Lefty Professor: During the Obama Years, Fox News Has Changed From a GOP ‘Propaganda Machine’ Into ‘A Cult’

The left often downplays or overlooks differences among Republicans. For instance, plenty of liberals assumed that John McCain chose Sarah Palin mostly in an effort to attract disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters, rather than for the likelier reason that McCain needed to reassure his party’s righty base. Similarly, Penn State professor Sophia McClennen lumps Fox News with Donald Trump, whose conservative credentials are more than dubious. The main thing they have in common is her contempt.

“Trump literally embodie[s] everything that Fox News stands for — you know, like making things up and refusing to be questioned, rampant bigotry, misogyny and class warfare,” wrote McClennen in a Tuesday piece for Salon. “Oh, also, favoring cult-like populism over rational democracy; an attitude of bluster, bias and bullying; and a rhetoric of patriotism veiling a politics of elitism.”

McClennen contended that Fox went from bad to worse in 2008 and ’09, thereby paving the way for the Trump phenomenon: “As a consequence of the election of Barack Obama and the founding of the Tea Party...the right wing veered…into a party of extreme fundamentalism and unabashed bigotry. Fox News was where we all got to watch it happen…Fox News went from being a spectacle heavy, GOP-biased cable news network to a cult.”

From McClennen’s article (bolding added):

Fox News is No. 1 in cable news, No. 2 overall (behind ESPN) in Nielsen’s report for 2015—the highest-ever ratings for a cable news network. So it’s official: Fox News has finally destroyed television news and turned it into nothing more than blood sport.

It should come as little surprise that 2015 offered Fox News a healthy bump. Not only did it have the ongoing GOP clown car and the opportunity to host the first GOP debate, which yielded a record-breaking 24 million viewers, but it also had the gift that keeps on giving—Donald Trump…

…Trump literally embodie[s] everything that Fox News stands for — you know, like making things up and refusing to be questioned, rampant bigotry, misogyny and class warfare. Oh, also, favoring cult-like populism over rational democracy; an attitude of bluster, bias and bullying; and a rhetoric of patriotism veiling a politics of elitism…

Up until the launch of Fox News, cable news was well on its way to stupidity—but it wasn’t necessarily partisan stupidity…

…[A]s a consequence of the election of Barack Obama and the founding of the Tea Party...[t]he right wing veered…into a party of extreme fundamentalism and unabashed bigotry. Fox News was where we all got to watch it happen.

That was the time when Fox News went from being a propaganda machine for the GOP to being the Kool-Aid for the party…

Fox News went from being a spectacle heavy, GOP-biased cable news network to a cult.  People didn’t just pledge allegiance to the party; they offered loyalty to Fox News…

 “Fox News” should no longer be considered a news network. Instead it should be compared…to cult-like networks like CBN with its “news/magazine” program “The 700 Club”…

…Fox News viewers don’t care about reality or the truth…

[But] here’s the really good news…

If we add up the viewers for Stephen Colbert, Lee Camp, Trevor Noah (especially his amazing team), John Oliver and Larry Wilmore—each of whom offers important correctives to the biased blather on Fox News—we get way more viewers than those for Fox News…

…[A]s cable news has become a mockery, it is the political comedians who are taken seriously…

Matt Taibbi recently asked if “America is too dumb for TV news,” but I’d say TV news is too dumb for America. And Fox News is No. 1.

Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson is a contributing writer for NewsBusters