We have a problem. As media like Fox and other right wing supporters say ‘what are we to do with the 75 million that voted for Trump?’ Actually that is NOT the problem. Truthfully much of that 75 million has been lied to for too long causing them to believe things that are factually and provably untrue. It is not just their fault. They have been told they are “patriots” and supporting Trump is the patriotic thing to do. They have been told that the Democrats eat babies and other wild insane stuff. No wonder they are passionate about supporting Trump. Their blame is therefore more about closing themselves off from the truth – by only listening to one point of view without the intellectual curiosity to hear countervailing arguments. As Mitt Romney said the way to fix the problem is to tell them the truth. Problem is, it is not that simple.
There is media that has seen the advantage of guiding an audience to tune into them. Trump was right that “the media is the enemy of the people” – problem is he chose the wrong media. Let’s face realty for a second. Suppose there had been no Fox ‘News’ with Hannity, Ingraham, Watters, Levin, Judge Jeanine, Lou Dobbs and the like and no Newsmax or the internet all of whom gave exposure to the Trump’s wild claims of conspiracy, fraudulent election, radical socialism and “fake news”. America would not be so divided nor would the Capital invasion have happened.
Now we see on Fox their attempt to keep the divide going – it’s what makes them money. We also see them looking over their shoulder at other networks wanting to cash into the Fox audience. This will force them to maintain and even double down on their Trumpish views. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in the Fox board room as they discuss the threat from networks going further to the right. On one hand they are pleased at social sites banning right wing views as that could eliminate some competition for their market (of course they don’t say so), but they are loosing Trump who was good for their ratings. So the real issue facing the US and democracy in general is on one hand how do you keep freedom of speech and at the same time keep media outlets in a capitalist society tethering themselves to the truth? There are no good answers. Whatever one does can lead to unintended consequences.