Someone in our society, I'm not sure whether it was Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh or a host of other suspects, discovered that you don't have to be reasonable to be heard. In fact, stating a lie or a fractured fact has more impact. By the time the truth chases down the misstatement, it is too late. We have a new set of master propagandists at work in our society and for that I blame, in part, colleges, where the study of these dark arts has evolved over the last century. (Who said everything you learn is supposed to have a socially beneficial outcome or even that potential?)
The propagandists have a huge, national testing laboratory in Fox News, talk radio and, bringing up the rear, the Internet. Put something out there and watch it fly! Our society has become a super enlarged version of the old rumor game where one person whispers something to the next person at a dinner table and by the time it comes back to the first speaker, the story has transmogrified into something fantastic and unrecognizable.
What happened? The establishment lost control of the narrative. Acting like insurgents, the Republican party built itself a better noise machine than the Democrats could ever imagine. Hating government as a starting point, the Republicans are free to say anything with no worry about collateral damage, because they are HOPING for collateral damage, if nothing else.
Sadly, the public has bought into the left/right mythological dichotomy promoted by talk radio since the 1980s. Post anything online and a host of protectors of ideological fortresses will immediately arise to label any opinion with a left or right badge, meaning it can be ignored.
Since Reagan, the Republicans have proclaimed the invention of a new set of economic realities. Another act of hubris, yet it all fits into the sham analysis that one side is ruining America while another wants to save it. The fact that people buy into the supposition is the first step to disaster.