WOOF! Watchdogs of Our Freedom

~REACTIONARY TIMES~

In which WOOF reports all the news unfit to fake; est. on June 11, 2017 at 3:40 pm

In which WOOF’s editor in chief, Old Bugler, expresses his up-to-the-minute-if-frustratingly-excursive views on nothing but 100% guaranteed genuine news, mostly in      the annoyingly-officious third-person, as befits his station!                                      ________________________________________________

Healthcare Reform for Dummies (and for non-RINOs, too, of course)!

Byline: “Old Bugler”

Old Bugler is inclined to begin with an apology, inasmuch as this column is intended to deal with current issues, whereas healthcare, the topic at hand, has slipped into virtual nullibicity. This, of course, is due principally to the fact that the media have been for approximately two months now utterly distracted from the subject owing to their tireless search for Russians visiting chaos upon the commonweal, while colluding with President Trump toward a variety of unspecified ends—all of them, presumably, evil. And when their dedication in this regard flags, they find themselves in conniptions over the current budgetary proposals of OMB Director Mulvaney who now stands accused of attempted ethnic cleansing by Bishop Dwayne Royster of Philadelphia.

Indicating how fed up he is with minorities, Michael Mulvaney prepares to starve them into extinction with genocidally targeted budget cuts.

Readers inclined to think back only a few weeks will recall that before Donald Trump stood accused of genocidal mania on account of his proposed spending cuts, he was already branded a murderous pathalog owing to his support of that legislation unimaginatively dubbed the American Health Care Act, in which healthcare is split into two words, presumably to avoid the acronymic goofiness implicit in “AHA!” But that thought aside, Republicans in the House of Representatives made much ado of having passed the bill, even promenading to the White House where they posed for silly photos and gave the general impression that America’s medical well being was ensured, the depredations of Obamacare remedied, and the entire matter settled for at least the remainder of the century.

Speaker Ryan leads assorted House members in the pretense of having accomplished something epochal.

Old Bugler admits the current bill’s progress is well nigh inspirational by comparison to the GOP’s amazingly inept prior attempt to “repeal and replace” Obamacare–that effort consisting of a moronic hodgepodge of implausibly extravagant (and often diametrically purposed) modifications, augmentations, and hincty adjustments that had little time to draw substantial liberal ire before it was quashed by the predictable phalanx of lock-step Democrats in momentary concordance with an embattled cohort of conservative Republicans unafraid to call a turkey a turkey.

When victory threatens…

The execrable Reid offers his 5th or 6th version of how an exercise machine beat him bloody. Old Bugler hopes they’re all true.

Incredulous constituents wondered how on earth the controlling party in the House of Representatives managed to mire itself in such jury-rigged gobbledygook, when the obvious alternative was simply to repeal the (drolly appellated) Affordable Care Act. If practice makes perfect, repeal should have been a snap. Since taking control of the House in 2011, congressional Republicans voted no less than 50 times to dispense with Mr. Obama’s signature infelicity, only to be rebuffed on each occasion by the Democratic majority in the Senate, led by the reptilian Harry Reid, (a man so contemptible that his own exercise machine beat him up repeatedly).

Paul Ryan, sincerely just kidding.

Why, then, was the deliverance of the Senate into the hands of the GOP not capitalized on immediately by the Republican House? Why did Speaker Ryan seem suddenly incapable of reissuing the simple articles of repeal that enjoyed his unqualified and repeated support absent a kindred senate, but vanished from the scene the moment victory threatened? Alas, Old Bugler knows perfectly well why—as do the majority of his beloved readers.

Speaker Ryan’s terror of advancing a fresh effort at actual repeal—given the chilling conceivability that a Republican Senate might take it seriously–is woefully apparent. Somewhat unsurprisingly, it transpires than Paul Ryan was only kidding. There is no chance he will put his name to any fresh effort to repeal Obamacare in its totality— nor would more than a handful of House Republicans, the sizable majority of whom possess the intestinal fortitude of dormice. And this sad state of affairs ramifies from influences both insidious and overt.

The boys in the bubble…

Perfect! Too bad the elites don’t wear t-shirts!

Once inside the beltway bubble, even once-stalwart tea-party candidates rapidly lose their focus on matters of state and fall prey to the systemic habitudes of a congress too long dependent on social standing, wealth, elitist groupthink, patronage, and the good opinion of that bizarre troupe of comically ignorant, hubristically fatuous, far-left polemicists known as “the media.” Most conservatives call such Republicans RINOS, although WOOF prefers to call them CURS (Conservatives Until Re-elected). However called, they constitute the GOP establishment, which has nothing to do with authentic conservatism, and everything to do with currying favor with the party leadership, moving far enough left to garner compliments and screen time from the mainstream networks, and sabotaging any Republican upstart too embarrassingly fanatical to do likewise.

