Dumbest Idea Of The Week: ‘The GOP Must Destroy Conservative Media!’

Screen shot Fox News

Scott Greer Contributor
Font Size:

There’s a specter haunting the Republican Party.

It’s not demographics. It’s not Democratic domination of the White House. And this menace existed long before Donald Trump surged in the GOP primary polls.

That awful specter ensnaring the Republican Party from electoral victories is conservative media — and it must be eradicated ASAP!

Or at least that’s the consensus that’s been reached by anti-Trump conservative pundits and liberal journalists.

For months, there’s been article after article blaming conservative media for the rise of Trump and expressing the desire that somebody put a clamp down on these rogue publications.

On Monday, two articles appeared that went further than the mere laments of months past and urged the GOP to make eradicating conservative media a top priority for future survival.

Over at Business Insider, Oliver Darcy — who previously worked at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze just a few months ago — and Pamela Engel wrote a provocatively titled piece: “The GOP must do something about the conservative media industrial complex if it wants to survive.”

It’s not so much the conclusion of the authors but of the “experts” they interview for the piece. Those experts include such notable anti-right wing media conservatives as radio hosts John Ziegler, Charlie Sykes and Glenn Beck co-host Stu Burguiere. Also included are a few professional political consultants that occasionally go on TV, like Matt Mackowiak.

All of the interview subjects agree right-wing media is hurting the GOP because these outlets encourage Republican voters to buy into crazy conspiracy theories and to distrust politicians and the mainstream media. Apparently, Republican voters need to trust politicians and left-leaning outlets in order for the party to start winning elections again.

The consensus of the article is that the mediums through which the GOP has utilized to convey their message for the last 20 years — talk radio, Fox News and the Drudge Report — are holding the party captive and need to be destroyed. The consultant Mackowiak even proposed the drastic measures of intimidating advertisers into not giving any money to outlets and personalities deemed harmful to the creation of a GOP perfect for Hillary’s America.

“Someone needs to be making sure that if you want to go open $50,000 [in ads] on Breitbart, that there is, that you get a phone call that follows that up and makes clear you’re not helping,” Mackowiak told Buisness Insider.

Ziegler expressed his hope that Trump-supporting radio hosts and journalists lost their jobs — even though he said it would not likely happen — because they “were wrong” on The Donald. It was a dereliction of their duty to their listeners to say nice things about Trump and assert he could win the White House.

It’s unlikely Ziegler hopes for the same outcome for the many conservatives who fawned over Marco Rubio as the second coming of Ronald Reagan and predicted the Florida senator would win the GOP primary in a landslide. If we’re talking about bad predictions on politics here… (RELATED: The Thriving Genre Of Marco Rubio Fan Fiction)

All of the personalities interviewed in the Business Insider story are anti-Trump conservatives who hope the gelding of right-wing media helps Republicans. Unsurprisingly, that view is also shared by liberals who aren’t as bummed out by the possible destruction of the Grand Ole Party.

Liberal Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell wrote on Monday that the only way to save the GOP is to “drain the right-wing media swamp.” Rampell believes Republican politicians should take time away from legislating to do something far more important: waging war on friendly-media outlets.

Most of her article is substance-free snark, but the gist is that conservative media outlets promote conspiracy theories and are incredibly rude against political enemies like Planned Parenthood.

Because we all know other outlets are super nice and friendly to political groups and figures they disagree with.

Curiously, one of the “false beliefs” Rampell blames on conservative media is the notion among Republican voters that the Obama administration is not providing accurate economic figures to the American public. That’s a view shared with Bernie Sanders, who disputed the official stats for unemployment throughout the Democratic primary.

The Vermont senator must’ve been brainwashed by Breitbart to say such a thing.

The growing resentment against conservative media is a natural result of journalists trying to assign blame for the Trump phenomenon. The most popular culprit for scapegoating right now is right-wing media. Without Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Matt Drudge giving positive coverage to Trump, Republican voters would have full-heartedly rejected The Donald.

This top-down view of what happened in the GOP primary assumes voters lacked pretty much all agency to decide whether they liked Donald Trump’s message or not. They were told to become immigration restrictionists, trade protectionists and to be suspicious of the current presidential administration. It’s all talk radio’s fault!

The often unsaid thing in the criticism of right-wing media is that imagines these voices have much greater power than they actually have. Talk radio hosts and conservative news sites do have influence, but not the sheer power to dupe millions of people into voting for someone that they would otherwise detest.

Moreover, with a few exceptions, the favorite candidate of conservative media wasn’t really Trump. For talk radio, it was Ted Cruz. According to Jeb Bush and Donald Trump, Fox News was in the tank for Rubio. And without a doubt the entire Beltway conservative establishment was for the junior senator from Florida.

The more likely answer for why Trump won the primary is that his message resonated with GOP voters. Maybe the complaint to be directed at conservative media is that it caters to its audience, rather than shrieking at them that they are moronic racists for liking Trump.

The crux of the matter is that liberals and the majority of professional conservatives are at odds with the views of average Republican voters. The consultants and pundits wish the voters would go for Paul Ryan’s fiscal conservatism, but they instead opt for Trump’s populist-nationalism. One recent poll even proved this distinction with data.

So the real hope is that the destruction of right-wing media will force the GOP’s base to adopt views more in line with The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board — embracing mass immigration, unlimited trade and more foreign interventions.

That’s a quaint idea, but it is unlikely to happen.

The odd thing is the number of conservatives who hope for these outlets — which have long provided an avenue to spread right-wing ideas — to vanish because they weren’t tough enough on Trump. Do they expect the mainstream media to suddenly give right-wing views a fair shake when Rush Limbaugh is taken off the airwaves? And are more mainstream outlets really as fair and trustworthy as they are cracked out to be by the anti-conservative media crowd?

Remember these same premier outlets propounded the UVA gang rape hoax and that Michael Brown had his hands up when he was fatally shot by a Ferguson police officer in 2014. Right now journalists from several mainstream outlets are trying their hardest to spin the FBI re-opening its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails as no big deal.(RELATED: Journalists Dismiss Announcement Of Hillary’s Case Being Re-Opened)

There’s a reason conservative media arose, and it still acts as a necessary antidote to the left-wing biases of the media establishment. Unless you think The Washington Post is a great upholder of the truth, you should not be desiring for the suppression of alternative media.

No matter who wages war on them, right-wing media outlets are going to stick around well into the future and Trumpism will still resonate with Republican voters.

Follow Scott on Twitter