The American people’s resolute rejection of Donald Trump last November marked a turning point for the nation that had been held captive by an anti-intellectual, truth-averse, doomsday cult. But that restoration of sanity still left behind a small but devoted constituency of crackpots determined to fight over the remnants of Trumpism.
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Not surprisingly, Fox News is greedily clinging these deranged deadenders. They are the most militant flank of the Republican Party. They are the violent seditionists who assaulted the Congress on January 6th. And they are what Fox News views as the core of their audience that they cannot afford to lose. Since November Fox’s ratings have suffered a sharp decline, putting them in third place behind CNN and MSNBC. Once loyal viewers, including Trump, have changed channels to smaller and even more extremist competitors like Newsmax and One America News Network (OANN).
For that reason, Fox News isn’t taking any chances with the audience they have left. However, they have to walk a fine line between unflinching loyalty to the Trump cult and keeping a distance from their most rabid disciples. Fox News has already made programming changes aimed at shoring up the conspiracy theorist demographic. At the same time they canceled Lou Dobbs, one of Trump’s most sycophantic boosters.
In keeping with their desperate and conflicted position, Fox News just published an article on their website that sought to put space between themselves and the Trump-loving QAnon kooks. The article falsely asserts that the media and Democrats have formed a pact to tarnish Republicans by sharing “the talking point that the Republicans are the party of QAnon.” The truth, however, is that Republicans are doing that all by themselves. The article employs a preposterous comparison, saying that…
“QAnon folks were Trump backers, but to equate that with the Republicans writ large is a bit like saying the Democrats are communists because factions of the old Communist Party USA endorsed a strategy of voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016.” […]
“No one ever would ask the Democrats to explicitly denounce the Communist Party endorsement because it’s ludicrous anyone would assume Democrats and Communists are the same thing.”
First of all, no Democrat has ever promoted the Communist Party. And if asked they would vigorously renounce it without hesitation. Which is distinctly unlike how Republicans pander to QAnon. However, the author implies that it would be unthinkable to imagine Republicans equating Democrats with communists. Apparently he hasn’t been listening to Trump, who has frequently accused Democrats of “want[ing] to turn America into Communist Cuba.”
More to the point, Republicans are the ones who have equated themselves with QAnon. Democrats had little to do with it. The GOP has members of Congress who openly describe themselves as followers of Q. Others refuse to denounce the obvious madness of the movement that believes Democrats and journalists are sex-trafficking baby-eaters. Trump himself is among those who failed to renounce QAnon, saying that “I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate […] These are people that love our country.”
President Trump on QAnon movement: "I don't know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate." pic.twitter.com/qPMq3R0Xgs
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 19, 2020
The article quotes several right-wing media pundits who naturally downplay the QAnon prominence in the GOP. One claims that “that trust in the media eroded during Trump’s tenure in the White House and, as a result, Americans are more likely to believe outlandish and irrational theories.” It’s notable that nobody can offer examples of Democrats believing in anything approaching the outlandishness or irrationality of QAnon. They don’t even support the GOP boogeyman Antifa, which doesn’t actually exist.
Another wingnut pundit quoted in the article whined that Democrats are trying “to make it seem as if all members of the GOP, not just an infinitesimally small group, believe this nonsense.” Well, maybe not “all.” But last week 199 of them voted (unsuccessfully) to allow Marjorie Taylor Greene, an avowed Republican QAnon congresswoman, to keep her committee seats.
Fox News itself has been actively boosting QAnon. In a recent segment Maria Bartiromo walked GOP House Whip Steve Scalise down the QAnon path. Likewise, Tucker Carlson went to bat for both Greene and QAnon. So Fox News has no credible claim that they are not aiding and abetting the maniac mob. And in as much as Fox is the GOP’s Ministry of Disinformation, the Republican Party is just as tangled up with the movement as Fox is.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.