Is it obvious how the US got hollowed out and divided against itself? Chris Hedges warned against entertaining ourselves to death. That conjures images of people choosing to escape into fantasy entertainment, instead of doing the hard work of citizenship. I suggest a sneakier process, that we’ve been choosing among news sources for their engaging entertainment features.
"... there is a powerful Fox News Party operating within the Republican Party,”... “Fully 40 percent of Republicans say they most trust Fox News to provide accurate information about current events and politics, and this group looks different from other Republicans on nearly every issue.”
"Republicans who trust Fox News most stuck out as more conservative and more extreme than Republicans generally on nearly every issue and question we asked,”...
The No. 1 news network tells “stories” in a surprisingly similar fashion to a show like Lost.
To watch Fox News at any given time is to step out of this reality and into another one entirely,... What’s always been interesting to me about Fox News (and the many other conservative media operations that travel along in its wake) is how successful it is compared to similar news organizations on the left — both in viewership, where it’s routinely the number one cable news network, and in framing political narratives.
... one under-considered reason for Fox News’s dominance...: It’s structured a lot like a serialized puzzle box drama, like Lost or Stranger Things. It’s structured like a soap opera. “Storylines” ... are layered throughout the week in a way where they can temporarily pause with a “payoff” on Thursday or Friday that will carry viewers forward into the next week. This serialization keeps viewers hooked,... it also creates an irresponsible view of how the world operates.
This method of “storytelling” — define a threat, elaborate on the threat, then propose a solution to said threat that will require viewers to keep tuning in to see how the proposed solution plays out ... The network’s most popular programs function less like nightly news reports and more like serialized dramas, where you have to watch every episode to really understand the “mythology.” There are so many villains and enemies in the Fox News “universe” that if you miss anything, you might not know who’s who. It’s similar to a program like Lost, where half the intrigue stems from trying to figure out how the pieces all fit together.
Beck’s primary method for doing this was to draw lines between lots of seemingly disparate news stories. ... turn the news into a hedge maze ... an elaborate global conspiracy... to see how the system was rigged against you... To understand how the nebulously defined global conspiracy against America might manifest in your own life, you have to keep watching and watching and watching.
The problem is that the reality Fox News peddles has almost nothing to do with actual reality,.... [emphasis mine]
How seductive to select a news source that's fascinating like a soap opera, what could go wrong? Oh, since they're just making stuff up everybody falls right into the lap of Q-Anon. There's no anchor to to the real world, but nobody noticed.
Emily VanDerWerff's illuminates so much for me.
Chauncey DeVega: "As has been repeatedly shown by media scholars and other researchers, the right-wing echo chamber is a system ruled by epistemic closure in which incorrect information, outright lies and conspiracy theories dominate." [emphasis mine]