The Junk Regime of American Media | Opinion

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By Amy Kerr Hardin | July 17, 2021

America has an “info” structure problem and it’s getting worse. People get their “news” from propaganda peddlers instead of serious journalists.

We all know the type – dedicated Fox viewers who couldn’t lay out a cogent political position to save their lives while remaining convinced they have all the facts, as Sean Hannity tossed at them like a chimpanzee angry.

Former President Barack Obama, who has experience with the fake news network, politely described it: “If you watch Fox News, you perceive a different reality than if you read the New York Times.”

In a July editorial for daily beast, former Fox chairman Preston Padden was a little more blunt in assessing his former employer: “Rupert Murdoch, whom I served for seven years, has many business and journalistic accomplishments. He owes a better legacy than a news channel that no reasonable person would believe. He went on to say that the channel had played a significant role in unnecessary deaths from COVID-19, fostering racial tensions and promoting the “Big Lie”. Says Padden: “Fox News has led millions of Americans – mostly Republicans (as my wife and I have been for 50 years) – to believe things that simply aren’t true.”

Mark Milley, Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently educated House Republicans on the importance of seeking and understanding the facts. While speaking before Congress at a Senate Armed Services budget hearing in June, he was asked about the Critical Race Theory (CRT) taught at military academies. Fox, among other right-wing propaganda sources, chose CRT as the creepy new boogeyman for its viewers. Apparently, the Mr. Potato Head genitalia controversy is now…so yesterday.

Milley’s testimony included this rebuke to Republicans challenging military rights to study CRT: “I read Mao Zedong. I read Karl Marx. I read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist. So what’s wrong with understanding the country we’re here to defend? »

He was furious that GOP officials used the term “woke” as if it were a clever insult, as they similarly do with the terms “snowflake” and “libtard.”

Fox News specializes in agitating its viewers with made-up culture wars. Being in the realm of moral panic over unimportant or just plain wrong things has managed to instill a childlike fear of CRT.

Theory is a well-established higher education tool that has been around for four decades. He just discusses the role that racism has played in shaping our nation, warts and all. It’s not part of any lower education curriculum, nor was it intended to be, but it’s been a hot topic at various school board meetings across the country, usually filled with people ranting about the dangers. of the CRT. These people don’t seem at all embarrassed to look like a bunch of misinformed rubies.

Here in Michigan, we saw willful ignorance bloom in all its glory a few weeks ago when Republican lawmaker Ed McBroom released his commission report concluding that there was no evidence of election tampering in the state – denying the lie heavily promoted by those Fox Anchors. This did not sit well with those who perpetuated the “big lie”.

McBroom said: ‘The committee considers that those who promote County Antrim as the primary evidence of a national plot to steal the election place all other statements they make in a position of zero credibility.’ The denial of his honesty was fierce and swift, including the former president calling out for him to be truthful.

McBroom, as well as his fellow Republicans, do not. They called on Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, to investigate those trying to profit from the obvious lie. Unscrupulous guys heavily attack the Fox crowd to raise money. McBroom’s opinion: “Fraud is fraud. If they lied to people to make money from people, it’s a crime. Nessel agreed to investigate.

This is called the culture of consequences.

The pseudo-news zeitgeist is spreading through what was once professional journalism. The publication The nation, the oldest continuously published weekly, was recently printed with the headline “War Criminal Found Dead at 88” following the death of Donald Rumsfeld – who is actually not a convicted war criminal, even though he was clearly behind many atrocities. At least teen vogue had the good sense to use the term “accused war criminal” rather than the inflammatory and unprofessional insinuation that he had been tried and convicted.

Fox isn’t the only one spreading conspiracy theories and outright lies. The network is joined by far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Info Wars websites and a significant number of other online “news services” aimed at vulnerable minds. Among them is a peddler of lies named Dr. Joseph Mercola. The pandemic has lucratively fueled the misinformation pipeline and enriched profiteers like Mercola.

Mercola has a wide reach on social media, which Quackwatch.org says is used to spew a “constant stream of propaganda” at readers, claiming the pandemic is overblown and all they really need to do is buy. its dietary supplements. He is at the forefront of the anti-vaccination movement. He discourages trust in proven science to get rich through his own little gospel of medical prosperity. Worth over $100 million (pre-pandemic), this con artist also claimed to have developed a cure for autism.

This nation needs less bottom feeders like Mercola, which promote media silos of conspiracy theories and outright lies in an effort to profit and pleasure by preying on vulnerable minds.

McBroom said it best: “It’s been very disheartening and very sad to have people I know who have been supportive of me, and have always said they respect me and think I’m honest, who suddenly don’t make me not trust because of what some guy told them on the internet.

Amy Kerr Hardin is a retired banker, local artist and public policy buff. You can hear and learn more about the state of Michigan politics on his podcast, www.MichiganPolicast.com.

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