Why I’m voting for Biden: Right-wing media outlets and Trump have done a hit job on American democracy

September 26, 2020

I’m voting for Biden this fall because right-wing media outlets and Trump have done a hit job on American democracy.

This week, Fox News even admitted in a U.S. District Court that Tucker Carlson is full of it.

Fox lawyers won a defamation lawsuit brought against Carlson by arguing that any reasonable viewer would “arrive with an appropriate amount of skepticism” toward any statement Carlson makes.

But sadly, 43 percent of Americans and 65 percent of Republicans lack that skepticism and still trust Fox News.

The majority of programming on Fox News is akin to what you see on Carlson’s show. It’s political-based infotainment styling itself as news, complete with an ever-present, meaningless Fox News Alert. Fox does have actual news segments, but the personalities Hannity, Carlson, and Ingraham draw far more viewers than their legitimate news efforts.

The creator of Fox News, chronic sexual harasser Roger Ailes, built this media machine and began coordinating its messaging with Republican leaders and other right wing media outlets decades ago, which is why Fox’s talking heads, Republican senators, and Rush Limbaugh all have roughly the same talking points on a daily basis.

But Facebook is the new defacto media powerhouse where we get our news, and even though conservatives love to complain that they’re being censored on Facebook, they share memes, ideology, misinformation, and “news” on Facebook at a pace unrivaled by anything else on the platform.

Here are the creators of the top ten performing posts on Facebook from September 22: Franklin Graham, Ben Shapiro, Ben Shapiro, Delish, Ben Shapiro, Breitbart, Dan Bongino, Sean Hannity, David Harris, and Donald Trump For President. In other words, the list contains 9 conservative viewpoints and 1 recipe from Delish.

Even though Trump cries “fake news” on a daily basis about legitimate stories, there was an actual “fake news” epidemic in 2016, when tech geeks in Macedonia created more than 140 websites that published fake U.S. political news. These weren’t agenda-driven or right-leaning sites originally –– the creators simply hoped to make money by collecting views and clicks, which brought revenue from Google ads.  What these fake news creators quickly learned, though, was that American conservatives are far more likely to share content on social media than American liberals.

Those Macedonian fake news sites don’t exist anymore, but we have something just as dangerous in their place: sites like The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller, and The Federalist that pretend they’re offering news but instead simply promote an ideology with a loose connection to reality.

I’ve seen so often the bad faith argument about the “liberal media” from Trump and Republicans. There have now been more than 20,000 documented lies, exaggerations, and misleading claims made by Trump since the start of his presidency. The job of the media is to be a watchdog and to hold power accountable, so of course a lying president is going to get negative press.

I’ve also heard multiple people say that it’s so hard to know what to trust anymore. It’s not actually that hard. Read multiple sources. Read news that goes through an editing and fact checking process and that is from an organization that strives to hold itself accountable.

Reading the news should not be an act of faith; rather, it should be an act of the mind.