Remember the “caravan?” Just three days ago it was the most heinous threat facing the United States of America. A group of thousands of scary, dirt-poor migrants, poised to invade our country (on foot) and permanently destroy the American way of life.They were gonna take our jobs. Kill our police. Rape our (white) women. Don’t laugh–that’s the way it was presented to Americans by Donald Trump, with his Nuremberg-rally minions squealing their outrage on a pretty-much daily basis over the last month.
Over the final two weeks of the midterm elections, according to closed-captioning data compiled by the Internet Archive, Fox News and Fox Business Channel each mentioned the word caravan in an average of a little over 3 percent of 15-second segments over the course of a day. In other words, the caravan was mentioned an average of almost eight times an hour.
American troops were moved in. Some jackass Right-wing militias responded, propelling their Duelie pickup trucks towards our Southern border, AR-15’s at the ready, eager to protect their “right” to be racist, obnoxious fucks to compensate for their own personal inadequacies.
Then, suddenly, the election was over. And as predictably as the sun coming up in the morning, that terrifying, horrible, threatening “caravan” didn’t seem to be much of a concern anymore.
Take a good look at those graphs on the right. The Washington Post analyzed the pre and post-election coverage of the “evil caravan.”
You will see that, after Tuesday’s election, it has magically disappeared, most notably from Fox News. And other cable networks dutifully jumped in line to ignore it as well.
Was it “more pressing” news that could possibly have driven down cable news’ coverage of the most horrific threat to our way of life since the Cold War? The Post points out that more “pressing news” didn’t seem to deter Fox News before.
In late October, the arrest of a suspect in a series of attempted mail bombings and the mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh prompted CNN and MSNBC to taper off discussion of the caravan. The Foxes didn’t.
So what happened?
What happened was it was all a crock of shit, ginned up by the Republican Party apparatus to scare some millions of people genetically pre-disposed to respond to warnings or “threats” –especially racial ones–presented to them by authority figures, in time for them to vote for their “Daddy Party” in the midterm elections. Donald Trump and the entire Republican Congress knew it. And so did Fox News, the GOP state propaganda outlet, our American Pravda network.
The same tried and true pattern has been exhibited again and again by Fox News, and to a lesser extent by all “cable news” which somehow feels compelled to chase Fox down the rabbit hole of lies and idiocy. It happened with the 2014 “Ebola” scare (remember that?) And it happened in 2016, where James Comey’s late-breaking reservations about the Clinton campaign were suddenly all the rage, just before Trump eked out his electoral shenanigans with an assist from the Russian government. But there was one important difference—in both of those contrived media obsessions, the story had sort of burned itself out by Election Day.
But it’s now Friday November 9th and that evil caravan is now…still less than 1000 miles away!
As Philip Bump in the Post points out:
It will be interesting to see whether coverage of the caravan picks back up to pre-election levels in the ensuing days and weeks, as its participants head toward the border with the U.S. If not, the cynics’ case will have been proven: Coverage of the caravan was a function of the campaign far more than anything else, coverage driven by Fox networks whose audiences are largely supportive of the president.
I wouldn’t hold my breath, Phil. That caravan is now just old, fake news.