Why American Democracy Has Turned Into a Circus Show

If you're looking for someone to blame for turning American democracy into the circus show it's become - Roger Ailes - who died yesterday - is your guy.

Predictably, many in the mainstream media are already talking about how complicated he was - how his flaws were balanced out by his talents.

But the truth is much - much simpler.

The truth is that Roger Ailes is almost singlehandedly responsible for the degradation and destruction of American democracy.

The legacy of Roger Ailes is a dark one.

In addition to a slew of sexual harassment cases, Ailes leaves behind a country that is infinitely more misinformed and ignorant than it would be if he'd never been born.

Studies have found that people who watch Fox News are more misinformed than viewers of any other news network - and are actually more misinformed than people who watch no news at all.

Has any individual done more harm to American Democracy over the past 30 or 40 years than Ailes?


Legend 7 years 4 weeks ago

The way that I read it was he fell 7days ago and hit his head. Never went to the hospital. Fell into a coma and died from brain bleeding. I wonder if his wife was holding a baseball bat when he fell.

Bill O'Reilly ignores the part about hitting his head and says that it was the public shame that killed him, with fake news being blamed. Two of a kind.

Arrgy's picture
Arrgy 7 years 4 weeks ago

Reagan opened the door for him to run his vial scam, with the guidence of Karl Rove. The whole Nazi coup was as unamerican as could be.

garth2710's picture
garth2710 7 years 4 weeks ago

Bill O'Reilly is whining crybaby, who masquerades as a bully. O'Reilly knows damn well that Roger Ailes was a victim of his own making. Just as Trump brought his own problems on himself, Roger Ailes' own behavior caused his downfall. Ironically, the talking heads at Fox News like O'Reilly, Ailes, Hannity, etc. are hypocritically big on personal responsiblity for everyone but themselves. Like Trump, these clowns think that somehow they are above the rules and norms of society that apply to the rest of us. I am surprised that O'Reilly didn't blame Ailes' death on the usual suspects, President Obama and/or Hillary Clinton.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 7 years 4 weeks ago

May he writhe in eternal torment as Fux News blares in his ears with no commercial breaks ...or be reanimated as the Pussy Grabber's favorite concubine. Yikes! No, that would be too horrible, even for his terrible karma. Choose option one.

Johnnie Dorman's picture
Johnnie Dorman 7 years 4 weeks ago

I've been saying the same thing for years. Fox News has been the most destructive force in this country for forty years. They were part of the Neo-con movement, that all started with Nixon and Reagan, and then their predisessors continued the bad turn away from the Roosevelt policies because of their greed and their sociopathic mentality. Yes, Fox News is nothing but a sick propaganda operation that works only for the corporate rich of America.

ErinRose's picture
ErinRose 7 years 4 weeks ago

What I don't understand is why we all sat around and let Roger Ailes get away with it?What is our fascination with money when, after a certain amount to live on, more money does not bring happiness? Why is it that we forgot to value democracy? Why would anybody want a corptocracy, fascist state, austerity, poor education and a for-profit medical system? Why would we want America's infrastructure in complete disrepair? There's something wrong with us for going along with all of this. I can tell you, my grandparents would have been out in the streets with pitchforks rather than embrace all the corruption. Why is it that some of us have watched Faux News and been totally repulsed, while so many others became entranced and mesmerized by it? I knew this woman for 13 years. She was a devout churcher and a Tea Party (R). If her leaders and handlers told her the world was made in six days, she swore it was true and would defend this position roundly; same for climate change/global warming (AntArctica is now sprouting moss on its North Cape.) And of all the people who were put up in the (R) primaries, she would immediately be attracted to the biggest, most radical creep in the pack. How do people's brains get to be like that?

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 4 weeks ago

Regarding my foxmerized friends and family, November's election was the last straw. I no longer associate in a meaningful manner with any of them. They all know why and give me plenty of crap about only hanging out with my progressive crowd..... oh well.

Based on that, no one has more contempt for Ailes's Foxaganda than I do. That said, my loss of friends is minor compared to the damage Ailes has done to our country. Trump is a classic example of a foxmerized sucker. In fact in his case like many other citizens, Fox was a gateway propaganda drug to alt right sites like Breitbart.

Being a dedicated Fox News fan is just more evidence that Crooked Donny truly is a dumb ass, which is why Putin installed him.

Thom is correct, Ailes has done extreme damage to this country. Just like the Kochs and others, he had the classic ubiquitous motives, the selfish pursuit of money and power. He was an evil kingmaker... and we have faced decades of social and economic misery as a result. His name is right next to Reagans when it comes to destruction of the middle class and concentration of wealth.

Next time you're frustrated about family, friends, and citizens voting themselves and us down the crapper....remember Roger Ailes.

stopgap's picture
stopgap 7 years 4 weeks ago

I think the Fox viewers have to share the blame with Roger Ailes. Fox people have always been there since man first appeared on the planet earth. But over the last hundred years or so, they have been, more or less held in check by the better angels of the media that realized the overall value of the Fairness Doctrine. When that was eliminated, then Ailes shrewdly bet that this segment of the population could be exploited if their fears and prejudices were validated by a seemly legitimate news network.

Yes, Fox was more than willing to spew out rightwing propaganda. But it takes two to tango. I still maintain that the viewers have more influence on Fox's programing than even Ailes. Once the commitment was made by Ailes, he was a willing prisoner of his own propaganda machine.

