For those who don’t actively devour every second of politics that arise, following the day-to-day chaos that occupies the news cycles of President Donald Trump may seem like a whirlwind — strippers, Russia, infighting, racism, populism. It’s like the holy grail of bad combinations — all subjects that, under another administration, would have resulted in immediate impeachment.
But luckily for Trump, the propaganda wing of the far-right has been working overtime, blasphemously and blatantly lying about the deplorable, vile and unconstitutional misdoings of this buffoonery of a presidency. This propaganda machine, quite obviously, is Fox News.
The president himself is helping to boost the pseudo-legitimacy of the network that sullies the name of news, often tweeting endorsements of shows such as “Fox & Friends” or of his personal favorite fan-boy, Sean Hannity. Hannity has positioned himself as the bulwark of arguing against “fake news,” perpetrating baseless conspiracies about Hillary Clinton and attacking Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe in clear efforts to delegitimize its findings at whatever cost.
In December, Hannity decried the special counsel, stating that he was “a disgrace to the American justice system.” This past week, in light of the firing of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, Hannity took to Fox & Friends, turning the narrative back onto Clinton and away from Trump. Arguing this investigation should only be about Clinton and the emails.
Although these claims are so far in the past and Clinton has been vindicated, Hannity knows how to stoke the fires of anger that burn in the hearts of brainwashed Fox News’ faithful.
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This stoking of the fire is so dangerous, not just in its immediate implications, but what it could mean this November, or in November 2020. The immediate goals of this propaganda crusade are simple. Convince the Trump voter base that above all else, the Mueller investigation is nothing more than an illegitimate and partisan conspiracy lead by Democrats.
This goal is based on the correct belief that Trump supporters will buy into blatantly false and incendiary propaganda. Trump tweeted this past weekend that Mueller’s team is led by “Hardened Democrats.”
Which could be true, if you completely ignore Mueller is a lifelong Republican himself, and so is the man who appointed him — Rod Rosenstein, former Trump appointed Deputy Attorney General.
But despite these glaring facts, Trump still is picking away at the outcomes of the investigation.
Thus, after Mueller airs the outcomes, public opinion could potentially still be on Trump’s side, which will effectively garrison a legitimacy and justice crisis. But the far-right is continually damaging our institutions as a whole.
Not to get analogous or apocryphal, but propaganda like this is a weapon of despots and the corrupt. It’s for securing and maintaining a chokehold on power and over the people. Organizations such as Fox News aren’t providing the right with a right-geared news organization, they’re cranking out 24 hours of conspiracy-riddled, indoctrinating propaganda.
The goals for Fox News are not to push news, but to create an atmosphere that, in the future, won’t be accepting of other institutional practices — whether that be elections, indictments or calls for impeachment. Essentially, every twisting of news and blatant pushing of false narratives to the American public is to ensure that when everything falls apart, these purveyors and partisans can call into question the validity, and the right will blindly accept it.
Adam Ramer ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in history and political science.