Slimantics: I was a big spectator of Fox News

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Slim smith

I I was a big Fox News spectator in the late ’90s when I was a conservative Republican who had never voted for a Democrat.

As regular readers may know, my political views have evolved since then and Fox News, probably as much as anything, has been a factor in this change of heart and mind.

Today, I am convinced that the most dangerous thing one can find in an American home is not a gun, bomb-making material, or dangerous chemical. It is not a pain from lead on plaster or asbestos in shingles.

The most dangerous thing in an American household today is a television tuned to Fox News.

My initial affinity for Fox News is that it reported what other news outlets had not reported at all or had reported only superficially. That the views expressed on the channel matched mine at the time certainly did not erode my attachment to it.

But there came a time when the reality I saw through my window didn’t match what I saw on TV. What started out as an occasional disconnect turned into, in my mind, an extremely disparate version of government, politics, religion, and society at large than I knew to be true.

While other media may have overshadowed the truth. Fox News has started to create a new reality – alternative facts, as Trump’s press secretary Kellyanne Conway called them.

It has become a source of pure political propaganda.

This is today, I guess, what Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch wanted him to be when he founded Fox News 25 years ago – a partisan body to promote conservative views.

It should be noted that the “partisan press” has been around for as long as there has been any news media. In fact, the first newspapers were founded to support a specific cause or ideology. In Europe especially, the partisan press has existed without interruption.

But in the United States, the role of the news media began to abandon their partisan roots to pursue a more noble goal – an independent voice, “The Fourth Estate” whose role was to accurately report the news and hold the news. three branches of government responsible. without fear or favor. At the dawn of the 20th century, there were few mass-circulation newspapers that claimed allegiance to any political point of view or party. While some newspapers – and later radio and television stations – may have built up audiences that appealed to one political ideology or another, the media in the United States has become much more independent than media found elsewhere. in the world. I am convinced that our independent media have helped make our nation stronger, better and more prosperous. For a century, the American media played this vital role, and Americans of all political stripes generally trusted what they read, see and hear on “news.”

Rupert Murdoch, through the founding of Fox News in 1996, did more to undermine Americans’ confidence in the media than anything the “yellow journalism” of the late 19th and early 20th centuries had ever imagined.

Murdoch exploited a certain naivety of the American people that had developed over a century of non-partisan press. As noted, in London, Paris or other European cities, the partisan press has existed since the inception of the media. A Londoner knows at a glance which newspaper is a “Labor” newspaper and which is a “Conservative” newspaper and understands that what is reported can be designed to align with a political point of view. So even the Conservatives take what is written in a Conservative journal with a fair amount of skepticism.

Fox News is that kind of media. But the difference is that it often reaches an uninformed American audience who, for a century, had trusted their media to present an independent view of the news. If some Americans don’t trust the New York Times or CNN or any of the other right-wing punching bags, it’s largely because Fox News told them they shouldn’t.

In contrast, for many Americans, Fox News is simply “the news.” They believe what they see and hear without a shadow of skepticism.

Over the past five years, Fox News has grown from the cheerleader of far-right politics to its founding, often thanks to the demagoguery of hosts like Tucker Carlson or Laura Ingraham, et al.

Carbon monoxide is not that dangerous unless it goes unnoticed.

And that’s what makes Fox News so dangerous.

There isn’t a problem in today’s world that Fox News hasn’t intentionally made it worse. Not one.

Slim Smith is a columnist and feature film writer for The Dispatch. His e-mail address is [email protected]

Slim Smith is a columnist and feature film writer for The Dispatch. His e-mail address is [email protected]


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