Writer Garrett M. Graff has condensed into one brilliant essay what we have been trying to warn Americans about since this blog’s inception in 2004: that Fox News poses an existential threat to our country and it is not because of its conservative viewpoint.
If Fox were merely conservative, promoting conservative ideas, politicians and the like, I would not and I doubt any of the present or former writers for this blog would have an objection. The problem is that the network has always been a vehicle for divisive, partisan propaganda. In the age of Trump, that divisive, partisan propaganda has taken the network to new depths of destructiveness.
Garrett’s must-read piece in Wired highlights the Fox perniciousness seen in the wake of the recent impeachment hearings and yesterday’s hearing with the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Although Horowitz busted the Fox/right-wing "witch hunt" conspiracy theory in finding that the FBI properly predicated its Russia investigation, Garrett notes, “Fox spent the night describing an upside-down world where the president’s enemies had spun a web of lies about Trump and Ukraine, even as Horowitz blew open the base corruption that has driven every attack on the president since 2016.”
It’s worse than lunacy, though. Fox’s bubble reality creates a situation where it’s impossible to have the conversations and debate necessary to function as a democracy. Facts that are inconvenient to President Trump simply disappear down Fox News’ “memory hole,” as thoroughly as George Orwell could have imagined in 1984.
The idea that Fox News represents a literal threat to our national security, on par with Russia’s Internet Research Agency or China’s Ministry of State Security, may seem like a dramatic overstatement of its own—and I, a paid contributor to its competitor CNN, may appear a biased voice anyway—but this week has made clear that, as we get deeper into the impeachment process and as the 2020 election approaches, Fox News is prepared to destroy America’s democratic traditions if it will help its most important and most dedicated daily viewer.
The threat posed to our democracy by Fox News is multifaceted: First and most simply, it’s clearly advancing and giving voice to narratives and smears backed and imagined by our foreign adversaries. Second, its overheated and bombastic rhetoric is undermining America’s foundational ideals and the sense of fair play in politics. Third, its unique combination of lies and half-truths has built a virtual reality so complete that it leaves its viewers too misinformed to fulfill their most basic responsibilities as citizens to make informed choices about the direction of the country.
Fox’s clear willingness to parry the wingnuttiest ideas in service of the president, long-term implications to the United States be damned, should worry all concerned about the state of the United States. The Ukraine myth is hardly the only example; for years, it has repeated false conspiracies about the murder of Democratic staffer Seth Rich, a conspiracy literally cooked up by Russian intelligence and fed into the US media. (To say nothing of Fox’s long-term commitment to undermining and questioning climate science, leaving the US both behind in mitigating the worst effects of climate change and also ill-equipped to face the myriad security consequences of a warming planet.)
100%, Mr. Graff.
This is why we speak out. This is why I continue with this blog despite other pressing obligations and aspirations and the overwhelmingly toxic nature of Fox’s content.
I do not believe in trying to silence Fox or boycotting its advertisers. I believe in exposing and pressuring it as, for example, Media Matters successfully pressured Sinclair into dropping Boris Epshteyn "must runs" by drawing attention to them. Let's hope there are many other Graffs ready and willing to join the club of speaking out.
I urge everybody to read the entire article.
(Hannity image via screen grab)
This sexist, racist network dress their female anchors like Barbie dolls to attract their male audience. Another marketing move created by the “think tanks”, aka senior executives, led by the late Ailes.
The network won’t be number one for long. There’s another conservative network slithering in the waters waiting to snatch up a few Fox “News” mouthpieces.
This network has deep pockets to offer the mouthpieces more than what Fox is giving them.
Current contracts at this demonic network called “Fox News” are set to expire. Watch the war begin.
If we look at the history of this endeavor, and include with it the work of AM Radio shouters like Limbaugh and his copycats, we can see that the major problems started back in the late 1980s and have only compounded themselves since then.
Throughout the 1990s, AM Radio and then Fox News by 1996 led a steady drumbeat of angry Right Wing coverage of any event. Major Right Wing spin was put on any event that occurred. If Bill Clinton said something, it was to be ridiculed and attacked. If Bob Dole said something, it was to be celebrated. When the GOP went after Clinton with the impeachment, Fox News was in an ecstatic state, noting the courage of the brave Republicans and the terrible immorality of the Clintons. Bill O’Reilly regularly weighed in on how terrible the Clintons were and how much Clinton deserved to be impeached, convicted and tossed out of the White House. O’Reilly would famously have a tiff with Geraldo Rivera when the latter man had the temerity to note how obviously partisan and pointless the Clinton impeachment had been. To O’Reilly and to pretty much every Fox News personality, Clinton’s actions were the worst thing that had ever happened in the history of the Republic – worse even than Watergate, which they discussed as being a regrettable but smaller event. (And that impeachment turned out incredibly well for the Republicans and Fox News – it put a smear onto the Gore campaign in 2000 and allowed W to play like he was going to “restore morality” to the Oval Office. And it played out just like they wanted.)
Let’s not forget that it was Fox News that called the disputed 2000 election for W before that was even the case. And by poisoning the water when the outcome was in doubt, Fox News set up the propaganda approach that Gore was a sore loser who couldn’t accept that W had won. (No matter that the only actual recount showed that Gore had won the state of Florida by 72 votes…)
For 8 long years of the W White House, Fox News played as the official house organ, even as W led the economy straight into the ditch, and allowed Cheney to lead the military into vicious actions that effectively created ISIS and caused much of the world to draw back in shock and anger. (To this day, W and Cheney cannot travel to various foreign countries as they are wanted for war crimes and there are actual warrants drawn up for them.)
When President Obama had the temerity to be elected to the highest office, Fox News went into overdrive to attack him and delegitimize him. Any and every thing he said and did would be attacked and countered – to a level we’d frankly never seen before. A meeting conducted during President Obama’s inauguration with Right Wing higher-ups like Gingrich and Rove established a strategy to systematically obstruct every single thing they could to stymie that “awful black man in the White House”. Suddenly, we were hearing on Fox News about potential impeachment of President Obama nearly every other week – based on Joe Sestak, or Solyndra or Fast & Furious or Lois Lerner or whatever other boogeyman Fox News wanted to wave. Vicious personal attacks against the Obamas were tolerated and only occasionally given a weak wrist smack.
And after 30 years of constant propagandizing and smearing and attacking, is it any wonder that we’ve reached the nadir we see today? Is it any wonder that Fox News and its fans are living in practically a different reality than everyone else in the world?
Fox News has spent its entire 23 year history trying to poison our discourse. In fairness, they’ve been a threat to democracy throughout their existence.
Bad joke to ‘trigger the libs’ or wet dream Mike just woke from?
It’s contagious, as I’ve pointed out before, there’s a whole cottage industry of extreme MAGA hero worship Trump art like the infamous Stallone body photoshop. Now this from @TeamTrump:
“Campaign edits Time ‘Person of the Year’ cover to show Trump’s face on Thunberg’s body”
North Korean propaganda doesn’t go this far!
But what is the purpose of all of the propaganda on Fox today? Most of the economic and national security ideas that Republican’s have held dear for decades are being trashed by Trump. I mean it is likely Trump will pull the US out of NATO if he gets reelected! Where are the principled ideas? All they have left are the social issues. And the social issues were simply a way to get the rubes to vote Republican, most of the social ideas were, at best, second tier in importance.
The Republican party is simply a shell of its former self, and the pursuit of power for its own sake has supplanted all other considerations. They simply have lost their souls to Trumpism, and apparently their minds as well.