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Fox News Said To Be Hurting Republicans

Pulls them too far to the right

Bruce Bartlett, one of the early proponents of trickle-down economics with a long history of service to the Republican party,
working for both Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, stirred up controversy with a paper published in May that says Fox News creates what others have called "an echo chamber" that lulls viewers and the Republican Party into the "wishful thinking" that its far right views enjoy greater support with the public than is actually the case.

Unlike its liberal counterpart, MSNBC, which has much lower viewer ratings, Fox "became the dominant — and in many cases, virtually the only — major news source for millions of Americans", says Bartlett.

"This has had profound political implications…Indeed, it can almost be called self-brainwashing — many conservatives now refuse to even listen to any news or opinion not vetted through Fox, and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth".

Bartlett's data say that Fox's core viewers are less well informed than viewers who watch other sources. They tend to have erroneous beliefs about the Iraq War, the Affordable Care Act and other major issues, he says. The Daily Show recently put together on Vine " 50 Fox News Lies", all of which were validated as such (or as "pants on fire" over the top) by the Tampa Bay Times' Politifact.com. Among them: NASA scientists fabricated data to prove climate change exists, Obama sent more forces to fight Ebola than ISIS, the Affordable Care Act will eventually lead to single-payer health care.

Because of such misinformation, says Bartlett, Fox viewers are more likely to be more poorly informed. They are…

18-points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government than those who watch no news at all (after controlling for other news sources, partisanship, education and other demographic factors). Fox News watchers are also 6-points less likely to know that Syrians have not yet overthrown their government than those who watch no news."

tug to the right

That's the public. Bartlett's greater concern, as a conservative wanting electoral success, is with politicians. He says the Fox news agenda ships “misinformation” to the party’s far-right base that serves to stunt the GOP's growth by encouraging it to field extremist candidates. That prevents the Party from reaching the centrist voters that are essential to winning national elections. Bartlett quotes Lincoln Mitchell, a political scientist at Columbia University, who observed, "One of the reasons Mitt Romney was so unable to pivot back to the center was due to the drumbeat at Fox, which contributed to forcing him to the right during the primary season."


Bartlett's other criticism is the Fox theme of perpetual anger which he says causes Republican politicians to think they should adopt the same outrage themselves. It creates a feedback loop where Fox hosts' outrage at liberals is reflected back to them by politicians who conclude anger is a winning posture. This alienates voters who traditionally gravitate to politicians with a more positive outlook.

Pushing back against this is Jack Shafer at Politico, who claims Fox has a negligible effect. It is just a "news-entertainment hybrid designed to make money", its combative programming style simply meant to attract viewers.

Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity are well-known exemplars of that style in the prime time hours, but anger is pervasive on the network during the day as well in group talk shows such as the four women and an always simpatico male guest on "Outnumbered" at noon weekdays, and on "The Five" in the late afternoon with some of the same rotating cast, where they vent their outrage about such Fox perennials as Benghazi, the IRS, and the administration having no strategy against ISIS.

One of "The Five" hosts is Eric Bolling, whose comments have drawn criticism for being racist, as when he referred to Obama having black visitors to the White House as "not the first time he's had a hoodlum in the hizzouse", and sexist, as when he jokingly asked whether female pilot Maj. Mariam al-Mansouri from the United Arab Emirates leading a squadron against ISIS in Syria qualified as 'boobs on the ground".

Bolling has his own show on Saturday called "Cashin' In". As an example of the perpetual anger that Bartlett and others cite as characterizing Fox, he closes the show with a weekly essay he calls "Wake Up America". We'll close with his from just before Memorial Day, in which he tells us that threats of the moment are what we should be worried about, not the threat climate change poses to the future of mankind and the planet:

Bolling: This week at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement, President Obama addressed the most pressing issue to American national security . Ready for your head to explode? In 3, 2, 1:
Obama video clip: "Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security. There comes a point when the worst effects will be irreversible, and time is running out."
Bolling: You know, I never would expect a commander in chief who is knee deep in a failing war strategy to call climate change our most pressing issue given ISIS just took Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria and here at home two more ISIS sympathizers were arrested in L.A. just two days ago and the FBI was so worried about ISIS trying to recruit our youth they went to a New Jersey high school to warn students about ISIS. Clearly, ISIS is a major threat to our national security but that's not all that ails America. Race relations are at a boiling point, high schoolers are portraying cops as brutal killers targeting the black community, while lawmakers are pointing their fingers at law enforcement from behind their security details and liberal academia is piling on, blaming cops for the problems plaguing the black community [as representative of this purported universality, Bolling resorts to a video of a high school principal from a town named Belton in an unidentified location presumably somewhere in the U.S. who refers to police killing young black men].
No, Mr. president, the climate is not a threat, and it's certainly not an imminent threat. In fact, it's been a decade and a half of the hiatus in global warming and that is a fact, so stop playing the American people. We do have some very imminent threats to the country. Race relations are fragile. Our law enforcement community is under assault and ISIS is knocking on our back door. And what scares me most is that you have no strategy for any of these. So here comes some free advice. Develop an ISIS strategy, then develop a strategy to protect our men and women in blue who keep us safe every day, and finally work on a race strategy that calms tensions rather than fuels the flames. As for climate change, leave that for Bill Nye and the global warmist clowns. It's beneath the office even for a bleeding heart liberal like yourself.

1 Comment for “Fox News Said To Be Hurting Republicans”

  1. J. Thomas

    Darn Republicans are always too far right! Why can’t they all simply become Communists like the Democrats. Lets get rid of this one remaining non-communist news outlet & get on with the destruction of the American Republic so we can have our one world Satanist nirvana!

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