At Stop The Donald Trump we are constantly pointing out Fox News has spent a lot of energy in creating an alternative reality for their viewers by ignoring key facts, withholding context, and making stuff up.
Fox also uses strategy of vilifying the rest of the news media (“The liberal media!”, “The mainstream media”) which has been so successful that most Fox News viewers only get their information from Fox News.
This is a dangerous recipe that makes it very easy for Fox to get away with overtly racist arguments because if you’ve lived in this worldview they created and maintained for the past 20+ years it is all very normal.
So when Fox News ignores systemic racism and on a daily basis repeats ideas like “blacks must try harder to get ahead”, “Irish, Italians, and Jewish minorities overcame prejudice and now it’s African American’s turn”, and generations of slavery and Jim Crow is not a factor in discussions on upward mobility, what would seem cruel, ridiculous, and missing important context to the rest of the world, a regular Fox News viewer doesn’t blink.
Like remember when Megyn Kelly shoutted “Santa Claus is white kids! He just is!” and nobody on her panel did a double-take.
This is because their viewers have been conditioned for decades to fear minorities, foreigners, other religions, paint liberals as Jesus-hating communist baby murders who want to turn your kids gay, and because of the mistrust they instill of other actual news media, they can outright lie to their viewers.
Some examples include:
- Saying the United Nations was laughing with Trump and not at him.
- Giving full credit to a booming economy Trump was gifted to by Obama.
- Claiming the FISA judge was unaware the Steele Dossier was funded as opposition research.
There has been two specific moments that normalized white supremacy enough where Fox News has been able to be more open with their racism.
- Milo Yiannopoulos’ “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right”
- The candidacy and election of Donald Trump.
What Milo did in his successful Breitbart article was paint the alt-right as just another conservative movement by downplaying the white supremacist origins and made the ideas of a white nation more palatable to a larger audience.
And people forget that article was widely shared, written about, and discussed in conservative circles, including months of sympathetic portrayals of the alt-right on Fox News, right up until (and during) Charlottesville.
That really pushed white nationalism into the open and mainstream.
And I could talk for hours about Trump, but in short his election validated his racist, sexist, and xenophobic comments and made them more everyday normal. Case in point, Trump attacked a sexual assault survivor to a cheering crowd and it’s not a scandal today.
If we recognize we live in a country where racism has all been normalized because of the efforts of Fox News and Republican radio hosts, it makes sense that someone like Tucker Carlson can literally repeat talking points of the KKK verbatim (“It’s okay to be white”) and it is seen as acceptable and popular to a Fox New audience.