Graveyards are littered with the bones of Republicans who wouldn’t knuckle under to the GOP establishment.

McConnell, extra light.

This is why nothing resembling actual repeal will issue from Paul Ryan’s congress, or from Mitch McConnell’s senate. The GOP long ago learned to so intensely fear the press as to cower at the thought of its displeasure. This is why nobody really cuts the budget, defunds Planned Parenthood, calls miscreant Democratic politicians to muster, opposes the appointment of a radical judiciary, or insists on such foolishly arcane practices as ratifying treaties before they take effect.

John Boehner (left) and wind-up monkey toy with whom he often communes; Old Bugler is not making this up.

One need look no further than the sorry spectacle of former House Speaker John Boehner (who loudly considers Ted Cruz to be “Lucifer in the flesh” and Donald Trump to be a “complete disaster”) assuring attendees at a health-care conference that efforts to repeal Obamacare are “just happy talk.” With leaders like these, who needs Democrats?

The benign effects of liberal wrath

Why Republicans vote like Democrats–mutatis mutandis.

With Obamacare melting down spectacularly in so many ways at once, one might suppose its repeal would seem an attractive proposition, but House and Senate Republicans know that repeal will visit the full wrath of the leftist establishment on their heads. Pointing out that the full wrath of the Left was visited upon Donald Trump, who was elected president, or that when the same insensate media ranted against the GOP for daring—however briefly—to conscience a government shutdown in 2013, the result was substantial GOP election gains, invites slack-jawed incomprehension. Alas, in Washington D.C, nothing is perceived as actual beyond the sociopolitical matrix inside the Beltway. In other words, persuading Republicans to brave media criticism is no less difficult than persuading Pavlov’s dogs to resist drooling.

Nothing, therefore, so greatly informs the healthcare debate as fear; fear of human-wave attacks by histrionic talking heads filling America’s TV screens with delirious prognostications of mass death and social implosion should Obamacare be rescinded. Thus, Republicans preoccupy themselves with endless dickering over how this or that aspect of the Affordable Care Act can be modified, economically recalibrated, demographically refocused, or otherwise reformulated in order to give the impression of repeal while repealing nothing in any meaningful sense. The intent is to persuade the electorate that something not dissimilar to repeal is occurring, while leaving enough of Obamacare intact to mollify the media. Clearly this is a fool’s errand, and just as clearly, Ryan and McConnell are the right men for the job.

As we are prone to ask, “What would Jim Bowie do?”

Fight!?

But actual repeal and reform is easy, and not even oxymoronic if pursued properly. First, the GOP must confront a bitter reality, mainly that it will be assailed mercilessly by the establishment media and the Democratic Left, no matter how hard it tries to avoid a fight. The only realistic option to being slaughtered, therefore, is to fight.  

The main reasons the House bill is so hopelessly Byzantine, and that the Senate will only cause it to be more so while affecting to “fix” it—and that the entire matter will wind up in a conference committee where it will almost certainly lapse into a kind of cryogenic limbo– are threefold.

First, the abandonment of mandated coverage for those with pre-existing conditions strikes terror into Republican hearts, and second, so does the vision of Americans confronting mountainous and unanticipated medical expenses resulting from some dire diagnosis that vaporizes their finances and leaves them homeless and destitute.

Obamacare creates a phantasm of security in the latter case, because, after spending grueling amounts of time and effort weeding through the infamous exchanges, more discerning applicants are likely to wind up with lower monthly premiums than might be levied outside the system (besides which, insurance companies bullied into the red by Obama’s insistence that they meet such irrational pricing goals are rapidly fleeing the markets). Also, while monthly premiums appear lower, the surprise is that out-of-pocket payments are typically required by service providers until patients reach their plans’ annual deductibles, which in many cases are simply unaffordable. As Clint Eastwood fatidically remarked back in 2010, “If you think healthcare is expensive now, just wait until it’s free!”

Because it’s “mandated,” punk!

Don’t tell anyone!

Second, many Americans believe they are better off contracting, say, lymphoma, under Obamacare, than otherwise. This, of course, presumes that their lesser health issues haven’t already bankrupted them, because in most cases deductibles are equally astronomical whether the patient is terminal, or merely beset by gout. It also ignores the fact that once Obama’s long term goal of a single payer system is realized, patients with catastrophic diagnoses, especially if elderly and registered Republican, will be handed Vicodin and asked to die cheaply in the name of budgetary solvency.

