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Actual News Needed For Conservative Base–FOX Viewers Worse-Informed In Nation

September 26, 2019

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Are we shocked that a certain demographic is not able to discern the truth about our government when we have them watching Faux News?

Don’t expect any of the facts and news reporting about Ukraine to change the tune of Trump’s allies in right-wing media. I don’t expect they’ll break with Trump.  Consider that Trump’s friends on Fox and in the conservative media universe are remaining largely loyal to him.  In light of facts that run counter to the very basic foundations of what we must expect from a president!

On Wednesday, Fox personalities, websites like Breitbart, and talk-radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh all defended Trump in their own ways.

That trend continued into Wednesday night, with Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham all showing support for Trump in their different styles. A lot of the talking points Trump’s right-wing media allies are using were noticeably aligned with the talking points the White House sent to its allies.

Shocked!

When we have under-educated people starting their day with Fox and Friends, listening to talk radio such as Rush while at work, and then closing their day with Carlson what can be expected? The right-wing echo chamber of pushing the pablum that never makes certain citizens think, but just pounds home the most ludicrous and factually absent lines is one reason for our national mess.

The reasons why there are too many of our fellow citizens not more able to grasp the enormity of what has been happening to the nation over the past few years are many fold.  I have posted about civics and history education and why they must be stressed more in our schools.  And why newspapers matter for a better-informed populace.

One of the key problems we experience in the nation is that reading comprehension is not taught in schools to the degree required for proper functioning adults.  Secondly, I have long advocated that how to be a news consumer is severely lacking with more education needed to be made available in schools as a remedy for this issue.

I am continually amused and saddened when I see surveys showing average people can not differentiate between a news article and a column from the OP/Ed pages of newspapers.  That more homes do not have a newspaper on a daily basis is one reason both reading comprehension and over-all news awareness is lacking.  Social media is not a way to be a good news consumer.  Nor is listening to the monologues on late-night TV–though data show many get their ‘news’ from late-night TV.

But when it comes to Fox News there is data to show how damaging their impact has been on the nation.  I point this out not to be partisan or snarky.  But present it to show why we need to take the matter of creating better news consumers far more seriously.

Over and over Fox News allows for harsh conservative set-of ideas to lead them to betray what should be the higher calling of a news operation.  That is why those who watch Fox News are not informed news consumers or ready to talk with others about the issues this nation and world face.

James Fallows comments on a detailed study by Bruce Bartlett called “How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics.”

“Bartlett’s accumulation of detail showing (a) that Fox’s core viewers are factually worse-informed than people who follow other sources, and even those who don’t follow news at all, and (b) that the mode of perpetual outrage that is Fox’s goal and effect has become a serious problem for the Republican party, in that it pushes its candidates to sound always-outraged themselves.”

Bruce Bartlett: “Like someone dying of thirst in the desert, conservatives drank heavily from the Fox waters. Soon, it became the dominant –and in many cases, virtually the only – major news source for millions of Americans. This has had profound political implications that are only starting to be appreciated. Indeed, it can almost be called self-brainwashing – many conservatives now refuse to even listen to any news or opinion not vetted through Fox, and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth.”

Fallows: When will Republicans who care about winning national elections, or actually governing, stop thinking of Fox as a help and start viewing it as a hindrance, and what will happen when they do?

We simply must do better to help bring conservatives into the world of facts and reason.  Our republic’s future demands it.

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