The Virginia gubernatorial race is effectively tied and has been for two months now according to Five Thirty Eight's averages. Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's lead has gone from six points to two since August and in October alone Republican Glenn "I'm Not Trump, But..." Youngkin has been within three points for the whole month.
We all know that right-wingers often won't acknowledge the same basic set of facts as the rest of us. But the right doesn't just look at major news stories and disagree on the facts -- it also has a separate set of top stories that are unknown to the rest of us but are, to the right, harbingers of the end of civilization as we know it. Right now, several such stories are arousing anger on the right. They are:
- Reports that a teenager sexually assaulted two students in separate schools in Loudoun County, Virginia. As the right tells it, in the first of these assaults, the assailant was a"skirt-wearing male student" who described himself as "genderfluid" and who committed the assault in a girls' bathroom, just as the county was considering a rule allowing students to use the bathroom of their choice.
- Claims that Dr. Anthony Fauci personally approved extremely cruel scientific and scientifically unnecessary experiments on beagles.
- Allegations that the crowd at the January 6 Stop the Steal rally occupied the Capitol because they were goaded to do so by a provocateur who's being protected by the FBI.Right-wingers think the existence of a provocateur on January 6 exonerates all the arrested participants (even though the participants were adults with free will who, if the story is accurate, were encouraged but not forced to become a rioting mob). They think the experiments partly funded by money from the National Institutes of Health are among the many signs of Dr. Fauci's limitless depravity (even though when Snopes looked into an earlier version of the story in August, it could find no evidence that Fauci had any personal involvement in the approval of the experiments, and even though it could find no evidence of animal cruelty.) They think the Loudoun school bathroom policy is linked to the assault even though it's unclear whether the assailant was actually a "skirt-wearing male student." (No one claims the assailant was dressed in a "genderfluid" was for the second incident, which took place despite the fact that the alleged assailant was wearing an ankle monitor.)
These are huge stories on the right. If right-wing voters turn out in big numbers for Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia governor's race or donate large amounts of money to Trumpist, Fauci-averse candidates, these stories are among the reasons why. And yet if you get your news from the mainstream media, you probably aren't aware of them at all -- which means that virtually all the available information on the stories is slanted or distorted in a way that favors the right.
A long time ago ago, in the early years of the last Democratic president's time in office, there were voices in the mainstream media arguing that the MSM should pay more attention to what the right-wing press was talking about. Many people on the left were repulsed by that idea, saying that the mainstream press shouldn't make bad-faith right-leaning media voices their "assignment editors." Some of that criticism makes sense -- the mainstream press shouldn't cover stories from the right-wing fever swamp the way the right-wing media covers them -- but it's still good for the mainstream media to be an honest counterbalance on stories that are being successfully turned into propaganda reaching a large portion of the country. If right-wing media sources identify someone they believe was a January 6 provocateur working with the FBI to sabotage the MAGA movement and that's not the case, wouldn't it be best if the mainstream media acknowledged the story's existence and debunked the right's reporting? If right-wingers and animal lovers think Anthony Fauci is sadistically okaying cruel treatment of animals and he isn't, wouldn't it be beneficial for that to be disproved?