Jonathan Gruber famously credited “the stupidity of the American voter” with helping him sell Obamacare.

Where pre-exiting conditions are concerned, Obamacare is ballyhooed as lifesaving, but the notion that uninsurable sufferers were dying in droves before President Obama interceded on their behalves is a myth. Before Obama butted in, applicants in all 50 states were offered help in conformity with Public Law 104-191.  Purchasers who maintained continuous coverage and complied with the requirements of the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act retained the right to purchase individual insurance for pre-existing conditions with no exclusions. You can file this under, “Don’t tell anyone!”

Twenty-three million instant victims…. 

Finally, a third reason repeal turns congressional spines to jelly is the realization that 23 million Americans, according to the CBO, will become instantly uninsured should the present version of the AHCA become law—which, of course, it won’t. Accepting the CBO’s figure, at least for the moment, this automatically creates 23 million potential interviewees for the liberal media—a percentage of which, no matter how minute, is bound to consider itself aggrieved. Of this percentage, enough will be Black, elderly, female, and tearful, that the media blitz will be potent. But who are these 23 million who suddenly hover on the brink of destruction? Here in one lesson we may perceive the siren song of socialism. Americans have been laboring under the increasingly oppressive yoke of Obamacare only since 2010, and yet we are already persuaded that without it, millions will perish, uncared for and unnoticed, in the cruel streets.

Meeting of the Congressional Budget Office (file photo).

A majority of the 23 million Americans cited as “about to lose their insurance,” already have no insurance. Old Bugler is not making this up. They are uninsured Americans whom the CBO hypothesizes may become insured in years ahead under Obamacare, unless, of course, it goes away. When actual enrollment figures are used, only a few million lose existing coverage, a good many of whom currently have insurance only because they were bludgeoned into obtaining some despite not wanting it to begin with. Offered reasonable free-market alternatives many such individuals would simply transition to affordable plans even without the threat of fines (more recently transmogrified into “taxes” by the juridically whimsical John Roberts).

Toward this end, here is Old Bugler’s easy, inexpensive, nearly painless three-step method for resolving the healthcare issue.

Step one: Rescind all statewide provisions as to which insurers are permitted or disallowed within statewide jurisdictions. Permit all insurance companies to compete with all other insurance companies coast to coast and in the non-contiguous states. Ignore liberal cries that this means unbridled, unregulated predation by innumerable corporate profiteers. It’s what we call competition, and liberals hate it. Ignore also the cries from those who formerly brokered sweetheart deals with state-approved insurance corporations and their lobbyists. These regional legislators and influence peddlers will attempt to gain our sympathy by preaching federalism, and we must answer by championing an unfettered free market. Read More…

Colt’s 1911 Pistol –An Allegory for Our Times?

In "Gunning for success" forum on July 12, 2017 at 4:34 pm

On shooting fish in a barrel….

It is occasionally remarked around the WOOF cave, especially by well-intentioned supporters who would love to see us eclipsing allegedly rival sites in popularity—that we should stick to articles about Black conservatives, and guns. The argument is entirely supportable from a marketing standpoint. For reasons we do not pretend to fathom, our discussions of conservative thinkers and politicians who are–to employ the currently acceptable (if paralogistical) locution–African American, always score huge numbers of “clicks,” while gun articles tend to outperform even Black conservatives. To be ridiculously candid (because, why not?) the largest number of views our humble site ever scored on a single day followed our publication of “Detroit Shoots Back,” in 2014. That article—which, come to think of it, was about guns and a pro-gun Black police chief—almost made it to the one-thousand clicks line on WordPress’s pale blue bar graph, which is what passes for an astronomical one-day tally here in the WOOF cave.

This is us, being obstinate.

But we are an obstinate lot, not at all driven by vainglory, and thus not much disposed to the pursuit of “clicks” obtained by shaping our ramblings to themes most likely to solicit large responses. And because this is so, when one of our team proposes a story that revisits any of these attention-grabbing topics, our first concern involves a kind of monastic self-catechism—in which we ask ourselves: Why are we doing this again? Are we selling out to the false gods of acclamation when we ought rather to be maundering on about underappreciated nuances of the 14th amendment, or decrying Paul Krugman’s latest sophomoric mishandling of Say’s Law…you know, stuff almost nobody wants to read about, let alone at such torturous lengths!

Besides, even “Stars & Stripes” can fall for fake news!

