Whereof One Can Speak 🇺🇦

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A Big Story Fox “News” Won’t Cover

Really good liars never admit they’re lying. From CNN:

Fox News continues to be exposed like never before.

In legal filings made public Tuesday as part of Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against the right-wing channel, a trove of private text messages, emails, and deposition transcripts offered a new look at how the sausage is made behind the scenes at the channel — and it is ugly. 

The filings expose the face of the network, Tucker Carlson, as a fraud. They show that Rupert Murdoch rejected conspiracy theories about Dominion, despite allowing them to be promoted on his network. And they show the contempt that hosts like Sean Hannity have for some of their colleagues who tried to tell the truth about what actually transpired in the 2020 election.

► Carlson “passionately” hates [the former president]: In a number of private text messages, Carlson was harshly critical of T____…. Carlson [wrote] that T____’s post-election behavior was “disgusting”…. In another text message, two days before the January 6 attack, Carlson said, “We are very, very close to being able to ignore T____ most nights. I truly can’t wait.” Carlson added of T____, “I hate him passionately.” The Fox host said of the Trump presidency, “… We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it’s been [the last four years] is too tough to digest. But come on. There isn’t really an upside to T____.”

Murdoch rejected conspiracies: In his January deposition, Murdoch was repeatedly asked about various electronic voting conspiracy theories — and he rejected all of them. “You’ve never believed that Dominion was involved in an effort to delegitimize and destroy votes for D____ T____, correct?” a Dominion lawyer asked at one point. “… No, I’ve never seen it,” Murdoch replied….

► Hannity and Doocy mocked Fox’s journalists: In a series of November 2020 text messages, Hannity and Steve Doocy attacked the reporting from their colleagues on the so-called “straight news” side of the network. “‘News’ destroyed us,” Hannity complained. “Every day,” Doocy replied. “You don’t piss off the base,” Hannity said. “They don’t care. They are JOURNALISTS,” Doocy texted back. Hannity said he has “warned” people at the network “for years” and there is “NOTHING we can do to fix it.”

► Fox D.C. chief decried “existential crisis” at network: More than a month after the 2020 election, then-Fox News DC Managing Editor Bill Sammon decried the network’s coverage of false election claims in private messages to a colleague, fearing it had become an “existential crisis” for the right-wing channel. “It’s remarkable how weak ratings make good journalists do bad things,” Sammon wrote then-political editor Chris Stirewalt. Stirewalt replied, “It’s a real mess.”

Greg Sargent of The Washington Post comments:

[The] fear that viewers might see telling the truth about D____ T____’s loss as betrayal was widespread inside the network…. [Fox insiders] fumed that candor about 2020 was driving the audience away, prompting viewers to defect to competitors who offered a more comforting cocoon. On the air, some of those personalities kept doling out what they privately admitted were lies.

[This scandal] points to an even bigger story: The right wing media’s long war on the truth. For decades, conservative media outlets have expressly sought to build and capture an audience that would accept only their version of events, and would be cordoned off to place them beyond the reach of mainstream news sources entirely.

“Right wing media have been engaged in a 70-year project to ensure that their audiences only trust conservative news outlets,” Nicole Hemmer, who tells this story in “Messengers of the Right”, her excellent history of conservative media, told me. “They’ve worked to discredit other sources of more-objective information, so that their audiences are unwilling to trust outlets more rooted in reality”….

Hemmer traces the genesis of this broader ideological project to the late 1940s and early 1950s. At the time, she tells me, leading figures on the right made a concerted decision to “create their own media outlets” in the form of periodicals such as Human Events, while spreading “the message that all non-conservative media are deeply biased”.

This intensified during the presidency of Richard M. Nixon, who turned Vice President Spiro Agnew loose to make snarling speeches attacking the television networks…. The influence of right-wing media intensified in the late 1980s with the explosion of talk radio. This capture of conservative audiences was aided, Hemmer notes, by the success of Rush Limbaugh and others who made the message about biased mainstream news “entertaining and profitable.”

Enter Fox News, which was founded in the mid-1990s and attained itscommanding heights in the right-wing information ecosystem in the early 2000s. 

But now the audience’s captivity to an alternate version of events is blowing back on Fox News. Over the years Fox News’s audience has rebelled over other things, such as Hannity’s championing of immigration reform, which incited a backlash from his viewers. Nothing, however, has compared to the current scandal. 

Will there be any repercussions? There should be. Democratic politicians shouldn’t appear on their programs. People giving press conferences shouldn’t answer questions from their “reporters”. Cable TV operators should either drop Fox “News” or make people pay a lot to watch. Businesses and government facilities, including military bases, shouldn’t let Fox run in waiting rooms, offices, etc. Fox management should be ostracized. And there should be more defamation lawsuits.

I’ve read that Fox isn’t telling its viewers about any of this (no surprise). But I hope other right-wing outlets are spreading the news. Don’t watch Fox! They don’t really believe the election was stolen! Or that vaccinations are terribly dangerous! Watch us and visit our site instead! We’re on your side! We promise not to upset you by telling you the truth about anything!

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