“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”
Let’s hope that’s not the case in the wretched matter of Fox News vs. Dominion Voting Systems. Cross our fingers: perhaps enough spinning-eyed, crazed Fox viewers were shocked out of their TV-induced trances when Fox folded in the face of futile resistance and unbearable embarrassment. Let’s hope the sight of America’s conspiracy theorists’ favorite conspiracy site agreeing to pay nearly ONE BILLION DOLLARS in settlement, rather than face exposure of all their lies, deception and deceit related to Dominion and the “election steal,” is real-world enough to recoil heads and break the Fox spell.
No, Dominion wasn’t owned by Hugo Chavez, nor were votes “flipped,” nor were any of the other baseless accusations made by Tucker Carson and the gang and their parade of crazies like Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani based in fact. Rather, all this “stolen election” flak was known on the inside as “crazy s—” but sold on the outside to the Fox fan base as red meat to keep them snug as brainwashed bugs, glued to Fox screens, permanently sucking up their Fox fix.
If the settlement wasn’t real enough to wake folks up, Monday’s news of Tucker Carlson’s ejection from Fox should also serve as one hell of a wakeup call. “FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways,” Fox News announced Monday. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.”
Sports teams don’t willingly eject their star quarterback or pitcher – nor do giant corporations fire their top-performing CEO’s. But apparently, for either Tucker or Fox, the heat inside the conspiracy kitchen was too hot to handle, and disgraced Fox has burned through yet another top-line star, following ejection or defection of the seedy likes of Bill O’Reilly, Megan Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, and CEO Roger Ailes, himself.
Yes, I know that dyed-in-the-wool Fox fans may apply faith patches over their brains to absorb all this bad news and still stay true believers. With sufficient denialism, everything but Fox News and its imitators can remain “fake news.” Anything else can still be, “the Libs controlled by George Soros.” The “mainstream media” can remain Commie propaganda designed all along to take our stuff away and turn us into another Venezuela communist wasteland.
Yet, I always thought it odd that it was Tucker Carlson and his Fox Friends cheering for post-commie, dictator for life, Ukrainian genocide leader, Vladimir Putin. It was always odd, how Fox decried the failings of America while extolling the virtues of “Christian Russia.” Somehow, they glossed over the lack of Russian democracy, failed to mention the 80% divorce rate of ethnic Russians, and glossed over their unreal alcoholism problems. Or that just calling the “Special Military Operation” a “war” lands one in a gulag for 10, 15 years. God forbid one goes out on the street and protests the war: That’s treason in Russia, prison for life.
Well, chickens have finally come to roost on Fox lies to the tune of $787.5 million. And that’s not all, folks: There’s still the billion- and hundred-million-dollar suits against Fox by Smartmatic, and Abby Grossberg and others. Having the same evidence that folded Fox the first time, these secondary suits will also likely result in any price paid but go to court and have sun shined on Fox’s dirty laundry. Indeed, when the sun sets on this tawdry mess, it’s likely Fox will have paid out well over $2 billion for its intentional broadcasting of untruths, lies and election manipulation as news.
A billion is a billion. Fox would have fought had it thought it could prove its innocence. But pretrial discovery made it plain that most everyone at Fox, from owner Rupert Murdoch to Tucker himself, knew they were broadcasting crazy stuff solely to boost ratings.
Recognize that, if you’re a Fox fan, those lies were aimed right at you. If you think about it, you should be righteously offended and incensed. Your “most trusted news network” purposefully lied to you. Purposefully manipulated you. Purposefully participated in a fake conspiracy, which egged on what would become the Capital Riot and the most coordinated and threatening actions against our democracy since perhaps the Civil War.
Fortunately for Fox viewers sufficiently aware to understand their “news network” is, in truth, a for-profit manipulation machine – a sort of strange entertainment establishment – there’s a way out, without selling out their conservative sensibilities. It’s easy: Open up to a wide variety of news sources. Go wide, instead of narrow. Really look around and judge for yourself.
There’s PBS. The BBC. The old original TV news, from ABC, CBS, NBC. There’s The Economist. The New York Times. The Fox-related Wall Street Journal. And so much more in reputable, established sources. But just be careful, please. If what you’re watching is selling pillows by a Pillow Guy, or strange tincture COVID cures or Prepper packages – they’re likely conspiracy outlets and should be avoided as much as the now-discredited Fox folks.
Look, it’s always hard when we’re betrayed by those we trust most. “America’s most trusted network,” admitted by actions and by words that they lied to you about some of the most important matters to America, ever. But we can learn from our mistakes and start anew.
An America freed from purposeful dissemination of false, fear-provoking, addictive fake news will be an America far more willing to find common ground and build for our common, better future.
Let’s hope we shake the shackles of conspiracy scales covering our eyes, drink the water of truth, and go open-eyed to a more hopeful, productive future together.
Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.