Usually the answer is in the affirmative, and so we cast aside the glittery item and slog ahead with whatever prohibitively recondite subject we deem preferable; but not always. Sometimes a topic seems irresistible despite threatening widespread appeal—and on such occasions we boldly pursue it. One such topic, as attentive readers will have gathered from this screed’s title and the accompanying illustration, is the United States Army’s pursuit of a new pistol for our troops—a story best left, one might suppose, to the pages of Guns and Ammo, or Stars and Stripes, except for the story’s inherent (and, we think, instructive) ironies, lifting it above a simple “gun story” and infusing it with a near-Greco-Hellenic cachet.

Note to the allegorically dense…

Sophocles, by the way, not Hemingway; but you knew that.

Readers who prefer to regard the forthcoming details less complexly are certainly free to do so. Just as no categorical imperative prohibits one from perceiving The Old Man and the Sea as a straightforward account of a frustrating day of deep-sea fishing, some may prefer to regard what follows as a simple chronicling of weapons development and its discontents. Why not? We invite such readers to skip the following discussion of congressional efforts to end Obamacare. It will seem incongruous and time consuming. We simultaneously invite the more philosophically inclined to bear with us—because what really persuaded us to proceed with this story was its allegorical dimension. The seemingly ineradicable nature of suboptimal policies once they are ensconced systemically is aggravating in itself, but when one further considers how often earnest exertions meant to reform these policies result instead in the reinforcement of their most egregious aspects—well—that’s what we mean by Greek! Permit us a single analogy.

Obamacare and the 1911

Just say  ‘arghhh!

Recently, the Republican Party undertook to relieve the nation of the horror that is Obamacare. It is not the business of this screed to detail the onerous, unconstitutional, and impractical characteristics of President Obama’s signature legislation, beyond remarking that its removal from the body politic is urgently required and demands uncompromising legislative surgery. More to our point is the commonly recognized fact that nothing of that nature happened. Rather, a president steeped in the art of negotiated adjustments to pre-existing business models combined forces with a GOP establishment so fearful of negative media coverage that it hadn’t the nerve even to recycle its own legislative efforts at authentic repeal, and produced instead its own version of Obamacare—sporting a handful of tweaks made chiefly in the interest of creating salable appearances.

President Trump wisely refuses to expose his back to applauding GOP House members.

In other words, what emerged from the GOP’s huddle, despite years of available brainstorming time, was simply the Affordable Care Act dropped into a more sedate, respectably Republican chassis. As Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr famously remarked, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” (Which roughly translated from the French means: “The more the government tries to fix something the surer we are to wind up with more of it, working even less satisfactorily than before it was fixed!”)

It sounds a lot smarter when you say it in French.

One part of government that long seemed exempt from this critique was the military. In fact, however, the service-related procurement authorities were often doddering–even perversely Luddite in their opposition to weaponological breakthroughs. It was, after all, the Army Ordnance Corps that refused to equip the Union Army with the .44-caliber Henry Model 1860 rifle at the outbreak of the Civil War. In doing so, the Corps pulled the plug on what amounted to a per saltum leap in infantry firepower, citing the rifle’s weight when loaded to its 15-round capacity and the fact that the .44 Flat Henry cartridge didn’t fit other Army weapons as grounds for rejection. The Chief of Ordinance further declared himself unimpressed by the Henry’s rapid firing lever action, opining that it would waste ammunition and prove a burden logistically.  Resultantly, the Union fielded an army equipped mainly with single-shot muzzle loaders, relinquishing a potentially decisive advantage in firepower in order to avoid logistical headaches.

Prior to World War I the Army rejected the Lewis Machine Gun, mainly because Chief of Ordnance General William Crozier hated Lewis’s guts. The legendary Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was issued to only four American divisions in the last two months of the First World War, while most American Doughboys contended with the wretched French 8×51 mm Chauchat automatic rifle (also legendary, but mainly for jamming and misfiring). The most widely circulated explanation of this idiocy was the War Department’s fear that Germans might obtain a BAR on the battlefield, reverse engineer it, and turn it against us. Obviously, this logic—if generally applied—would prevent any advanced weaponry from reaching the hands of our front-line forces. The BAR became famous only after the armistice, when Bonnie and Clyde adopted it in rather less official circumstances.

Authentic photo of Clyde Barrow displaying his BAR. Bonnie does not appear, as the gang evidently had not yet stolen a delayed exposure camera.

