Robert F. Kennedy Jr: Conservative Media Outlets Have “Divided Our Country” in a Way Probably Not Seen Since the Civil War

Daniel Doherty

12/8/2012 4:30:00 PM - Daniel Doherty

Oh my:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr told HuffPost Live host Josh Zepps in an interview Friday that he believes conservative media outlets such as Fox News are damaging the country.

Asked how he thought things have changed in the political landscape, Kennedy pointed to "big money" and "the right wing control of the American media, starting with Fox News" as hurtful to collaboration between differing political interests.

"Twenty-two percent of Americans say their primary news source is Fox News," Kennedy told HuffPost Live. "It's divided our country in a way that we haven't been divided probably since the Civil War, and its [sic] empowered large corporations to get certain kinds of politicians and ideologues who are in the United State Congress elected -- the Tea Party ideologues who control the Republican Party."

Kennedy, who is the nephew of John F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy and attorney specializing in environmental law, also spoke about the hydraulic fracturing -- or fracking -- and the health risks and associated costs the practice represents for the country.

Kennedy’s comments are both hysterical and ahistorical, of course, but they’re also completely misleading. (By the way, does he really believe that the United States was less polarized during the heady days of, say, the 1960s, when racial segregation and the war in Vietnam threatened to tear the nation asunder?) Nonetheless, he gleefully suggests that Fox News is endangering the country, and yet conveniently leaves out the fact that during the home stretch of the 2012 election cycle, MSNBC -- the flagship and most widely watched left-leaning network -- didn’t do a single negative story about Barack Obama. Yes, that’s correct. Zero negative stories. How on earth is this good for the nation?

Nor, of course, did he mention the fact that just last week MSNBC hosts Ed Shultz, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Al Sharpton all attended a meeting at the White House to advise the president on tax policy. It seems like the 'Lean Forward' network isn't even attempting to masquerade as an impartial news source anymore. Yes, Fox News has a right-leaning tilt, but the day to day national news cycle is clearly overwhelmingly controlled by -- and favorable to -- Democrats. And so for Kennedy to proclaim that “the right wing” controls the American media is -- at best -- a gross distortion, especially when one recalls how a number of major networks failed to report on the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya (for days at a time!) earlier this year -- an incomprehensible tragedy that left four Americans diplomats dead, including a sitting U.S. ambassador.