From its inception twenty-five years ago, Fox News was a malignancy on the media. The motto that launched the network – “fair and balanced” – was intended to imply that the rest of the media was neither. It was more than an advertising slogan that criticized its competitors. It was borrowed from cult doctrine that taught disciples to trust only them and no one else.
Donald Trump embraced the same indoctrination tactics as he drummed into his followers heads that “the media is the enemy of the people.” He literally instructed them in Orwellian terms that they couldn’t believe their own eyes and ears, saying that “what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
Consequently, the results of a new study by the Pew Research Center shouldn’t surprise anyone. It found that…
“In just five years, the percentage of Republicans with at least some trust in national news organizations has been cut in half – dropping from 70% in 2016 to 35% this year. This decline is fueling the continued widening of the partisan gap in trust of the media.”
On the other hand, an overwhelming majority (78%) of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they have “a lot” or “some” trust in the national news media. The difference between Democrats and Republicans is a whopping 43%. So while Democrats rely on credible outlets with verifiable sources and documentation, Republicans are slaves to Fox News, Breitbart, OAN, and other professional propagandists. And the echo chamber linking those propaganda merchants and Trump completes the right-wing media circuitry.
On Tuesday the Republican Party went even further off kilter by making threats against telecom companies should they comply with legal requests by Congress for information. The House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection asked the companies to preserve data in the event that the Committee might later request it as part of their investigation. That set off the House GOP leader, Kevin McCarthy who warned that…
“If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States, If they pursue this path a Republican majority will not forget.”
McCarthy was unable to cite what law the companies would have violated by complying with a request from Congress. But that’s only because there is no such law. To the contrary, it would be unlawful obstruction of justice if they did not comply, as pointed out by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA). In addition, GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene joined McCarthy’s mob-style threat and made one of her own. “These telecommunication companies,” she warned, “if they go along with this, they will be shut down. That’s a promise.”
Greene: These telecommunication companies, if they go along with this, they will be shut down. That’s a promise pic.twitter.com/YtLmZa8IPi
— Acyn (@Acyn) September 1, 2021
Green made her threat on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program. And Carlson was quick to agree. He told her that “That sounds like a threat, and we fervently hope it is. […] You should shut them down. I mean you should take those companies down.”
Carlson, McCarthy, and Greene were appropriately criticized and ridiculed on social media for their ignorant, and ultimately impotent, threats. However, something has been missing from those critiques. What no one seems to have noticed is that these were actually attacks on the Constitution and its protection of freedom of the press. Two of the biggest telecom companies are AT&T and Comcast. AT&T is the parent corporation of CNN. And Comcast owns NBCUniversal.
So the threats by McCarthy and Greene to “shut down” these press operations are blatant violations of the First Amendment that states that “Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” And the collusion with Fox News and Donald Trump turns this into a cabal of anti-constitutional conspirators who seemed determined to sabotage democracy and the principles upon which this nation was founded. They are not fit to serve in either government or media. And the American people should should shut them down before they cause even more harm.
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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.