Fox News should be curtailed on all military bases and facilities to prevent men and women in uniform to be lied to about stories and events shaping our nation, particularly the political world around us.
The right-wing newscast is facing a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems for the lies many of the broadcasters spewed during the 2020 election and the big lie that the former president pressured them to present. Almost all of the top broadcasters starting with Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, had privately messaged and shared with each other that they knew Trump had lost but needed to tell lies so that their millions of viewers did not jump ship for other television programs.
They should not have access to our military, their civilian spouses, and or their children who might watch their programs playing non-stop while in a hospital, a gymnasium or a mess hall, an officers’ club, or any enlisted men’s facility. Their misinformation and/or disinformation has proven to be a catalyst for some military personnel who actually took part the in January 6th Insurrection. That includes three active Marines, according to the New York Times. They totally disregarded their solemn vow to uphold the Constitution while watching Fox and instead chose allegiance to the twice-impeached former president while wearing a MAGA hat as part of their new uniform.
VoteVets, a progressive veterans group, has launched a campaign to ban Fox programming on all military basis and facilities. They also created a 2-minute commercial that shows the despicable actions of the Fox newscasters and why the Department of Defense should take action against the organization.
(See the article here at VoteVets.)
Yesterday, I called the Inspector General of the Department of Defense complaining about Fox and its atrocious influence on servicemen and women. Today I also left messages with my congresswoman, my two federal senators as well as President Joe Biden in an effort for one of their staff members to read my article here and to see if it would be feasible to curtail Fox’s anti-democratic misinformation.
In addition, I had signed a petition offered by MoveOn to ban Fox completely. See Petition here.) But then I realized that the channel does present some worthwhile programs such as sports, particularly football. I am sure that a ban could be lifted on those types of shows.
But just think. They would not be able to watch “Fox & Friends,” “The Five,” Maria Bartiromo, as well as Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham. None would be exposed to the outright lies that we have learned that these groups and individuals have gotten away with impunity.
Stop Fox. We owe it to our troops!
I think this reflects a common misapprehension among liberals that ‘somewhere up there’ is a responsible authority who can sort things out if given sufficient power and resources. If history has taught us anything it’s that power always corrupts.
‘Officials’ are appointed by those who currently hold power and have no interest in upsetting the status quo. Sometimes their own officials turn around and bite them (a current example being FTC chair Lina Khan – to much outrage in the corporate media) but they’re very much the exception and are usually quickly silenced, vilified and replaced. Overwhelmingly you don’t get to be an ‘official’ until you’ve demonstrated your loyalty to the powers that be.
And it’s precisely those ‘powers that be’ who dominate the entire spectrum of permissible propaganda in our society (often called ‘the Overton Window’), including both wings of the pro-corporate party and all the corporate media from ‘left’ to right. So they’re hardly going to appoint ‘officials’ who might undermine their own carefully (and expensively) manufactured bullshit.
I’m not talking conspiracies here. I’m talking institutional structures.
If a CEO or political leader tries to impose policies consistent with their own ethical principles rather than with the best means of ensuring competitive dominance for their corporation or party they’ll be replaced in the same way a dissident official will be. Or their entire institution will fail and be replaced by a more ruthless one. That’s how hyper-competitive market entities, political parties and nation-states survive. Too bad it’s no longer consistent with human wellbeing or survival.
True reform never comes from above. Unfortunately it very rarely comes from below either. Mao was right in saying societies can only evolve under conditions of permanent revolution, but his own Cultural Revolution was a perfect example of why those currently in power will never bring it about.
The following exchange was made on Facebook after I published the petition to ban Fox at military facilities:
Patricia Muronoff Kalafut
Michael J Contos
Thanks, Pat. I hope to follow this up with a blog post about veteran groups trying to get the military to drop Fox propaganda offerings at all military facilities. (Done the following day!)
Patricia Muronoff Kalafut
I’m loving that you called the Inspector General!
Michael J Contos
I have yet to hear back from anyone. Madeleine Dean, my congresswoman, Senator Bob Casey, and Joe Biden’s White House acknowledged the message and I believe someone will read my post and get back to me.
Who knows what if anything any government official can do. But, I figured it was worth a try in keeping with the MoveOn.Org group!
Michael J Contos Isn’t it great to be able to take part in a democratic attempt to get our point across on something so important as preserving this nation and our troops?
Yes, let’s hope that privilege continues.
Patty Kline Capaldo
Airing that garbage in military bases is just like piping in Russian propaganda.
Michael J Contos
Yes, Patty. It is hurtful and could get even worse when an indictment is handed down and Fox pleads for some support against our government officials and institutions.
I don’t think Fox is unusual in being a corporate media outlet that puts forth an endless stream of BS. Both liberal and conservative media do the same thing (e.g. the Russiagate hoax was pure BS, but you’d never know it from the NYT or MSNBC).
Noam Chomsky has long put the view the liberal media is more pernicious in its propaganda because it’s (slightly) more sophisticated and attuned to its educated middle-class consumers. Most fans of Fox know it’s 99% crap but like to echo it to rile the liberals.
