Brainwashing Blames Conservative Media for Hate

Jen Senko is mourning the loss of her father … to the right-wing media machine.

The documentary filmmaker says her dad changed for the worse after getting a steady dose of Fox News and other conservative outlets. This genteel soul suddenly hated gay people, minorities and even … Democrats.


Her upcoming film, The Brainwashing of My Dad, tries to explain just what happened. The film, hitting New York and L.A. theaters March 18, suggests conservative new media is brimming with hateful messages folks like Senko’s father lap up.

The film lets Noam Chomsky, one of the culture’s most hard-left voices, explain why a steady dose of, say, Bill O’Reilly, can warp unsuspecting viewers. Other experts quizzed for the film include fellow liberals like David Brock and radio host Thom Hartmann. Sounds fair and balanced, no?

Senko wants a world where the New York Times, NPR and the evening news broadcasts once more control the media narrative. Today, those outlets still pack a considerable influence, but independent voices also can be heard. And, in many cases, the latter can crush or carry the narrative du jour.

The documentary might be less laughable had it come out a decade ago, when the left first realized their media monopoly was in jeopardy. That the film will reach theaters in 2016 shows that some cultural observers clearly don’t get out much.

Labeling conservative media as nothing more than hate is the equivalent of dis-inviting Ben Shapiro to a college event. Shut up, please, our arguments are so rickety they cannot withstand much of a challenge.

It’s easy to cherry pick a few moments from any news outlet to show it in an unflattering light. The trailer features the far-right Michael Savage, a radio show host who hardly could be considered mainstream.


It’s likely Brainwashing won’t attack MSNBC for its routinely hostile content. And the expletive-laden gags flowing from late night comics to the GOP also are unlikely to appear. That’s not hateful though, right?

The film’s trailer trots out Hillary Clinton’s famous “vast right-wing conspiracy” sound bite to buttress the point. Of course, Clinton’s battle cry proved to be nonsense given the context. Her husband did have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky, and the so-called right-wing conspiracy had nothing to do with it.

They, mostly in the form of the fledgling Drudge Report, simply broadcast reality to an unsuspecting nation. Remember, Newsweek had the Lewinsky scoop but sat on it.

That’s the media world Senko wants back.

Her film had a 2015 screening at a festival held by far-left filmmaker Michael Moore. In an interview with the left-leaning Daily Beast, she hoped for the return of the Fairness Doctrine. That censorship has long since sailed.

Christian Toto is a freelance writer and the editor of


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