The key marker of an authoritarian society is that the media is not free and the media that exists presents an absolute consensus view. In America, we more or less have that right now, following the complete shutdown of virtually all independent media by the tech companies. Yes, technically the Daily Stormer still exists, Infowars still exists, but we are basically preaching to our own hardcore audiences.
As the publisher of the former, I can speak on this. What I have is regular readers. That’s all I have. I have no ability to directly penetrate the mass mind, which is why the site is currently so focused on simply putting together talking points that can be injected by media that isn’t already banned.
The media that isn’t already banned is pretty much Fox News and some sites that fall under the banner of Fox News talking points. With sites like Daily Caller, Breitbart, Washington Free Beacon, The Federalist, etc., they are allowed because they do not veer from the points of Fox News, which is the officially sanctioned opposition. The people who run these sites appear to understand that this is their role, and use Fox as their barometer of what is and isn’t acceptable for them to publish. When Fox News is taken down, these others will be put in the same category as Stormer and Infowars, and promptly banned out of existence.
The rest of the media has already reached a consensus: CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Washington Post and every other outlet that is not under the banner of Fox says the exact same thing. This goes all the way down to the Twitter accounts of these people.
With the “Nazis” and the “conspiracy theorists” having already been silenced, the entire current thrust of the consensus media is now to destroy Fox News, which will in turn destroy the rest of the conservative media. Because that is the way this works: when they are able to force through the idea that a certain category of thought needs to be shut down, they then proceed to shut down that entire category of thought.
CNN’s vile and repulsive gnome-person Brian Stelter is publishing a book attacking Fox News for not agreeing with the consensus of the rest of the media.
Chicago Tribune has a glowing review of the book up now, as the consensus media is rallying around this assault on the network that won’t get in line:
Brian Stelter knows critics accuse Fox News of bending the truth in order to maintain its staunch support of and closeness to President Donald Trump. As CNN media reporter and host of “Reliable Sources,” he’s often one of them.
He wasn’t prepared to hear the extent of concerns about the network’s direction by people who work there.
It was one of the reasons he wrote “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth,” which will be released Tuesday. The book shot from No. 340 to No. 1 on Amazon’s best-seller’s list following Stelter’s appearance with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC Friday.
Several people at Fox privately expressed worry to him about the growing power of prime-time opinion hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham at the expense of Fox’s news operation, he said.
“There is a real resistance inside Fox News,” Stelter told The Associated Press. “Nobody there would use that term. But there are many people there who are uncomfortable with Sean Hannity’s lies and Tucker Carlson’s xenophobia. It’s just that they are powerless, or feel powerless, and the prime-time stars have all the power. There are Trump true believers at Fox, but there are many others who are concerned about the damage being done, and don’t feel that they can speak out publicly.”
After being presented with details of the book and phone conversations Thursday and Saturday, a Fox News representative said the network was declining comment.
While Stelter relies on insider accounts for some juicy details — including that Hannity has privately expressed doubts about Trump despite being his biggest on-air fan — much of the disturbing content in “Hoax” didn’t require any special access. He reported what has been said on the air and how it echoed or was echoed by Trump’s Twitter feed.
Stelter is particularly scathing about the response to the coronavirus epidemic: how it was minimized by both Fox and the president, how the drug hydroxychloroquine was pushed even as studies showed it wasn’t effective against the virus, and the early cheerleading for reopening society.
“It’s readily apparent that Fox failed its viewers at key moments during the pandemic,” he wrote.
“This story is about a rot at the core of our politics,” he wrote. “It’s about an ongoing attack on the very idea of a free and fair press. It’s about the difference between news and propaganda. It’s about the difference between state media and the fourth estate.”
Fox News is a money machine, and although outlets like One America News Network, NewsMax and Sinclair Broadcasting have tried, none have made a serious dent in Fox’s dominance with conservative viewers and Trump fans. New Fox CEO Suzanne Scott has been praised for her financial stewardship.
Yet, Stelter’s account gives a sense that, from an editorial standpoint, there’s no one really in control — that Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham and the “Fox & Friends” morning team can essentially do what they want. The three prime-time hosts have personally advised Trump on policy, something that would be unthinkable at other news organizations.
Stelter was surprised at internal longing for Roger Ailes, the former chief executive who was fired for sexual misconduct in 2016 and died less than a year later. No one questioned that Ailes was in charge.
“When Ailes was forced out and when he died, the channel was still being produced for an audience of one — but now it’s Donald Trump,” he said.
Stelter said concern about the network’s direction was a factor in the decisions of at least a dozen people who have left Fox News in the past four years, even if some haven’t said so publicly.
The plan, very obviously (at least to me), is to use this coronavirus hoax as a way to shut down Fox News. They’re going to claim that trillions of people died because Fox News said that masks don’t really do very much.
Basically, Fox News is controlled opposition. Tucker Carlson isn’t, but he is being controlled by Fox News. He can’t go out there and say, “look, this is an attack on white people.” That’s why he hasn’t been kicked off the air yet. The media knows that he would take his audience with him to his own platform, and on his own platform, he’d be able to be a lot more straightforward in his speech.
I also think that his refusal to attack the Attorney General directly for not stopping these insane communist riots is because Fox News is muzzling him. That is the most important thing he should be doing, and he’s not doing it.
The rest of the hosts are toeing a totally acceptable line of controlled dissent. Primarily, all they ever do is talk about how the Democrats are bad. Sean Hannity does endless breakdowns of the Russia hoax. Laura Ingraham goes on and on about Clinton corruption. Neither of them will ever attack the Republican Party. Neither of them will say that Donald Trump is being crippled by his advisor Jared Kushner, or that his total agenda is being actively cockblocked by both Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy. If they spin their viewership up into a frenzy about GOP betrayal, that would be dangerous to the system. Continually complaining about the left is not particularly dangerous to the system.
And yet, the system wants it all shut down. And they’re going to get that, eventually. We are entering into a new era where support for any kind of conservative policy will not be socially acceptable, and in fact will be illegal. We are entering into full totalitarianism, and in totalitarianism, the opposition has to live in fear.
The time for fear is coming very soon.