One of the most interesting developments of what has been an interesting ten days is that the news division of Fox News has pretty much refused to give credence to Donald Trump’s wild lies about how the election was supposedly rigged against him. (The opinion side of the operation is more than happy to amplify those lies, which leads to some awkward disjunctions).
This, along with things like Twitter and, to a much lesser extent, Facebook beginning to exercise some (very) minimal standards in regard to allowing Trump and his minions to spout insane conspiracy theories with no consequences has created a market opportunity, and the Market — blessed be its name — has jumped into the breach. Outfits like OANN and Parler, which already existed, are welcoming hordes of new consumers, as a right wing audience that has become increasingly addicted to grifters who sell them the paranoid delusions that they much prefer to actual news.
Here’s a sample of what Parler is harboring/encouraging:
Jared Yates Sexton has a fascinating analysis of what’s going on in this Twitter thread, which draws on the psychological structure of professional wrestling to explain Trump, his enablers, and their audience:
There’s clearly a lot to this: as many people have noted, after awhile we all tend to actually become what we pretend to be.
The flip side to this, though, is that at least at present there doesn’t seem to be anything even beginning to resemble mass resistance or even protest on the part of Trump’s base, despite the apparently widespread belief, amplified continually by their cult leader’s non-stop claims, that the election was literally stolen from them.
Here’s a post from a friend of mine, on a University of Michigan sports board which through an organic process eventually chased away all Trump supporters, who have set up their own littler Parler/OANN safe space. (The posters he’s referencing are all the victims of this terrible Liberal Intolerance and Cancel Culture):
Wow is the vitriol [on the fascist safe space board] for Fox News interesting. You try to act at all responsible, newsworthy, rational, etc., and the conservative movement is going to come down on you HARD. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say FN is in trouble. Republicans simply don’t want to hear “news”, in any normal sense of the word. If Fox News isn’t blindly cheerleading enough for the cause, they’ll go to OAN/Parler. Fucking PacWolve, the biggest clown on that board other than true Qtards like dtm, got taken in by a fake image where it shows Fox News claiming Parler is owned by Soros. Lol, like that isn’t Parler’s own play. How fucking naive are people in this day and age to fall for the most obvious scams on earth?
In some ways it’s delightful to see Fox News get eaten by its own revolution, but the alternatives are arguably worse. Mark my words.
I don’t know about that — maybe after Fox goes back to bashing Biden almost all of their audience will come back (old habits die hard, especially for old people). But it’s certainly possible that the current rupture in the right wing media ecosystem represents something more long-lasting. It may turn out that, after you’ve been pushing heroin for long enough, it’s hard to get your customers to settle for even the highest grade marijuana, even temporarily.