How Fox News Works. Spoiler, it’s a Drug.

February 20, 2018

Brilliant Twitter thread shows why Uncle Dittohead REALLY does not like it when you pop his Fox News info-bubble.

Clearly internal biochemistry and neurotransmitters can be hacked, — it’s what advertisers, flimflammers and religions have done for millennia.  But what we are seeing now, supported by networked technology – is next level.

MadGrampa on Twitter:

Fox’s confounding success in retaining and misinforming uneducated conservative viewers is the result of one particular unique behavior. And it explains the surprising ability of Fox viewers to be so susceptible to it all.

We are all familiar with Fox’s distorted misinformation and cartoon propaganda, but Fox specializes in a more important 2nd type of broadcast. And it’s this that’s responsible for the real Fox magic.

Every day, Fox seeks out minor, local stories and factoids that, on a practical level, are totally irrelevant for a national audience. Fox then distorts and exaggerates the stories to reveal affronts to core conservative politics or beliefs.

For example, “US Navy veteran ordered to remove American flag wrap from mailbox.” or “Illegal immigrant charged in deadly freeway crash.” or variations on the “war on Christmas” theme etc.

The facts of these stories impact the lives of none of Fox’s viewers, aren’t topics of national interest, and if disclosed, often weaken the story’s polarizing stance. Fox wouldn’t even broadcast these stories if it weren’t for the one critical benefit which I’ll get to.

To achieve that benefit it’s important that the story obviously incriminate itself without overtly articulating the verdict. Fox feigns objectivity, leaving space for the viewer to judge. That’s intentional; for the system to work, the viewers MUST be one to pass judgment.

It’s as if you’d reported “Blind man says ‘Sky is red’, wants stop sign painted blue”. By design, this triggers the viewer to cry, “THAT’S NOT RIGHT! The sky is blue! How dare he!” Many media pundits explain Fox’s stories like these as merely reinforcing viewers’ politics.

Others argue they are designed to enrage conservative viewers. Both criticisms are correct, but there is something more at work. These stories also exist to stroke the uneducated conservative ego.

Rage is merely an outcome of feeling “correct” in the face of a fabricated injustice within this virtual reality. Passing “correct” judgement on these self-incriminating stories make viewers feel smart. Make them feel right and righteous.

In a world where uneducated working-class people are faced with feelings of inferiority, here comes Fox to the rescue, with a channel designed to make these viewers FEEL SUPERIOR to the very educated, “elite” people who they have felt lesser-than for so long.

To make them feel like WINNERS. It is a kind of virtual reality that becomes addictive. A perpetual source of validation and reassurance. No other news outlet goes to such effort to make uneducated viewers feel so good about themselves.

So naturally these viewers prefer Fox. It FEELS good to be fed a steady diet of validation. For someone to say, “You get it! Maybe you didn’t go to university, but wow, you’re intuitively smart. Who needs an education? Those guys? They’re the brainwashed ones.”

“You’re above all that. You see the big picture. You just proved it by knowing the right answer all by yourself!” Ultimately, a steady diet of these stories makes viewers more receptive to Fox’s misinformation and propaganda when it matters.

The addiction is powerful, and it virtually ensures that these addicts will come to Fox’s defense when needed. Fox addicts need not even believe the propaganda, they’ll support it so long as they can still feel “superior”.

They’ll fight on facebook and twitter, supporting blatantly disingenuous claims – because it keeps them on the high, it keeps them feeling smarter and superior. And because the thought that FOX might honestly be wrong is abhorrent.

God forbid the entire virtual reality construct might be wrong. When viewers venture away from Fox, when they read NYT, WaPo, CNN and other outlets that do not stroke the uneducated conservative ego, the world must feel suddenly cold, the bottom drops out.

The high is gone, and those old insecurities and feelings of inferiority creep back even stronger, since they’ve been floating way up high above reality on a happy cloud. Without the high of validation, Fox viewers suffer withdrawal.

So addictive is this feeling of finally being better, righter, smarter than others, of “winning”, that viewers will seek out “ammunition”, defensive data, links and ridiculous memes, most of them factually incorrect and disingenuous, to counter those main-stream stories…

..outlets and people who threaten to weaken to remove the source of emotional validation. The Fox drug.

Donald Trump’s uneducated unsophisticated rhetoric and words serve as an extension of the Fox tactic, doing exactly the same thing. Makes these viewers feel right. Feel better about themselves than the world naturally affords.

Makes them feel like winners. Even the label “forgotten men and women” is a pandering euphemism. These uneducated, working-class people were never “forgotten”.

They simply hadn’t felt like they were part of a righteous, superior community before. They were just living in the real world, where having an education gives you more opportunity. These people weren’t “forgotten” they simply had (and still have) somewhat less opportunity.

The nationally irrelevant news stories Fox broadcasts and tweets are intentionally designed to validate the egos of uneducated conservative viewers, who become addicted to the resulting feelings of superiority and in turn, become soldiers of the Fox News misinformation war.

New York Times:

Thanks to a relentless news cycle — and a dedicated fan in the Oval Office — Fox News has defied the downward trends in the television business, notching its highest-rated year in 2017 even as audiences dwindled for many networks.

But the mass migration of viewers away from traditional cable and satellite packages is accelerating. And now Fox News is plotting a leap into the uncertain digital future that rivals like CNN have so far put off.

On Tuesday, Fox News is set to announce Fox Nation, a stand-alone subscription service available without a cable package. The streaming service, expected to start by the end of the year, would focus primarily on right-leaning commentary, with original shows and cameos by popular personalities like Sean Hannity.

It would not overlap with Fox News’s 24-hour cable broadcast — not even reruns — because of the channel’s contractual agreements with cable operators. Instead, the network is planning to develop hours of new daily programming with a mostly fresh slate of anchors and commentators.

