The entity known as the far-right conservative entertainment show Fox News Network has become a big problem for America. Under the reign of Donald Trump, which never would have been possible without them, a new Dark Ages era of falsehood and deception has begun. Their talking heads have become a sort of private-sector State TV, and by the day they become more brazen.
They are one of the main reasons why the World Freedom Index no longer rates America as a full democracy and haven’t in two years- since Trump took over. It is why last year’s Blue Wave was so globally critical.
Something has to stop them eventually, and the American people still can if they decide to rise up righteous. We’ve got to raise awareness about Fox “News”. They are not a real news station legally as well as in fact. They are not subject to airwave regulation by the FCC because they are just a cable show.
They can lie whenever they want without any penalty. And they do!
Judging from current events, it’s hard to pick a winner as to which recent event inspired us to write this story now; any other day would have done as well. The now-infamous Pelosi hit video on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” seems a reasonable place to begin.
Facebook, which has resolved on being dishonest and Russian infested itself, refused to take it down, which got a lot of justified heat slung at them, but they weren’t the real culprits this time. Liar Fox hosts were, but that didn’t raise many eyebrows. The whole world has known for years they’re just right-wing talking heads. Most of us have long since gotten used to being lied to by Fox, and we know on whose behalf.
The Republican Party, and the monopoly capitalists worldwide who are footing the bill for them.
The Republican Party, or more accurately its extremist wing known as the Tea Party and Fox “News” have a lot in common. They have the same ostensible values, but more importantly, they share the same financiers. The New York Times did a piece in 2010 titled “The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party.”
Libertarian Rupert Murdoch, the creator of Fox “News”, is a billionaire and was numbered in stone among their ranks before he retired. His fellow libertarians and allies Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries were the other chief culprits, unsurprisingly. Koch-supported lobbyists, foundations and political operatives are at the center of climate-science denial — a cause that forestalls threats to Koch Industries’ vast fossil fuel business.
Which “news network” has been pushing that line the loudest? We don’t even have to tell you.
As we have discussed many times on this blog, “libertarian” is the new word for monopoly capitalist, or fascist. Whenever you think of Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries, that’s who we’re talking about. A total media monopoly has been a Koch agenda item for years. Hawaiian representative Tulsi Gabbard, of all people, plays a strange role in their world. The arch-villains of Occupy Wall St, a dark money private political empire designed to promote far-right causes.
The Murdoch family is one of the biggest players. The amount of money they have formally given to the Republican Party is vast. Who knows what they’ve been up to since Citizens United? One can only speculate, and look at what we know for sure in the meantime.
Kathleen Ronayne at OpenSecrets.org put together the following statistics, leaving no doubt who Fox and the Republicans are getting their bread buttered by.
Since the 1990 election cycle, Murdoch has contributed about $750,000 to federal candidates and political committees, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Of that sum, 80 percent — or $600,200 — has benefited Republican candidates and committees, including a $250,000 contribution to the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 1990s, when the committee could still accept unlimited “soft money” donations.
These days it’s the son of Rupert, Lachlan Murdoch, who has run the place since 2017, and he is no better than his father.
When he took over, he promptly sold nearly every anti-Trump asset they had to Disney, including the Simpsons, their one contribution to humanity. King of the Hill too, I suppose, but on the other hand, we lost Beavis and Butthead out of the deal.
Speaking as a private citizen, I don’t think it was worth it. Every day, like boll weevils, they eat away at the strands of what Americans believe is going on.
Earlier today, when Robert Mueller made his first public statement regarding the report that bears his name regarding the Russian interference in our election, they swung into action right away. Headlines bearing such trivial names as “Laura Ingraham says Mueller ‘attempting to resuscitate the corpse’ of his report'” and “Mueller statement made for ‘bad day’ for Pelosi, 2020 Dems, Trump campaign manager says” proliferated all over the Internet within an afternoon.
The people claiming that the contents of the Mueller Report are anything but a disaster of the highest scale for America are part of the problem, and as usual, Fox hosts are leading the charge. The wrigglings of Sean Hannity were as loathsome as those of Glenn Greenwald (almost; at least the former will admit what team he’s on). We’re not going to get into that in this article, however. We’re going to stick with Fox and hope that Mr. Mueller won’t mind too much our lack of focus in his work today.
Fox “News”, for never again will we write the very words without using quotation marks, a practice I am hoping will catch on, is not really a news station at all. It’s part of 21st Century Fox, a cable entertainment network, and this is of the utmost importance because it explains why they can lie to us this way so systematically.
