November 21, 2017

November 21, 2017

Right-wingers occasionally ask people on the left if there are any immigrants who’ve done such terrible things that they should be deported. To which I think we lefties are obliged to reply: Of course there are. I can think of one immigrant who has devoted himself with a single-minded fury to eroding democratic processes, stoking white anxiety and rage at racial “others,” and promoting fake news lest Americans catch on to the imbalances of economic power and the growth of plutocracy. (Well, double-minded: This immigrant also intended to make a great deal of money by doing this. And did.)

I speak, of course, of Rupert Murdoch.

To those who wonder how three-quarters of Republicans still tell pollsters that they think Donald Trump is doing a swell job, how millions of Americans still want to lock Hillary up, how they tremble in fear and rage at the New Black Panther Party and think that Christmas will soon be scrapped—wonder no more. That’s the world as presented night and day on Fox News, that endless cascade of fact-free news. There are, to be sure, countless talk-radio hosts who offer similar funhouse-mirror visions of the world to their listeners, but not since the late Dr. Goebbels has one man with such a malignant worldview beamed his message to so many people as has Australia’s very own Rupert.

It’s not as if the government has no experience in trying to deport troublesome Aussies. From the 1930s through the 1950s, the feds spent considerable time and energy trying to send Harry Bridges, the founder and longtime head of the West Coast Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, back to his native Australia, even though by the mid-1940s, he was an American citizen (as Murdoch is now). Bridges’s alleged sin was that in matters of foreign policy, he hewed tight to the Communist line, which the Supreme Court ultimately ruled wasn’t a deportable offense. Greatly to his credit, Bridges also built a model union, which remains the one great example in American labor relations of how a union can embrace radical technological change while ensuring that the workers reap the rewards from the higher levels of productivity.

Murdoch can claim no such distinction. His claim to fame, rather, is engendering so much fear in his viewers, so much white rage, that American democracy must now fight for its very life. Preserving the republic, as Lincoln realized, sometimes requires extraordinary measures. Let’s start by shipping Murdoch back where he came from.