Under the spell of dangerous propaganda

Fox News is a tool for the Trump administration to the peril of Americans

Mr. Elfers is a Paradise resident, father and author of two books on ocean voyaging.

I lived in Iran in 1977 (ruled then by Mohammad Reza Shah) and Yugoslavia (under Josip Broz Tito) in the late 1960s. My father was a diplomat, and while I was young I can still remember what it was like watching TV news as controlled by a single news channel dedicated to supporting a dictator.

People may acknowledge that Fox News is biased or tells lies, but they’ll point out there is also MSNBC or CNN or other “lamestream” media available. Trouble is, the Trumpsters I have met get all their news from Fox. Trump knew this going into the 2016 election, and very adroitly turned Fox into the equivalent of a state-controlled TV channel. After all, if it is on TV and Sean Hannity or Laura Ingraham say it is true, then it must be true, right?

Underestimate the power of this sort of monopoly at your own peril. The ratings for Fox are the highest of any cable news network and nearly equivalent to CNN and MSNBC combined. If you really want to understand just what dangerous times we are living in, tune into Fox or listen to Rush Limbaugh a few times per week, as I do. Only then can you truly appreciate why 40 percent of the electorate would still vote for Trump if he, ahem, walked onto Fifth Avenue in New York City and shot somebody.

I tuned into Fox on the first day of the Senate impeachment trial for opening arguments by the Democrats, and it ran only audio of the proceedings for the first two hours. After that there was an on-screen window showing the Senate Chamber overlaid by subtitles reading “Same [Adam] Schiff Lies In A Different Room” and other judgments made with no way for viewers to make up their own mind. Fox News will continue unchecked for as long as enough people are willing to watch it.

I lived in Magalia for five years, and noticed when a neighbor’s car started sporting a bumper sticker that read “F--k your feelings. Trump 2020.” My 12-year-old walked by that car every day to catch the bus to school. We moved.

More’s the pity.