MediaBiasFactCheck provides the background.
Founded in 1996 by Rupert Murdoch, Fox News Channel, also known as Fox News, (FNC) is an American basic cable and satellite news television channel that is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox.
Catch that? Entertainment! This will set the standard for our entire evaluation of this clumsy version of State TV we derisively call “Faux News”. Cable networks are not real news networks, at least not in the sense that the Big Three stations (NBC, ABC, CBS) are, because they do not go out over the airwaves. They are therefore not subject to Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, airwave regulation.
Cable television is far less regulated and held to standards far less rigorous than a real television station. They alone are the supreme arbiters of what they can say or not say during their slots of television, and cannot get in trouble for lying, which they do constantly. They are in no way the same as a Big Three airwave station.
To get our neighbors to see how worthless Fox really is, we need one simple equation and to raise awareness about it.
News is “fake news” if it has no journalistic standards, be they chosen or enforced by airwave laws and the FCC.
Fox will lose all its power to mislead our people with lies if we raise enough awareness about this fact, which is, of course, the goal of this article. Fox But we’ll get back to that. In the meantime, let’s look at how much faith 21st Century Fox, of which Fox “News” Network is just a part, has in the truthfulness of the talking heads it’s hired.
Company makes no representation or warranty whatsoever regarding the completeness, accuracy, currency or adequacy of any information, facts, views, opinions, statements or recommendations contained on the Company Services and/or the Content.
A little background about the channel itself seems in order. Fox “News” was created by Australian-born American media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who launched it on October 7, 1996 to 17 million cable subscribers. It has gained in power and reach since that time tremendously, and its brazenness has grown beside it twice as fast, a mutated golem made of mis- and dis- information.
The word “disinformation” comes from the Russian “dezinformatsiya”, meaning ” false information given to deliberately deceive”, and so we mostly think of it as something Russian. Certainly, to say the least, disinformation strategies of the type Russia used to interfere in our 2016 presidential election cycle have become a problem in today’s world. But the Russians are hardly the true masters.
Here in the United States of America, we also know a thing or two about getting lied to by our president. We know too that his primary way of doing it has become his own personal, privatized version of State TV- Fox “News”.
What Fox has done over the years, or even just during the election, dwarfs what the Russians did to the point of demonstrating their accomplishment as puny. The Kremlin got a few ads through to people on Facebook and held a few rallies; definitely creepy, but absolutely nothing compared to what domestic mouthpieces are capable of. Russia was able to goad an enormous bull, not become one.
Compared to what Fox is capable of, they’re nothing. Small-time pikers, and no mistake. You don’t have to take our word for it, either. Consider rather the words of Ralph Peters, a former Fox News strategic analyst and a retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Army who left the network last year in March, disgusted with its sycophantic coverage of Trump and the vicious rhetoric of its talking prime time heads.
Peters said specifically that he could not “in good conscience” remain with an organization that, he argued, “is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.”
He went on letting them have it, too.
“In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration,” Colonel Peters wrote in his message, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.
As a people, we’ve gotten so used to being lied to by Fox that even the most acutely aware of the problem tends to have to shrug their shoulders at this point. But 99% of the slander thrown at Hillary Clinton in 2016 came from that direction. Varying aspects of what we know as the conservative media machine cooked it up over a quarter of a century, which illustrates and highlights the crux of the problem. Here in the land of the free, one of the most double-edged swords there is free speech.
Free speech is why I can write these words without having to fear death or the concentration camp. But it is also why we must tolerate Fox “News”, the Republican mouthpiece, lacking in all credulity- and yet, something I would still fight for their right to do just as hard as I would my own. In a democratic society such as ours, we have no choice but to grin and bear it. . Nothing true or useful comes to the people by way of it. It’s actually the polar opposite of news, which is daily information given by professionals, intending to inform the people about current events. Fox’s intent is to waylay and confuse.
What we, as a nation, have gotten used to accepting as a valid source is really one of the most wicked and egregious disinformation campaigns to take place in all of human history! It has not been by any foreign power that this disinformation has been unleashed on our people, but on our very own television sets, playing twenty-four hours a day nationwide. People are used to it, so they accept it as credible.
Nothing could be more inaccurate.
When world leaders, be they figure of states or high-profile figures from civil society, deliberately employ untruth against their own people, they are without a doubt using a method of repression, and a very costly one at that. In the Donald Trump era, weaponized lying has become easier and more common than ever before. Fox News has become his primary mouthpiece.
