    And here’s a question.  The GOP’s only significant priority, according to their own leadership, was making Obama a one termer.  To do this they were willing to take the country to the economic brink on several occasions and to oppose legislation based on their own think tank policies as soon as Obama agreed to include those Republican ideas in any proposed plans.  They were not just willing but anxious to cause the American public and especially the middle class, where the votes are, as much misery as possible in hopes that the misery would cause them to drive Obama out. They were willing to use any degree of racist hate mongering and attacks on Hispanics to fire up their base.  

    Now that they have completely failed in attaining that goal, what will their new goal be? Will they still seek to cause as much misery by obstructing everything in their power to obstruct as they can?  What can they hope to gain going forward by being the party of hate and misery? The base that eats that up is just too damn small and shrinking and the demos they demonize  aren’t going to stop growing.

    Who will the GOP be from today on? Will it remain a  party that trashes a loyal conservative like Gov. Christie for fraternizing with a Dem president for the good of his constituents and having the grace to give credit where credit is due? What percentage of the population is going to be OK with that kind of GOP? What is their path now?

    • AristotleAristotle says:

      Let’s not forget that it was just a few months ago that Romney was struggling to close out the nomination against Rick freakin’ Santorum, who wsa coasting along on the fact that he became the favored not-Romney at just the right time – the beginning of the primaries.

      Conservatives have long been suspicious of Mitt Romney. They knew about his flip flops and “liberal” (read: moderate and practical) past positions, and succumbed to the same thing progressives did in 2004: The inevitable. Just as we halfheartedly supported John Kerry because we wanted to send Bush home and anyone would do, so did conservatives with Romney.

      That means that he will be easy for them to dismiss as “not a true conservative.” This is the same thing they said about Bush (only after he was safely out of office) and McCain. This has become their go-to explanation for failure at the ballot box. It’s the reason why they behave as if every slight victory is a mandate. It’s flexible because it’s devoid of real meaning – the only thing a “true conservative” will do in office is attempt to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, FEMA and any other social program or agency they don’t like, while not bothering to try to balance the budget or pay down the national debt. The conservative base won’t care, because they don’t believe anyone deserves to be helped out under any circumstance. That’s the core of conservatism.

      Will they now work with the president? That depends on whether the tail (base) will continue to wag the dog (GOP leadership). I think the leadership understands that they failed, but I’m not at all hopeful that the ignorant base does.

      • harrydobyharrydoby says:

        It’ll either take the current GOP leadership moving towards compromise and true bipartisanship, or a new set of leaders to take their place.

        While I think only about 9 Tea Party freshmen lost, it remains to be seen if any of the others leave the Tea Party designation behind (like one M. Coffman if he has half a brain).

        If the GOP continues simply being the “Party of NO”, then 2014 will be the final nail in their coffin.

        Either new leadership, or a new party, comprised of a more diverse blend of conservatives, will rise from the ashes of the current insanity-infested GOP.

      • BlueCat says:

        everything Rush says, including that Romney lost because he wasn’t the right guy to carry their ultra right message.  Don’t think leadership will be able to do much to bring the party into the 21st century near term. Maybe some R pols will look to their own re-election interests and come over on a few things, especially in the Senate where  many have to win 2 years from now statewide.

        I think they know that the war on women and Latinos has got to stop if they want to remain viable outside of a shrinking red zone.

        I don’t think they’ll be able to adjust enough in time for 2014 and as long as the Dems make clear in these next two years  that they intend to use all the pressure they can to get something positive done, I think 2014 will be another great election for Dems. Obama can finish up strong and set the stage for Dems going into 2016.  

  5. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Don’t know how long we’ll keep him before a national network snaps him up, but for however long that is, we all should listen up and pay attention, regardless of our personal political affiliations. He is one of the few people who will actually make me turn on a television–which takes effort, because I don’t own one.

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      and TV is more fun with pot and booze

      more nonsense 😉

      • ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

        🙂 I’m STILL not trying it, legal or not. I’ll take the regular brownies, thank you!

        • Fidel's dirt nap says:

          and my Mom’s new fiancee’s kids were in town and she wanted to put on a good impression for them.  We were passing the plates around and I put salad on my plate, then put my salad bowl on my place setting, and then passed my entire dinner plate to the guy next to me instead of the salad bowl.  It took me a second to catch on, and by then everyone knew this kid was BAKED OUT OF HIS MIND.

