The wonderful and terrifying fantasy world of the Fox Information viewer

Fox Information thrives on instilling emotions of shock and indignation in its viewers as a way to verify, reinforce, and amplify their present biases, whether or not they’re biases in opposition to girls, racial minorities, socially acutely aware liberals, or simply Democrats on the whole. That’s the way it makes cash, as vividly explained by a former Fox Information anchor: by retaining viewers “hooked” and in a state of near-constant agitation by means of a relentless barrage of vaguely threatening misinformation about supposed nefarious deeds by choose teams it targets. Most of its anchors and reporters are dimwitted, laughing monkeys chosen not for his or her journalistic talents, however for his or her willingness to behave as a everlasting conduit for fear-mongering and outrage-churning. They don’t site visitors in information, however innuendo and selective omission. That’s why there are so few journalists on Fox whom the remainder of the occupation deems respected or reliable. From the very begin, it’s been a community made principally of commentators posing as journalists, however possessing no credentials or pretense to journalistic bona fides.

Since Fox has now grudgingly been pressured to acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory and not has a possibility to glorify Donald Trump every day, it has reverted to its regular defensive crouch, finest characterised as fixed, picayune whining about all the things that Democrats do. Each motion by Biden or Democrats is someway indicative of betrayal, or weak point, or one thing. 

As Matt Gertz, writing for Media Issues, notes, its protection and fealty to the Trump administration supplied file viewership for Fox Information. With Trump now gone, or not less than not as accessible as he as soon as was, the community faces an inflection level because it determines learn how to proceed.

The community’s executives would probably choose to maneuver on from Trump and pivot again to its Obama-era model, changing into the “voice of opposition” to the incoming Biden administration. The community might focus its programming on smearing Biden officers, conjuring up Biden pseudo-scandals, stalling or blocking Democratic proposals, and bolstering anti-Biden political actions and Republican challengers. That was a unifying message for the precise in 2009 that garnered enormous scores for the community. And Republican leaders would probably admire new Benghazis and “death panels” as cudgels to make use of in opposition to the incoming Democratic administration.

On the similar time, Fox’s on-air expertise will come underneath great stress to rebuild its once-record viewers. The clearest path to that purpose might be to present the recalcitrant Trumpist viewers what they need: extra lies that Trump truly gained, extra unhinged conspiracy theories about Democrats, extra paranoid fantasies in regards to the left, and extra apocalyptic tradition conflict rage. That may incentivize the remainder of the right-wing media to do the identical, in hopes of both snagging visitor appearances on the community or pulling away a few of its market share.

I suppose all this was to be anticipated. However now that the 24/7 hagiography of Trump has passed by the wayside, we will additionally, throughout this time of transition, see a well-known profile reemerging—that of the “common” Fox Information viewer—a profile which may be painstakingly assembled by reviewing how Fox Information stories sure folks and occasions.

Unsurprisingly, the standard Fox Information viewer is white and male. Based mostly on Fox’s advertisers, he’s over 60 years outdated and could be very involved about his Medicare supplemental insurance coverage. He might contemplate making an attempt to drop some weight with Nutrisystem merchandise, and fantasizes about going to a Sandals resort. He is considering transferring his outdated VHS tapes to a Legacybox, however solely after he buys a LifeLock to guard his id from scammers. Presumably he’ll first clear all these selections together with his Visiting Angels house well being care aide.

Our Fox Information viewer believes that the Black Lives Matter motion is as violent or more so than the Ku Klux Klan. He believes the only purpose of Deliberate Parenthood is to carry out abortions, and lots of of those are “partial delivery” abortions. He believes local weather change and world warming are Democratic scams. He has a visceral fixation on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that he can’t appear to know, as a result of he is aware of from Fox Information that there are thousands and thousands of gorgeous conservative girls (a lot of them blonde) on the market who would definitely discover him enticing, if he might solely meet one in every of them.

Our viewer believes the U.S. is underneath continuous assault from an invasion of undocumented immigrants, and {that a} new caravan of Spanish-speaking drug sellers, rapists, and gang members is threatening our southern border as we converse. On the similar time, he believes Democrats are plotting to outlaw the possession of firearms.

