It is a reasonable to assume that people watch TV news in order to stay up-to-date, to weigh up matters and establish informed opinions on current political and social issues.
Often, a new political development or some revelation about the behaviour of a prominent individual calls for a change in our position or a review of the respect we once had for a public figure.
Of course, there is a wide chasm between being force fed information and using one’s critical faculties to be educated on matters of importance. Whether it is left leaning media or the ultra right wing, viewers must be vigilant not to have their biases pandered to or their convictions deceptively undermined.
However, numerous people consume TV news, not to be conversant with current developments but to have the views they already hold validated and sanctioned by the media.
Although it is not the only network, Fox News is a leading example of an unscrupulous network that specializes in preaching to the converted, using a constant barrage of omissions, half-truths and blatant lies. Their primary objective is to deceive their audience and keep them ignorant.
When Fox News anchor, Shepard Smith debunked the Uranium One conspiracy, a conspiracy promoted by his own network, Fox viewers were outraged.
A cursory overview of the Uranium One intrigue, is that it is a story that Fox Network energetically circulated, alleging that Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State approved the sale of uranium to Russia in exchange for kickbacks to the Clinton charity foundation.
That Smith’s explaining away of the Uranium One conspiracy was methodical and irrefutable, only served to outrage Fox views all the more.
During his summation of the Uranium One issue, Smith showed footage of Trump saying that Clinton’s State Department “approved the transfer of 20 percent of America’s uranium holdings to Russia. Well, nine investors in the deal funnelled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.”
Smith then pointed out that the Clinton State Department had no influence or authority over the Uranium One deal. Any decision on Uranium One was in the hands of a foreign investment committee lead by the secretary of the treasury and nine other federal department heads and that all department heads were unanimous in approving the deal.
Being deprived of a scandal that could divert attention away from the increasing chaos of the Trump administration was unforgivable and like their fearless leader, Fox Network devotees turned to Twitter to express their outrage, calling for Fox News to fire Smith.
This refusal to have one’s opinion challenged appears most prevalent in the far right sphere, however, the liberal media audience is not immune to wanting their position sanctioned by their newsvendor of choice.
While the far right uses relentless reiterations and brute force to shout down opposing ideas, the liberal media uses more sophisticated but less effective means, a more nuanced approach for deflecting the conversation away from inconvenient truths.