The Grand Old Scam Party

"Lambchop" by Nancy Ohanian

I don't know anyone who has ever tuned into OAN-- and damn few people who have ever even heard of it. But I don't know any awful lot of Trumpsters... and it's one of their dedicated TV networks. And, like the other far right media outlets, OAN creates its own alternative universe unhinged from reality and objective facts. One of their personalities, Pearson Sharp, told his viewers recently that "There’s still serious doubts about who’s actually president."

This morning, Rachel Abrams reported that "That segment was one in a spate of similar reports from a channel that has become a kind of Trump TV for the post-Trump age, an outlet whose reporting has aligned with the former president’s grievances at a time when he is barred from major social media platforms. Some of OAN’s coverage has not had the full support of the staff. In interviews with 18 current and former OAN newsroom employees, 16 said the channel had broadcast reports that they considered misleading, inaccurate or untrue." OAN is even more deranged than Fox or Newsmax, the 2 other neo-fascist broadcasters poisoning America's political atmosphere with spurious assertions and wishful thinking.

OAN viewers (14% of Republicans) have been told that the election was stolen, that Trump is still president, that the pandemic is a "globalist conspiracy to establish sweeping population control," with ties to the Clintons, George Soros, Bill Gates and the deep state, that the 1/6 insurrectionists were left-wing agitators and that "History will show it was the Democrats, and not the Republicans, who called for this violence." The anti-American, neo-Nazi family from San Diego that runs the network, Robert Herring and sons Robert, Jr. and Charles, are profiting by sowing discord, confusion and hatred in the U.S. and by coordinating with Russian propaganda outlets. They refer to President Biden and "Beijing Biden." Anchors who refer to him as "President Biden" are reprimanded by the the Goebbels-like "news director, Lindsay Oakley. A dozen employees quit after OAN helped stoke the 1/6 violence at the Capitol.

OAN’s stories “appeal to people who want to believe that the election was not legitimate,” said Stephanie L. Edgerly, an associate professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. “These are two mutually reinforcing narratives of people who want to believe it and continue to get that fire stoked by OAN.”

Have you ever wondered how right-wing authors get to the top of the best seller lists-- albeit momentarily-- despite so few literate people being interested in the naked propaganda they spew? Paul Farhi explained the scam over the weekend for Washington Post readers: The GOP’s big bulk book-buying machine is boosting Republicans on the bestseller lists. The RNC, NRCC and NRSC spend millions of dollars to buy thousands of books in bulk and then try to give them away for free, largely to people who never read them. Recently this scam was used to pretend that people were interested in reading the nonsense works by Ted Cruz, Dan Crenshaw, Mitch McConnell, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley and Trump's drugged-addicted and quasi-retarded son Donald Jr.

Another Republican book-buying binge, led by the Republican National Committee, accompanied the release of Trump Jr.’s book, Triggered in 2019. It was followed in October by the RNC’s expenditure of more than $300,000 on a second Trump Jr. book, entitled Liberal Privilege: Joe Biden and the Democrats’ Defense of the Indefensible. In both cases, the RNC gave away copies in exchange for donations.
The first Trump Jr. book topped the New York Times bestseller list; the second rose and then quickly fell on Amazon’s chart.
This appears to be a largely Republican phenomenon. While at least seven Democratic senators published books during the past election cycle, neither the Democratic National Committee nor the party’s two congressional arms reported buying any of them in bulk quantities.
Given the potential to drive unrestricted amounts of income to elected officials, bulk purchasing has disturbed some government watchdogs.
“There’s a difference between what’s ethical and what’s technically legal,” said Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a federal watchdog organization. “A political party or outside group can help a candidate’s bottom line and turn them into a best-selling author, something that could further help their bank account. That’s not the purpose of a political party.”

This kind of activity helps expose a right-wing mindset capable of far worse than fudging book sales for favorite wing nuts. There have been a spate of exposés recently about Trump and Republican Party scams to reach into the bank accounts of their own (mostly elderly and feeble-minded) supporters to steal their money. On Friday, The Bulwark's Tim Miller explained how Trump and the GOP made up for diminishing corporate campaign financing with weaponized appeals to their pathetic base.

Miller wrote that "during the Trump years, the corporate donations that used to fund the Republicans started to dry up. So the GOP copied the Dem’s tactics, but made it skeevier. You can always count on the Trump brand for a good scam. The New York Times exposed their grossest tactic last week. When new Trump donors signed up, the campaign would leave a fine print disclaimer pre-checked which committed people to making that donation every month. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters contributed money they didn’t mean to. Stacey Blatt, a 63-year-old with cancer, said his utility and rent payments bounced-- and he wasn’t alone. Banks got so many complaints about fraudulent charges from the Trump campaign that they had to refund $122 million back to supporters after the election. 122 million! Think about this: A billionaire president, who was claiming to be a man of the people, was tricking his own working-class supporters into giving him millions of dollars. That’s next-level evil. Republicans in Congress saw that, and their response was, 'Hold my hemlock.' What they were doing was even more sus than Trump. Here’s how it worked: They sent a text message asking people if they wanted to sign up for Trump’s new social network. (Which, by the way, doesn’t exist.) When you put in money to sign up, there were two pre-checked boxes. The first makes your contribution monthly. And it says, if you uncheck it, they’ll tell Trump that you’re a defector. The next doubles your contribution and says if you uncheck it that you’ve abandoned Trump. Getting out of this window is harder than canceling an Equinox membership. These schemes prey on older voters, people who aren’t tech savvy, and gullible Trump supporters."

Miller also pointed out that this kind of appeal to small dollar donors is "empowering the most extreme politicians in both parties, but especially on the right. After the insurrection, insane Congresswoman Marjorie QAnon Greene, and Pro-coup Senator Josh Hawley, raised $3 million [each] from small dollar donors, setting a record. On the left, it’s resulting in viral candidates, with no hope of winning, taking money that could be better used elsewhere. Last cycle, Amy McGrath and Jamie Harrison raised $200 million, half the GDP of Micronesia. And they both got crushed! They used cherry-picked polling to lure in liberals who were salivating at the possibility of beating Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, even though it was never gonna happen."

Don't get scammed again. Let the DSCC and DCCC fund their own loser candidates-- and when you get an e-mail or get lured to a website with the checked boxes, unsubscribe immediately. And if you're a Republican... it's too late. There is no vaccine for stupidity yet.

"There's A Sucker Born Every Second" by Nancy Ohanian