Dangerous "Right-Wing" Media Outlets Will Remain With Us
Long after the outcome of this most consequential Presidential election on November 3, 2020, Americans will be left with the engines that drove the wedges, perpetuated and amplified lies and conspiracies. Like dangerous tentacles of an octopus pulling in its prey, media outlets designed to spread propaganda proliferated under the Trump presidential reign.
Although clever in their propaganda, the repetition of those lies over and over and over, and their easy accessibility via the Internet, have left our democratic republic more brittle. Taking a page out of Hitler's master propagandist Joseph Goebbels' principles of propaganda, right wing media outlets incorporated his most basic tenet: repeating the big lie: "if one wrong is reverberated many a times then people will accept that wrong as right." Millions of Americans can, apparently, no longer tell the difference between lies and facts, between verifiable evidence and conspiracies. That set of circumstances leaves the United States vulnerable to destructive forces from within and without more than at any time in our history.
Paying to pop up when anyone opens his or her computer, right wing media outlets are ubiquitous and have become more so. Although there is one monster outlet, the now infamous, Fox News and Fox News.com (FoxNews.com recorded more than 313 million site visits in one month last December), scores of others propel dangerous, destructive messages. In a vast conspiratorial network, their messages are nearly always propagating the same lies. Looking to the funding sources for these media outlets offers insight into why their messages are so similar. The Mercers, the Kochs, the Adelsons, and other billionaires have much to answer for, but Trump seemed to bring out the worst of the worst in all of them.
Identifying the source of a “news” report is critical to understanding what is happening in our country and the world, but these propaganda sources have made making the distinctions increasingly difficult for far too many Americans. Some are well known, such as Breitbart (Steve Bannon’s former identity), and InfoWars (Alex Jones).
For many, the organization title is more than a clue that the Civil War never ended for racists and the rise and rising again of the neo-Nazis: The Daily Stormer, Red State Watcher, The Rebel, Atlas Shrugs, Conservapedia, Redstate, Outside the Beltway, Conservative Tribune, Red Alert Politics, Conservative Daily Post, 63 Red, Kadaza Conservative News, and Clash Daily.
If “Clash Daily” is not the best name for an incendiary media outlet, I cannot imagine what is.
There are those sites wherein the name alone lets you know you are reading something illegitimate, total propaganda, and ridiculous, but all are scary: PrisonPlanet, Hot Air, Jihad Watch, Wiz Bang, The Conservative Tree House, Day by Day, Chicks on the Right, PJ Media, Newsbusters, Dangerous.com, BizPac Review, Conservative Review, The Drudge Report, Twitchy (Michelle Malikin), The Blaze (Glen Beck), Moon Battery, Disinfo, NewRightUS, Zero Hedge, Trump Train News, and Truth Revolt.
What could be a more perfect title for a propaganda media outlet than “Truth Revolt,” as in a revolution designed to remove the truth?
Some of these conspiratorial propaganda sites’ titles attempt to fool readers by conflating it with the name of legitimate news organizations: Daily Mail, The Daily Coin, Free Republic, Daily Caller, InstaPundit, Gateway Pundit, The Right Scoop, TownHall, The New York Post, World Net Daily, National Review, Front Page Magazine, The Hill, Politico, Onenewsnow, World News Now, Newsmax, The Horn, YourNewsWire, News, Weekly Standard, The Daily Wire, Human Events, The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner. The Wall Street Journal, a once respectable and legitimate business newspaper, has, unfortunately, joined this list.
Others hide behind absurdly and ironically patriotic-sounding names: The Common Sense, The Daily Signal, The Federalist, Real Clear Politics, The Weekly Standard, The Heritage Foundation, OANN (One America News Network—a particularly ironic name since it is aimed at creating division), Powerline, The Cato Journal, The American Thinker (the most laughably ironic title), Campaign for Liberty, Sebastian Gorka’s America First, Judicial Watch, Stripes, The Federalist Papers, True Pundit, American Greatness, The Liberty Daily, First Things, The American Mirror, Bipartisan Report, Renew America, Patriot Post, Free Beacon, Patriot Journal, Freedom Works, True Viral News, American’s Freedom Fighters, and US Defense Watch.
In examining why people read these propaganda sites for their “news,” it is apparent that all are readily available to anyone with access to the Internet, and they are free in the sense that the sites are funded by dark money rather than the consumer. We must expose these media sites for exactly what they are.
One way to combat the spread of dangerous propaganda is to help fund legitimate news sites such as The Atlantic, the New Yorker, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
We are in this existential battle for the soul of America for a long time yet to come.