Friday, April 13, 2018


The article below was written by Charles Blow, of the NY Times. It deserves to be read and shared widely.

During the early days of the Obama administration, I did a few appearances on “Fox & Friends.”
The conversations were predictably shallow, tilted and exploitive. The hosts had a particular knack for asking the idiotic with chipper earnestness, spewing venom through simpering smiles. There was, I felt, maleficence at work with a pretense of positivity.
I knew well that I was swimming in a shallow intellectual pool, and yet I told myself that I was doing yeoman’s work, doing my small part to try and correct misinformation and to reach those lost in Fox’s fog.
But I soon discovered that the show, and indeed the network, was beyond redemption.
I was simply being used to help give the show the appearance of fairness, impartiality and legitimacy, when it was anything but.

Appearing on Fox, I became part of the disinformation machine rather than hobbling it. So, I cut ties, stopped responding to their requests and stopped the appearances.

I never saw the show as anything more than a carnival, a propaganda tool for conservatives. I would never have thought that the show’s hosts would emerge as the most influential in American media, as the website Mediaite dubbed them.
This show, with its kindergarten-level intellectual capacity, moved from parroting conservative policies to constructing presidential priorities. “Fox & Friends” has essentially become Donald Trump’s daily briefing.
Countless media outlets have written and talked about the strangely intense connection between Trump and the show.
As The Guardian put it, “The show manages to serve as a court sycophant, whispering in the ear of the king, criticizing his perceived enemies and fluffing his feathers.”

Politico Magazine concurred, saying the show “feels intentionally designed for Trump himself — a three-hour, high-definition ego fix.”
And the impact that the show is having on Trump is undeniable. Dan Snow, a master’s student at the University of Chicago, analyzed the president’s tweets and found that they are highly concentrated in the hours when the show is on.
As Politico wrote, Trump is “live-tweeting” Fox’s coverage. Vox noted that at times he seems to be tweeting precisely what he sees on the show, sometimes even using their exact language.
Indeed, a February analysis by The Washington Post found that of all the things that Trump has tweeted about since his inauguration, “Fox & Friends” ranked third, behind only Obama and tax cuts.
In fact, Trump had tweeted about the show roughly twice as often as about the stock market and roughly three times more often than about the border wall.
Trump’s Fox fixation isn’t benign or inconsequential — because, like him, the network has an aversion to the truth.
According to PunditFact, a project of the Tampa Bay Times and The Poynter Institute that checks the accuracy of claims made by pundits, of the statements on Fox that have been fact-checked, only 10 percent were rated true, while a full 60 percent were rated either mostly false, false or “pants on fire,” the worst possible rating.
The site did not do a separate analysis confined to “Fox & Friends,” but it has done three fact checks each on two of the show’s co-hosts: Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy ...

You can access the rest of the article by clicking here.

- Mark

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