As special counsel Robert Mueller files the first charges in the Trump/Russia investigation, FoxNews obsesses over Hillary Clinton and spins stories about her colluding with Russia over uranium mines. It attacks Republican senators like Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, and John McCain, who fail to display the proper amount of reverence and devotion to the orange demi-god who presides over our nation with beneficent malevolence from a golf course somewhere on one of his own resorts. Is it any wonder the network dropped its “Fair and Balanced” slogan after Trump’s inauguration?
George Orwell, the author of 1984, described a “two-minute hate,” in which the government forced citizens to watch films designed to whip up hatred for Big Brother’s political enemy, Emmanuel Goldstein. FoxNews has taken Orwell’s two-minute hate and turned it into a twenty-four hour per day fire hose. It sprays sewage all over the political landscape every day in service to one man: Donald Trump. Eat your heart out, Big Brother.
FoxNews no longer presents the news as such. Its sole purpose is to run interference for the Trump administration by spreading propaganda and lies to the Trumpkin masses. It fosters resentment and rage, promotes inane conspiracy theories, and encourages hate for all opponents of Buffoon Big Brother. Diatribes on Fox and Friends, Hannity, and Tucker Carlson Tonight keep the mouth-breathers in tune and in line – and away from other outlets like CNN or NBC.
FoxNews puts the “fake” in fake news, and Trump and his followers eat it up. FoxNews is their church. It makes them feel better about themselves. It tells them they’re right. It tells them they’re in a war to defend the country against evil liberals, illegal immigrants, and ungrateful NFL players who seek to destroy it. They’re the truth and the light. They’re on God’s side. They say “Merry Christmas!”
Conservatives inclined to defend FoxNews as a legitimate news source claim it serves as a counterbalance to the rest of the news media, which is biased toward liberals. While it may be true that outlets like the New York Times and MSNBC skew left, they at least try to offer legitimate news to the public along with their editorial comments.
On FoxNews, the editorial has taken over. For every journalist of integrity like Bret Baier or Chris Wallace, there are a multitude of nitwits like Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade spinning the Trump party line. For every thoughtful commentator like Steve Hayes or Charles Krauthammer, there are hordes of Trumpian boot-lickers like Jeanine Pirro, Jesse Waters, and Lou Dobbs.
Even if other news outlets were as prone to providing full-throated service to one politician and his allies as FoxNews (and that’s a big “if”), is the appropriate response to abandon journalistic ethics, become as unfair and imbalanced as possible, and conduct deliberate misinformation campaigns?
FoxNews does the country no service when it blatantly panders to its audience with alternative facts and slavish Trump devotion to keep market share.
In a healthy democracy, voters have news sources on which they can rely to stay informed with real facts, not fake ones. Some sources provide more in-depth coverage and analysis than others, and some lean one way or the other, but none act as semi-official propaganda arms for a particular political party – and especially not one specific person.
If America is sick, it’s because of too many in the news media, especially at FoxNews, seek ratings by telling their audience what they want to hear. If America is polarized, it’s because too many in the news media, especially at FoxNews, have picked a side. They don’t inform. They propagandize. They sow discord, grievance, and paranoia. They demonize other Americans and stoke the fires of hatred.
Is it any wonder Trump supporters cheered when he mocked a handicapped New York Times reporter on national television? Is it surprising they defend every lie, every puerile insult, and every racist dog whistle? Is it shocking they deflect attention from Trump’s record of failure, ignorance, and incompetence by attacking Hillary Clinton? Could Trump really shoot someone on 5th Avenue and count on Sean Hannity to blame the victim? I bet he could.
Meanwhile, the country is embroiled in bitterness, anger, and finger-pointing. White supremacists march in our streets, the president calls them “fine people,” and the hosts of Fox and Friends mock anyone who disagrees.
If the producers at FoxNews really want to make America great again, they could start by draining the swamp in their own newsroom.