"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?"
Referenced opinion article:
The End Of The American Dream and What Is To Come Next
"Three decades of neoliberal policies have decimated the middle class, our economy, and our democracy"
"America today has higher inequality and less upward social mobility than most other developed countries"
"After rising for a century, average life expectancy in the U.S. is now declining. And for those in the bottom 90% of the income distribution, real (inflation-adjusted) wages have stagnated: the income of a typical male worker today is around where it was 40 years ago."
What is Neoliberalism?
"Often associated with laissez-faire economics, the policy that prescribes a minimal amount of government interference in the economic issues of individuals and society. This theory is characterized by the belief that continued economic growth will lead to human progress, a confidence in free markets, and an emphasis on limited state interference... Neoliberalism supports fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, privatization, and greatly reduced government spending... There are many criticisms of neoliberalism, including its potential to endanger democracy, workers’ rights, and sovereign nations’ right to self-determination." [Investopedia]
"As diversity continually grows each year, the Baby Boomer Generation that profited most from the Neoliberalism Movement that started in the 1980's, will likely be the one's who will likely suffer the greatest, from the downsides of the system they once coveted."
"We can thank former President Ronald Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for our current state of affairs. The neoliberal reforms of the 1980s were based on the idea that unfettered markets would bring shared prosperity through a mystical trickle-down process."
"We were told that lowering tax rates on the rich, financialization, and globalization would result in higher standards of living for everybody. Instead... a greater share of the wealth and income from this limited growth was funneled to the top 1%...
Instead of the promised prosperity, we got deindustrialization, polarization, and a shrinking middle class. Unless we change the script, these patterns will continue — or worsen."
"Trump and the lobbyists he has appointed to dismantle the U.S. government are doing everything they can to strip away regulations protecting the environment, public health, and even the economy."
"The U.S., after all, stands alone among developed countries in not recognizing health care as a basic human right. Ironically, while the U.S. spends more on health care — both per capita and as a share of gross domestic product — than any other developed country, its predominantly private system delivers worse outcomes."
"It requires that we reverse the Republican Party’s systematic effort to disenfranchise large segments of the electorate through voter suppression, gerrymandering, and other anti-democratic techniques. It also requires that we reduce the influence of money in politics, and restore proper checks and balances."
"Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling,"
"Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive."
"The privatization or marketization of public services such as energy, water, trains, health, education, roads and prisons has enabled corporations to set up tollbooths in front of essential assets and charge rent, either to citizens or to government, for their use."
"“Like rent,” he argues, “interest is ... unearned income that accrues without any effort”. As the poor become poorer and the rich become richer, the rich acquire increasing control over another crucial asset: money. Interest payments, overwhelmingly, are a transfer of money from the poor to the rich."
"Not only are the banks too big to fail, but so are the corporations now charged with delivering public services... vital national services cannot be allowed to collapse, which means that competition cannot run its course. Business takes the profits, the state keeps the risk."
"The greater the failure, the more extreme the ideology becomes. Governments use neoliberal crises as both excuse and opportunity to cut taxes, privatize remaining public services, rip holes in the social safety net, deregulate corporations and re-regulate citizens."
"Neoliberalism show[s] that it’s not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to... attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century."
"The current economic crisis has exacerbated stagnation and inequality."
"Real socialism is the only option to the current economic crisis... as capitalism ceases to be a viable historical system, socialism may prove to be the only viable solution to the fundamental crisis confronting humanity in the 21st century"
"Capitalism is inefficient as is socialism... The great advantage of socialism over capitalism is that the former outscores the latter in fulfilling social needs."
"The presence of exploitation in both systems. In the case of capitalism, capitalists exploited workers and peasants. In socialism, the state exploited workers and peasants"
"Neoliberalism is a failure because it has produced lower growth rates than keynesianism and real socialism. Furthermore, it has not satisfied people's basic needs."
As you can see, there are no perfect options or simple solutions. It is evident that, what we are doing, and the current path we are on, IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. Change is imminent.
I have been saying for years: the solutions do not reside on the Far Left or Far Right, but instead somewhere in the middle. The irrelevant models and systems of the past are antiquated. It is imperative for us to develop a new modern system that creatively integrates Capitalist Innovation with all-encompassing Social Democratic Safety Nets.
If we have learned anything from the Great Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020, is that wars are no longer the greatest threat to humanity. Viruses, Technology/AI and Climate Change pose far greater threats. The need to redirect resources, (both financial and other) towards: Education, Health and Eco-Friendly practices are mandatory to our survival.
Eric J. Safranek