A Day in the Brainwashing Life of Fox "News" Headlines
Cheerleading, Mob-Rousing, and Bootlicking—But Definitely Not News
There’s a lot of serious talk going on about how the country is more divided than ever before.
Remember the Revolutionary War? Historians estimate that only 40-45 percent of the population supported the war. It happened anyway. Remember the Civil War? About 2.5 percent of the country’s population were killed during that war, which would be the equivalent of 8,300,000 today. Now, that was divisive.
We sometimes forget that we’ve always been a country divided—sometimes violently—by conflicting ideologies because we’ve always been a country that not just tolerates, but encourages ideas that are different from the conventional wisdom. Divisiveness can be healthy because it forces groups to articulate their ideas in convincing ways in order to gain more adherents. In other words, prove your ideas are better. Proof includes facts, statistics, and reputable experts. The kind of stuff that pulled humanity out of the Dark Ages when we blamed witches and demons for everything and refused to use lightning rods because it interfered with the hand of God. Instead, we chose the Age of Enlightenment, when we created medicine out of mold and figured blood-letting might not be a great idea.
So, why is there so much teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing in the media about divisiveness? Because there’s a lot of money to be made. Conservative gadfly Ben Shapiro pulls in $7 million a year complaining that Squid Game and Parasite sully the good name of capitalism. Last year, Fox News spun the brittle straw of racist fear into gold worth $3.2 billion. Every time Sean Hannity says “critical race theory” or “socialism” an angel loses its wings—and Fox racks up another couple million bucks.
This is a reader-supported newsletter. Both free and paid subscriptions are available. The best way to join the community and support my work is by taking out a paid subscription.
The polarity in America is not between the left and right, as we’re constantly being told. It’s between, on one side, those from both the left and right who are reasonable, rational people looking to form opinions based on facts—and on the other side, the irrational people worrying about lizard people, stolen elections, microchips in the vaccines, Jewish satellites starting forest fires, and their individual rights over their social duty. Fanning the flames of polarization to fill their own pockets are the soulless entrepreneurial ghouls shrieking about divisiveness.
One of the worst offenders and propagandizers of this divisiveness is Fox News. They have corralled a certain gullible base that attracts advertisers, even though advertisers (including Land Rover, Lexus, Samsung, Papa John’s, Angie’s List, T-Mobile, and more) have withdrawn from Fox several times over the past few years due to their inaccurate and offensive broadcasting.
Fox News is like the AI in The Matrix, feeding off humanity by making them think they are thinking freely but really they are cocooned on their couch in a stupor of simulated reality while Fox, et al uses them as an ATM. People want to hear only what confirms what they already think, like intellectual comfort food. The mac and cheese and mashed potatoes for their beliefs.
One of the most corrosive methods of keeping their adherents in their illusion is by feeding them the blue pills of misleading and emotionally charged headlines. The reason the precise phrasing of headlines is so crucial to brainwashing is because, according to polls, 41 percent of Americans only read the headlines. NPR proved this in 2014 when on April 1, they posted this headline: “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?” They were deluged with angry responses from “readers” who described how much they and everyone they knew read. But, had they read the first sentence of the actual article, they would have realized the article was an April Fools joke that, sadly, proved their point.
On October 17, the day I got the idea for this article after reading dozens of Fox News headlines throughout the day, I pulled a few to share.