          Needless to say Mom wasn’t pleased.  I quit smoking pot shortly thereafter : )

  6. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    … when all the spin and falsehoods in the world can’t insulate you from the truth. When the Northeast Seaboard is underwater, calling climate change a hoax doesn’t quite cut it. When women can and do get pregnant after violent rapes, claiming they don’t just won’t work. Simple math proves that you can’t cut taxes by 20%, increase revenues by a corresponding 20% through eliminating deductions, tack on $2 trillion in added defense spending, and somehow thereby cut the deficit.

    And when reputable, established pollsters publish numerous, easily verifiable polls showing certain trends, claiming that they’re “skewed” may get you something in the short term – maybe a way to try to pump up flagging enthusiasm – but will cost you every shred of respectability once your game is found out.

    Re the latter, consider this incredibly amusing (in retrospect) post on QStarNews’s unskewedpolls.com, labeled “The Definitive” voter prediction and containing the gauziest of “methodology” with brash claims of being “spot-on accurate”:

    The QStarNews projection of the 2012 presidential race sees Mitt Romney being elected the next president of the United States with 50.67 percent of the popular vote and 275 electoral votes to President Obama’s 48.88 percent and 263 electoral votes.

    Methodology: For EACH state, all of the following information was considered: results from the last four elections averaged together, recent political trends in that state (such as Republicans winning control of both houses of the state legislature in 2010 in Maine and New Hampshire), recent trends in demographic makeup that affect the politics of the state (such as the growth of hispanics in Colorado causing the Democratic Party to become more competitive), and the degree to which one or both of the major campaigns are targetting that state, such as both campaigns making Ohio the most important state and campaigning there more than any other state, and any other relevant political factors and data such as public polls from a variety of pollling firms, as well as data from the QStarNews polls of the presidential race. From all of this information a percentage breakdown of each state is calculated between Romney and Obama. This projection is expected to be spot-on accurate for predicting the outcome in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and close to the actual popular vote.

    It just doesn’t work over the long term, folks. UnskewedPolls is now about one small step above Donald Trump in terms of respectability.  

    • AristotleAristotle says:

      is to foment a dangerous mythology with a part of the electorate.

      Because of Godwin’s Law, people get huffy anytime you mention the Nazis. But I’m a student of history, and the fact that some internet assholes were quick to call people “Hitler” isn’t a reason to dismiss valid parallels. With that out of the way…

      One of the most important keys to the rise of the Nazis was the “stabbed in the back” myth of the Weimar Republic. Imperial Germany had spent the entirety of WWI lying to its citizens about how they were faring on the battlefield, leaving most Germans on the home front shocked when they surrendered. The Kaiser had given up the throne, the Republic was declared, and Germany surrendered, leading the conservative opposition with an opening to claim that the republicans had betrayed Germany – stabbed her in the back. This myth was never dealt with, and was repeated endlessly by the Nazis and other right wing organizations vying for power during Germany’s most trying times.

      When it comes to sites like WND, QStarNews, and, yes, Fox News, I believe their pundits are engaging in a deliberate campaign to spread false information. The intent is to manipulate these people. If they believe that they had been tricked, they will be less likely to be conciliatory and more likely to dig in. It’s the thing that makes me fear that violence could happen.

      Many people were truly dismayed that Obama won by precisely the margins predicted by honest polling and the expert analysis of people like Nate Silver. Only a diet of false information could have made last night’s news a surprise.

      Thankfully, since this is America, there is no governmental censorship of the media, and in the internet age, people can instantly debunk falsehoods. I think this stuff is effective only on true believers who have a well-developed knack for avoiding contradictory information. Such people are always in the minority. It just needs to be seen if the GOP will cut its losses with these people, who have developed a voice all out of proportion to their numbers. If the Koch Brothers and other billionaire backers of the tea party decide to do this, I think they’ll all but disappear from the radar. At least, that’s what I hope.

      • Tazistan JenTazistan Jen says:

        I think there should be a Godwin’s law exception to discussions of propaganda.  The Nazis really did come up with some creative and effective techniques and it isn’t equivalent to calling people Nazis to compare those techniques.

  7. caroman says:

    To those who get their “news” from Fox/Limbaugh, today must really seem weird.  Like an episode from “Fringe” when an alternate universe suddenly appears.  

    “Wait, wait.  Obama won?  That was supposed to be impossible!  What’s going on here??”

  8. ScottP says:

    Yesterday he was on the Rundown on AM630 talking about how people were emailing links to his own story and asking him “Why don’t you ask Obama about Benghazi like this guy?”

    They refuse to even check the source of their news articles because they want to believe so badly in the “lame stream media” lie.

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