The overwhelming noise of Fox News and talk radio can get you stuck in the moment, reacting to the latest distortion, outrage or invention. The longer their reign goes on, the more you can believe this is one of their important tactics, and not just because you’re always fighting yesterday’s battle – i.e., by the time they’ve been called out on one misstatement, they’re already on to the next.
No, maybe the more valuable aspect of keeping critics constantly off balance and on the defensive is that you never get to take the long view of Fox & friends, the weird, ugly, mutant conservatism they have revived.
Revived? I have argued that Fox and talk radio are a new (if anything 20 years old can be called new) malignant force, mostly because people can now spend all their media time without ever hitting a real dissenting opinion. That’s true, but then I read this (from 1965!) and learn all over again how deep, how ingrained the angry victim strain of politics is. Richard Hofstader was a genius.