President Joe Biden, just days before the crucial midterm elections, strode across the country from Washington’s Union Station on Wednesday and issued a dire warning.
“As I stand here today, there are candidates running for every level of office in America, for governor, for Congress, for attorney general, for secretary of state, who don’t They won’t commit, they won’t commit to accepting the results of the election they “I’m running,” Biden said. “That’s the path to chaos in America. It is unprecedented. It’s illegal. And it’s not American.
The line of the speech — which was televised by cable news, but snubbed by most-watched broadcast networks — is not a matter of opinion. It does not include any political spin. It is a tragic raw fact.
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Only 41% of Republicans believe the US election reflects the will of the people, according to a CNN poll by SSRS and released Wednesday. A staggering 66% of Republicans continue to say they don’t believe Biden was the legitimate winner of the 2020 election.
It is impossible to understand why so many Americans no longer trust American elections without understanding the information universe in which they reside. The bad faith television hosts, radio personalities, podcasters and websites that now unquestionably dominate the right-wing media landscape have well poisoned the news with lies and conspiracy theories about the electoral process.
Take Tucker Carlson for example. After Biden’s speech, the right-wing talk show host not only allowed his massive audience to question the election results, but actually encouraged them to do so. “In a functioning democracy, you’re not just allowed to raise questions about elections, you’re encouraged to do so,” Carlson said as the on-screen banner alerted viewers to the fact that he reacted “to the model’s angry speech”.
“There’s no election denial in a free society. It’s called free speech. You’re allowed to say it if you mean it, period,” Carlson said. “And yet our media, which exist to defend freedom of expression, are doing their best, day in and day out, to shut it down How dare you raise questions about next week’s midterm exams Why are you saying They say that? It’s a bad omen.
It’s easy to dismiss Carlson’s rhetoric as marginal. To say that he is a radical speaker who does not reflect the broader right-wing media universe from which Republicans largely – often exclusively – get their news.
And it’s understandable that some people choose to ignore it. It’s hard to accept the fact that so many Americans – neighbors, friends, family members – are being radicalized by extreme voices fighting for control of the Republican Party.
But that would ignore the forces that allow cancer to grow in our society. And for news organizations, ignoring the toxicity that defines the right-wing media landscape leaves readers and viewers without a full picture of what’s happening in the country.
“As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under attack,” Biden said Wednesday night. “We are doing ourselves no favors to pretend otherwise.”