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American telescreens broadcast an endless theater of the politically absurd. Take, for example, the ongoing saga over the government shutdown and President Donald Trump’s border wall that has been playing out on screens across the nation for weeks.
“The radical Left,” Trump bizarrely intoned during his speech, “can never control our borders. I will never let it happen. Walls are not immoral. In fact, they are the opposite of immoral.”[...]
But Trump and his party do not have a monopoly on the political absurdity that stalks the cable news.
Top Democrats’ claim to find Trump’s wall “immoral” is a case in point. Their party’s leaders have long championed expensive and draconian “border security” measures, including fencing. Wall-building at the border increased dramatically under Bill Clinton, who feared an influx of Mexican farmers displaced by his arch-neoliberal North American Free Trade Agreement. Fence construction also continued under the record-setting “deporter-in-chief” Barack Obama.
One recent morning, I tuned into “liberal” MSNBC, the cable news headquarters of “progressive neoliberalism,” that curious mixture of corporate-financial allegiance and metropolitan identity politics that holds sway atop the Democratic Party. There I beheld morning MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle speak passionately against the human costs of Trump’s “ridiculous” shutdown. Ruhle mocked the president’s pretense of empathy with unpaid federal workers. [...]
That an entire generation of Democrats paying attention to politics for the first time is being instilled with formerly right-wing Cold Warrior values of jingoism, über-patriotism, reverence for security state agencies and prosecutors, a reckless use of the “traitor” accusation to smear one’s enemies, and a belief that neoconservatives embody moral rectitude and foreign policy expertise has long been obvious and deeply disturbing. These toxins will endure far beyond Trump, particularly given the now full-scale unity between the Democratic establishment and neocons.
Still, that a network insider has blown the whistle on how all this works, and how MSNBC and NBC have become ground zero for these political pathologies of militarism and servitude to security state agencies, while not surprising, is nonetheless momentous given how detailed and emphatic he is in his condemnations.