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Steven Weber

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Fear Fracking

Posted: 03/ 5/2012 1:22 pm

I suppose it could be said that Rush Limbaugh and his brethren (and sistren) in the right-wing corporate media who regularly sculpt human behavior and current events into an unabashedly cruel and particularly paranoid narrative, only to then regurgitate it to their fact-starved audience like owls disgorging mouse-viscera into the open twitching beaks of its young, are only doing so because "It"'s there.

"It" being fear.

Fear exists as an instinct to be heeded or avoided. It is essential for survival in instances where life is threatened. And it is equally effective when used as a tool to make money.

And that's what the right-wing corporate media do so well. They win the hearts and minds of their viewers by locating their innate fear and then, with a tenderness usually reserved for a mare licking the amnion off her newborn foal, nurtures that fear until it can get up on its own, a living, snorting embodiment of fear-bred brand loyalty. It's genius. It's Corporeal Capitalism! (I coined that phrase. Please pay me when you use it.)

Roger Ailes, far from the first to recognize this plentiful and utterly exploitable human characteristic, is probably the most successful in his ability to marshal his massive media machine to take full advantage of this vast and seemingly limitless natural resource. He's a Fear Fracker. And like that much-in-the-news practice, Fear Fracking (I coined that, too. Coin. Pay up.) results in collateral damage to the environment at the expense of unearthing a precious and profitable resource.

And he's within his rights to do it. He's a businessman. Hell, it's virtually mandatory to tap, mine, farm and cull the planet's rich bounty. That's The American Way! Why should it be any different when sowing and reaping the fruits of human fear as Ailes, Limbaugh, et al. do so brilliantly.

But fear, though abundant, is also volatile. Over-reliance can lead to a kind of blowback unforeseen by its power-intoxicated handlers. Even well-conditioned (read: brainwashed) human beings harbor a subconscious awareness of the callous manipulation of their sensibilities and eventually fissures and tics develop in the once pristine facade of the Righteously Fearful.

Hence, the crumbling of the right-wing narrative, the exposure of its pathologically neurotic core, the spilling of unsweetened hatred which has taken the place of the patriotic cliché and wholly concocted attacks on so-called morality which was its stock and trade. Through a combination of Obama Derangement Syndrome and plain old tipping-point physics, the right-wing corporate media has overplayed its hateful hand and, victims of their own abhorrence for -- ahem -- regulation, have lost control.

And people feel it.

Because attacking working middle class people, vilifying women and their rights, legislating human behavior, fomenting a quasi-theocracy, preaching division, and downright bullying people finally doesn't sit well even with the unflinchingly loyal right-wing audience, who realize they themselves actually have those right-wing demons -- poor folks, gay folks, women-folks, "other" folks -- in their own families. They sense their masters' overreach. And they don't like it.

In other words, Frack 'Em. (Oh hell, you can use that, too. Gratis.)

 

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