Politics

Conservative media is splitting

Now that shouldn’t overly surprise you. Fox News has actually done some pretty important work these past few weeks debunking the Trump conspiracy claims. Check out this scathing response by a Fox News reporter after the Giuliani conspiracy theory conference: 

It still feels shocking to see a Fox News reporter say, “So much of what he said was simply not true or has already been thrown out in court,” but since election night, when the conservative network was the first to call Arizona for President-elect Joe Biden, the daytime crew has done a good job in hewing to the facts. 

Of course, that’s just the daytime crew, which has always been more newsy than either the morning Fox and Friends crowd, or the evening ideologues. So I’ll add that the quote above wasn’t from any daytime anchor or reporter. 

Cry-baby sore loser Donald Trump has been livid at Fox since that Arizona call, which, ironically, was too soon. But perhaps the network (and its owner Rupert Murdoch) wanted to put an early end to Trump’s challenge of our democracy. Whatever the reason, the feud has only intensified since. 

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And while the media world speculates about “TrumpTV,” I wouldn’t hold my breath about Trump doing anything of the sort. Remember, he’s the guy who ran a casino—a business that prints its own money—into the ground. Also, he’s broke. And while his allies talk about acquiring Newsmax, the conservative outlet says it’s not selling. It’ll be too much work in a media world that is currently under serious strain. This, in a paywalled Wall Street Journal article, was laughable:

“I think for someone like Trump it’s an easy million,” said Chris Balfe, a partner at the digital media consulting firm Red Seat Ventures, referring to the number of subscribers Mr. Trump could launch with. Typical industry prices for such services can run from roughly $6 to $10 a month.

The chance that any network would squeeze out $72-120 per year from their deplorables is just about zero. Even if they pulled it off, the chance that Trump wouldn’t grift half of that from the top is zero. And even if they pulled it off and Trump didn’t grift half off the top, we’re talking about an annual budget of roughly $100 million, which pales in comparison to the estimated $1.2 billion in advertising Fox News earned this year, in addition to another estimated $1.5 billion the station receives in cable carriage fees. (Yes, if you have cable, you’re generating revenue for Fox News, a great reason to cut the cord.)

So sure, we can laugh at the idea of Trump launching or figure-heading some new right-wing challenger to Fox News, but that doesn’t mean conservative media isn’t already bifurcating, because it is. One side, you have conservatives who are clinging to some semblance of reality, Fox News included, and then there’s the Qonspiracy (my new word!) media, which has utterly divorced itself from the truth. 

That quote from up above? That’s Tucker Freakin’ Carlson last night

One by one, Fox News hosts, even Trump’s morning and evening BFFs, are slowly peeling away. Sure, they’ll couch their arguments around statements like “we know Democrats engage in voter fraud in the cities!”, but then they question where Trump’s evidence is. 

If you are a blogosphere old-timer, you might remember the rabidly conservative Powerline blog. Today they emerged from a decade of obscurity, as Joan McCarter wrote, to viciously shred the Trump campaign’s case in Michigan: 

While Trump was losing the Georgia recount, a federal court there rejected an attempt by high-profile conservative attorney, L. Lin Wood Jr. to block certification of the election results. That’s good. What makes it even better is this: Wood was arguing—in Georgia—that he could prove voter fraud because it happened in Michigan. Which, okay. He alleged that more people voted in certain Michigan precincts than lived in those Michigan precincts and that there were affidavits to prove it. Except (and this gets richer by the minute) the affidavit he was talking about was from a cyber security “expert” from Texas, who mixed up Minnesota and Michigan. And it just keeps getting better because that massive, critical, embarrassing error was uncovered by a reader of the far-right blog Powerline (yes, believe it or not, it still exists).

Here’s the original piece on their site, which includes the obligatory “There is circumstantial evidence of more than a normal amount of voter fraud in this year’s election…” which is apparently conservative prophylactic for pointing out reality. But perusing the rest of the site, there’s a lot of “show us the evidence.” 

On the other side, there’s the Breitbarts, Newsmaxes, and OANNs of the conservative world, utterly surrendering any pretense of the truth in service to their Lord and Savior Donald Trump. It is actually something, navigating those waters. For example, here are some comments from the Breitbart story on the Giuliani-Powell press conference: 

Boom!!! Rudy, Sidney, Joe D, Victoria and Jenna! Scared now Dems? I bet you are. Let’s see who you have to go against this DREAM TEAM. The Creepy Porn lawyer? Lol. Nadler? Schiff? 😂😂😂

This is only the beginning folks….

Keep the Faith my friends…We Got This!

Not so scared, no. Horrified for our democracy! But dear god, even Tucker Carlson thinks this is ridiculous. 

Rudy is basically giving a mock winning closing argument. He’s a great lawyer and Patriot. This election will turn in President Trump’s favor, not the fraud, Joe Biden. America will never accept third world elections based on fraud.

No self-awareness. 

The democrat communists are a clear and present threat
to America.

The evidence of their nefarious crimes is overwhelming.
They must be defeated in a court of law in order for America
to continue to be the Beacon of Freedom for the World.

“No self awareness” really applies to all of these. 

Wow. Rudy, Sidney and Jenna were ON FIRE. This is the kind of controlled passion that we need. Rudy, in particular, was displaying the greatest legal skills this country has ever seen.

The forces arrayed against us are enormous, but I sure feel like we’ve got a fighting chance and we finally have the guys who are up to the task.

Awesome performance.

Rudy was literally melting. 

What kind of person do you have to be to look at that lineup and think, “that was the greatest ‘legal’ performance in the history of America”?

They were ABSOLUTELY brilliant today, and in particular Powell. What they did today was akin to Jimmy Doolittle’s raid on Tokyo in 1942.

DAM THE TORPEDOES, FULL SPEED AHEAD!!! “WE WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED!!!”

Now, that might seem like some choice nutpicking, but I was too lazy to find the best of the best. That’s just literally the first few comments on the thread, but it’s enough to give you a sense of the kind of bizarro-world that notions that pass as “thoughts” where dead-ender deplorables hang out. And apparently, there’s a market for that. 

There was a market for that in 2004, too, as the left was besieged by Diebold-style conspiracy theories. I took a lot of shit from shutting that crap down (thanks lawnorder for acknowledging that!). But it was the right thing to do.

Too many conservatives are too far gone into their alternate reality, further fueled by a broken president, that they’ve lost touch with actual reality. I mean, look at the OANN screenshot at the top of this story! Now even the Fox News bubble can’t protect them.

And so a bifurcation is happening. Is the Qonspiracy crowd large enough to support a real challenge to Fox News and other more mainstream conservative outlets? Unlikely. But they don’t need to dethrone Fox News to fuel their toxic and dangerous viewpoints and violent ideology. 

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