This is a disaster for America because such a state of affairs cannot help the inflicting of large-scale corrosion of democracy, regardless of the state it’s taking place in. If a country values its democratic system, its citizens will have to find ways to ward off this threat from time to time.
Otherwise, it will not survive.
I can hear someone asking, off in a parallel universe perhaps, what’s the harm in it? Let them have their pleasant delusions if it helps to keep them at work. Is this really something we have to fear will badly wound America?
That is why James Madison wrote the Federalist Paper 10th.
A stupid and incompetent citizenry is something no nation will long survive, so you better believe it will badly wound America. It already has. Fox News disinformation ends breaking up families, making people permanently angry, and seeing to it they’re uneducated on as many subjects as possible.
Rolling Stone Magazine provides the following sad anecdote to illustrate the tendency’s nature.
Jen Senko believes that her father was brainwashed. As Senko, a New York filmmaker, tells it, her father was a “nonpolitical Democrat.” But then he transferred to a new job that required a long commute and began listening to conservative radio host Bob Grant during the drive. Eventually, he was holing himself up for three hours every day in the family kitchen, mainlining Rush Limbaugh and, during commercials, Fox News.
“It reminded me of the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” Senko says. “He used to love talking to different people to try to learn their language, but then he became angry about illegal immigrants coming to the country, that they were taking jobs from Americans, and that English was becoming the secondary language.”
Studies have proven an actual physical effect of this by studying the brains of Fox News viewers. Author Daniel Goleman has coined the term “amygdala hijacking” to describe what inflammatory rhetoric and imagery are designed to do: trigger the emotional brain before the logical brain has a chance to stop it. The anger centers of their brains are literally more physically developed than those of healthy people. It’s like benchpresses for a bad temper.
In the year 2000, hosts like Hannity and the now-disgraced and silent Bill O’ Reilly made themselves the champions of the second Bush regime. This made them some friends. They learned a big lesson from it, too, one they’ve been revving up the engine off of ever since.
Misleading your viewers and using base anger to fight with is a quick and easy way to gain support from embittered people-whose numbers grow larger with every war and crisis. Divide and conquer is the oldest trick in the book used by the rich by preying on their fellows, in or out of America.
After 9/11 took place, while all the world was mourning and gearing up for war, Fox was making bigger and bigger bank as a result of their conservative alliance. They experienced a 440% increase in viewers, blowing the doors off comparable news organizations like CNN who don’t use wild speculations and click-bait headlines.
They got so big so fast, in fact, that when now-disgraced former CEO Roger Ailes came right out and said they are not a news organization in 2007, nobody much really heard him. They were too busy listening to Bill O’ Reilly and Sean Hannity instead. Hannity is a particular problem these days, as Trump’s good buddy, people give a lot of undue credibility to the lies told by him- a cable network entertainer, not a journalist.
Why are Big Three news networks like CBS or NBC or CNN so constrained by the truth while Fox is not? Surely the mighty Federal Communications Commission should be able to call Fox News to command, so why doesn’t it?
Actually, though, the FCC has no power over Fox or CNN, because both are cable shows and ultimately designed for entertainment! This is key. The difference between Fox and CNN is ideological. One chooses willingly to use journalistic standards. The other does not. Neither one is forced to! Fox is not legally obliged to tell the truth on the air.
Fox isn’t subject to FCC airwave regulation because it isn’t on the airwaves! Clever, right? Now they can spout all the hideousness they want and still dare to label it the truth. CNN is truthful by choice, but people think it’s because they have to be. That is not true, and it is almost certainly why the FCC doesn’t chop Hannity’s head off.
They nearly destroyed Howard Stern just for being annoying.
Make sure to catch that last part. Fox, the so-called “News” Network is in no way legally obligated to tell the truth about anything! They are a feature offered by the entertainment company 21st Century Fox. Entertainment is allowed to lie! It’s all just part of the show.
Making them tell the truth would spoil the effect, and our system doesn’t force them to. Not any more than USA’s client the World Wrestling Entertainment has to come right out and say pro wrestling is fake. People know it in their hearts, but they want to believe in the wrestlers, so they do. They like a good show. It’s exactly the same with Fox.
Although it should have been, it is not true that Fox has been made to start using a disclaimer saying “For Entertainment Purposes Only”. That was an April Fool’s joke in 2017 circulated by reporters, designed to make readers laugh- and to make them think. But it’s definitely true that entertainment is how they think of themselves. Ailes told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015 that he does not consider the other basic cable news channels — CNN and MSNBC — to be Fox’s competitors.
“We’re competing with TNT and USA and ESPN,” he said.
