I was out in the boondocks, having just interviewed an embattled southern Utah sheepherder, when I got a call from a woman who identified herself as a reporter for FOX news. She, too, was working on a story about embattled sheep ranchers, the difference being that in her story the villain would be the Federal Government.
In my version, the sheepherder himself was the endangered species, and his endangerment had nothing to do with sage grouse habitat. No, the problem is that nowadays it’s damn hard to earn a living raising sheep—same as it’s damn hard trying to earn a living as a freelance journalist. So I was naturally sympathetic to the rancher’s plight. However, I would NEVER turn to a bullshit artist like Sean Hannity for answers.
Prior to getting that call, I had thought of FOX as just another news outlet and not a propaganda arm of the far right. Also, having once worked in television, I labored under the impression that spreading falsehoods would be grounds for immediate dismissal. Fake News? No way!
As a television reporter, I customarily sought out stories in remote parts of the West that had no television reception. Wherever people did something other than watch TV and were thus forced to entertain themselves, you could count on finding human interest material. But then came satellites and satellite dishes, and as a result, no matter how far from the station you may live, Hannity and company come in loud and clear.
Thus it came to pass that my Volkswagen bus began to look out of place among the extended cab Dodge Rams and Silverados parked out front of Grafton’s Truck Stop in Kelly, Wyoming. Likewise, I felt out of place when I stepped inside.
“Hey Will! Let’s keep the smell of libtard snowflakes outta where we’re eatin’!”
Fact is, I am a liberal—no matter that I, too, came of age in a small Western town. Whenever someone asks why I left home, I tell them it’s because I got a driver’s license. And even if Mr. Trump were to miraculously resuscitate small farming, sheep ranching and the dying coal industry, the exodus of young people from small towns to larger cities will no doubt continue. Because, try as we might, some of us just don’t fit in.