(Right Wing) Fauxrage: An Infantile Disorder

The Urban Dictionary has accepted my definition for Fauxrage.

Cross-posted at Kos

Fauxrage: n. fo-rage., fô r?j?

Frenzy created by media or blogs to inflate a usually minor, perceived offense into a major scandal or continuing political event.

Congress, in a fit of fauxrage, passed a resolution condemning a newspaper ad about a General. The fauxrage was stoked primarily by Faux News.

We now observe fauxrage almost daily.  The endless loops of the good Rev. Wright provided the uber fauxrage of the campaign so far, but just recently, we had Republican and media fauxrage at:


Obama [compassionately] saying he wouldn’t punish his daughters by forcing them to have a baby.

Ed Schultz [accurately] calling McCain a “warmonger.”

A 16-year-old who [justifiably] asked McCain a question and was called a “heckler.”

Obama [sociologically] saying that bitter people cling to guns or religion.

Join me below for a Brief History of Fauxrage

Fauxrage: A Brief History

1992-2000: The Roots of Fauxrage: The Clinton Jihad

Fauxrage became a fully developed technique in 1992, when right wing slime merchants and their media allies (yes, I’m talkin’ to you, Jeff Gerth & the Times), came after Clinton for having the temerity to prematurely end permanent Republican rule.  There’s no need to review the lunacy of the ’90s, in which grotesquely pompous, philandering Republicans like Gingrich, Livingston and Hyde inveighed passionately against Clinton’s manifold sins.  The full flowering of cable news blowhards and hate radio ranters stoked the fauxrage for eight years, only to be frustrated by Clinton’s continued popularity.

1999-2000: Taking it out on Gore

Maddened by Clinton’s Teflon, in 1999-2000 the blowhards and Republicans revved up a war against Al Gore. This horror continues to be exhaustively documented by Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler.  Fauxrage reached its nadir during the 2000 debates, when one guy was excoriated for sighing and getting the name of some FEMA guy wrong, while the other guy got away with lying and demonstrating abysmal ignorance on nearly every important issue.  

2002: The Wellstone Memorial

The efflorescence of Fauxrage in the new century was the Wellstone Memorial, where grief-stricken family, friends and political allies dared to make passionate, partisan speeches for a passionate, partisan hero.  This was too much for emo Senators in attendance like Trent Lott, who apparently had to be revived with smelling salts and eau de catfish.

Yet because the reality of the Memorial was insufficient to stoke a critical mass of fauxrage, the Wurlitzer revved up and outrageously lied about what happened. Al Franken has a chapter on this in Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them  Right wing writers who were not there repeated lies they heard from others who were there.  As Franken relates in the Huff Post, Limbaugh was in full, despicable cry:

Rush Limbaugh claimed that the audience was “planted,” when, in fact, Twin Cities’ radio and TV had to tell people to stay away because Williams Arena was jammed to capacity three hours before the Memorial was scheduled to begin. Thousands were crowded into an overflow gym to watch on a screen and thousands watched outside on a cold, late October night.

A pained Limbaugh asked his audience the day after the memorial: “Where was the grief? Where were the tears? Where was the memorial service? There wasn’t any of this!”

This was a lie. I was there. Along with everyone else, I cried, I laughed, I cheered. It was, to my mind, a beautiful four-hour memorial.

Franken’s meticulous account of the multiple, conscienceless lies about the Memorial by right wing talkers is guaranteed to provoke real and justifiable rage.  Everyone should read it.  You are guaranteed to punch the nearest wall as hard as you can.

2004: The Passion of Mary Cheney

In 2004, Lynn Cheney proved extremely adept at fauxrage by playing the pained, furious Mom reacting to John Kerry’s supposed “outing” of her daughter Mary as a lesbian during the last debate. The next morning, Lynne righteously proclaimed Kerry’s mention of Mary as “cheap and tawdry” and, referring to Kerry, said, “This is not a good man.”  Who can argue with a Mom defending her daughter (even if the Mom herself had written a steamy lesbian potboiler, and the daughter was long “out”). The Mary Cheney fauxrage effectively eclipsed Bush’s blatant and easily provable debate lie:  “I just don’t think I ever said I’m not worried about Osama bin Laden,” calling it “one of Kerry’s ex-ag-ger-ations.”  

2006: Real rage trumps fauxrage

In 2006, even Karl Rove could not stoke the fires of fauxrage in the face of the actual rage boiling over in voters across the country.  Weak attempts like supposed horror over Kerry’s botched joke could not overcome the real issues of the endless war, rampant corruption, the Foley page scandal and cover-up and real bigotry by the likes of Macaca George Allen

2008: Daily and sometimes hourly fauxrage

As described above, this campaign, we’re seeing day after day after day of fauxrage.  Much of it passes quickly without sticking, but other fauxrage, like Wright and “bitter/cling,” go on and on ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

Remember the brief fauxrage of the Dean “blatant opportunist” comment:

In response to McCain’s “American John McCain is an American who loves America” ad, Howard Dean issued a statement saying that Americans want a real leader, not:

a blatant opportunist who doesn’t understand the economy and is promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years.

The RNC went apeshit in response:

Howard Dean owes John McCain an immediate apology and both Senators Clinton and Obama should unequivocally denounce this disgraceful attack.

And of course, there was the “lost bearings” fauxrage.  Even Holy Joe got into that act.

What are your “favorite” examples of fauxrage?

Take the poll!  Predict the next fauxrage eruption!

Is the Pony/Pie/Hide rating system too cutsie?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

11 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. And extra mojo for any political science majors, red diaper babies or members of the Class of ’68 who can identify the reference in the title.

  2. Just visit CSPAN, anytime, any day the House is in session. Can’t believe my ears sometimes listening to the nonsense some of these clowns sanctimoniously spew and they’re getting paid for this!

    Nice piece, Upper West, sorry I got here so late.

Comments have been disabled.