Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it looks at the role of conservative media.
At The Daily Beast, former Fox executive Preston Padden says that Fox News started well...
But, in recent years things have gone badly off the tracks at Fox News. Fox News is no longer a truthful center-right news network. The channel (especially the leading prime-time opinion programming) has contributed substantially and directly to:
Fox News has caused many millions of Americans—most of them Republicans (as my wife and I were for 50 years)—to believe things that simply are not true. For example, Yahoo News reports that 73 percent of Republicans blame “left-wing protesters” for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Of course, that is ludicrous. All one has to do is look at the pictures or videos of the attack to see that the violent mob was comprised of Trump supporters. Similarly, a poll by SSRS in late April found that two-thirds of Republicans either believe or suspect that the election was stolen from Trump—60 percent saying there is “hard evidence” that the election was stolen. As noted above, this ridiculous notion has been thoroughly refuted. But millions of Americans believe these falsehoods because they have been drilled into their minds, night after night, by Fox News.
- the unnecessary deaths of many Americans by disparaging the wearing of life-saving COVID masks;
- divisions in our society by stoking racial animus and fueling the totally false impression that Black Lives Matter and Antifa are engaged in nightly, life-threatening riots across the country;
- the unnecessary deaths of many Americans by fueling hesitation and doubt about the efficacy and safety of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines [Fox News provided me examples of pro-mask/vaccine on-air comments, but in my opinion, they were heavily outweighed by the negative comments of the highly rated primetime opinion hosts];
- former President Trump’s “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from him by providing a continuous platform for wild and false claims about the election—claims refuted by more than 60 judges, Republican State election officials, recounts in numerous States and Trump’s own Attorney General; and
- the Jan. 6, 2021, violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by continually promoting former President Trump’s “Stop The Steal” rally.