In the 2012 presidential election, nearly every poll had predicted that Obama would win re-election. And nearly every commentator on Fox News predicted a Republican victory. Even when the actual results were coming in and it was becoming perfectly obvious that Obama was obliterating Romney in the delegate counts, Fox News was saying it was a close race with an uncertain outcome. They could not believe that reality was not conforming to their wishes. It was an amazing display of childish fantasy-thinking embodied in supposed grown ups.
Now, with almost no exceptions, nearly every poll for months has said that both Clinton and Sanders would win by large margins over any Republican candidate. And what does Bill O’Reilly have to say about it? “I don’t believe it. I just don’t.”
Because this inability to accept reality has characterized the Far Right for several years, we cannot dismiss O’Reilly’s remark as a mere fluke. This is a long-conditioned characteristic of the ultra-conservatives: They neither accept nor address reality and they actually believe they speak the truth, no matter how much they are contradicted by the facts.
I have seen the problem in other circles, not just conservative political views. I remember one couple who was dissatisfied with our church and were leaving the congregation. Two other couples, with whom they were quite close, had left a few weeks earlier. As we talked, they said they were worried about our church because “everybody is leaving. Will there be a church by tghe end of the year?”
I was happy to note what they had been too blind to see. Church attendance had grown by nearly 30% during the past year. Far from falling apart, the congregation was in a time of unusual growth. When people talk only with those who already agree with them, they not only cannot learn anything new, they can’t see reality at all.
O’Reilly and Hannity, like Limbaugh and Beck, are perfect examples of people who believe their own fantasies more than they believe the truth.