I probably shouldn’t single out FoxNews here, but they are the most well-known bastion of the uber-conservatist media. And yes, I think the collective conservative “Fauxnews” media is destroying conservatism, resulting in incredible snafus like we are seeing in Indiana, and the fact that Hilary Clinton (who has a less than 50% approval rating) has a substantial lead in current polls over any Republican presidential hopeful.
Here’s the problem: Fauxnews is not presenting a “fair and balanced” view of anything. They do provide one very good service, and that is to highlight stories that are typically ignored by other media outlets. However, it is a mistake to take any of these stories at face value, because what is being presented is a nice, conservative fairy tale meant to either motivate well-meaning conservatives, or to pacify them.
The conservative Fauxnews media is simply preaching to the choir, without really educating on the issues. I see a number of posts on Facebook where a conservative site has an outrageous headline about something Obama or Clinton have supposedly said, only to find that when you read the actual quote, they didn’t really say that at all. The fauxnews retelling is more than spin; it’s misleading, and occasionally bordering on fraudulent. But well-meaning conservatives trust many of these fauxnews sources, and don’t bother to fact-check.
Conservatives (as well as liberals), develop a kind of group-think. It’s a form of tribalism, a subject I’ve been thinking a lot about, and which I’ll talk about in the future. There is a very strong need for many people to share the same opinions as the tribe, and will willingly adopt them without any real critical thinking (even if they think critical thinking is happening). The tribal presuppositions are such that everything becomes colored and conclusions are almost predetermined.
The danger is that conservatives will become more and more ignorant, and are in danger of becoming completely marginalized, even if they are the majority. It’s so easy to embarrass a conservative right now that it’s – well – embarrassing.
The best way for conservatives to hold their own politically is not to create a conservative virtual reality to exist in, but to take the red pill (Matrix reference) and see what reality looks like. Take a look at the issues the conservative media is reporting, then go to the sources, and find out what is really going on. Analyze, and develop your own opinions. I almost never read or watch conservative news; at most, I read the bottom of the screen when I’m on the elliptical at the gym (Fox is always on). Instead, I look at WaPo, CNN, etc., and then Google stories I’m interested in for varying opinions.
Will Rogers identified this problem years ago when he said, “All I know is what I read in the papers.” Fauxnews isn’t helping the problem, it unfortunately is the problem, and it is ruining conservatism.