MAGAs Can’t Handle the Truth


MAGAs not only don’t care if they’re blatantly lied to (e.g., Trump, Fox “News,” QAnon conspiracy theories), they WANT to be lied to and even demand it. There are numerous reasons for this:

  • They want their “side” to win at all costs (especially elections).
  • Sharing belief in the same lies confirms their membership in the MAGA “tribe.”
  • Their tribe requires an alternative reality to sustain it, something they’re proud to create.
  • Truth and reality have become their enemies, so they avoid them in favor of MAGA fantasy land.
  • Even when they know they’re wrong, they no longer care; they’d rather fight to the death (think January 6) than capitulate to reality.

And the list goes on; I’m sure you can think of plenty more for yourself.  But, no matter, lies sooth them and give them strength to carry on. 

There is no rational reason to still believe Trump won the 2020 election.  All the conspiracy theories have been debunked, the phony lawsuits thrown out of court. Similarly, there is no reason not to believe the January 6 insurrection was anything other than a violent attack carried out by an angry mob of Trump supporters, many of whom were members of militant right-wing groups, such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.  Hours of video provided by multiple sources and hundreds of witnesses attest to this fact. 

But Freedom Caucus Republicans, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, and right-wing media keep at it.  An estimated four million people tuned in to see Tucker Carlson cherry-pick security camera footage to support his latest batch of lies.  Carlson opted to depict the Capitol invaders as mostly peaceful and “meek” (Remember, MAGAs love to see themselves as innocent victims). It’s hard to imagine that most of his viewers actually thought he was going to tell them the truth.  Quite the contrary, Fox has bought their loyalty by feeding them the lies they demand and have come to expect

“We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait.”

— Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host, in a text message to his staff on Jan. 4, 2021.

Fox “News” Hosts Don’t Condescend to Their Audience; They Soothe Them.

MAGAs are willing to entertain any falsehood to avoid the truth about what happened that day.  Among the most popular lies they’ve been told:

  • The crowd was really made up of “Antifa.” 
  • It was a “false flag” operation instigated by the FBI.
  • It was nothing more than a “usual tourist visit” (presumably Antifa wasn’t very violent that day!). 

As implausible and contradictory as these bogus explanations are, the Fox audience doesn’t seem to care. (Have any of the almost five hundred people so far convicted for their participation in the riot turned out to be members of Antifa?)  

We need to acknowledge that the 21st century’s knowledge-based economy has made it more difficult for huge swaths of Americans to maintain a middleclass lifestyle and many people have lost hope of a better future for themselves and their children. Unfortunately, the economic environment that enabled the American middleclass to thrive in the decades following World War II is now history. There is a lot that needs to be done to restore opportunity to communities—much of rural and smalltown America that has been adversely impacted for decades—but people burying their heads in an alternative “Make America Great Again” reality built on lies isn’t the answer.  

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