The famous Thompson submachine gun was not accepted by the United states Army until 1938, despite its availability as early as 1918—principally because the First World War ended two days before the earliest Thompsons arrived in Europe, and the War Department sensibly concluded that nothing so devastating as General John T. Thompson’s “tommy gun” would be needed in the Utopian aftermath of what Woodrow Wilson (in his customarily delusional fashion) declared the “war to end all wars.”

General Thompson, and a Thompson.

But to discuss the Thompson is to get rather ahead of ourselves, which rarely happens here at WOOF, where devoted readers know fighting our way beyond the exordial details is our most common challenge. The Thompson is, after all, a weapon famous for its powerful .45 caliber punch; and that punch could not have been delivered without the development of the .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) cartridge.

Come the Moro…

When 800 Marines disembarked in the Philippines following the Spanish American War, they discovered that while Spain had relinquished its hold on the islands, the inhabitants were feeling less generous. The First Philippine Republic pronounced itself dissatisfied with the terms of the Treaty of Paris (the one ending hostilities between Spain and the United states, not the one ending the revolutionary war…and what is it with peace treaties and Paris, anyway?) In any case, the treaty had been signed without consulting the Philippine Republic, and it was a bit late to make adjustments. Attempts to accommodate Filipino demands were partial at best and suffered a series of bollixed translations and misinterpretations into the bargain. The upshot of all this was a declaration of war, perhaps most remarkable for its injudiciousness, by the First Republic against the United States.

TRUE FACT: Excesses were committed by Americans during the war with the Philippines but obscured by the jingoist press and propaganda of that era. Fortunately, today we have Hollywood to harp on such things endlessly.

To their credit, the soldiery of the Philippine Republic battled far longer than had the Spanish armies and navies, but in 1902 the war ended in its third year with an American victory. Readers will be pleased to know that while a staggering complex of diplomatic, political, governmental, and international developments followed fast upon the Republic’s capitulation, we will resist detailing them here—because none of them serves to advance our narrative. What we will discuss instead is the guerilla warfare that sprang up in the wake of the Filipino surrender. This insurgency involved numerous tribal cultures, many of them savage fighters, but none more relentless in battle than the Moros, whose foremost warrior caste featured the Juramentados, (from the Spanish for “one who takes an oath”) who pledged themselves to kill all Christians. Obviously, this left little room for negotiation.

Meet friendly natives, and learn their customs!

The word Amok (yes, as in running amok) is considered to have Malaysian roots, but it was also the name of a Moro band as deadly as the Juramentados, with an even worse reputation for—well—running amok. The simple Amok creed of battle was to go berserk, charge into the largest available assemblage of infidels (meaning us in this case), and kill or maim as many as could possibly be assailed before being killed oneself.

Obama visiting Mindanao? No, this Moro chieftain’s resemblance is purely coincidental.

Worse still, the Moros preferred to attack after heavily drugging themselves with a form of local narcotic, binding their limbs and bodies with leather in ways calculated to delay blood loss if wounded, and participating in religious rituals that whipped them into homicidal frenzies. These attributes, on top of their 400-year history of relentlessly battling any occupier against whom they declared jihad, made the Moro tribesmen the most implacably bloodthirsty opponents the United States had yet faced. And just by way of reinforcing this article’s undergirding theme, which mnemonically gifted readers will recall as, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” allow us to present one additional fact about the Moros: They were Muslim.

Short by 56 virgins, but good to go, nonetheless!

As historian David S. Woolman put the matter in Military History Magazine a few years ago, “Although certain of their own extinction, these fanatics were secure in their belief that they would be whisked to the Muslim paradise for their valorous self-sacrifice, where, among other glories, they would be serviced by 16 virgins.” Sound familiar? Okay, we thought it was supposed to be 72 virgins too, but maybe the Moros were victims of soteriological discrimination and simply had to settle; Woolman doesn’t say.

Readers may also find themselves wondering how on earth swarms of Muslims wound up in the middle of the Philippine jungle in 1902, but we invite them to pursue the question independently given that a thorough explanation will involve us in God knows how many discursive tributaries, and none of us wants that, do we. Suffice it for our immediate purpose that Moros were Muslim, and hell-bent on slaughtering Christians—particularly Christians of the American variety, we being the most proximal irritants.

