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Real-Life Frank Underwoods: Netflix, ‘House of Cards’ and Third Way


Real-Life Frank Underwoods: Netflix, ‘House of Cards’ and Third Way

Richard Eskow

Frank Underwood is known for deceiving people into acting against their own best interests. (We’ll miss you, President Walker.) Now we learn that this trait may extend to the series that features him.

The greatest betrayals on “House of Cards” can be found in the misleading arguments, presented as “truth,” that suggest that cutting “entitlements” is a necessity and raising taxes isn’t even an option.


Bingo. I found other instances, too, that were argued, but not strongly (drone killings, Russia as the “bad guy”). Not saying the Russians are wonderful, but when we portray them as doing things we would never do, it makes me roll my eyes.

Even though the actors do a great job, i’m going to downrate it and hope that others do the same.


Anyone who believes that all the new shows are just entertainment, well I’ll gladly send (for the modest sum of $5 cash or credit card) a brochure for a chance to invest in tropical beach-front property in Siberia.

Advertisements not only sell a particular product, but the acceptance of moral and ethical turpitude necessary for the continuation of the system. IT IS ALL SLIME.


“Underwood continues: “This (the number $32,781, displayed on a flip chart) is what the average senior gets in one year from entitlements …This money is a job we could be giving to a single mother or a student just out of school.”

Note how the motive to take from those in lower income brackets is rationalized by the lie that the money will go to help Single Moms. As if.

This is reminiscent of Scott Walker’s lies: those that allege to improve his state’s economy BY cutting unions/union jobs.

George Lakoff was right-on when it came to the use of FRAMES. By framing the issue as “either-or,” either SS gets money or the poor single mom, the FRAME does not expand to include the types of tax advantages and tax avoidance enjoyed by that same 1% corporate caste that’s gathered unto itself, ALL of the gains of the past 7-8 years, the interim of the last engineered (by their own craft of fiscal deception) Depression.

What works better in the art of propaganda than embedding The Necessary Messages into TV dramas? There, they are hidden in plain sight.

A key show during my Coming of Age was, “All in The Family.” Through it, Norman Lear gave Conservative Americans a chance to look in the mirror and ideally, modify (as in humanize) their racist and sexist views.

Today, with media controlled/owned by that same 1%, it’s not messages of tolerance being planted to advance the nation’s state of consciousness. To the contrary, this TV series allows the human devils of our land to push their philosophy in under the cognitive radar. The meme of self-interest along with winning at any cost is being sexed up. This is how a culture implodes.

Excellent article!


Bravo, Mr. Eskow… you did your homework on this analysis.

“That ends tonight,” says Underwood. “Tonight, I give you the truth.”

“There’s that idea again, that the corporate version of reality is “fact” or “truth.” We’re told that “the root of the problem” is “entitlements” – a favorite word in the corporate crowd because it has negative connotations. (We’ve written about that before.)”

I wish to add that another strategic component of OWNING the narrative is shown when words like We, Our, or (all) Americans are used to rubber stamp positions taken by elites–either the corporate world, and/or the military industrial complex.

This UNIFORMITY of content–alleging to speak for all–is another way of wiping out dissent and any alternative to the damned and deranged status quo,

It’s 100% authoritarian-NU-speak.


“We could cut our health care costs by as much as 40 percent by doing what other industrialized nations do: negotiating with drug companies, changing physicians’ financial incentives, and limiting the role of for-profit medicine.”

Mr. Eskow… how did Insurance Companies manage to miss this list?

Car insurance
Home–Property/renters’ insurance
Life insurance
Insurance (as in warranties) on products
Workmen’s comp. (= insurance)

These overlap when it comes to human beings’ health and safety.

Private Health insurance is insane! These Mafia types charge protection money for what arguably ails us when they allow the polluters to slowly kill us all.

Single payer is WAY overdue and THAT is closer to what other civilized nations allot to their citizens.


