At Fox News, It’s Always About Scary Threats to White People

Isn't this sweet?SMG via ZUMA

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So here’s how things work on Fox News. This is from Laura Ingraham’s show a few minutes ago.

First, she invites New York state senator George Borello to discuss a bill in the state Assembly that would allow the governor to detain anyone who is “or may be” a public health risk. They both agree this is outrageous. Where’s the due process? If you’re out in the woods and someone reports you for not wearing a mask, can you be unilaterally detained? Where’s the ACLU on all this?

Quick cut, and next up is Chris Rufo, a Fox regular who’s made a name for himself by inveighing against critical race theory. Ingraham feigns an ah-hah moment: you know, she says, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has called systemic racism a public health crisis. So does this mean he could detain anyone he thinks is a racist? Rufo enthusiastically agrees. This is yet another example of liberals inventing a crisis (i.e., the COVID-19 pandemic) in order to control the movements and words of ordinary Americans.

Scary stuff, says Ingraham. Please keep on it. We’ll be back after a few words from the MyPillow guy.

Check out what’s going on here. First, there’s no bill in any serious sense of the word. This is something that was introduced years ago during the Ebola scare and has been reintroduced every year since, never even getting out of committee. Cuomo’s spox says he’s never even heard of it.

Ingraham then takes this nonexistent bill and makes it into a race thing. How? It hardly seems possible, but Ingraham manages the pretzel bending by taking something Cuomo once said—namely that high rates of COVID-19 in the Black community show that “racism is a public health crisis”—and absurdly twisting it into the scary possibility that Cuomo might start locking up anyone who tells an off-color joke. In a nutshell, it goes like this:

  1. Introduce scary story about minor state legislation regarding public health that has no chance of ever going anywhere.
  2. Invent out of whole cloth a segue into racism as a public health issue.
  3. Conclude that liberals want to lock up white people they disapprove of.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the pros do it.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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