The Moros were not well equipped, of course, being essentially pre-industrial in outlook and armament. Firearms were scarce. Select fighters were equipped with either single-shot, 1871 Model .43 caliber, rolling block Spanish Remingtons (involuntarily provided by the islands’ previous occupiers) or, more commonly, the .70 caliber, black powder Tower musket originally manufactured in England for use by British forces in the Raj. In design, the Tower was barely superior to the infamous “Brown Bess” which British redcoats carried to defeat in the Revolutionary War.  Americans were far better armed with their bolt action Krag–Jørgensens, but even the M1899 carbine model, built specifically for use in the Philippines, was longish and slow to re-chamber for a jungle weapon. The Moros, meanwhile, turned their muskets’ muzzle-loading impediment to advantage by funneling iron pellets, available metal fragments, sections of light chain, and even pebbles down the barrels. The result was a nasty close-quarters scatter gun capable of inflicting horrifying wounds from ambush in the jungles of the southern Philippines.

The 1899 Krag–Jørgensen, a superb collector’s item but a suboptimal jungle weapon.

More often, however, the Moros attacked with their traditional bladed weapons, including the Kriss, a serpentine thrusting sword, the slashing
Kampilan sword, long Budiak spears, and the infamous Barong—often called a sword, but approximately the size of a large Bowie knife, and no less suitable for stabbing or slashing adversaries. Read more….

WHAT THE FOX? (How the Murdoch Brothers Hatched a Plan that ‘FOX over’ FNC Viewers while Saving the Planet and Sparing their Wives Further Embarrassment!)

In "The Media are the Massage" forum on May 22, 2017 at 3:37 pm

There is an old adage, familiar to most, that if something works, one should not attempt to fix it. We have no doubt the vast majority of our readers are conversant with this saying, and alert to its meaning; so much so that to explain it here for the benefit of the culturally illiterate seems pointless; first because it ill-repays everyone else’s kind attention, and second, because that rare reader who requires assistance comprehending so obvious a maxim will doubtless be equally bollixed by any attempt at elucidation. Therefore, we suggest that the apprehending majority proceed to this article’s gravamen, while the uncomprehending minority may also elect to proceed, placing its reliance on context in order to establish insight. Or, some may prefer to click over to, say, Infowars, where chemtrails, Pizza gate, and other sinister phenomena, are discussed in simple, easily comprehended terms.

But before plunging fully into the aforementioned gravamen, allow us to point out that unlike so many familiar aphorisms graven into the American psyche, the idea that something need not be repaired if it functions smoothly is virtually irrefutable. One may hear, “he who hesitates is lost,” for instance, and think ironically of Custer’s Last Stand—or reconsider the sagacity of “slow and steady wins the race,” in light of Jeb Bush’s disastrously phlegmatic bid for the presidency. But almost everybody agrees that a marvelously efficient apparatus need not be overhauled in the moment (continuous quality improvement notwithstanding), and this seems even more apparent when the apparatus is essential to some aspect of the nation’s cultural welfare—as is Fox News.

So, if  ‘he who hesitates is lost’ is wrong, but so is ‘slow and steady wins the race,’ how confusing is that?

We at WOOF gaze with considerable dismay upon the widely reported efforts to dismantle the Fox News Channel, or, put more exactly, to transform it—to reshape its core into something bound to prove anathema to the tastes and expectations of its millions of loyal viewers.

Some predicted Turner’s CNN would counter liberal media bias–but when Ted went hunting with Castro and married Jane Fonda, hope perished.

Not even the liberal media could invent a means of diminishing or obfuscating Fox’s primacy among the 24-hour news contenders. A public trained to think “CNN” when it thought of around-the-clock news broadcasting, came despite itself to an awareness that Fox News dwarfed Ted Turner’s band of whiny propagandists in the ratings…and, put frankly, in news coverage. True, a sizable sub-population of that public remained aloof from FNC’s programming, persuaded by the full force of the Liberal Establishment that Fox comprised little beyond an assortment of thunderously fascistic Cro-Magnons, babbling blond Stepford Anchorwomen (whose vacuous skulls had been filled with GOP talking points), and a supporting cast of Republican Party shills whose main function, the Left insisted, was to tell lies.

Lois of “Family Guy” actually enjoyed a brief career at Fox News Channel.

The mythology of Fox’s reliance on calculated prevarication was soon run threadbare by the progressive hierarchy to the point that it became an object of satire on the cartoon program Family Guy. In one episode, for example, Lois, the cartoon housewife, is seen ranting about Fox’s inveracity when she is challenged by the family dog (who talks). The dog accuses her of hyperbole, but Lois doubles down, snarling, “Everything on Fox News is a lie… even true things, once said on Fox News, become lies!” Certainly, that was the official view of the Obama Administration for eight years. But while the “Fox lies!” mantra busied the tongues of besotted liberals and frightened off, one must assume, legions of the irreclaimably naïve, it proved insufficient to thwart FNC’s rise to cable supremacy.

