It is perhaps impossible to overstate the long-term effects of Fox News on American political discourse. Over the course of the past several decades, the right-wing outlet has gradually warped the minds of a large swath of this country to the point where the base of the Republican Party is now gripped by the most deranged forms of xenophobia, paranoia, and conspiracy theorizing imaginable.
Not only do conservatives now see communism and satanism hiding behind every bush, but a sizeable portion of them no longer believe that American elections are legitimate. Fox News is a poison flowing through the veins of our body politic.
With this deeply sinister reality about Fox in mind, it should come as little surprise to learn that a former high-ranking executive from Fox Broadcasting has stepped forward to offer some blunt, brutal criticisms of the company. Preston Padden, who worked at Fox over two decades ago, has published an Op-Ed in The Daily Beast entitled “Fox News is no longer a truthful center-right news network.”
Padden starts off by saying that Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, should be more concerned with his legacy because if current trends continue it will amount to little more than being responsible for “a news channel that no reasonable person would believe.” He praises Murdoch for his business acumen and for managing to build a news network from the ground up but clearly believes his former boss has lost his way.
“But, in recent years things have gone badly off the tracks at Fox News,” writes Padden. “Fox News is no longer a truthful center-right news network.” He goes on to blame the channel for directly contributing to COVID-19 deaths by spreading misinformation, worsening racial divides, aiding Trump’s Big Lie that the election was stolen, and creating the atmosphere that culminated in the January 6th Capitol insurrection.
Padden laments in the Op-Ed that millions of Americans, including himself and his wife for many years, have been trained by Fox to “believe things that simply are not true.” He cites a Yahoo News report that 73% of Republicans think January 6th was caused by “left-wing protestors” as a perfect example of the twisted, manufactured reality that many American conservatives now reside within. He also cites another poll by SSRS that found 2/3 of GOP voters believe the election was stolen from Trump despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary.
“The greatest irony is that I don’t believe that most of the falsehoods on Fox News reflect Rupert Murdoch’s own views,” writes Padden. He goes on to say that Murdoch himself recognized that wearing a mask was necessary during the pandemic, that the vaccine was equally necessary, and that Trump did in fact lose the election.
Padden concludes by explaining that he has tried to convince Murdoch to see the error of his ways and to recognize the “real damage that Fox News is doing to America.” He says he failed in these efforts and was foolish to ever think he could succeed in changing Murdoch’s mind. At age 90, Murdoch is unlikely to change says Padden.
History will not look kindly upon Rupert Murdoch.
Read the full Op-Ed here.
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