Discussion about American political issues today-meaning every single facet of life in southern North America- means a debate, unless you’re in a room where everyone agrees with you. Those debates will see a Fox-trained cadre putting forth the opinions of trolls like Hannity as a valid counterpoint to anything, even proven scientific facts. People take him seriously and believe the things he says.
Recently he said the immigration deal we nearly came to with Trump a “Garbage Compromise”. But actually, Hannity himself is an absolute, complete, and total trash can. He didn’t even go to school for this, he was working as a housing contractor when he randomly volunteered for radio and offered himself out as a mouthpiece for rightist nonsense.
If you’re willing to lie without repentance, there’s always some monopoly capitalist hoping to bring down America with your help.
Hannity has paid off for them with some real whoppers over the years. The anti-Obama movement of birtherism, 2016 voter fraud, “deep state opposition” of a “Shadow Government” – a network of government officials that are working to hinder the Trump administration. Conspiracy theories about the Seth Rich murder, and so on, leading up to the biggest lie of all- that Debauched Donald was fit to run this country.
It’s all a big show, not truthful news, but then again it was not meant to be. As the Fox “News” Network’s own CEO Roger Ailes said, they’re really competing with football and pro wrestling. It’s all for ratings and money- money that comes from billionaire libertarians like the Koch Brothers and their founder Rupert Murdoch.
Hannity will say whatever the Murdochs want him to.
That’s a big problem when most of it is not true; a third at most of Hannity’s public statements were rated fully true by Politifact. A recent Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind Poll revealed that most Americans get their political knowledge from Sunday morning political shows on television. These “do the most to help people learn about current events.” That would seem to confirm their opinion.
However, listen to the rest of the story.
“[S]ome outlets, especially Fox News, lead people to be even less informed than those who don’t watch any news at all.”
Likewise, a University of Maryland study done in 2003 showed that Fox News viewers are more likely than consumers of any other news source to believe demonstrably false statements.
Again, this is because Fox is not a news channel. It’s entertainment packaged as news to mislead and stultify the American people. Great misunderstanding and bitterness come from believing things that just aren’t true. Real consequences arise from surrendering our objectivity.
Fox viewers have been getting angrier and angrier for decades, their bitterness manufactured and exploited. And who do their Friends at Fox lead them into feeling bitter towards? Liberals, progressives, anyone who wants to help the people. Anyone who isn’t just like them.
A full 60% of Fox News viewers describe themselves as conservative according to a 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center. According to John Ray at Data for Progress, “Across a variety of political and cultural attitudes, Republicans who report getting their news from Fox are significantly to the right of Republicans who don’t.”
Studies galore have been done to measure these tendencies, which should be well-documented and understood. Every one of the organizations reaching these conclusions is similar to MediaFactChect, a neutral nonprofit organization that exists to classify and track partisan bias levels among political media entities. They do this according to a rated standard political spectrum, going as always from extreme-left to extreme-right.
A related group, PunditFact, measures their commentators’ honesty. These standards are both logical and apolitical, and can reasonably trusted as far as anything else in the written world can.
Fox News is given by MediaFactCheck a Bias Rating very near the extreme end of the pole as Strongly Right, for reasons that are really rather damning. We’ve included them in blockquote below.
These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward conservative causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy. See all Right Bias sources.
- Overall, we rate Fox News strongly Right-Biased due to wording and story selection that favors the right and Mixed factually based on poor sourcing and the spreading of conspiracy theories that later must be retracted after being widely shared.
They also score badly by the standards of PunditFact, a second and related organization’s tool for measuring the percentage of truthful reporting done by political analysts on the stories they discuss and the terms they use to describe them. We decided to include the numerical figures below, as a stark quality comparison between the center and far-right journalists is to be found there.
Currently, at Fox and Fox News Channel, 58 percent of fact claims made by pundits and on-air personalities have been rated Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire. NBC and MSNBC were not great either, but their work still represents a significant improvement versus Fox at 45%.
CNN scored best with only 22 percent of their fact claims not making it through the filters and most of those coming from guests rather than commentators, which is interesting because CNN also is a cable network. They chose to use journalistic standards of their own volition, not because they were forced to by any mean laws or regulations.
Conversely, Don Irvine over at Accuracy in Media showed what Fox thinks of truth as a value.
Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes told The Hollywood Reporter that Fox News has become so big, the network is really competing with cable sports and entertainment networks like TNT, USA and ESPN, not the ratings-challenged CNN and MSNBC.
In Trump’s words during the first 2016 presidential debates, somebody better call Sean Hannity.