In the beginning…

The late Roger Ailes–looking rightward.

It was February of 1996 when Australian publisher and multimedia mogul Rupert Murdoch hired former GOP strategist-cum-NBC producer Roger Ailes to mastermind the Fox News Channel. Scoffers marveled at the stupidity of “reinventing CNN,” simultaneously pointing out that NBC was launching MSNBC (does anyone know what that actually stands for?) and that a 24-hour news channel run by so hallowed and sacrosanct a broadcasting entity as NBC in combination with the ultra-branded CNN would obviously crush any upstart competitors.

Fox’s refusal to play by the rules of establishment (read: liberal) journalism made it instantly attractive to conservatives among whom Murdoch’s experiment built a swiftly expanding viewership. Moreover, Fox presented liberal viewpoints by a far greater ratio than conservatism appeared elsewhere, thus moderates began to admire the fresh approach too. During the Republican National Convention in 2000, Fox’s ratings handily outpaced all three major (which is to say, hallowed and sacrosanct) news networks, and increased another 300 percent during the American invasion of Iraq.

Heresy!

Hmmm–something’s up.

Further digression into particulars needn’t consume us. Suffice it that Fox climbed from obscurity to the position of America’s number one source for cable news at so dazzling a velocity that establishment progressives were hard pressed to internalize, let alone oppose, the phenomenon. Slowly, in that recalcitrant way in which ponderous beasts react to some peripheral annoyance, the Left began to recognize the magnitude of Murdoch’s heresy. For establishment panjandra, this entailed a more challenging cognitive adjustment than one might suppose. It required stretching the liberal weltanschauung to accommodate three distasteful propositions.

Shattering paradigm (file photo)

First, the guardians of America’s informational orthodoxy were obliged to accept that the major networks, whose news divisions were known to be hallowed and  sacrosanct if only by dint of their ritualistic practice of so describing themselves, had been outclassed in the ratings war by a bunch of conservatives and neocons with no entrée into the progressive guild, and no interest in seeking any. This realization alone was, as the lexicographically slipshod might say, paradigm shattering.

Second, one could not efficiently analyze the success of Fox without acknowledging coinstantaneously that American TV viewers liked Fox’s handling of events more than any competing network’s, and sometimes more than any combination of them, because on a really dark day FNC would pull higher numbers than CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC put together.

The Nielsen ratings– an inconvenient truth.

Third, these facts conduced ineluctably toward one of two available conclusions, neither of which inspired optimism on the Left. Either (a) the American people were more inclined to conservatism than to liberalism, which would disprove longstanding elitist claims to the contrary–or else, (b) vast enclaves of otherwise sensibly progressive citizens were tuning in Fox News every night, beguiled by Roger Ailes’s media sorcery. Once hooked, such viewers apparently surrendered their adjudicative powers and descended ever deeper into the reactionary abyss where they were irretrievably transformed by Murdoch’s dark alchemy. These poor wretches—and there appeared to be millions of them– misperceived themselves as entertained and informed whereas in fact they were merely the former, any semblance of the latter being so interlarded with lies, distortions, and bigotry, as to render it dismissible.

Regarding the above, notice that whether one embraces the first or second alternative, the leftwing perspective relies on the barely concealed subtext that Americans are stupid. (Stupid being the most widely circulated synonym among progressives for ‘not liberal.’) But better they be stupid on account of Roger Ailes’s magical mental manipulations than by mere dictate of nature, and thus the second option of the third proposition carried the day, explaining the second proposition, and maybe even the first. And so was born the “Fox-lies!” mantra, echoed robotically by liberals everywhere, even today. Not only does Fox lie, but in the progressive estimation, Fox lies so skillfully and seductively that Americans prefer it– not only because many of them are stupid (meaning ‘not liberal’), or even because quite a few more are simply stupid, (meaning stupid, in the general sense of acceptation), but mainly because the majority are, in fact, stupefied, which is to say, mesmerized by Rupert Murdoch’s insidious legerdemain. Enter now the progressive passion for “re-education.”

“Just a FOX story!”

For two decades now, Americans have endured a withering barrage of propaganda from every conduit dispensing left-leaning commentary (which is nearly all of them), to the effect that Fox lies, Fox isn’t really a news network (an Obaman favorite), Fox is homophobic, Fox is racist, Fox is Islamophobic, Fox is—well, you get the idea. The enterprising liberal eristic (of that subspecies at least one specimen of which inevitably winds up at Thanksgiving dinner) will always have an ample supply of politically-correct insertions in mind, whereby the basic anti-Fox template may be adjusted to address almost any conversational variant.

