Daily Bread for 2.27.23: Fox’s Viewers Wanted Those Lies

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 44. Sunrise is 6:34 AM and sunset 5:41 PM for 11h 07m 06s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 41.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Urban Forestry Commission meets at 4:30 PM, and the Whitewater Unified School Board goes into closed session shortly after 6 PM, to resume open session at 7 PM

 On this day in 1951, the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting presidents to two terms, is ratified.

David French explains Why Fox News Lied to the Viewers It ‘Respects’

There are some stories that are important enough to pause the news cycle and linger on them, to explore not just what happened, but why. And so it is with Fox News’s role in the events leading up to Jan. 6, 2021. Thanks to a recent filing by Dominion Voting Systems in its defamation lawsuit against Fox, there is now compelling evidence that America’s most-watched cable news network presented information it knew to be false as part of an effort to placate an angry audience. It knowingly sacrificed its integrity to maintain its market share.

Why? There are the obvious reasons: Money. Power. Fame. These are universal human temptations. But the answer goes deeper. Fox News became a juggernaut not simply by being “Republican,” or “conservative,” but by offering its audience something it craved even more deeply: representation. And journalism centered on representation ultimately isn’t journalism at all.


Fox isn’t just the news hub of right-wing America, it’s a cultural cornerstone, and its business model is so successful that it’s more accurate to think of the rest of the right-wing media universe not as a collection of competitors to Fox, but rather as imitators. From television channels to news sites, right-wing personalities aren’t so much competing with Fox as auditioning for it.

Take, for example, the online space. Fox News is so dominant that, according to data from December, you could take the total traffic of the next 19 conservative websites combined, and still not reach half of Fox’s audience.

But that kind of loyalty is built around a social compact, the profound and powerful sense in Red America that Fox is for us. It’s our megaphone to the culture. Yet when Fox created this compact, it placed the audience in charge of its content.

The paradox of the conservative populists: self-described strong types who take offense easily, and shift uncomfortably, at mere words they don’t like. They complain about safe spaces, but it is they who crave the safest space in all America. It takes little to rattle them, little to cause them to act out and act up. Fox is the place where the conservative populists go to be told it’s not them, but rather the rest of the world, that’s a problem. Fox’s audience wanted lies because the truth was too hard for them; Fox gave its audience the soothing mendacity they craved.

The cure for the insecurities of the populists won’t come from placing them in positions of power. They’ll not become more judicious with a seat at the table. On the contrary, they will inflict injuries on others in a futile attempt to redress their own personal grievances. Personality (in the sense of self and being) brings them to politics, but politics will not improve that state of personality. 

A struggling community in the grip of the populists will find that it has farther down to sink. 

 Rare snowfall envelopes southern California, swirling around Hollywood sign:

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