For years we have been saying that Fox News is a cancer that is eating away at the minds of its viewers. This is very obvious if you have ever had the
pleasure misfortune of having a political discussion with a Fox News fan; you likely walk away slowly shaking your head and wondering how somebody could be so stupid. Well, according to a new study, Fox News is not only destroying the minds of its viewers, but also the entire Republican Party.
The study “How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics” by Bruce Bartlett, describes how Fox News came to fruition in 1996 and how it became so popular. Bartlett says that after years of conservatives being surrounded by “liberal media” they finally had a network that catered solely to them and they went nuts:
Like someone dying of thirst in the desert, conservatives drank heavily from the Fox waters. Soon, it became the dominant – and in many cases, virtually the only – major news source for millions of Americans. This has had profound political implications that are only starting to be appreciated. Indeed, it can almost be called self-brainwashing – many conservatives now refuse to even listen to any news or opinion not vetted through Fox, and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth.
When Fox went on the air in 1996, they advertised themselves as the only “fair and balanced” network on television and for the first few years their commentary was pretty objective. However, even though they weren’t right-wing extremists back then, their audience was always very conservative. After 9/11, however, the network went off the deep end and became the virulent propaganda machine we all know and detest today.
When the terrorist attacks occurred and our country went to war, Fox News decided it was no longer happy with being slightly to the right of the other networks. They took advantage of the post-9/11 fear and began to tilt the news to fit an extreme right-wing ideology. In doing so, the network became the number one misinformation machine of the Republican Party. When the network executives discovered that their inaccurate reporting was driving more and more conservative viewers to their programs, it become commonplace to lie.
Even Newt Gingrich acknowledged Fox’s lies during the 2012 presidential campaign when he said,”One of the real changes that comes when you start running for President – as opposed to being an analyst on Fox – is I have to actually know what I’m talking about. It’s a severe limitation.”
All of this misinformation has led to Fox viewers being the least informed and most likely to believe complete lies than viewers of other news networks. In other words: Fox has literally dumbed down America one program at a time.
Bartlett also discovered that the network is causing huge problems for the Republican Party:
Another problem is that Republican voters get so much of their news from Fox, which cheerleads whatever their candidates are doing or saying, that they suffer from wishful thinking and fail to see that they may not be doing as well as they imagine, or that their ideas are not connecting outside the narrow party base
The GOP considers the network so important that they make them a high priority during a campaign season. They even start to spew Fox talking points at campaign events. That’s fine if their goal is to only attract their own base, but that doesn’t win the White House. Romney’s 47% flub is a great example of what happens when a candidate starts quoting Fox News facts.
Fox News had Romney leading Obama and even declared him victorious on election night. Had Republicans paid attention to more reputable news sources, they would have known that Romney was going to get pummeled in the election, but instead they took Fox News’ word as gospel and voted for Mitt anyway.
Fox News is one steady flow of bigotry, homophobia, sexism, and sheer hate; but the GOP panders so hard to their viewers that they are literally destroying there own party from the inside. The Republican Party core is rapidly aging, and Fox News viewers are really old as well, and eventually time will take its toll. The new generation of voters are a lot more inclusive and they aren’t going to vote for a party that openly discriminates. They’ve written their own death warrant, but can’t even realize it yet.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.