“Ummm…lessee…’Operation Fast and Furious?’ Ummm…I think that’s just a Fox Story.”

The Obama administration made excellent tactical use of this planted axiom. Whenever Fox went to air with details of yet another Obama travesty, Obama or one of his acolytes would smirk and declare, “Well, that’s just a Fox story!” and reporters would snicker, nod, and forget the matter. In fact, the President on such occasions was speaking literal truth, since the near-absolute refusal by establishment networks to spotlight anything unfavorable to the regime meant that any hint of scandal, blunder, or illegality associated with Obama was instantly “spiked,” with the predictable result that Fox would be the only network reporting it. Thus, almost every one of the administration’s miscreancies over eight years of unprecedented contempt for law, truth, and the Constitution, might be accurately described as “just a Fox story!”

As vociferously as the liberal networks promulgate this interpretation of Fox’s appeal, one might reasonably assume some effect would be had—but efforts by the punditry to warn viewers of Fox’s wanton disregard for the higher principles of responsible (read: liberal) reportage made no measurable dent in Fox’s ratings. One reason, obviously, was that no matter how often or how emphatically the liberal networks rehearsed Fox’s infamies, no means existed by which to inform the masses–other than by purchasing advertising space on Fox News, which claimed most of the viewers. For the elites in New York, D.C. and Los Angeles, such ignominy would be unendurable, so the likes of Chris Matthews and Don Lemon found themselves limited to warning their comparatively miniscule audiences that Fox was awful—a belief already shared, presumably, by most of their viewers. Small wonder if the resultant frustration drove certain of these journalistic Titans to the occasional social drink.

Looking on the bright side, Fox’s deliverance from the grip of its fascistic, warmongering, misogynistic former executives may have a salvific effect on Don Lemon’s liver.

Following America’s penultimate attempt at national suicide, (we refer here to the 2008 presidential election), President Obama joined in the effort, lambasting Fox News at every opportunity from the Bully Pulpit, even attempting on one occasion to lock Fox out of a news conference, and whining incessantly to anyone who would listen about the colossal unfairness of Fox’s coverage, which often criticized him, whereas all the other televised news operations waxed giddy at his approach.

In a reckless attempt to boost ratings, Joe Scarborough challenges Barney Frank to an impromptu game of patty-cake.

One might suppose that attacks by the administration combined with the exertions of establishment journalists and manipulations by the entertainment industry (which made Fox the butt of endless jokes inserted into movie and TV scripts, sitcoms, rap recordings, and late-night comedy monologues), would erode FNC’s popularity. Shown the error of their ways, thousands of repentant souls might reasonably be expected to grasp– however belatedly– the importance of watching real news as represented by credible journalists like Joe Scarborough (failed conservative talk radio host), or Van Jones (self-confessed communist subversive and 9/11 conspiracy theorist), Al Sharpton (diction-impaired race hustler and tax cheat), or certainly by old pros like Brian Williams (signer of the Declaration of Independence, first journalist to orbit the moon, Bronze Medal winner in Olympic Mahjong), but no! Despite eight years of unremitting, presidentially approved criticism, Fox News emerged unscathed.

Much of Fox’s success may be attributable the inadequacies of its competition. Even the ultra-elitist SALON admitted as recently as last November that “Watching MSNBC is pure torture!”

In fact, 2016 found Fox comfortably atop the ratings for basic cable viewers, prime time viewers, and “total day” viewers (a spot formerly ceded to CNN whose “branding” inclined more people to switch it on at some point in any week, however briefly). For emphasis, FNC delivered the best rated quarter for total viewers in the network’s history and spent ten consecutive weeks as the number one channel in total day viewers of all cable networks, bar none.

A series of unfortunate events…

But precisely at this point began what might be termed a series of unfortunate events, none of which, in any direct sense, reflected meddling by the organized Left. To begin with, a sudden flurry of charges was brought against Fox’s resident mastermind, Roger Ailes. Alysyn Camerota, for instance, charged Ailes with sexually harassing her during her stint at FNC following which Gretchen Carlson lodged similar accusations. Camerota’s complaints might be considered suspect by virtue of her subsequent CNN affiliation, while Carlson could reasonably be described as disgruntled, but when Megyn Kelly added her voice to the mix even as the venerable Greta Van Susteren (to whom WOOF invariably grants special dispensation on account of her being Urban Van Susteren’s daughter) switched from defending Ailes to tweeting her regrets that Ailes was “not better supervised,” the charges seemed substantial enough that few on the Right rushed to protest Ailes’s removal. Read more…