Perception is Reality

Thom Hartmann does a Democratic post-mortem with Indivisible Director Megan Hatcher Mays.  This video is about 9 minutes.

Last week I discussed the proliferation of conservative media, particularly talk radio, in rural areas throughout the country including Iowa. Progressives have no such corresponding reach and thus give rural areas and small towns over to conservatives pretty much 365 days a year. Conservative TV pretty well fills in the empty spots in those areas.  

Hartmann and Mays discuss this at the end. However, Mays brings up an issue that most of us seem to gloss over. Although she doesn’t say it quite this way, the issue is that the right wing media has defined progressives stands on issues for the public long before any progressive candidate knocks on the publics door or runs a commercial on the radio or TV.

Much like the myth of the inner-city welfare queen that Ronald Reagan created out of whole cloth, right wing media has created myths about Democrats out of whole cloth. The constant pounding day in and day out of the myths that Democrats will take peoples guns and will enact laws that will suspend freedom (without ever defining what that means) and are socialists! I doubt any Republican can truly define what socialism means. It is just one of the large number of scare words.

None of that is true of course. But when it is propagandized 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on some 1500 radio and TV stations around the country that reach into every nook and cranny of the US, by the time a Democrat knocks on a small town door, the profile of that candidate has already been written by the opposition.

Just a couple of weeks ago Matt Sinovic of Progress Iowa held a press conference where he rolled out polling that indicated overwhelming favorable ratings for progressive issues. Blogforiowa reported on the press conference here. Notably the progressive issues scored high for people identifying themselves as both Republicans and Democrats.

Megan Hatcher Mays goes into this pre-defining of Democrats at about the 5 minute mark. For one thing Democrats need to learn to speak loudly about our accomplishments. I have no idea why we are so reluctant to bring up what great work we have done in bringing about things like greater voting rights, higher pay, more accessible health care and many other victories for people. We were never reluctant to point out that Democrats brought the country Social Security, Medicare, fair wages and the 40 hour work week.

Democrats need to be proud and loud! What we stand for is what the vast majority of the country has demanding for decades. Yet somehow – through the nearly monopolistic control of the media – the right wing in this country has been able to disconnect electing Democrats from the country realizing the goals they want their government to achieve.

Meanwhile the monopolized media spins a web of mythology of a Republican Party that is in tune with working men and women. Of course nothing could be further from the truth. The working person’s biggest single enemy is the Republican Party and the super rich and the corporations that control the Republican Party.

We also have a myth that Republicans are the best caretakers of the public monies. Even a cursory exam of national and state administrations show that the rich do extremely well under Republicans while the vast majority of us suffer. When a Republican leaves office, the country or state is usually broke and in a crisis. What Trump is leaving Biden is pretty typical.

Yet a vast US media has been able to create the myths of a kind and gentle Republican Party that looks out for the little person while they have also created the myth of a Democratic Party that is nearly an enemy of the people. For many, perception – no matter how divorced from reality it is – is reality. Even when top Republicans are fostering policies that are killing us and bankrupting us.

Once again ever the vaunted public radio comes in for criticism in this area. Its political reporters often talk of “government” as being unresponsive, or “congress” as not doing what Americans want (these are examples I have heard in the past two weeks). This only adds to the myth that has been created by right wing media. In both cases the reporters were talking about a corona virus relief bill that has been passed by Democrats but stopped dead by Republicans. Yet Republicans are not singled out and there is innuendo that somehow Democrats are partially to blame.

Republicans are constantly running for all offices every day of the year. They have media laying groundwork for them every day of the year. Democrats run for office part time and mostly during the political seasons around elections. I know it is a heavy lift, but I believe we must meet the effort the competition is putting out.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
This entry was posted in 2020 election campaign, 2022 Election campaign, media, Media Bias, Republican mythology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Perception is Reality

  1. Steve Hanken says:

    Keep in mind, many of the accomplishments you claim for Democrats are going back as far as Medicare, when Johnson was striving for guns and butter over fifty years ago. The rest go back even before Roosevelt in some instances, and all of these are “Progressive” ideas that came about because the Democrats got on board to a Progressive agenda, not shunned it for campaign money the same as Republican’s do. Is Medicare for all on the Biden agenda? or a real green new deal? Or anything that says progressive that came out of the ranks of the Progressive wing of the party represented by Bernie Sanders? The answer is simply HELL NO! So your propaganda doesn’t wash well. The minor accomplishments that have managed to get on the books are far from the push people are looking for, and trying to micro-manage what the party is about has become the role of the DNC who shun the voice of the people or at best cow tow to them until a final decision is made and rule against them. To silence even the voices represented in the Conventions you throw in the “Super Delegates” to insure the leadership can contain any wild eyed progressive idea that could push them out of their “leadership” position, which has cost us more elections down ticket than any campaign agenda the Republicans have brought to bear, Keep in mind what Truman said of the voters and when it came to Democrats talking like Republicans, the voters would chose the real thing every time.


    • Dave Bradley says:

      You make some great points, Steve. I am not going to discuss anything in detail since that could easily entail writing a book.

      What I will say is that the Democratic Party was pulled to the right in the 80s and 90s. The need for huge amounts of money for campaigns has had an effect also.

      While I would love to see the Party and the country move much further left, like so many I fear that by being unbending in our positions we will split the Democrats into two or more smaller party which will be splitting votes and losing all races to a united right. So I am willing to continue to work within the structure we have to move the country as much to the left as possible.

      If we split, we pretty much guarantee the right will be the plurality party. While they sometimes sound like they are ready to blow apart, they vote and they vote in unison.

      Canada has one united conservative party that kept putting Steven Harper in power despite never getting a real majority vote (at least I can’t remember him getting a majority). The thought of more Trump or Bush or a Ted Cruz scares me enough work like hell to keep the Democrats from imploding.

      Expectations will be high for Biden from lots of corners and Republicans will do all they can to stop any progress. We need to work together to make any progress at all.


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