The art of false narratives, a lucrative industry pioneered by Edward Bernays and lifted to a high art by the likes of Frank Luntz and friends.

Let’s take a look at some of the most formidable ones used recently to twist this nation’s policies into a morally inverted pretzel:

“But he’s portrayed as someone who is capable of telling the political truth because he is a sociopath. Only he can see that our old people are spending us into oblivion, because only he is unafraid to take on the “special interests” and think the unthinkable.”

  1. So old people are spending us into oblivion.

  2. Don’t cha know that it was all those Negro home purchasers that caused the Great Recession of 2008. (Remember the right wing narrative pinning it ALL on ACORN?)

  3. That it would cost too much to label biogenetically mangled “food.”

  4. That Hillary and Jeb are the frontrunner candidates (in the American dynasty faux elections 3-decades and counting–grand political farce)

  5. That Saddam Hussein and/or 19 clueless pilot hijackers caused 911

  6. That Iran is a major threat to Middle East “stability”

  7. That illegal aliens are the reason for no jobs for Americans

  8. That Putin is a dangerous Hitler-like aggressor who’s attacking U.S. and European stability & related interests

  9. That the U.S. (and/or global) economy is vastly improving

  10. That Obama is committed to alternative energies

  11. That there is actual rivalry and oppositional policies demonstrated by today’s bought and sold out duopoly

  12. That the modern industrial world’s relationship to global warming is still under debate

  13. That the war on terror (anesthetizing key Civil Liberties) is designed to make us all safer


The dangers to a sold-out 4th estate are demonstrated by this list and other memes that distort the truth of matters so substantially as to cause segments of the citizenry to think and act from completely falsified information.


One more. This article got my blood boiling…

While it may be true that when it comes to S.S… “First they came for the Seniors,” let’s take a look at the national picture with a wider angle lens:

  1. The Black community has been gunned down (some of its youth) in broad daylight with the patriarchal guard system (uniformed police) exonerating their own murderers. Like their colleagues within privatized military installations, both now enjoy a license to kill.

  2. Young women are now targets. One in 5 are sexually abused at colleges and universities and most of these institutions want to hide the bad press rather than address or correct the problem. Meanwhile, Hollywood is sexing up little girls, thousands of children are abducted, lost or murdered each year, and sickening forms of porn are spreading like a Cancer to the Soul.

  3. Indigenous communities tend to be on the front lines of the new Eco-wars as battles over dangerous oil pipelines, fracking and its toxic residues (which taint water tables, rivers and streams), and reduced water access (part of a massive S.W. drought) are becoming new norms.

  4. Mexican, Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, and other “illegal aliens” are being forcibly torn from their families and deported.

  5. Muslim Americans are often under surveillance, candidates for hate crimes, and no doubt, living with fear inside The Homeland.

Who does that leave? The usual suspects. Caucasians… with white male Conservatives at the head of most packs.

The Anglo-Europeans who came to the Americas using brutal force to claim them, are working overtime to sustain THEIR dominant status.

I heard Roseann Barr speaking on Abby Martin’s RT program and she validated what I’ve been saying for some time. She said that women were fed up with the winners-losers narrative that men identify with; and that WE are tired of listening to men.

All their piss contests and all their phallic weapons have turned this garden planet into endless mine fields, DU tainted lands, dead seas, barren forests and so much else. They spread death while using the language of protection cum national security. And they increasingly sound and act like thugs from Organized Crime.

This TV show glorifies THAT ilk.

IT is the enemy to humanity!


SSN is not an entitlement…It is a program that has been funded by working Americans with money took from weekly paychecks and matched by employers…The USA GOVERNMENT has used it for a slush fund for wars and whatever by borrowing the money…So if the government pays back what it stole from us then ssn will always be solvent…DickHeAD GOP assBags always attack SSN calling it an entitlement…STOP CALLING it that you fkn douche-bags…LEAVE US ALONE we earned that money…so GFY assholes.