Given the current pitch of war drum beating in the liberal media over both Russia and China I’d have thought they’d be the first ones to ban from military bases.
But either way it’s gonna be counterproductive.
If you’re telling impressionable young people they can’t listen to something because it might lead them astray they’re gonna hate you for your paternalism and become more determined to hear what you don’t want them to hear. It’s not like you can effectively censor it from everyone’s laptop, but by nominally banning it you’ve just disqualified yourself from engaging with it using rational arguments and counter-evidence.
The right are already exploiting the myth their opinions are being censored and de-platformed to stoke resentment and feelings of persecution and to distract from the fact they’ve got fuck all sensible to say. Any hint of censorship just plays to that agenda. And shutting down their free speech justifies them in doing the same to yours when the next Trump is in the White-house.
You have a good point about censuring causing problems, but I believe we can get officials to help against the lies by making other venues more available to the masses.
No, I don’t think the so-called liberal press is also guilty of slanting the news. I worked as a newspaper reporter for several years and I always tried to be fair and present both sides. My paper never lied and I knew no one in the industry that would condone such conduct.
Oh boy, what paper was that? Sounds like an extreme outlier to me, especially in the context of all the bullshit we heard in the lead-up to the Iraq war (which the NYT belatedly admitted was bullshit) and the current bullshit we’re being fed about the war in the Ukraine (e.g. the original claim Russia blew up its own Nord Stream pipelines followed by a blackout on Seymour Hersh’s investigation exposing it as a US operation (Hersh also exposed the US war crimes at My Lai and in Abu Graib) then by a new piece of BS that a bunch of pro-Ukrainian amateurs on a yacht did it with no state backing whatsoever).
When I was in my late teens and early 20s we had a weekly called The National Times that was jaw-dropping in its incisiveness and honesty. The NSW police were particularly violent and corrupt at the time but the media always lauded them as heroes, especially the State’s most decorated cop, Roger Rogerson (look him up if you want to know what sort of cop he was).
I was then associating with some pretty unsavoury people in inner Sydney and knew all too well what cops like Rogerson were like. A close friend of my then girlfriend had her partner murdered by him. The only news outlet that didn’t idolise Rogerson’s Armed Holdup Squad (which ran most of the major armed robberies in NSW) was The National Times and their investigative reporter Wendy Bacon ultimately exposed him for what he was.
Almost twenty years later I was reporting on NSW police corruption and one of the proudest moments of my life was when my friend and hero, Wendy Bacon, introduced me to a UTS journalism forum as “one of the best independent journalists in Australia today”. But the mainstream media is still covering for corrupt cops, because they’re the ones who leak their pet police reporters juicy stories about rival cops in return for turning a blind eye on their own corruption (and yes, I did the same thing).
The National Times eventually overstepped the mark by publishing a leak from the Costigan Royal C9mmission into organised crime that the most prominent crime kingpin in Australia was also it’s second biggest media proprietor (after Murdoch), Kerry Packer. Both the Royal Commission and the National Times were quickly silenced and shut down and Australian media figures from the nominal left to the rabid right joined in a choir of praise for Packer, insisting he was completely innocent of Costigan’s extremely well documented allegations.
Nothing I’ve seen from the US corporate media – which floods this country with propaganda in the same way it does yours – leads me to conclude it’s any more honest than our own. Quite the opposite in fact. That’s probably why more US people have “no trust at all” in the media than have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in it combined (according to Gallup).
If you really want an eye-opener into how the US media is run and controlled I’d suggest you grab yourself a copy of the Chomsky and Herman classic Manufacturing Consent. One of the points they make is that it doesn’t matter whether journalist condone media lies any more than it matters whether car industry workers condone unsafe gas guzzlers. It’s the owners, managers and advertisers who call the shots and their agendas are clearly reflected in what gets published.
Wow. Never knew you were a journalist!
I worked at the Pottstown Mercury newspaper for some six years. My work was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for detailing problems at the Pennhurst Center, a facility outside Philadelphia for the mentally disabled.
Having served in combat during the Vietnam War, I believe we owe it to the troops to safeguard them and to enforce some discipline for their own good. I would do it while accomplishing the mission but also looking out for the welfare of my men!
I published under a pseudonym, for reasons you can probably imagine.
BTW, do you understand that ‘lies’ and ‘bullshit’ are two very different ways of misrepresenting the truth (according to the Princeton philosophy professor Harry Frankfurt).
In a nutshell, a liar thinks he knows the truth and consciously chooses to mislead people about it. A bullshitter doesn’t care about the truth one way or the other. He only cares about the impression he’s making.
So someone who knows Hillary Clinton’s emails were leaked by a Democrat insider but chooses to claim they were hacked by Russian intelligence then passed to Wikileaks is a liar.
But someone who doesn’t know one way or another, but chooses to amplify the claims by prominent Democrats it was the Russians and that Julian Assange was their stooge in order to maintain good relations with the Democrats who brief them and to denigrate Wikileaks for repeatedly exposing the ineffectiveness of corporate media is a bullshitter.