The founding mission of Fox News was to advance the ultra-conservative agenda of its owner, Rupert Murdoch, and the Republican Party he supported. But in recent years it has shifted to an even more radical disseminator of propaganda on behalf of Donald Trump. And that has not waned in the weeks since Trump got his clock cleaned by Joe Biden.
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To the contrary, Fox News has actually made an even sharper turn to the right since the November election. They are devolving into paranoid whiners and elevating their most noxious Trump sycophants. And they have persisted in propagating Trump’s Big Lie of election fraud that resulted in the January 6th assault on Congress by Trump’s insurrectionists. It’s gotten so bad at Fox that even Rupert’s son, James, publicly denounced its “disinformation” and “toxic politics.”
No one on Fox News is more guilty of toxic, dishonest politics than Tucker Carlson. And on Monday night he seemed determined to prove that once and for all. Carlson aired a chilling monologue that he presented as an appeal for free speech and thought. And in a sick and twisted way, it was (video below).
Carlson’s segment sported a graphic that read “DEMS ARE TRYING TO CONTROL WHAT YOU BELIEVE,” although he never presented a single example of that. He began his demented dissertation on the dangers of censorship by sarcastically pronouncing that “The real threat is a forbidden idea, it’s something called QAnon.” Whereupon he played a video compilation of the media accurately condemning the conspiracy crackpottery of QAnon, a shadowy, dark web cabal of lunatics who believe that Democrats are sex-trafficking baby-eaters.
Carlson, however, has a different opinion. In his diseased mind he is protecting the freedom to malign public servants with bizarre and baseless accusations that would be preposterous in D- horror flick. To Carlson, the freedom to defame is a foundational American principle for which “the stakes could not be higher.”
Elaborating, Carlson said that “There’s a clear line between democracy and tyranny. Between self-government and dictatorship. And here’s what that line is: That line is your conscience.” He said that while government can tell people what to do, it cannot tell people what to think. “Once politicians attempt to tell you what to believe,” Carlson warned, “they are no longer politicians. They are, by definition, dictators. And if they succeed in controlling what you believe you are no longer a citizen. You are not a free man. You are a slave.”
Carlson clearly likes to imagine that he’s an intellectual thinker with profound insights. But it’s obvious that he’s teetering on the edge of clinical imbecility. Telling people what to believe is not a defining characteristic of dictatorships, that lean more toward force than belief. What Carlson is describing is a cult. Which is what Fox News viewers – including Carlson’s – are willing and pathetic members of.
Carlson’s tirade accused Democrats of having “joined the mob of censors and hysterics and Jacobin destroyers, all working on behalf of entrenched power, to take control of everything.” Never mind that he couldn’t cite any Democrats who espoused that alleged aspiration of tyranny. But then again, he doesn’t have to. Fox News lawyers actually argued successfully in court that Carlson cannot not be held liable for the lies he tells because he “cannot be understood to have been stating facts,” and that “given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statements he makes.”
In other words, No reasonable viewer would believe Carlson’s BS. That’s according to the Fox News lawyer speaking on Carlson’s behalf. The problem is that Carlson doesn’t have any reasonable viewers. So the cult disciples he’s disinforming on a nightly basis will blindly buy into whatever he says.
The same goes for the rest of the professional liars at Fox News. And as Carlson said above, “If they succeed in controlling what you believe you are no longer a citizen. You are not a free man. You are a slave.” Sadly, Fox News has been pretty successful at controlling what their audience believes. As has Donald Trump. Even sadder, they enjoy being slaves.
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Tucker Carlson defends Qanon pic.twitter.com/knIh32J39S
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) January 26, 2021
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.