The harm done to America – and the world – by Fox News has been apparent to objective observers for decades. The radically slanted editorial mission of the right-wing network has disseminated innumerable lies and crackpot conspiracy theories, promoted extremist conservative politicians, and poisoned the minds of millions of gullible viewers.
Fox News has purposefully driven rancorous division and fueled racial and class hatred to advance their ultra-partisan crusade. But despite that, politicians are often hesitant to directly criticize the network. Particularly at the presidential level where maintaining a measure of diplomacy is preferred to the unbridled bombast of Donald Trump.
However, a forthcoming book promises to shatter that mold. In “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future,” President Joe Biden takes some well deserved slaps at Fox News. According to CNN…
“In a forthcoming book, a pair of New York Times reporters and CNN political analysts report that President Joe Biden ‘assessed’ Fox News ‘as one of the most destructive forces in the United States.’ […] According to the book, Biden told an unnamed associate in mid-2021 that [Rupert] Murdoch was the most dangerous man in the world.'”
Finally! While this is certain to trigger Fox News and their faithful flock, it stands as a certifiable statement of fact that was long overdue. And in the wake of recent commentaries by the likes of Tucker Carlson (who openly supports Russia and Vladimir Putin) and Laura Ingraham (who advocates for a GOP government to punish “woke” corporations), it’s no wonder that Russian television has adopted Fox News as an affiliate and regularly replays and praises their programming.
So while Fox News embraces Russia and Putin, Biden took another step toward vilifying him as the murderous thug that he is. On Monday morning Biden reiterated his resolve to aid Ukraine and told reporters that “we have to gather all the detail so this can be an actual — have a war crimes trial.”
The good news is that the destructiveness of Fox News that Biden spoke of is not necessarily permanent. A new study conducted by a pair of professors from Berkeley and Yale asked the question: “Does watching Fox News actually change voters’ minds?”” The study paid a sample of regular Fox News viewers to watch CNN instead. The abstract from the study states that…
“We recruited a sample of regular Fox News viewers using data on actual TV viewership from a media company, and incentivized them to watch CNN instead for a month using real-time viewership quizzes. Despite regular Fox viewers being largely strong partisans, we found manifold effects of changing the slant of their media diets on their factual beliefs, attitudes, perceptions of issues’ importance, and overall political views.
“We show that these effects stem in part from a bias we call partisan coverage filtering, wherein partisan outlets selectively report information, leading viewers to learn a biased set of facts. Consistent with this, treated participants concluded that Fox concealed negative information about President Trump. Partisan media does not only present its side an electoral advantage—it may present a challenge for democratic accountability.”
In short, Fox News’ commitment to selectively reporting, or failing to report, news that is consistent with their inbred biases, has a demonstrable impact viewers’ perceptions and attitudes. However, those attitudes can be altered when exposed to other more credible news sources. The study showed that Fox viewers opinions were altered by several percentage points on controversial subjects. That included their opinions about Fox News itself.
This is not, however, a panacea for the propaganda pushed by Fox. The changes found in the study occurred when the tested viewers were switched from Fox News to CNN entirely. So their disinformation flow was interrupted in total. They were not only freed from the flagrant lies that populate Fox, they were also kept informed about critical stories that Fox News refused to cover at all. The study didn’t test whether inserting a bit of honest reporting into the poisonous cauldron of Fox News would have the same result as making the Fox viewers switch entirely to CNN or some other credible news network.
RELATED Stories That Fox News Didn’t Cover:
- Fox News Totally Ignores Story About Ginni Thomas Texting QAnon Nuttery to Mark Meadows
- Connecting the Dots: Trump Begs Putin for Dirt on Biden While Russia Calls Trump Their Partner
Consequently, there’s still no evidence that having Democrats or liberals appear on Fox would serve any purpose. But persuading people to stop watching Fox, or cable companies from forcing it on them, could have a positive effect on the nation’s general acceptance of facts and overall store of knowledge.
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