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The Misinformation & Disinformation Being Pumped Into The Body Politic Will Have An Impact

Yesterday, Monmouth released a new poll with data they described by noting that "Three in ten Americans now believe the nation’s system is fundamentally unsound... while one-third of the public continues to believe voter fraud determined the outcome of the 2020 election. Patrick Murray, Monmouth polling director: "The increase of distrust in the American system appears to be linked to the persistence of 'the Big Lie.' The fact that this belief continues to get oxygen is having a serious, and potentially dangerous, impact on faith in our fundamental democratic processes." About a third of Americans believe Biden is president because of voter fraud.

Looking back at the riot at the U.S Capitol on January 6th, about 1 in 4 Americans (27%) say that the anger that led to this incident was at least partially justified, including a majority of Republicans (54%). Just over half of the public has either a lot (26%) or a little (31%) trust that the House Select Committee set up to examine this incident will conduct a fair investigation. Most Republicans (75%) have no trust at all in the committee.
Most Americans approve of having the select committee look into whether members of Congress (73%) or former President Donald Trump (67%) played a role in the incident along with looking into possible fraud in the 2020 election (60%). Majorities of Republicans support having the committee investigate possible election fraud (70%) and the role members of Congress may have played (58%), but only 40% approve of the committee looking into anything that could implicate Trump. About 9 in 10 Democrats approve of an inquiry into the role played by Trump (91%) and members of Congress (89%), while nearly half say the same about looking into possible election fraud (47%).
“Democrats do not believe that Biden won through fraud, as the poll results clearly show. The fact that nearly half want to see an investigation into possible fraud likely stems from their hopes that it would put the false claims to rest. But as the experience from the so-called Arizona audit shows, that outcome is highly unlikely and America will remain divided on this,” said Murray
About half (49%) of all Americans feel the country has become more divided since Biden took office. Just 12% say we have become more united and 38% say nothing has really changed. While these results are largely negative, they are somewhat better than feelings about our political rift under Biden’s predecessor. At a similar point in Trump’s term, 63% said the country had become more divided. That sentiment topped out at 70% right after the 2020 election. Unsurprisingly, a larger number of Republicans say that the country has become more divided under Biden (78%) than did under Trump a year ago (49%). Far fewer Democrats say that the country has become more divided under the current president from their own party (22%) while more felt that way about the president from the opposite party last year (90%). However, only 25% of Democrats see the country as becoming more united since Biden took office; half (52%), in fact, say nothing has changed.

A few days ago, Doug in Montana tweeted that "At its peak (1952), polio killed 3,145 Americans. After a vaccine became available in 1955, all 50 states passed laws requiring polio vaccination before kids can enter public schools. COVID killed 345,000 Americans in 2020, and has killed 416,000 more so far in 2021."

People may be asking "what has happened to our country?" How is this even possible? It would be a cop-out to just blame Trump, more a symptom that the cause. The cause is for-profit-professional sower sand enablers of disunity, anomie and hatred: Hate Talk Radio, Fox News and media narratives developed by propaganda agencies of America's enemies-- both foreign (like the Kremlin) and domestic (like Ruperrt Murdoch and Tucker Carlson).

This morning Christopher Mathias reported that Carlson's 70 minute-long Patriot Purge is "a revisionist history of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol... produced with the aesthetics and narrative suspense of an action thriller. The good guys are the 'patriots' who stormed the Capitol. The bad guys are those in the media and government who are persecuting them. 'The left is hunting the right,' Carlson warns his viewers. It is the most nakedly fascist piece of propaganda Carlson has ever produced. And it comes at a dangerous moment: The insurrection is on its way to becoming as noble an enterprise as the Boston Tea Party for large parts of the American right... Trump is laying clear groundwork to fully embrace the events of Jan. 6, which he now calls 'a very beautiful time,' during his potential upcoming presidential campaign. He claimed last month that 'The insurrection took place on November 3, Election Day. January 6 was the Protest!' and has repeated the sentiment during recent rallies.

Did you read Anne Applebaum's cover story for The Atlantic yesterday, The Bad Guys Are Winning? It doesn't include characters like Murdoch or Carlson but instead "exposes the conditions that have allowed the leaders of Venezuela, Belarus, Russia, China, and Turkey (Autocracy, Inc) to thrive-- at the expense of the world’s liberal democracies... “If the 20th century was the story of liberal democracy’s progress toward victory over other ideologies—communism, fascism, virulent nationalism-- the 21st century is, so far, a story of the reverse" Let's not forget the Saudis.

It's not about a shared ideology as much as it's about a shared "desire to preserve and enhance their personal power and wealth. Corrupt, state-controlled companies in one dictatorship do business with corrupt, state-controlled companies in another, while sharing sophisticated networks of kleptocratic financial structures, security services (military, police, paramilitary groups, surveillance), and professional propagandists... Their links are cemented not by ideals but by deals-- deals designed to take the edge off Western economic boycotts, or to make them personally rich-- which is why they can operate across geographical and historical lines."

"To effect real change," she wrote, "the Biden administration will have to ask hard questions and make big decisions. How can we force Apple and Google to respect the rights of Russian democrats? How can we ensure that Western manufacturers have excluded from their supply chains anything produced in a Uyghur concentration camp? We need a major investment in independent media around the world, a strategy for reaching people inside autocracies, new international institutions to replace the defunct human-rights bodies at the UN... If America removes the promotion of democracy from its foreign policy, if America ceases to interest itself in the fate of other democracies and democratic movements, then autocracies will quickly take our place as sources of influence, funding, and ideas. [And if Americans don’t hold murderous regimes to account, those regimes] “will continue to steal, blackmail, torture, and intimidate, inside their countries-- and inside ours."

Applebaum on Morning Joe last year: "Trump very deliberately seeks to speak to and attract people who dislike the noise and chaos of democracy. This is why he uses this expression 'law and order.' which sometimes he tweets in capital letters... Conspiracy theories can be used to mold politics... You can win people over, you can create doubt in your own institutions, you can create negativity about your own society, you can create a lack of faith in your own country by using conspiracy theories that are designed to sow doubt and distrust... People read conspiracy theories and that leads them to doubt science, to doubt medicine, to doubt all kinds of institutions that we used to trust. We do see how Donald Trump plays that when he attacks the bureaucracy, American patriots who work for the civil service as 'the Deep State,' when he attacks, the FBI, the CIA, judges, let alone independent media. This is a political tactic that authoritarians use all over the world: create doubt in institutions, make people feel that they can no longer trust [their system]."

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