There are sheep in our midst who bleat banality and pretend that they are a part of our herd warning of impending wolves who are after us and our children. Ah but these sheep are cunning for these sheep are no sheep at all; they are wolves dressed to the nines pretending to be of us when in reality they are using our pains and our struggles in order to earn paychecks. These wolves I speak of are pundits on TV, print, and social media—members of a farcical free press that is our mainstream media—who bang on drums of outrage and report endless sensationalism in order to maintain their status as opinion leaders.
There are endless firebrands who are steady peddling grievances and stoking rage and antipathy as a means of earning a living. A long time ago, when I was still blinded by partisan affinity and political ideology, the pernicious pricks I described above I thought only existed on conservative media outlets. I used to rage against the likes of Limbaugh and O’Reilly as they bloviated hatred by way of ignorance into the public airwaves in order to fracture our nation. I would hear of one outrageous statement or another made by Limbaugh, for example, only to get livid and run to MSNBC or CNN to assuage my anger by listening to antipathy from the left like Maddow and Sharpton.
It is now, after a two year odyssey based on hardship, that I realize the brilliance of the left vs right divide and how the outrage factory that spews out hatred from right is dependent on hatred from the left and vise versa. Hindsight and reality’s kick woke me up to the game, Maddow and Sharpton are no different than Limbaugh and O’Reilly! The whole outrage industry is incestuous through and through, one side needs the other and the hatred that each side feeds enables the opposing side to prosper and the inverse is true of the other side. The pundits perpetuate the same anger and antipathy that they pretend to be outraged over; in reality they are hoping for more friction and injustice for their paychecks are based on ratings, eyeballs and how many followers they can attain on social media.
Though I could use any of the countless alternative humans that inhabit our mainstream media from the left to the right, I use Sean Hannity and Van Jones because they are the top of the class when it comes to soulless maggots who pretend to be outraged when in reality the whole thing is one big act. Take for example Van Jones, this same dude who was not too long ago shedding tears on CNN is in reality a fraud who parties it up with the same Republicans who he pretends to bash. Go to his page on Facebook and you will see his cover photo a picture of Van Jones hamming it up with Newt Gingrich—the same Newt who Van Jones regularly froths over as he babbles on about Newt’s malevolence. Van Jones cares about justice as much as Trump cares about his workers at Mara Largo—that would be nada, zip, zilch, zero care just in case you did not know.
The same could be said of Sean Hannity who waxes poetic about American patriotism as a means to garner a large conservative following. In reality Hannity does not give two bits about America or Americans for his only loyalty is to his wallet and his accumulation. What makes me say this with such confidence? Remember the outrage over Benghazi that Hannity clamped on to like a rabies infected poodle and the way he was droning on about how Obama was mistreating veterans? Funny how all that stopped as soon as January 20th rolled around as if the way we as a nation mistreat veterans all the sudden disappeared. Hannity is just using patriotism and the flag like a tissue paper, he is one big ass who wipes his pie hole with love of nation and “values” after he eats from the plate of greed and intellectual-masturbation.
The truth is that Hannity doesn’t give a shit about our nation, our veterans or the plight of Americans. Sean uses outrage from the right the same way that Van Jones uses outrage from the left. Hannity uses patriotism as a shtick the same way Van Jones uses injustice as a bit—both are equal con men who tread on our emotions and use our pains to advance their own careers. And both are co-dependent pricks who drive up each others traffic by speaking against the outrage of one another by spewing yet more outrage. The whole thing is a trick as we are being collectively bamboozled by prevaricating pundits on all sides who are part and parcel of the very injustices they speak against.
There was a time not too long ago that I went to this restaurant called Old Ebbitt’s Grill in DC after watching an episode of Cross Fire on CNN. This happened when I was in the throes of partisan hackery myself. This was back when Cross Fire was hosted by Bill Press and the “prince of darkness” himself Bob Novak. I don’t remember who the two guests were but I do remember how they were going at it as both politicians were being prodded to howl at each other by the two hosts—it was a free for all as there was less discussion and all diatribes. Of course, I was enthralled by it all! I was concurrently cheering on my “liberal” team and would be beside myself when hearing the other side inject their invective into the airwaves.
