A new study has found that Fox News is hurting the Republican Party by brainwashing millions of angry conservatives with misinformation.
In a new study of the Fox News effect by Bruce Bartlett, research was collected that demonstrated the negative impact of Fox News on media and politics.
Bartlett described what the founding of Fox News first meant to conservatives, and how it shifted into an act of self-brain washing, “Like someone dying of thirst in the desert, conservatives drank heavily from the Fox waters. Soon, it became the dominant -and in many cases, virtually the only – major news source for millions of Americans. This has had profound political implications that are only starting to be appreciated. 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.”
Mr. Bartlett documented Fox News’ extreme rightward shift after 9/11 and how the network went from tilting conservative to flat out misinformation and propaganda. The study also sums of years of research that points to Fox News viewers as being the least informed media consumers.
The dominance of Fox News has led to some extremely negative consequences that are harming the Republican Party:
Although this arrangement unquestionably aids Republicans in winning elections and votes in Congress, it is not without its downsides. One is that Fox now exercises such powerful control over the GOP that it has become the party’s kingmaker in presidential primaries.56 Indeed, during the 2012 election cycle, a number of aspirants for the Republican nomination had been paid Fox commentators, including Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. And woe to the Republican who runs afoul of Fox’s top brass or ignores their advice, as Mitt Romney did on one occasion in 2012. Fox is now so important in GOP primaries that candidates must put aside pressing campaign concerns when summoned to a Fox interview, where any error is magnified within the Republican bubble.
Another problem is that Republican voters get so much of their news from Fox, which cheerleads whatever their candidates are doing or saying, that they suffer from wishful thinking and fail to see that they may not be doing as well as they imagine, or that their ideas are not connecting
outside the narrow party base.
Bartlett’s conclusion is that the same attributes that make Fox a strong cable network are harming the Republican Party.
There is little doubt that the Republican Party is influenced by two interests. The corporations and conservative billionaires who fund their campaigns and Fox News. A Republican candidate can be made or broken by Fox News, but the network also pushes Republicans to an unelectable right-wing position in presidential elections.
Viewers have been brainwashed by a combination of misinformation and constant confirmation of their own biases. Fox News doesn’t “report” reality. The result is that millions of Fox News Republicans expect their candidates to carry out what they see on television, which has led to a party of non-reality based voters supporting delusional candidates.
The impact is felt on a broken legislative process where for one party there is no middle and opposing the President at all costs has become a path to political victory.
The conclusion is unmistakable. Fox News has not only broken journalism. The conservative news network is also destroying the Republican Party.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association