This really needs to stop. Mark Taylor, the so called firefighter prophet, is ginning up the rabble once again with talks of sedition and statements that Donald Trump is going to lock everybody who doesn’t agree with him up, because they’re possessed by demons. This is just one more rock on the pile of wingnuttia and that’s the point. Using the airwaves for this level of disinformation and craziness has gotten out of hand. We have more than a cultural divide in this country, we have two totally different information sets, one for each tribe. This is the Tower of Babel and nobody is speaking the same language. Right Wing Watch:
“It’s like some of these people are not even human,” Taylor said. “It’s like their DNA has been changed to the point to where it’s just pure out evil … These are literally demons that are manifesting right now. These are not humans that are manifesting, these are demons that are manifesting with this stuff.”
Taylor told Zilinsky’s audience to rest assured that “there is a plan in place” for Trump’s government to sweep up all of these people in mass arrests but advised listeners to prepare themselves for the horrifying revelations that are sure to follow.
Taylor went on to assert that the mass shooting at a Maryland newspaper last week was carried out by a “sleeper” agent who was under deep state “mind control” and warned that “they’re going to start targeting blonde women [for attacks] because they think they’re Trump supporters.”
Freedom of speech is one thing, reckless disregard for reality, let alone the truth, is quite another. Ronald Reagan abolished the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 and right afterwards conservative talk radio exploded across the dial and right wingnuttia found its voice.
The Fairness Doctrine mandated that a certain amount of broadcast time be devoted to controversial subjects in the public interest, and to opposing views on those subjects. Broadcasters had an affirmative duty to consider the spectrum of views on any given topic and provide air time accordingly.
The argument at the time the Fairness Doctrine was instituted in 1949 was that there was a limited number of broadcasting outlets and so it was incumbent upon them to present both sides of an issue. That was in theory. In practice, according to the FCC when they overturned the doctrine, broadcasters were intimidated by penalties that included fines and possible loss of license for violating the doctrine and that had tended to make broadcasters timid and programming bland, so their argument went. So the FCC decided that the Fairness Doctrine in fact impinged upon the first amendment.
Since that decision, right wing radio has exploded and the cultural conversation has plummeted. Limbaugh and the like immediately started ginning up the rabble without fear of reprisal. After each new violent tragedy in the nation, Limbaugh and his ilk took to the airwaves to defend gun rights, or whatever, on the one hand, and fuel paranoia that conservative voices are about to be silenced on the other. This fact was not lost on our leaders.
After the Oklahoma City bombings in 1995, President Bill Clinton spoke to a group of students in Minneapolis, saying, “We hear so many loud and angry voices in America today” whose sole goal “seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other. They spread hate. They leave the impression, by their very words, that violence is acceptable.”
No one had any doubt who he was talking about, since Rush Limbaugh was by far the highest rated talk radio figure of the time. The president scored political points, but there was no regulatory effort at the time to back up his words.
There still is no regulatory effort. The right wing hosts rant on and if anyone challenges how far out there they’ve become, that becomes characterized as a left wing deep state plot to silence them. Here’s Rush Limbaugh after the 2011 Arizona shooting.
“So believe me, I wouldn’t be surprised, folks, if somebody in the Obama regime or some FCC bureaucrat or some Democrat congressperson has already written up legislation to stifle and eliminate conservative speech, and that legislation is sitting in a desk drawer someplace just waiting for the right event to clamp down because that’s what all this is,” Limbaugh said Monday, in his first show since the shooting. “And every time an event like this happens, they get into a trial run in hopes that this is the one that they can succeed in shutting us all down.”
Now the latest entrant into the world of wingnuttia is Mark Taylor, a retired firefighter and self-proclaimed prophet who was watching Donald Trump on Fox News one night in in 2011, when God dropped in unexpectedly and said unto him, “‘I have chosen this man, Donald Trump, for such a time as this. For as Benjamin Netanyahu is to Israel, so shall this man be to the United States.’” Since that time Taylor has been doing his damnedest to advocate for a theocratic government. In particular, God has his eyes on the Supreme Court.
For example, Taylor argues that “we simply must stop saying that the Church and/or God doesn’t belong in politics” and, as such, he believes that God will use Trump to unite Church and state by evicting “the evil that currently resides” in the government, in some cases “possibly” arresting politicians who oppose the administration. Among those that will be replaced are five Supreme Court justices, who will be overthrown in a dramatic fashion: with one retired, one dead, and three forced to resign amidst scandal. In addition to purging the government, Taylor explains, the Spirit of God often tells Taylor that President Trump will finally defeat all threatening non-state actors as well, such as the “illuminati and ISIS.”
And Taylor intends to help Trump do all this, with his Christian Army.
The Spirit of God says, ‘America, get ready, for I AM choosing from the top of the cream, for I AM putting together America’s dream team, from the president and his administration, to judges and congress to ease America’s frustrations!’ The Spirit of God says, ‘Rise up, My Army, and get in the fight… Rise up! stomp the enemy’s head with bliss; send the enemy back to Hell and into the abyss.’
If you haven’t read my piece, ”Mike Pence Is A Theocrat. His Christian Supremacist Followers Seek To Take Over America. Seriously.” you might want to do so. The evangelicals went on record some time back stating that they intended to take over the government and just how they would go about it, by electing evangelical candidates. Since then their stated intentions have become a bit more militant, as you see above.
Now clearly this man is a lunatic, but bear firmly in mind that the “low information people,” Trump’s base, actually believe this stuff. This is what they get on right wing radio, on Fox News, and the so-called Christian channels. That’s the problem.
We do not have an informed electorate. We have a certain portion of the electorate who is listening to an entirely different information system, filled with “alternative facts,” an alternative narrative in any event, than the rest of us. They think that’s normal. They think that what they’re listening to is the truth and the main stream media is telling a bunch of lies. They hear the sitting president of the United States tell them to “call Sean Hannity” to find out facts and that the most established newspapers and networks in the country are the “enemy of the people.”
Yes, the firefighter prophet sounds insane to you and to me. Not to them. That’s the point. But what they don’t know and what we seem to have forgotten is that free speech does not equate to getting to proselytize falsehoods. There are standards in news and information. Free speech does not mean getting to broadcast fact free statements cobbled together to incite passions, with no regard for consequences. And free speech emphatically does not condone sedition and that’s what Taylor has crossed the line into. This kind of speech riles up the lunatic fringe and then we end up with pizzagate and Capital Gazette.
Some form of regulatory effort is needed at this point, lest we have more such incidents. At the very least legislation could be drafted to require a qualifier or disclaimer at the end of every broadcast saying that the show just viewed is considered entertainment and opinion and is not journalism. That would sure knock the wind out of Fox News’ sails.
I'm not a journalist jackass. I'm a talk host. https://t.co/fj1ZCsAEL4
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) October 26, 2016
.@seanhannity So, since you're a talk show host and not a journalist, can we assume all of your statements are unreported and shallow?
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) October 26, 2016
…which is what one of the Fox news correspondents said yesterday. In fact, every time Sean is caught red-handed in a lie, he falls back on a "I'm opinion, not a news reporter."
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) March 16, 2018
Opinion has to stop being paraded as fact and sedition has to stop altogether. Broadcasters used to make sharp distinctions between news and editorial content and its high time we go back to that standard because we are saturated with propaganda and we are in a war on truth.