If you’re not a Republican, watching Republicans react to the news can feel a bit like witnessing a mass hallucination. Even more so when some emissary from the alternate Republican universe like Kellyanne Conway teleports onto CNN or another mainstream outlet to state her case.
That’s from an article in the Sunday New York Times entitled No One Cares About Russia in the World Breitbart Made. It’s just full of similarly cheerful thoughts like that. Here’s some more:
As recently as five or 10 years ago, every major news outlet would have treated this set of facts as front-page news and a dire threat to Mr. Trump’s presidency. The conservative press and Republican voters might disagree on certain particulars or points of emphasis. But their view of reality — of what happened and its significance — would have largely comported with that of the mainstream.
Look to the right now and you’re apt to find an alternative reality in which the same set of facts is rearranged to compose an entirely different narrative. On Fox News, host Lou Dobbs offered a representative example on Thursday night, when he described the Donald Trump Jr. email story, with wild-eyed fervor, like this: “This is about a full-on assault by the left, the Democratic Party, to absolutely carry out a coup d’état against President Trump aided by the left-wing media.”
The Times says Dobbs isn’t a wacky outlier, but rather an example of how the conservative fringe has overtaken and swallowed up the mainstream right-leaning press. It absolutely is that, but personally I think Dobbs has been an outlier for years, starting when he had his own show on CNN and began screeching about immigrants with leprosy back in 2007 and refused to admit he got his facts and numbers wrong. The slapdown in that link is too kind to Dobbs, who clearly was expressing anti-immigrant sentiment as well as a refusal to admit he’d used bad data.
I don’t know how we get a respect for facts back in this country, but we’re in deep trouble if we can’t. Until we do we’re going to continue to see situations like this, in which Trump is loathed by 60+ percent of the population but basks in the approval of 85% of Republicans.