TPM Reader JOD chimes in with his experience with ‘the Fox effect’. I think it’s important to recognize in these stories that you don’t just stand up a new TV network and suddenly you’re changing the the political and racial attitudes of a whole generation of baby boomers and pre-boomers. There’s much more cause and effect at work. But these things can be powerful catalysts. There’s a reason why people invest in propaganda. It works. Just not in a vacuum.
Just a backup to what reader RL had to say…
I was brought up in a very multi-ethnic working class community where nearly everyone was more or less on the same socio-economic level. I ran around with white, black, Hispanic and Indian kids. We were all always in and out of each other’s houses and all of our parents got along very well. This was the 1970s.
My parents were strongly progressive, pro-integration and not at all racist as far as I could tell. I recall one time my father laid into me because I described a kid I’d had a fight with at school as a “beaner”. Racial epithets were not allowed in our house. Jimmy Carter, Kennedy, LBJ and FDR were the political heroes in our house.
Leap forward to the early 1990s and my father starts listening to Rush for some reason. By the late 90s he was fully ensconced in the Fox world and has remained there since.
The old man, now 70, sits around talking about ‘niggers’ and ‘beaners’, ‘wetbacks’, ‘ragheads’, ‘kikes’ and so on in the most hateful and disgusting way. He blames all of our nation’s ills on minorities as well as diseases like menegitis and for the nation’s moral decay. He has a bunker mentality as if a mob of angry brown people are going to show up at his door any moment. He also hates women, unions, gays and everyone else. The hate and fear that seethe from that man is stunning.
It is a shocking – and to be honest – very painful thing to see your father go from a tolerant welcoming man to an angry, hateful racist. I have no doubt at all that Fox and Rush had a massive impact on him and his attitude towards other people. I watched it happen.
Fox is powerful.