Every so often, a right-wing commentator who purports to abhor dishonesty among media elites admits that they’ve been guilty of dishonestly purveying propaganda.
These figures are not marginal.
In the final years of the Bush administration it was Rush Limbaugh, easily the most popular talk-radio host on the right, who responded to GOP losses in Congress by admitting that he hadn’t been leveling with his listeners about their political party. He declared, “I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don’t think deserve having their water carried. Now, you might say, ‘Well, why have you been doing it?’ Because the stakes are high! Even though the Republican Party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country’s than the Democrat Party does.”
Then it was Glenn Beck, looking back on his stint as one of the right’s most popular cable-news hosts, admitting to Megyn Kelly in 2014, “I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart,” a reference to his rise to national fame fueled by scrawling unhinged conspiracy theories on chalkboards.
One day in the future, it may be Tucker Carlson, who is perfectly capable of producing high-quality, honorable journalism, apologizing for the damage done by the mercenary pandering that he instead broadcasts on national television, squandering his God-given gifts while disrespecting himself and his audience.