The Destruction That Fox News Has Wrought

A preliminary damage assessment

Kevin Donovan

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Photo by Leonard Zhukovsky / Purchased by author

Those of you who have followed me in the past know that I have long harped on what I believe is “Problem #1” facing our country — the reality that we no longer have a shared reality.

The prospects for addressing our most daunting challenges as a nation would be far higher if we all were living within the same reality, operating from the same sets of facts, but we are not. Instead, we are divided to the point of being unable to engage in anything resembling constructive dialogue.

Ironically, there is so much more that unites us than divides us, and yet, we are caught in a destructive pattern of belief and behavior with no end in sight. Why?

The short answer is that dividing us is profitable. “News,” that once continuous stream of factual knowledge that defined our shared reality, has been transformed from a commoditized undifferentiated product to a customized niche offering tailored to its audience. And like almost any branded product, the most powerful driver of consumption is the emotional connection that the brand establishes with its consumer. The stronger the connection, the greater the brand loyalty.

This is Marketing 101; the only problem is that we never considered that “reality” would end up being a product differentiated in the same way Coke is from Pepsi. This brings us to Fox “News”, the most-watched cable news network in America.

For those of us who have looked on in horror at the fiction that Fox news has churned out, the revelations from the Dominion lawsuit are not at all surprising. The tide has gone out and not only are these people all naked in their ambitions, they also look pretty disgusting.

On the plus side, it is slightly reassuring that all those primetime gas lighters were actually living in our reality all this time — they just made the business decision that lying to their audience and selling an alternative reality was good business. From a bottom-line perspective, who could argue with them?

High audience ratings, high stock price, money, fame, power . . . it served them well. If nothing else, we can all agree that Fox News is a model of customer-centricity, having far exceeded its competitors in…

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Kevin Donovan

Where there is great fear, there is no empathy. Where there is great empathy, there is no fear.