Author News and Book Reports
Chris Hayes takes aim at Rush Limbaugh's well-financed, denialist 'alternative empirical reality'
With an introduction by Florida State Senator Dan Gelber, the host of the All in with Chris Hayes news and opinion show on the MSNBC cable news network and bestselling author Chris Hayes took the stage before a packed audience at Miami Dade College, host of the 2012 Miami Book Fair International, America's largest and longest-running book fair. Hayes got to the heart of his new book Twilight of the Elites, recently released in trade paperback (Crown Publishing Group; June, 2013), pointing to the Republican 'polling debate' in the 2012 election, in which Republicans asserted that the polls were all wrong and convinced themselves that former Governor Mitt Romney would easily defeat President Barack Obama, who as it turned out won by over 5 million votes--in line with what the polls had been predicting all along. Proceeding to break down the relationship between trust and knowledge and consensus vs. truth, Hayes points to the elite alternative empirical reality on climate change, in which scientific research is replaced with demagoguery in the public discourse, leading to a crisis of trust, compounded by events such as Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, financial meltdown, Twitter and 24-hour cable news, which, following on the heels of a 'crisis of trust,' has resulted in a 'crisis of authority' and dysfunctional governance focused more on the sexual escapades of former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner and disgraced C.I.A. Director General Petraeus instead of unemployment and global warming. Hayes went on to define elites as people with enormous power and influence largely derived from economic inequality that has made less than 1% of the U.S. population unimaginably wealthy while 47% of the U.S. population is at or below the poverty line, and promotes dangerous pathologies (such as alternate empirical realities) at the top. Hayes wrapped his presentation with a prime example of how corrosive accelerating inequality leads to the crumbling of the system of American meritocracy, a fundamental building block of the proverbial 'American Dream' before taking questions from the audience on the meaning and implications of 'American exceptionalism'; the 'massive denialist campaigns' funded by wealthy elites and right wing talk radio host Rush Limbaugh's four pillars of deceit rant, condemning government, academia, media and science; continued economic inequality despite gains in racial and gender equality; the current political battleground of voting rights vs. voter suppression; how profits and program ratingsproduce unhealthy media theatrics and audience polarization that add to dysfunction and inequality; the issue of joblessness, which he characterized as'setting people on fire'; and he handles guests, topics, and audience ratings on his own MSNBC cable network show.