One of the unfortunate downsides to my job is that I have to subject myself to Fox News far more than I would like. In fact, Fox News probably gets more of my attention than almost any other news source because I believe that understanding the drivel that’s pushed by the media arm of the RNC is vital for understanding whatever nonsense Republicans are trying to pull.
While there are plenty of things I could say about Fox News, the one thing that often sticks out the most to me is just how hard they push a story that fits their conservative narrative. Even the clearly liberally-leaning MSNBC doesn’t come close to what America’s most-watched conservative entertainment channel does to blatantly pander with little regard for journalistic integrity or even truthfulness.
If there’s a story Fox News feels they can use to go after someone like President Obama, Hillary Clinton or Democrats in general, they’ll parade “expert” after “expert” on the network, usually for days, who spout off Republican talking points nearly word-for-word as if they’re reading them from a teleprompter. It really is comical that people take the network seriously.
While conservatives will point to the network’s ratings as a “sign” that they’re providing the best news coverage, that’s not remotely true. Liberals and other rational, reasonable people get their news from MSNBC, CNN, ABC News, CBS News and a variety of other sources, but most conservatives only trust Fox News — driving all of one certain type of viewer to one channel. Of course, that means their ratings are going to be higher.
So, who are the folks who watch Fox News?
1. The angry white person: If there’s one solid grouping of people who Fox News can depend on most, it’s the angry white viewer. This is the group of people who almost always feel like “their country” is being taken away from them. Whether they blame blacks, Mexicans, homosexuals, other religions, or just liberal ideology and multiculturalism in general, in their minds, they are always the victim. This makes Fox News a great place to visit for “news,” because the network has no problem telling these angry white individuals that they are, indeed, the victim.
2. The simple-minded who are easily manipulated by propaganda and talking points: This group of people is primarily comprised of those looking for confirmation bias in their “news.” They don’t want complex, in-depth information that requires a whole lot of critical thinking. Oh, no. What these folks want is bombastic, colorful commentators who are going to tell them that everything they think is real is, in fact, completely and totally true.
3. Paranoid people who are easily manipulated by fear: If there’s one thing I’ll say about Fox News, they’re damn good at selling fear, anger and the idea that you should always be afraid of — something. If you want to see exactly what it is I’m talking about, after the next terrorist attack anywhere in the world, go watch the coverage on ABC News, CNN, CBS News and MSNBC… then go look how Fox News covers it. However, the next time there’s a mass shooting in the U.S. that’s not tied to terrorism, compare all the networks again. It’s amazing how different the narrative is from Fox News for how “afraid” someone should be (and of whom) based upon who commits the act of violence.
If you’re someone who only watches Fox News, I can almost guarantee you’re far more paranoid, angry and afraid of the world than someone who doesn’t.
4. Racists: While similar to “angry white people,” blatant racists are different. If you’re someone who’s a legitimate, bona-fide racist, Fox News is definitely the place to go to make yourself feel as if your ignorance is completely justified. Not only are there very few minorities who are actually featured on the network, but the few they do have, like the buffoon Stacey Dash, will say stuff like “there shouldn’t be a black history month” or call someone who gave an impassioned speech about racism a “plantation slave” for doing so. Because nothing makes racists feel more justified in being racists than having an actual African-American woman saying the exact things they’re thinking. To say nothing about prominent hosts like Bill O’Reilly who literally argue that reverse racism is the real problem while actual racism is really nothing more than liberally-driven propaganda. If you’re a racist looking for a major news network to tell you that your racism is rational, and actually isn’t racism at all, Fox News is definitely the place to which you’re going to turn.
5. Conspiracy theorists and the mentally unhinged: While the Internet is loaded with an endless array of conspiracy sites, you really don’t see conspiracies given a great deal of attention in the mainstream media. To a conspiracy theorist, the mainstream media ignoring their lunacy is “all part of the conspiracy.” However, the same can’t be said for Fox News. This is a network that has featured many people who believe in the “birther conspiracy” (including Donald Trump) and once employed Glenn Beck as a featured personality. While I wouldn’t say Fox News often pushes outright conspiracy theories, they frequently approach them with the general attitude of, “While we’re not going to push or support this conspiracy theory, we understand why some people might think that way.” In the mind of a mentally unhinged conspiracy theorist, that’s just as good as the network telling them, “You’re absolutely right to believe in this ridiculous nonsense.”
While there are more than just five types, these categories make up the foundation of the Fox News audience. And with an audience like that, it’s clear to see how someone like Donald Trump became the overwhelming winner of the Republican party’s presidential nomination. When you compare his supporters with this list, they’re almost identical.