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 to write 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.
Published with permission from News Hounds.