“Fox Nation is designed to appeal to the Fox superfan,” John Finley, who oversees program development and production for Fox News, said in an interview. “These are the folks who watch Fox News every night for hours at a time, the dedicated audience that really wants more of what we have to offer.”

Fox News already commands the attention of President Trump and many voters in his base. The digital product would bring viewers an additional dose of opinion programming beyond staples like “Hannity” and “Fox & Friends.” Live events, like question-and-answer forums, would encourage more direct interaction with anchors and commentators.

Fox News viewers “value our product so much, they go to hotels and if they can’t have Fox, they send us emails. They go on cruises, and if they can’t have Fox, they send us emails,” Mr. Finley said. “This is a way for us to meet that demand.”

Whether the venture would be a moneymaker is up in the air.

Fox News reaps more than $1 billion in annual profit, providing ample funds to hire a new team for Fox Nation, which is not expected to initially carry advertising. Mr. Finley declined to estimate his start-up costs, and streaming services in conservative media have had a mixed record of success.



15 Responses to “How Fox News Works. Spoiler, it’s a Drug.”

  1. Skip Pruss Says:

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    At least the video above got way more thumbs down than thumbs up on YouTube so far. Makes me hope again. Truth is that it’s 13 times more likely to be shot to death in the US than in Ireland. Truth is that Ireland has strict gun control laws in place. Truth is that we Irish aren’t as obsessed with guns as the US Americans are. Truth is that more than one in 10,000 is being killed by a gun every year in the US and A. (I’m awaiting a rebuttal from the “etiquette” guy now :-))

    => List of countries by firearm-related death rate

    The posts from MadGrampa hit the nail on the head. Faux is just plain crap, appealing to the very baser human instincts. You must be some kind of loser when you’re watching that shite.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      ” Truth is that it’s 13 times more likely to be shot to death in the US than in Ireland”

      Those chart numbers include suicides. The suicide rates per 10,000 are very similar between Ireland and the US. More than half of the gun deaths attributed to the those gun deaths in America are suicides; more than half of American suicides are with a gun. So, is it safe to say one is only about 6.5 times more likely to be shot to death (by someone else) in the U.S. than in Ireland?

      So, the Irish use other means for suicide, and guns for murder. Considering that the US has at least 25 times more guns than Ireland, and 67 times more people could it be true that the Irish are actually more trigger happy when it comes to murder?

      Just pulling your chain to make a point. Anybody, on both sides of this issue, can pull whatever statistics they want about the U.S. and gun control and make the situation seem clear-cut. But the situation here is not clear cut, and not easy to deal with, and gun control is not just difficult to accomplish but also may not help much.

      But who knows? We don’t even have proper statistics.

      • Sir Charles Says:

        You better go back to school and take some math lessons, Roger. “could it be true that the Irish are actually more trigger happy when it comes to murder?” That’s just ridiculous. It shows that you guys also have an education problem.

        • Gingerbaker Says:

          See, now you are just being a dick and taking it personal. Ad hominem is not a valid argument.

          But let it never be said that the Irish can’t multitask.

          • Sir Charles Says:

            You just can’t do the maths, Roger. Full stop.

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            It’s not about maths, Charles. You completely missed the point. Cherry picking statistics to say that what works in Ireland is due to gun control and therefore what America needs is gun control like Ireland is not logical.

            America can not have gun control like Ireland. Or Australia. Not until the Republicans are out completely. And one of the best re-election strategies they have is an electorate who votes consistently for one reason only – so the Democrats won’t take their guns away.

            As if they could! That is the bitter irony. The 2nd Amendment protection of the rights of citizens to own guns, carry guns, and use guns is now specific, upheld multiple times, and has never been, in the entire history of the United States, stronger.

            And guess what – the 60 million or so gun owners in the U.S. not only have rights, they also have statistics on their side too.

            The percentage of zip codes with gun violence problems is small. Statistically, almost no gun owners are involved in murder – the percentage is tiny. The percentage of U.S. guns involved in murder is miniscule. Guess what – it is lower than in Ireland! Do your own maths, Charles. See what I mean about statistics? (NO, probably not)

            So, we have a situation where gun rights are protected, and the vast vast vast majority of guns and gun owners have acted responsibly. How are we supposed to justify or rationalize taking guns away from people in the U.S.? We can’t.

            Instead of blustering about gun control in Ireland, what we need is suggestions for legal ways to stop school shootings that even Republicans might support. I nominate mandatory metal detectors and restricted entry into schools.

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            “You just can’t do the maths, Roger. Full stop.

            Sir Charles Says:

            => List of countries by intentional homicide rate

            Ratio US/IRL = 7.6”

            What does that have to do with guns, Charles?

            And, yeah, we have a lot of violent crime in America. Most of it thanks to decades of Republican policy on drugs, health care, unions, and trade. Crap Ireland has to much less degree.

            Or are you arguing that our homicide rate is due to the large amount of guns in the country?

      • Sir Charles Says:

        BTW, in German there is a word which describes suicide for what it is: “self-murder”

  3. mboli Says:

    Gary Shteyngart predicted something like this in “Super Sad True Love Story” (2010). There are subscription Fox TV channels called Fox Liberty Prime and Fox Liberty Ultra.

  4. Keith McClary Says:

    “To make them feel like WINNERS. It is a kind of virtual reality that becomes addictive. A perpetual source of validation and reassurance. No other news outlet goes to such effort to make uneducated viewers feel so good about themselves.”

    Protecting the precious snowflakes from any sense of failure or rejection.

  5. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    This brainwashing may feel good, but creating division is a threat to national security.
    If reality finally does come home to roost, the withdrawal symptoms will be painful.

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