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Fox has a conspiracy theory problem

The peddling of dangerous conspiracy theories is not just a Chris Farrell or a Lou Dobbs problem. This is a...

Posted: Oct 30, 2018 12:44 PM
Updated: Oct 30, 2018 12:44 PM

The peddling of dangerous conspiracy theories is not just a Chris Farrell or a Lou Dobbs problem. This is a Fox in the age of President Donald Trump problem. It is a partnership, long in the making, between a serial liar now occupying the oval office and a major news network that has evolved from the voice of the conservative movement to a forum for racist and divisive conspiracy rants.

And it is one that could not only do lasting damage to the legitimacy of media in the US, but could also spur more anger, division and even violence in the short term.

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Fox News and Fox Business have long been the peddlers of conspiracy theories, often for the purpose of damaging the reputations of members of the Democratic party. It was not that long ago that Fox gave oxygen to the bizarre rumor that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and was, therefore, an illegitimate President, a theory also driven at the time by none other than Donald Trump.

It was Fox News that recently pushed the line of analysis that the mail bombs sent last week were most likely a "false flag" to frame Republicans and help Democrats in the midterm elections. This notion was echoed by Donald Trump when he used "Bomb" in quotation marks in his tweet on Friday lamenting the focus of news coverage away from politics and toward the pipe bombs sent to his critics.

Then, on Saturday, a gunman opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11. Just hours later, while the country processed this tragedy, Fox re-aired a segment of Lou Dobbs' show, in which Chris Farrell, an official from conservative group Judicial Watch, claimed that the caravan reportedly moving from Honduras through Mexico was funded by the "Soros occupied State Department."

Unsurprisingly, Dobbs and his show on Fox Business came under fire.

In response, a spokesperson for Fox Business issued a statement condemning Farrell's remarks and announcing that the episode had been pulled.

But there is still a problem. Fox has shown that it is in the business of pushing conspiracy theories if they will do damage to members of the Democratic party or critics of the President.

Lou Dobbs has been pushing conspiracy theories himself. Earlier in the week, in a tweet, which has now been deleted, he personally claimed that the bomb threats against critics of Trump and CNN were fake.

And Lou Dobbs isn't even the worst offender. Fox is the home of Laura Ingraham who has promoted the theory that the Clintons were involved in murdering several people. Then there is Sean Hannity who has given voice to theories as nutty as Russia being framed for cyber attacks on the US and as cruel as falsely blaming the death of Seth Rich, a young DNC staffer, on unproven theories that he leaked DNC emails. (While Fox eventually retracted the story, they still stood by Hannity.)

The pushing of right-wing conspiracy theories is their bread and butter. It is seemingly what drives their coverage. It is the click bait of television news and it is working.

So let's stop giving credit for doing the bare minimum. Fox doesn't care if Chris Farrell is a guest or not. They have plenty of other looney tune conspiracy theorists to book in his place.

Their ratings are high. They have the eyes and ears of the President of the United States who is their best echo chamber -- and a growing following of viewers who believe that all of the media personalities there are in fact reporting the news.

This is not a case of both sides need to calm the rhetoric. It is one side -- the side of the White House and a news network. Let's not stop at getting Lou Dobbs pulled from the air. Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham should be next. A voice of conservative thought should be welcomed. But a voice of dangerous and damaging conspiracy theories should not.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110592

Reported Deaths: 3171
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7731171
DeSoto655177
Harrison478481
Jackson429178
Rankin380086
Madison371092
Lee339279
Forrest292777
Jones281682
Washington250697
Lafayette241342
Lauderdale2329130
Lamar212038
Bolivar197775
Oktibbeha194154
Neshoba1795111
Lowndes173662
Panola164736
Leflore158786
Sunflower156749
Warren151854
Monroe143672
Pontotoc143019
Pike135555
Lincoln133954
Copiah133336
Marshall130026
Coahoma122836
Scott122729
Grenada119637
Simpson117648
Yazoo116933
Union113825
Holmes113060
Tate112339
Leake111839
Itawamba108724
Pearl River107456
Adams104042
Prentiss100919
Wayne97921
Alcorn94412
George93217
Marion92642
Covington90825
Tippah84820
Newton84227
Chickasaw81724
Tallahatchie81725
Winston81421
Tishomingo78640
Hancock76527
Attala76325
Clarke70948
Clay66621
Jasper66016
Walthall63427
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith57716
Claiborne53016
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence48914
Yalobusha47914
Perry47522
Carroll45812
Greene44717
Stone44614
Amite41513
Quitman4096
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39311
Webster36313
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31615
Benton3004
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26210
Franklin2283
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 152272

Reported Deaths: 2621
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22300372
Mobile14273314
Tuscaloosa9886132
Montgomery9615196
Madison895192
Shelby700260
Lee643066
Baldwin636967
Marshall425348
Calhoun408459
Etowah399149
Morgan393232
Houston362332
DeKalb313326
Elmore308152
St. Clair276742
Limestone268327
Walker264192
Talladega253634
Cullman223923
Lauderdale204340
Autauga198928
Franklin198131
Jackson197914
Russell18993
Colbert188927
Dallas184527
Blount182723
Chilton178731
Escambia170328
Covington164429
Coffee16299
Dale161551
Pike130112
Tallapoosa126986
Chambers126643
Clarke126116
Marion103929
Butler99640
Barbour9819
Marengo96421
Winston88613
Geneva8297
Pickens79317
Randolph79314
Lawrence78830
Bibb78513
Hale73729
Cherokee71414
Clay70312
Lowndes69827
Bullock63417
Henry6286
Monroe6259
Washington62012
Crenshaw58830
Perry5796
Conecuh55413
Wilcox55412
Fayette54012
Macon52819
Cleburne5207
Sumter46421
Lamar4555
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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