A divided America - fueled by four years of President Donald Trump's aggressive leadership style - went out to vote in November 2020. These elections were extraordinary and extremely tense. Not only did people have to go out and vote in the middle of a once-every-century global pandemic, but the country was also still reeling from a racially charged summer filled with social upheaval. The media landscape was also full of polarizing political discourse, disinformation and general confusion about what is real and what is not.
Tensions boiled over when Joe Biden won the 2020 election. His rival Trump did not accept defeat graciously. Supported by his political allies, he went on air and declared that a "major fraud on the American people" had taken place and that Biden stole the election from him. Despite having no evidence of any fraud, many believed him due to the constant stream of conspiracy theories and misdirection aired by FOX News. These beliefs, of course, culminated on January 6, when Trump supporters attacked the Capitol building in Washington DC.
This two-part playlist breaks down how Fox News evolved into Trump's well-oiled propaganda machine, promoting "THE BIG LIE" that has threatened and contributed to the destabilization of democracy in the United States of America.
FOX News is a top rating cable TV network, dominating the American airwaves with political and business news - though in a more right-leaning or conservative perspective. The network was created in 1996 by Rupert Murdoch, with Roger Ailes as CEO as a direct challenge to CNN, which leaned more to the left and liberalism. Its core value was "Fair & Balanced", - which was their official tagline. Since then, Fox News has contributed much to Murdoch's massive fortune and gave him lots of power over many essential personalities and organizations.
Under Ailes, Fox News, though a conservative network, would present opposing political sides in almost every programming aspect. However, FOX insiders reveal how everything changed when Trump entered politics and Murdoch took over the CEO role. Ailes was fired for sexual misconduct, and with Murdoch stepping in as CEO, there was a seismic shift straight to the extreme political right.
The company dropped the "Fair & Balanced" tagline. While covering a Trump election rally in 2018, many were also shocked that two of the most prominent anchors in Fox News (Sean Hannity & Jeannine Pirro) went up on stage and began to campaign for him openly. Fast forward to 2020; it's hardly a surprise that when Trump needed a platform to let the American people how he was robbed, FOX News accommodated him.
What followed election night were weeks of election-fraud related content, repeated and discussed by Fox's highest-profile news presenters, talking heads, as well as the main topics featured in its programming line-up and op-ed talk shows. And when the protesters turned up at the Capitol, it was proof that FOX had cemented its status as Trump's main media mouthpiece along with being heavily involved in the disruption of valid information - and shows no signs of easing up.