To go against the raging, incessant demands of the viewers would have been cable news suicide. As I have said here before…you are more likely to be fired from Fox for telling the truth, than lying. The viewers won't stand for the truth!! That's the last thing they want to hear.

Legend 7 years 4 weeks ago

Where are the right wing troll Fox News supporters? Diane? OU812? Others?

stopgap's picture
stopgap 7 years 4 weeks ago

I think Trump meant…greatest WHICH hunt! As in…hunting for WHICH shoe will drop next.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 7 years 4 weeks ago

Or, which long red pinko tie in my closet should I wear to my deposition? (Da comrade, I swear to tell nothing but the pravda.) Who knew telling the truth would be so hard?

Tread lightly, Legend; you might stir the trolls. "Suddenly there was a huge roar. ‘Who’s that trip trapping over my bridge?’ and out from under the bridge loomed the Troll."

Ou812's picture
Ou812 7 years 4 weeks ago

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

Eleanor Roosevelt

mwalkerco's picture
mwalkerco 7 years 4 weeks ago

Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, W, Gerald Ford, RAYGUNS, more.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 7 years 4 weeks ago

...and tiny minds believe the lies of the Pussy Grabber and his hopelessly corrupt party.

Get real, hotdog lady; people come up with the insane ideas that destroy other people's lives, and people pull the lever for Republicans, who are vigorously dismantling our democracy as we speak and converting it to a corporate state! It is wing-nut people like you who are the problem, who generate and promote those destructive ideas.

And you, Ms./Mr. "washed up lefties," of all people are well versed in small-mindedness, so don't hide behind the skirt of a truly great liberal and progressive. In fact, why don't you study Eleanor Roosevelt's whole body of work, along with her husband's, instead of just cherry picking Google for choice, out-of-context quotes to make hypocritical points?

Scat! Back under the bridge, Troll!

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 7 years 4 weeks ago

What percentage of the population are FOX devotees? I think this overstates the influence of Ailes. Our deterioration goes back to Reagan's infamous "dumbing down of America" via launching the era of mass media mergers/consolidation. As many know, virtually all of the news that Americans get today is determined by just a small handful of corporate media bosses. They decide what information we should have (and how it should be presented), and what information should be withheld. In the 1990s, the Clinton wing gained significant influence over the media marketed to middle class liberals (online, MSNBC, etc.).

I think the greatest power has been in the Clinton wing of the Dem Party, who effectively divided and conquered the Dem voting base, splitting us apart (mainly by class). The past eight years confirmed that this split is permanent.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 7 years 4 weeks ago

I disagree that FOX played a very big role. They have merely preached to the choir. On the broader picture, the US had been in similar messes before, when the richest few gained too much power. Each time, the "masses" -- poor and middle class -- ultimately came together to push back, for the common good. The (neoliberal) Clinton wing achieved what Republicans had repeatedly failed to do: They split apart those who aren't on the right wing, pitting us against each other, middle class vs. poor. The past eight years confirmed that this split is permanent.

Gary Batch 7 years 4 weeks ago

Rupert Murdoch is the pupit master for Right Wing media thru out the world. Alies work for him. Murdoch is the person most responsable for the destruction of independent journalism and the consolidation of the news and entertainment [propaganda] industries.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 7 years 4 weeks ago

So true. And the other half of the equation is the gullible audience of self-righteous hypocrites who willingly gobble up all the falsehoods and simple-minded garbage and then regurgitate it back up to their families, friends, neighbors, and social media as if they're spreading the gospel truth, with no independent critical thinking or self-awareness.

Legend 7 years 4 weeks ago

The mainstream media is owned and operated by the 1%. Fox News is the leader of the right wing media and with its popularity has shifted the entire mainstream media further right. You can look at politifact and it also leads the mainstream media in lies. The people that watch it ( or the other liars such as Limbaugh) do not care if it is lies. It is what they want to hear and is comforting to them.

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 7 years 4 weeks ago

May he be reincarnated as a butterfly...in an aviary.

vitocaputo's picture
vitocaputo 7 years 4 weeks ago

Off topic - Posted here because Thom says posting to his blog is the best way to get his attention.

Not widely publicized — another way the health insurance industry is robbing us blind.


  • The federal government sued UnitedHealth Group on Tuesday alleging the Minnetonka-based health care company wrongly received from Medicare at least $1 billion in “risk adjustment” payments based on inaccurate data submissions.
  • The government took issue with what it called “one-sided” chart reviews that focused on maximizing taxpayer dollars to the nation’s largest health insurer, but didn’t correct errors that allegedly inflated the company’s revenue, according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

So... is it fair to call private health insurance a republican industry?

Ou812's picture
Ou812 7 years 4 weeks ago


You may not have noticed, but we had an election back in November 2016. The executive branch of the federal government is now run by the Republicans. The "Feds" who brought the law suit, are Republicans :))

Ou812's picture
Ou812 7 years 4 weeks ago


chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 4 weeks ago

Ou812 -- You need to watch Greg Palast's DVD, "The best democracy money can buy". The repugs stole the election back in November 2016.

Did the repugs bring the suit to destroy the risk corridor? I thought Marco Rubio's change to the ACA in December 2015 was enough to destroy it.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 7 years 3 weeks ago

The Rubio meme is been false and is documented as such many times here. Obamacare was dead in the water from the start and was designed to push this country into single payer system which it will eventually get to anyway. Keep your legs in good shape for standing in line waiting for a diagnosis from your government assigned physician.



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