Panic has reached a boiling point among Trump and the GOP. The Mueller investigation is closing the net around the White House, interviewing ever more central figures in the Trump Administration. An innocent person with nothing to hide would welcome the investigation, as Hillary Clinton did. And supporters of an innocent person would do the same, urging investigators to perform a thorough job so the government could at last get on with the business of running the country.
But not Trump and the GOP. Their every statement smacks of guilt and their every move suggests obstruction or cover-up. Conspiracy theories previously relegated to the radical-right fringe are now being pushed by mainstream conservatives in service of the cover-up. Republican Senator Ron Johnson even went on TV yesterday to peddle an inflammatory conspiracy theory that was almost as quickly shown to be entirely fabricated.
Ludicrous conspiracy theories can be extremely dangerous, both to individuals and to societies, but they can’t spread without a lot of oxygen. And their recent rise brings into sharp focus something we’ve known for years. There are many sources of garbage information and propaganda, including print, radio, and the Internet. But the most impactful is usually television, and Fox News has almost single-handedly become a cancer on the public mind.
While scores of other news organizations operate by roughly the same rules, give or take differing editorial shading, Fox News operates in its own world of rumor, spin, innuendo and lies. For at least two decades, watchers of Fox have become increasingly detached from reality and practically brainwashed by the fear mongering, scapegoating and paranoia that runs rampant on Fox. But now, Fox News is promoting conspiracy theories that they used to leave alone. Fox has long been a bullhorn for the Republican Party but now it’s a bullhorn for a corrupt President.
It’s important to point out that Fox is owned by a man with no allegiance to the United States. His only allegiance is to money and power, and he seems willing to destroy journalism and poison our national discourse to increase his already vast wealth. It’s also important to point out that Fox has no journalistic standards. It’s just a spin machine and the people who work there most closely resemble propagandists.
Activists have to keep pressure on Fox, especially denouncing hacks like Sean Hannity when they spread hysterical conspiracy theories meant to destroy the credibility of our justice system. Fox is a huge part of the disease activists are currently fighting. It’s a disease of the mind, a mass brainwashing of perception, and it’s unacceptable. Fortunately, ratings for many Fox News shows are down and the average Fox News audience gets older by one year as each year passes. In twenty years most of their audience will be dead, but if we don’t push back hard (and push against their advertisers) our nation might die first.