The video below is amazing. If you have two minutes and 39 seconds, you should watch this clip from the Fox News show The Five. And it will tell you everything you need to know about both why people are so addicted to Fox News and why it is so effective at short circuiting the rational thought functions in their brains.
If you are like me, you are bothered by ISIS. They really are a vile group. But you aren’t terrified that they pose an existential threat to Iraq itself, much less to the United States or the United Kingdom. Zack Beauchamp discussed this over the weekend at Vox, The Nine Biggest Myths About ISIS. As he pointed out, when ISIS had the opportunity to attack Baghdad, it didn’t. And it didn’t, because it isn’t nearly strong enough and it doesn’t have civilian support there. So yeah: ISIS has some power and the group is terrible. But that’s the extent of it.
But if you listen Greg Gutfeld at the beginning of this segment, you would conclude that ISIS exists for the purpose of sending people from Iraq back to the UK to commit terrorist attacks. The UK government has said that as many as 3,000 UK citizens might be a part of ISIS. And that could only mean one thing: they went to Iraq to fight in a war so they could come back to attack in the homeland. Or something. If you think about it, it makes no sense. But Fox News viewers would be forgiven for thinking that London is in flames at this very minute.
The segment is just constant fear mongering. “There is an immediate threat and we must do something now now now. Also: Obama golfs too much.” It gets worse when Kimberly Guilfoyle (A lawyer?!) is asked if we can get rid of all this fear that Gutfeld has created in his audience “without so called violating their civil liberties.” You gotta love that syntax! Anyway, here is Guilfoyle “legal” opinion:
Guess what? I don’t care and, in fact, I hope we violate a lot of their civil liberties.
[This is amazing. Where did she go to law school? “Chanel’s Beauty Supply and Diploma Mill”? Civil liberties exist because we don’t know who is guilty a priori.]
This is war; this is terror.
[Yeah, but it isn’t terror against us. And it isn’t our war.]
There should be no mercy involved because they have shown none. That’s the only language that they understand.
[The “no mercy” language? Well, that’s a language they speak at Fox News! Of course, that is usually reserved for unarmed teenagers gunned down by the police.]
And in terms of making, like, decisive action… Look: I hope the president has enough people around him to push him in the right direction. I really think there’s just really one right answer here. We can talk about the ways to get it done.
[“It” is the operative word here. The “it” is the fear. When talking to Fox News viewers, there is a constant desire for something to be done. Done about what? About “it,” of course! These people are very afraid. The fear is only vaguely associated with what’s going on in the world. It’s primary cause is Fox News itself. So yes, Guilfoyle really wants Obama to get rid of the fear that she helps to create. And since nothing Obama does will ever satisfy, the fact that he didn’t get “it” done will be used later to create more fear and frustration. “Why oh why won’t Obama get ‘it’ done?!”]
Air strikes, certainly.
[Which we’ve been doing for a while now, but Fox News viewers would be forgiven if they thought the only thing Obama has done is set in that golf cart for the last month.]
It’s going to take more than that. We’ve already got troops on the ground.
[So we’ve got to do air strikes. And we are doing them. So we’ve got to have troops on the ground. And we have them. Quick! What aren’t we doing that she can complain about?! How about air drops of otters with lasers mounted on their heads? I’ll be Obama’s not doing that!]
We already need help from our UK and European allies and counterparts.
[Yes, our UK and European allies! And troops on the ground. And then more troops. How about a full scale ground invasion? And then a surge. And then a bigger surge. It is almost unimaginable how much it is going to take to fight against the fear creation machine that is Fox News.]
Can I just make a special request in the magic lamp? Can we get like Netanyahu, or like Putin in for 48 hours—head of the United States. I don’t know, I just want somebody to get in here and get it done right. So that Americans don’t have to worry and wake up in the morning fearful of a group that’s murderous and horrific like ISIS.
[Oh, ISIS! I got distracted and thought she was talking about Fox News. I don’t think Americans wake up in the morning fearful of ISIS. At least, they aren’t unless they’ve been watching Fox News and its unhinged coverage.]
The line about wanting Putin to be president for 48 hours is what got the headline. It doesn’t mean that much to me. It’s been clear for a long time that the modern conservative movement has been proto-fascist. And there are many in its ranks who are absolutely desperate for an authoritarian leader to come in tell us all what to do. As I’ve talked about a lot: conservatives don’t like democracy—it is too messy and conservative policies are too unpopular.
But you may remember last week that I wrote, Conservative Obsession With Purity. In it, I quoted (indirectly) Robert Altemeyer, who said that fascism was based upon three things. The third was, “Obsession with unambiguously knowing one’s place in any hierarchy.” And that is what Kimberly Guilfoyle is begging for: some strong man (or strongman) to come in and protect us. Except, of course, Obama is actually stronger than Putin or Netanyahu. But he has this thing about laws and rights.
Kimberly Guilfoyle has seen a picture of her perfect future: a boot stamping on a human face—forever.