NY Times: Distrust of Media Deadly to Democracy, Should Fox Apologize?

January 10th, 2021 2:44 PM

The disgusting spectacle at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday involving some extremist Trump supporters dominated the New York Times again on Sunday. Reporter Trip Gabriel front of the National section, “For Loyal Trump Base, Anti-Democratic Ideals And Distrust Still Burn.”

But yet again, Times reporters went beyond justifiable condemnation of rioting and lies to defend the media’s coverage of the summer street riots and massive property destruction, committed in the name of racial justice. 

For Gabriel, distrusting the liberal mainstream press means you’re swallowing dangerous propaganda.

For these voters, the lack of allegiance to small “d” democratic values seemed to stem, in part, from the shift among many Republicans to imbibing information from sources that offer propaganda rather than news and facts. The share of Republicans who trust the mass media has plunged in the Trump years to 10 percent, according to Gallup. A majority of Republicans believe Mr. Trump was robbed of the election.


Another likely factor that leads to delegitimizing political opponents among Trump supporters is the scorched-earth attacks on Democratic candidates during elections. Most recently, Mr. Biden and his vice-presidential running mate, Kamala Harris, were falsely tied to “socialism” and the most far-left positions on energy policy and health care.

A Trump supporter was chided for having

...credulously absorbed the Republican attacks on the Democratic ticket, in which Mr. Biden was portrayed as doddering and Ms. Harris as a left-wing extremist.

It's not a lie to call Harris a left-wing extremist.

A single paragraph provided a bit of balance.

Some members of the president’s base said they would view Mr. Biden as illegitimately occupying the Oval Office, a further polarization of Americans after years when some Democrats questioned or denied Mr. Trump’s legitimacy. In the view of many Trump supporters, the president was never given a chance to govern -- he was besieged from Day 1 by claims of Russian collusion, fierce obstruction of his priorities and, ultimately, an impeachment.


In Georgia’s Senate runoff elections on Tuesday, [Robert] Fuller, 65, supported the Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both of whom lost. The victors -- the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who will be the first Black senator from Georgia, and Jon Ossoff, who will be the Senate’s youngest member -- secured control of the chamber for Democrats.

Mr. Fuller does not consider either winner legitimate. Not because they didn’t win the most votes, but because of their political views, which were caricatured during the race as far left of center.

Describing Warnock and Ossoff as left-wing is far from a "caricature."

Meanwhile, media reporter Michael Grynbaum was looking for an apology from Fox News in an article about the network’s future in a post-Trump era.

Anyone expecting an about-face from Fox News -- or an apology, as some liberals might daydream -- has not studied its history or that of its owner, Mr. Murdoch, whose ability to adapt to political change is matched only by his reluctance to kowtow to critics.


Still, no Fox News prime-time star has yet blamed Mr. Trump for his role in inciting the riot at the Capitol. And rather than reckon with years of backing Mr. Trump and giving comfort to his supporters, the network’s commentators have simply swiveled, finding new ways to take on old targets. In the Fox News universe, Mr. Biden is now a socialist prepared to upend the American way of life. And many hosts have drawn a direct equivalence between the storming of the Capitol by an anti-democratic mob and the Black Lives Matters protests over the summer in support of racial justice.

The above comparison does sound lame – but only if you skip the rioting and looting and fatal violence that accompanied those BLM protests.

As repulsive as such rhetoric may be to liberals, it is part of a formula that has rarely failed Fox News, which remains the profit engine of Mr. Murdoch’s Fox Corporation.