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The terrible cost of propaganda

March 8, 2023

By Mike Weland

After more than six years of spewing misinformation and propaganda on behalf of Donald Trump and the radical MAGA faction of the Republican Party under the guise of news, sowing unfounded anger and fear and helping make possible the greatest assault on our nation's democracy since the Civil War, Fox News is at long last being seen by many for what it is, propaganda. There is one glaring exception ... those who faithfully trust Fox for the news that informs their day and defines their decisions.

Fox fans will not hear the blistering revelations in "lamestream" media coverage of the Dominion Voting Systems $1.6-billion defamation lawsuit against Fox; Fox owner Rupert Murdoch's sworn testimony in depositions that he rejected the assertions of his "news" staff that the 2020 election was "stolen," his admission that some of his star news hosts may have gone too far in pushing "the big lie."

They'll never see the emails between those highly paid Fox News hosts and executives that painted a damning portrait of supposed journalists professing to report truth to their massive audience while acknowledging among themselves that they well knew they were telling lies ... there was no credible evidence of voter fraud, the people they presented as knowledgeable sources; Sidney Powell, Rudy Giulliani, Pillow Guy Mike Lindell, et al, were without merit. Liars all.

Swearing under oath, Murdoch testified he thought all the "noise spewed by former President Donald Trump during his stop the steal hoax was bull**** and damaging," but that coverage decisions weren't based on politics or ideology.

“It is not red or blue," he testified. "It’s green.”

They'll never see those internal staff emails from Tucker Carlson that starkly contradict his on-air doting. “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait,” he wrote in the wake of the 2020 election. "I hate him passionately.”

Die hard Fox fans will hear none of that as Fox isn't covering its own travails any more honestly than they cover MAGA.

In this dysfunctional era, that may be an effective response, having served schoolyard bullies and conmen for millennia. But it's dishonest. It's the antithesis of news, of the honest attempt of gathering and disseminating factual information to those who might have need to hear it.

This week, Fox News host Tucker Carlson effectively proved the difference between a legitimate news reporter and a peddler of propaganda, blatantly distorting the January 6 insurrection, dubbing it “mostly peaceful chaos.” He was privileged to accomplish this dubious feat thanks to embattled and ineffective House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California), who ceded his dignity to the most radical wing of his caucus in exchange for a gavel and a title and gave Carlson sole access to hours of White House security footage of the four hour assault in the name of transparency.

As with Donald Trump, Kari Lake and many other of MAGA's leading lights faced with factual accusations and damning facts, Fox News hosts and executives never admit, never apologize. Never try to make right or atone.

Instead they obfuscate, attack with vigor. Stoop ever lower. Instead of admitting the obvious, this week Fox News counsel accused Dominion Voting Machines of distortions, misinformation and misattributing quotes as part of an attempt to “smear Fox News and trample on free speech and freedom of the press.”

For the blind, it's another tried strategy of this new GOP.

"I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense," attorney general Bill Barr wrote the House and Senate Judiciary committee leaders in March, 2019, before the public release of the Mueller report, prompting the president's ebullient declarations of complete and undeniable exoneration.

"No collusion!" Trump gloated then.

Until the press was given access, few knew of other lines Mueller had written, and by then, it was too late ... the mind of the masses was already made up.

“[I]f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state," the report read. "Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.” It further states, “The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

McCarthy says he will, in due time, release the footage to other media, but Trump is already singing laurels to Tucker for his great "scoop."

"Congratulations to Tucker Carlson on one of the biggest 'scoops' as a reporter in U.S. history," he posted on his social media platform, Truth Social. "The New Surveillance Footage of the January 6th Events sheds an entirely different light on what actually happened. The Unselect Committee was a giant SCAM, and has now unequivocally been stamped as CRIMINAL FABRICATORS OF THIS MOST IMPORTANT DAY. Pelosi & McConnell failed on security," he added. "The Police story is sad and difficult to watch. 'Trump' and most others are totally innocent, LET THEM GO FREE, NOW!"

Had those cable networks fostering propaganda and presenting the most brazen lies and conspiracies as news dedicated themselves to truth rather than clamoring for coins from the deep-pocketed MAGA faction, there would likely have never been an insurrection. A democracy cannot survive without truth and a free press. An autocracy cannot survive without lies and propaganda.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

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P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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