Why Do Fox Viewers & Trump Supporters Deny Reality So, So, So Much?
First of all, apologies to any Fox viewers or Trump supporters who somehow stumbled upon this piece. It’s probably best for your emotional peace to just move along now and not read on.
If you’ve been following the Trump administration and Russian investigation closely and paying attention to a broad array of experts and investigative journalists, you have more likely than not been shocked more than once by what’s on Fox. Furthermore, it’s probably been shocking (if you saw this) to discover that Republican attitudes about Russia and about the FBI have essentially flipped. Republicans used to largely be Russia hawks but have somehow come to accept Putin’s dictatorial approach (which apparently involves murdering journalists, political opponents, and even allies who have become a risk because of what they know).
The way Republicans have flipped on the FBI is possibly even more shocking. Republican, Fox-watching Americans had taken up the torch of “blue lives matter,” were consistently pro police and pro FBI (whatever that meant), and have long made up much of the ranks of the FBI. Heck, the former head of the FBI (James Comey), the current head of the FBI (Christopher Wray), and the longtime head of the FBI who is now leading the special Russia–Trump investigation (Robert Mueller) have all been lifelong Republicans. Yet, somehow, the FBI and broadly respected Republican FBI directors have become the bad guys. Oh yeah — it’s because they are investigating Donald Trump, whose company is known to have been a key avenue for Russian and other mobster money laundering for decades.
In fact, anyone who points out that Donald Trump is incorrect, possibly lying about something, or possibly did something wrong is attacked by Donald Trump and Fox, and then Republican voters align their opinions accordingly. I don’t think we could have more of a “state media” outlet if Trump set it up himself. It’s horrible. It’s an attack on democracy. It’s a disgrace to the United States.
The question is, how do we correct the problem? How do we regain this crucial arm of our democracy? IT’s hard to say. The good news is that the Fox demographic is much older than the US average, and Americans are increasingly moving away from TV and toward others forms of entertainment of media anyway. (Of course, that’s not necessarily good either, since even more extreme sites — like Breitbart — are replacing the position Fox has held for people open to absurd “news coverage” and viewpoints.)
I think the best thing we can do is basically 1) try to keep ourselves well informed from objective, factual, scientific, and relatively unbiased sources, and 2) speak up in many different ways and venues to deride Fox, Breitbart, etc., for the nonsense it is. We can’t shy away from correcting nonsense. We can’t say, “Screw it, they’re not going to learn.” Each drop of water on a stone may seem pointless by itself, but a large drumbeat of them can have dramatic effect. It is easy to see one effort of correcting the record as pointless, and easy to miss the silent effect it probably had, but these things add up. This is how propaganda gets deflated. This is how legitimate sources rise to more prominent positions.
Donald Trump and others bash centrist CNN and center-left MSNBC because these outlets conduct real journalism, uncover truths that threaten Donald Trump’s legitimacy and appeal, disprove Republican talking points centered around shifting wealth from the masses to the already super rich, and explain why nonsense from Fox News is actually nonsense. Unfortunately, the drumbeat of derision from these real media outlets is powerful and effective. We have to beat our own drums of truth if we are going to attract the ears of the citizenry and bring more truth and well being to our society.