It is easy to sit back and be all cool about shit, and talk about the rubes who watch Fox News, and the stuff they want to believe so badly that they talk themselves into it. I do challenge people, however, to consider the impact upon you if you unknowingly throw yourself into a highly professional propaganda machine. Propaganda is a well-studied science and no one does it better than the Russians, and their nationalist far-right sympathizers.
For that precise reason, it matters when Fox News refuses to back a Trump lie. Indeed, one of Trump’s latest was such whopper that even Neil Cavuto admitted he didn’t even know “where to begin” to debunk the lie.
First, the lie, as reported by Huffington Post:
Trump on Friday told White House reporters that “the tariffs are not being paid for by our people” but “by China” because “of devaluation and because they’re pumping money in.”
“Remember this, our country is taking in billions and billions of dollars from China,” the president added. “We never took in 10 cents from China. And out of that many billions of dollars, we’re taking a part of it and giving it to the farmers because they’ve been targeted by China. The farmers, they come out totally whole.”
Do you understand macro-economics? I do not. But, I listen to people who DO understand economics, and I find it straightforward when they explain that the cost of tariffs are simply passed directly on to the consumers. Okay, that makes total sense.
Evidently, making sense is important enough to Neil Cavuto that he will – on rare occasions – call Trump out on the lie:
“I don’t know where to begin here,” responded Cavuto, who on Wednesday entered into a war of words with Fox Business host Lou Dobbs about the government deficit under Trump.
“But just to be clarifying, China isn’t paying these tariffs. You are. You know, indirectly and sometimes directly,” he explained. “It’s passed along to you through American distributors and their counterparts in the United States that buy this stuff from the Chinese and then have to pay these surcharges. Not the Chinese government or China in particular.”
Yes, do note that it was Lou Dobbs’ show in which Cavuto appeared, and certainly note that dangerous and never-to-be-sufficiently-damned Lou Dobbs will carry the water for Trump, regardless of the truth.
But anytime there is an “argument” at Fox News about Trump, you can bet that over half of Fox’s audience knows it’s due to water finding its way through “truth cracks” in the propaganda dam. The audience may not “care,” they might “immunize” themselves from the truth by not caring, but they do hear it.
I find that important.
As I noted in a previous article, breaking Trump is about breaking the mystique. The mystique pervades most strongly in the cable propaganda set up specifically to propel him forward. If Fox tells their viewers that Trump lied to them, on any one thing, it makes that voter/viewer more wary of the next lie.
And this is not some “meaningless” lie. This is about money in that American’s pocket. If that voter visits Walmart tomorrow and notes the shoes “seem” more expensive than expected, there will be a part of their brain that entertains the possibility: “Am I paying extra for this shoe because Trump wants to weaken China, and he will weaken me to do it?”
It is easy to sit back and think of the Fox viewership as dolts who do not give a rat’s ass about the truth. Some are. Some Democrats aren’t too sharp, either. One is always better set if one over estimates an audience’s sensibility than underestimating it.
For that reason, I find these “truthy facts” slipping into Fox’s word stream to be noteworthy. People have compared Trumpism to a cult. Fair enough. A cult leader is invulnerable to anything, right up until he is not, and then everything crumbles all at once. I expect it will happen to Trump, eventually. I just hope it happens prior to the next election, and not afterward.
Truth on Fox, about lies? It matters.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.