"The misinformation that reaches the Fox News audience is a danger to public health. Indeed, it is not an overstatement to say that your misreporting endangers your own viewers – and not only them, for in a pandemic, individual behavior affects significant numbers of other people as well."
"When the statements of knowledgeable experts are surrounded by false claims made by pundits and politicians, including the president – claims that are not rebutted by knowledgeable people in real time – the overall effect is to mislead a vulnerable public about risks and harms. Misinformation furthers the reach and the dangers of the pandemic."
Fox News first commenced broadcasting in 1996. Over the next 24 years, assisted by Right-Wing Media and “televangelists” such as Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and Bill O’Reilly; they have delivered the word of Roger Ailes, and successfully brainwashed their viewers into believing a false narrative — an entirely new, alternate reality.
They have armed Republicans with an armada of misinformation — slanderous opinions repackaged and delivered as fact.
Fox News has instilled and normalized such fear, hatred and racism in unrelenting fashion, that they have trained their followers to vote against their best interests.
"Fox News hosts and guests minimized the dangers, accusing Democrats and the media of inflating the dangers (in Sean Hannity’s words) to “bludgeon Trump with this new hoax”. Such commentary encouraged Donald Trump to trivialize the threat and helped obstruct national, state and local efforts to limit the coronavirus."
Fox, combined with the efforts of Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich, have created such divisiveness amongst Republicans and Democrats — a culture of Us vs Them, that Republicans now prioritize party over country and are committed to a win at any cost approach, to elections, gerrymandering, laws that favor the rich and unfairly discriminate against and disenfranchise: African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, the Poor and the Middle Class.
Add to this, an ongoing and never-ending rant from Trump about "Fake News", which is purposefully directed towards credible news sources, (such as AP, BBC and The New York Times) in an attempt to group them with the likes of Fox News, The Blaze and OAN, which ironically - Trump portrays as "Nice News."
The remedy to these tactics lies in education, access to a diverse selection of accurate information, and last but not least, independent thinking. We must take the time to teach our children how to interpret, digest and contemplate the overwhelming amount of information they digest every waking hour of the day; verify that these statements, ideas and ideologies meld with their personal convictions, while developing the skill to differentiate between sourced fact and personal opinions.
Right Now, as we deal with the spread of COVID-19, we can lessen the harm of this virus by dealing with the greater underlying danger that currently threatens us - misinformation. Prior to sharing your facts and opinions with others, the most beneficial measure we could take to help each other, is to take but a moment and think to ourselves... "Do my opinions and facts meet the high standards I set for myself?"
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Eric J. Safranek