He believes the 2020 presidential election was stolen and fraudulent, even when he doesn’t know precisely how. He believes the COVID-19 pandemic is totally overblown, and is far less likely to take precautionary measures to protect himself and/or his household and others. He believes antifa is way extra harmful than the COVID-19 pandemic, and believes that the failure of mainstream media to cowl “antifa riots” after Biden’s inauguration is proof of liberal bias. This, he causes, is additional proof that the riots on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., have been provoked not by Trump’ personal supporters, however by “antifa.”

The next are some extra of our typical Fox Information viewer’s beliefs, primarily based on headlines from Fox’s web site over the previous two days:

Biden stands out as the new president in title, however the precise president is Susan Rice.

Biden’s marketing campaign was bankrolled by thousands and thousands in “darkish cash.” That is unhealthy. Republicans would by no means do that.

Tulsi Gabbard holds noteworthy and necessary opinions about all the things.

Probably the most highly effective folks in the whole Democratic Get together are the 4 “Squad” Congresswomen.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez particularly wields monumental affect throughout the Democratic Get together, such that her each utterance is noteworthy; she dictates the whole Democratic agenda.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can also be a coward who’s afraid of gun-carrying members of Congress.

Black individuals are principally violent criminals, besides for individuals who seem on Fox Information as conservative commentators.

Antifa is … in every single place.

Hollywood stars are leaping forward of everybody else to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine.

Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone pipeline is a job-killing political catastrophe that spells doom for the Democratic Get together.

Biden and his son Hunter dedicated unspecified crimes in Ukraine that concerned some kind of shady company deal and made the Bidens thousands and thousands. This data is all contained on a laptop computer someplace.

Democrats abused the Nationwide Guard throughout the inauguration.

Biden will kowtow to all the things China desires.

China is a risk to us in area warfare.

Karl Rove is a sage voice on financial coverage.

Glenn Greenwald says Democrats are the true fascists. As a result of he was as soon as believed to be a liberal, he should be proper.

Arms treaties with Russia are unhealthy.

Joe Biden taking questions from pre-selected reporters is unhealthy.

QAnon believers are being persecuted.

A sheriff in Cochise County, Arizona, seen that “unlawful” border crossings “spiked” after Biden gained the Democratic main.

Neera Tanden is unhealthy and harmful for some cause.

Pamela Anderson believes “Huge Tech” seeks to regulate your mind.

Anthony Fauci is the highest-paid member of the federal authorities, and that is unhealthy, as a result of Fauci is unhealthy.


The widespread theme by means of all of those imaginary persecutions and insults contrived by Fox Information is one in every of everlasting victimhood, as former Fox anchor Tobin Smith observed in November 2019, writing in The New York Occasions in regards to the community’s smear of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman after he testified throughout the first impeachment trial.

Weaponized and tribalized political video narratives within the fingers of Fox Information producers can turn out to be one thing like drug-abuse epidemics — retaining addicts of that conspiracy idea excessive and coming again for extra.

Believing in conspiracy theories is a psychological assemble for folks to take again some semblance of management of their lives. It inflates their sense of significance. It makes them really feel they’ve entry to “particular data” that the remainder of the world is “too blind,” “too dumb” or “too corrupt” to know.

Fox viewers are taught, again and again, to consider they’re underneath fixed assault and should subsequently proceed tuning in, for the nice of themselves and the nation. It’s a cynical psychological rip-off that has paid enormous dividends to the Murdoch household, and by warping the minds of tens of thousands and thousands of Individuals, very practically wrecked our nation within the course of.

When historical past seems again on the occasions of Jan. 6, it is going to be easy to conclude that they occurred as a consequence of Donald Trump and his cult of character. However with out Fox Information’ full-throated assist, Trump’s complete presidency, not to mention his baseless, endgame assertions of election fraud, would by no means have had sufficient oxygen to maintain itself.

Fox Information, and everybody who works there, is each bit as culpable as he’s.

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