Imagine You’re A Fox News Viewer
Imagine you’re a decade-long Fox News viewer. It’s an outlet you trust because it reaffirms your worldview while appearing as an outlet of authority.
Now imagine that this resource that you trust has told you almost every day that other media outlets lie, manipulate, and wish to undermine American values.
Imagine that for more than ten years, this voice of authority has warned you that those other outlets are “the enemy.”
Imagine that the most powerful man on the planet frequently exclaims the same thing. The most powerful man, of course, was supported by your news outlet.
It’s no wonder that you believe it. After all, this is the news outlet you’ve chosen to trust. This is the powerful man you’ve chosen to trust.
On the surface, the idea seems absurd.
No one would willingly watch Burger King ads every day for ten years, hear “McDonalds is evil!” and start to echo that worldview. But we don’t consider Burger King a voice of authority.
People trust institutions.
Fox News is an institution. Fox News has vilified the so-called “liberal media” as enemies for more than a decade. It’s a brilliant business move. It’s literally an ad against their competitors.
If your doctor tells you that smoking will kill you, you believe it.
If your news outlet of authority tells you that “the media” will kill you, you believe it.
People trust voices of authority.
And so when a reputable journalist is assaulted by a politician — a politician that your news outlet of authority supports — you support it.
After all, that journalist is a threat. Your news outlet of authority has told you so for years.
It’s all very unfortunate.