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One Big Hoax: Donald Trump and Fox News (Part One)

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In January of this year the Pew Research Center released the results of a poll aimed at measuring the level of trust that Americans have in specific news organizations. What the research revealed was that Democrats, or people who lean toward the Democrats, had high levels of trust in numerous news organizations. In fact, 67 % of this group said they trusted, CNN, 61% trusted NBC, 60% ABC, 59% CBS, 56% PBS, and 53% the New York Times. However, the only news organization trusted by more than 50% of Republicans (or people leaning Republican) was Fox News. It was trusted by 67% of that group. Significantly, the pollsters found that Fox News was the most distrusted news organization among the total pool of U.S. adults surveyed. 40% of all Americans distrust Fox News (Pew Research Center, "U. S. Media Polarization and the 2020 Election: A Nation Divided," January 24, 2020).

The information coming out of the Pew Research poll suggests that viewers of Fox News live in a bubble or under a rock. They appear to constitute a cult whose view of events in the world is totally dependent upon what a few news and opinion personalities at Fox tell them. Although such narrow-mindedness is disturbing in itself, it is rendered more ominous for our country's well-being by the evidence which indicates that Fox's so-called "journalists" routinely and intentionally inflict one hoax after another on the cult.

The 2005/2006 Annual Editions college textbook devoted to World Politics contained a chapter by me titled: "Democracy or Dominion." It provided an overview of American history from a specific perspective: "When the American public pays little attention to political affairs, it pays a price. The question today is the same as it has been earlier in U. S. history - how great a price?"

One specific paragraph in that chapter addressed the comparatively stupefying effect of obtaining news from television rather than print media. Most stupefying of all, however, was what passed for "news" at Fox News.

I wrote, "A study dated October 2, 2003, by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) titled "Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War," found that the audiences of Fox News, CNN, and the three major TV networks had more demonstrable misperceptions about the war in Iraq than did readers of the print media, To nobody's surprise the viewers of Fox News, which broadcast the most blatantly pro-war coverage, resulted in the highest percentage of misperceptions of that war. (Annual Editions 2005-2006, World Politic, McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, 2006, p.78).

Another PIPA study, conducted in 2010, once again found that Fox News viewers were the most misinformed of all consumers of news. According to reporting by Mark Howard, as published by AlterNet on December 15, 2010, "In eight of the nine questions below, Fox News placed first in the percentage of those who were misinformed (they placed second in the question on TARP). That's a pretty high batting average for journalistic fraud. Here is a list of what Fox News viewers believe that just aint so:

 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs

 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit

 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse

 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring

 49 percent believe income taxes have gone up

 63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts

 56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout

 38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP

 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)

The conclusion is inescapable. Fox News is deliberately misinforming its viewers and it is doing so for a reason. Every issue above is one in which the Republican Party had a vested interest" ("Study Confirms That Fox News Makes You Stupid").

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Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San (more...)
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