Fox News Is a Gateway Drug to Fascism

Last week, Gwen Snyder posted an excellent thread on the Twitter machine detailing a reasonably moderate guy into white supremacy–as the kids used to say, read the whole thing. Ed at Gin and Tacos provides the best synopsis I’ve read so far (boldface mine):

She takes us through the example of a guy in Philadelphia whose “likes” began with normal “middle aged urban white guy” preferences – the local news networks and newspapers, local elected officials (both parties), Philadelphia sports teams, and some generic “we support our police” type stuff. Then he discovered Fox News and everything changed. Soon it was a parade of Fox News personalities, then the more prominent right-wing internet presences that Fox promotes (Turning Point USA, Ben Shapiro, Brietbart, etc.) Then came the hardcore Trump sites – not just Trump himself, but the “we love our hero president” meme factory groups on Facebook. Then, especially once he crossed the threshold into Breitbart territory, came the explicitly far-right / white power stuff.

It literally tracks step-by-step the process of this guy becoming a white nationalist threatening to kill people on Twitter, whereas he was once a normal Average Joe who liked going to pancake breakfast fund raisers for the local Fire Department and thought his Democratic mayor wasn’t half-bad. We’ve all seen people we know go through this process but couldn’t really quantify it. It turns out that Facebook tracks the evolution pretty systematically.

Fox News absolutely is a gateway drug. It’s not just what Fox itself covers – it’s the way it introduces addicts to the broader universe of the right wing internet. And it doesn’t take long before the user is introduced to the Harder Stuff. The journey from Fox & Friends to explicit white supremacy is surprisingly short.

As Comrade Driftglass likes to remind us, no nation can endure half Fox News and half free. One way to damage Fox would be to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, which would pierce the Fox News bubble.

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2 Responses to Fox News Is a Gateway Drug to Fascism

  1. Joe Shelby says:

    The heart of it I think is that ‘single issue’ factor. Pick one issue where you think Democrats or ”Liberals” are wrong – could be anything (religion, abortion, climate, regulations, guns – just pick *one*), and over time at *some* point, someone on the right will use that to grab you – they’ll reinforce your biases and feeling (whether logically right or just pure gut feeling with no accounting for evidence), and then use that to show that a proponent of what you dislike is wrong on the other stuff as well – and hammer it for an hour, and then say Person Y agrees with Person X on that issue, and so is wrong as well, and therefore must also be wrong on THIS issue – and right down some self-invented chain – X is wrong on this therefore must be wrong on everything, and repeat down the line.

    I knew people who back in 2004 and 2006 were clearly just single-issue Republican voters. Some pro-guns, some pro tax-breaks, over in California many vote Republican at the state and national level because *local* Democrat policies are horrible to them (usually involving traffic or water control) and they just vote party line rather than actually split the vote, for whatever reason. That was then. Today, many of those i knew have fallen into the Democrats must be wrong on everything trap, the one issue becoming the wedge by which that media machine split them from the reality they used to be a part of.

  2. John Magoun says:

    Is the return of the Fairness Doctrine a thing? Your mention of the possibility is the first time I’ve heard anyone suggest it, over many years of reading liberal complaints about the right-wing bias in media opinion outlets. Has any Democratic party candidate even mentioned reinstating it, over the past four or five campaign seasons? (I can’t imagine a Republican taking such a position, as Fox would clearly be the primary target of such an initiative, followed by the Sinclair chain.

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