Television programs like “West Wing” and “Law and Order” were very much in the same vein. They were meant to promote a reality that does not in fact exist. They condition the masses even as they are lauded by critics as “realistic” and “revealing”.

They catered to that crowd that sees themselves as a more sophisticated viewer than those that would watch “Fox news” and an audience that embraces that myth that there Politicians that achieve power that are really in it for the little guy and all that need be done is get the right people elected.

The system is in fact a corrupt system and those that continue to insist that one can wok within such a system to create positive change are corrupted by it.


I watched this show at first. I am (or I was) a fan of Kevin Spacey.

But I got more and more upset with the propaganda of the show. It was the attacks on unions and teachers that was too much for me in the first season. The high production qualities, great acting and witty dialog were beside the point.

The show is sick and misleading and I stopped watching when Underwood found a way to break a union.


Sing it, Siouxrose - I couldn’t agree more. And moreover, every single farcical inverted “up is down” fiction you listed, are all verifiable using logic and evidence as pure lies. AND YET…people still drone and parrot them over and over.


Fantastic article - and I am by no means trying to get on a high horse or judge anybody - because I started watching House of Cards and it’s a very engaging show - the writing is fantastic, the direction and production are stellar and the acting is off the hook.

But it’s crap and it’s destructive too - for one simple reason. It is a rather crafty, sideways and cynical celebration of how completely rotten the American political apparatus has become - and in a greater sense, it is a reflection of a splinter in the American cultural psyche - the quiet sound of desperation which collapses into a morbid fascination with those who deceive for power.

To be a deceiver - a liar, a narcissist, a sociopath, a full-blown psychopath - these conditions are not glamorous. It’s disgusting. And yet, America sits and watches this crap, when they could be spending time doing something creative, like expanding individual knowledge of anything at all - history, art, a physical skill or trade craft - just to spend time creating something for the sheer pleasure of it, or reading a book - would be time better spent than watching this crap.

It puts bad ideas in your head, and when it isn’t doing that it’s reinforcing the silent desperation and reflections of recrimination that come from observing a train wreck in slow motion, wanting to do something about it, but yet not being able to muster the moral courage to simply do something about it (and instead watch a f’ing TV show that essentially glorifies it.

Again - not getting on a high horse. I just started watching it to see what it is that the agenda is. And I’ve worked (briefly, and much to my chagrin) with “inside the beltway” people. And let me tell you - it’s a dirty film that is on people in that arena - everyone is on the take, and everyone is desperately trying to hook any kind of deal to make money or create power that they can possibly get.

It’s pathetic and sad. It’s no way for adult human beings to act. DC is in big trouble culturally. It’s rotten from aft to stern.

And to round it out, I’m also not lambasting Hose of Cards wholly or individually. In fact, there is a kind of sarcastic exposure of this element of our culture in that show - it’s partially that too. That’s what makes it so addictive, provocative and enticing.

But you can’t throw a stone without seeing some kind of tragically unhealthy, poorly crafted, highly destructive bullshit and overexposed media in this country. The action movies where people are constantly and unrealistically being blown up and shot - and it’s sex, sex, sex, everywhere. Don’t get me wrong - I’m not a prude, but cheap sexual imagery isn’t where that aspect of our existence should live. It lives in intimacy.

And I’m not trying to be gloom and doomy - because there’s always something bigger going on in the human experience. But sometimes that comes right after a major storm cleans house, and the way I see it - we’re in trouble here - at this particular time.

Maybe it’s time to turn off the TV - literally AND metaphorically. I’m not standing on a soapbox judging anybody, but I just don’t give it any power anymore, and I try my best not to waste my time with it.


Exactly. It’s not about complex conspiracy or the taboo of conspiracy (which is itself a psyop designed to get you NOT to think).

EVERYTHING is a conspiracy, because a conspiracy is just people (plural) acting in concert based on an agenda. That’s EVERYTHING covered - all human activity falls into that classification.

Ergo…TV is always created with an agenda (above and beyond just making money).