This post has been corrected. (3:59 p.m.)
Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Megyn Kelly: Which of these is not like the others (aside from gender)? Anyone who has watched these four in action over a period of time can see that Kelly is a journalist, someone who wants to get out the truth as best as she is able. The others work to create a narrative, one that reinforces their own views (which happen to be identical to those of President-elect Donald Trump) and helps cement the bonds among the Trump/Fox base. They self-identify because they all believe the mainstream media is out to get them, immigrants are pouring over the border and America is losing millions of jobs to China.
These notions are demonstrably false, but falsity, anger and ignorance are now what forge their bond with the Trumpized GOP. (The bond sure isn’t forged by ideology, since Trump has none and so frequently changes his mind the Fox Non-News hosts should be careful to check his Twitter feed before going on air, lest they get it “wrong.”) That Fox Non-News is overwhelmingly white and male only reinforces the divide between Fox and other cable-TV news operations.
No wonder Kelly had to get herself out of there. Gabriel Sherman writes:
Carlson’s promotion is one sign of just how much Murdoch wants to appease Trump, Fox insiders say. Murdoch has been intent on forging a tight relationship with Trump since his victory, sources close to both men tell me. One longtime Murdoch confidante told me the two speak by phone at least three times per week. As I reported Tuesday, at Mar-a-Lago over the holidays Trump criticized Roger Ailes and lavished praise on Murdoch. … Murdoch has allowed Sean Hannity to turn his 10 p.m. show into de facto infomercials for Trump.
Kind of hard to miss that last part, huh?
So one could now watch Fox Non-News every night from 8 to 11 p.m. (we are sure some do) and get one’s news exclusively from non-journalists spinning the Trump line of the day. (This is hard, of course, because Trump’s line of the day may be indefensible, but they give it their best.) If viewers leave the TV turned on to Fox, they will wake up to “Fox & Friends,” another bastion of Trump fandom.
Those people glued from 8 to 11 p.m. (plus the early morning) to Fox Non-News may read books — written by these same Fox hosts. They might listen to talk radio, which plays back clips of the shows, and frequent blogs that lift material from all of the above. They live in their own sealed non-news, non-factual sphere. We would suggest that those who find Fox preposterous and unwatchable (and therefore don’t watch) are at a severe disadvantage in understanding how these people think and the degree to which their self-identity is tied to holding the Fox-Trump worldview and ascribing to its non-facts.
Now that the Fox Non-News nighttime lineup has shed the last element of real journalism, the door between Fox Non-News world and the world is slammed shut. Nothing intrudes into the news diet save for what they hear, see and read in this un-virtuous cycle. They need never bother with any political views or figures outside that domain.
We don’t have any “solution” to this problem. People make choices in how they get their news — or if they get real news at all. Our country suffers from self-segregation in just about every area of life (religion, consumer tastes, etc.), so we shouldn’t be surprised that many Americans never see the other side’s news.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the start time of the new time for Tucker Carlson’s show. This version has been corrected.