You’re going to be surprised by my answer; NO.
I recently engaged into the latest of hundreds of political debates on Facebook with a republican friend of a friend. I actually learned something this time around! The learning didn’t come from anything the republican said because he, like 100% of his brethren, didn’t have anything to offer other than cute (and baseless) theories.
What I learned is that there are no smart republicans left. I don’t mean that as a partisan attack. This is an observation that each debate I engage in reinforces. Republicans didn’t used to be disinterested, or even devoid of facts to support their points of view thirty years ago. Something very bad has happened to them over the past three decades. I’m serious. And anyone that has attempted to have a discussion with a republican has most definitely experienced this.
Here’s how it always goes; the republican will make a comment to a political post. Said comment will contain no demonstrable, fact based sources to support the comment. I will present several, non-partisan links containing tangible data to counter republican’s point. Republican will ignore the data, and respond with another baseless talking point. At this point other people may jump in with their personal observations based on the fact that the topic at hand happens to be in an area of their professional expertise. The republican will again ignore these observations and offer yet another baseless opinion. I’m a bitch that loves data and provable facts, so I will post yet more links to disprove the torrent of baseless theories. You know what’s coming next from the republican, don’t you? If you guessed that the republican ignores the latest round of data, only to offer another fanciful opinion, you win a cookie!
Time and time again, this is how these discussions go. We’ve all, liberals and independents alike, had this experience. Can we attribute this disinterest in facts to Fox news? I hypothesize that we can’t. Not entirely, anyway. My theory is based on the observation that the republican in a debate almost never attempts to cite a source to back up their point. They don’t even bother to cite a blatantly partisan source like the Cato Institute or a Rasmussen poll, even though Fox refers to them in perpetuity. They just can’t be bothered with facts, manufactured or otherwise.
Now granted, thirty years ago, conservative ideology was easier to support because it hadn’t been disproved as thoroughly as it is today. We’ve had thirty years of republican and democratic presidents alike, implementing conservative practices. We’ve systematically peeled back financial regulations that kept our economy stable for over forty years. We’ve lifted regulations on business, agriculture, guns, and oil drilling. And time and again, we’ve seen this deregulation lead to disaster. We have outbreaks of contaminated food with more regularity than we’ve ever seen. We’ve seen oil spill disasters escalate in both frequency and scope. We’ve come to expect that our job market to collapse at least once every decade, even though these severe downturns didn’t happen between the early 40s and the 80s. And we’re forced to accept incident after incident where a person of questionable mental health kills dozens of innocent people with weapons that serve no purpose other than to kill a lot or people quickly. These “free market” theories were more viable thirty years ago, before (literally) every single one blew up in our faces.
Is that decreasing viability of conservative principles the reason why republicans sound more stupid today than they did thirty years ago? YES! Fox isn’t responsible for creating uninformed automatons, it’s just given them a home. Fox news viewers wouldn’t be more susceptible to facts of Fox didn’t exist. They can’t even be bothered to cite the bullshit facts that Fox so generously provides them with.
I think that blaming Fox for the epidemic of dumbass republicans is too easy, and not supported by facts. I’m not dismissing the force that Fox has proven to be in America. I’m just saying that blaming them for the segment of the population that doesn’t have any use for facts doesn’t make sense.