A few hours after the show ended, I found myself that evening by Old Ebbitt’s Grill so I decided to go check out this famous bar in DC that I kept hearing was the watering hole of the political elites. I ordered up a beer and then decided to go use the bathroom; really I wanted to get a lay of the land more than anything else. All the sudden I found myself in shock. The same two politicians that were on Cross Fire just a few hours earlier declaring political jihad on each other were now sitting at the same table laughing it up and getting their drink on. Based on the way they were acting, I could tell they were about as lit up as Time Square on New Years Eve. Even back then, it did not hit me just how profound that moment was because I would go on believe in the fraudulence of our “left vs right” politics and continued to eat at the poisoned trough of our mainstream media for more than a decade after that encounter.
I am awake to the lie now though. Those two politicians I saw at Old Ebbitt’s Grill in DC are emblematic of our government and our mainstream media. We are being run by politicians and pundits who are through and through drunkards and immoral warthogs who don’t have any interest at all in the very values and virtues that they preach. In fact, they are a bunch of valueless and virtueless gnomes who need injustice and outrage in order to keep accumulating their fortunes. This is why our nation keeps being torn asunder; we keep turning to wolves who are pretending to be shepherds when in reality they are managers leading us to slaughter houses.
We need to wake up as a people and put aside the endless divisions that fracture our nation and keep us from solving the throbbing blithe of economic inequality that is slowly strangling our country and the world. The change will not come by listening to jackals in DC, the foxes in the media nor the vultures on Wall Street. These people, the politicians, pundits, and their plutocratic masters, count their opulence as we meet misfortune. They have no interest in justice for lessening iniquity would translate to them having less fame and fortune. So why are we listening to ogres who need misery in order for them to gain prosperity.
What is presented as news is in actually nothing but one big infomercial. The pundits make money to present a procession of book sellers and product placement interrupted by sensationalism and outrage. Breaking news is nothing more than another revenue stream as the mainstream media has gutted real reporting and replaced it with pool reporters who deploy to send back live feed of one tragic event or another. The newsroom has been reduced to a sickening combination of opportunism and crony capitalism where the only thing that matters is how many clicks or eyeballs each story can garner. The fourth estate long bankrupt, what we have is a zero sum game of yellow press journalism and propaganda peddling by the pretense of journalism. Sit back and watch when the “who’s who” of the mainstream media flock to the Washington Hilton on April 29th during the White House Correspondence Dinner (Nerd Prom) to celebrate themselves as they sip Sauvignon Blanc and eat truffles while they tell us to eat hostess cake.
So maybe we should pay less attention to the demagoguing pundits and understand that their continued success is based on our continued struggle. Please understand that their entire persona is nothing but a Hollywood stunt and their rage and anger is nothing but an act. From Fox News to CNN to MSNBC and every sector of the mainstream media that are dependent on corporate contributions by way of commercials and ad space are beholden not to truth but to outrage in order to gain more viewers and expand their audience. Each time our nation suffers a tragedy, newsrooms at mainstream outlets pop champagnes because they know their ratings will go through the roof. What these pundits care about is money, all else including the health of our nation, is secondary.
It is money that is inverting the souls of fools like Van Jones and Hannity. I’m sure there was once a heart in both characters and in the empty chest cavities of the endless procession of pundits across the various mainstream media outlets. But the heart gets calcified when the chase for money and fame becomes more important the the honorable quest to speak truth to power. Character bleeds away when the paychecks of these pundits are dependent not on virtue but on attaining a cult following. When people make gods of themselves what vacates is the humility and caring that was once evident. What is left is VanHannity, the insanity of duplicitous carnival barkers who shed crocodile tears as they count their millions. #VanHannity
In politics, concern and apathy are both fraudulence and a means to manipulate the people.
This is how pundits and politicians play us for fools and take us for suckers. A breakdown of how one incident is emblematic of the entire fraudlence behind our politics and our mainstream media circus in the YouTube clip below.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.