During the first Republican debate, Megyn Kelly became the face of the opposition to the antics of Donald Trump. Despite working for Fox News, which is traditionally considered to align with the Republican party’s values, Kelly was very critical of the candidate. She did not back down when confronted or insulted by Trump or his pundits. However, on November 8, 2016 politics and government were irreversibly shaped for the years to come. Kelly landed her own talk show on NBC and proved to be only a watered down version of her old self, who is now at best irrelevant in this political climate. On the other hand, Fox News has become the official propaganda entity for our current administration.

The line that separates Fox News from the White House blurs with every new Trump scandal. Some previous Fox staff are joining Trump’s staff, and others like Sean Hannity maintain very close ties to the president. Fox News is nowadays looking more like an extension of the administration — doing the dirty work of waging smear campaigns against the President’s enemies and actively distorting facts in order to justify callous policies. One example of this is when Laura Ingraham compared detention facilities for migrant children to “summer camps.”

The problem is that an increasing number of viewers rely on Fox News coverage more than ever because Trump and his staff have repeatedly declared other media outlets as “fake news.” Fox News’ influence continues to strengthen as the attacks towards CNN, The New York Times and MSNBC intensify.  In addition, shows like “Sean Hannity” and “Fox and Friends” are entirely dedicated to spreading propaganda that portrays Trump as a flawless hero and those who are opposed to him as “unpatriotic.” And unfortunately, Kelly has her hands full, advocating for fat-shaming as a secret method to stay thin.

As the credibility of other news declines amongst Trump supporters, Fox News acquires the status of the only reliable source of information despite its well-documented biased coverage. Fox News has turned into more than just affiliation with the conservative agenda, it has become the official TV for the administration. It is closely resembling the state-run television of authoritarian regimes such as Russia and North Korea. This is where the danger lies. It is more than just biased opinion. Fox News is running solely pro-Trump coverage and its prime time is exclusively dedicated to spreading propaganda.

The hosts are brainwashing their viewers. If you need evidence to believe this, just watch any of Jeanine Pirro’s tirades of indoctrination or the 6 hours and 33 minutes of Trump rally speeches aired in their entirety. Fox News is actively creating a cult of personality around Trump, which is exactly how authoritarian leaders are established. He is praised and placed on a pedestal while any person that dares to criticize him is discredited and mocked on live TV. The loudest voices seem to regurgitate the same story of greatness, and they are willing to go to any length to defend the indefensible. Challenges of the outrageous policies are absent from their most popular shows. This is exactly the reason why Trump’s government has declared Fox News as the only legitimate news outlet.

As the “liberal” media continues to focus on providing reality in TV experience to an audience with countless panels of yelled arguments, Fox News has become the mouthpiece of an administration that repeatedly demonstrates how little they value free speech and free press. Fox News does not hold the administration accountable for harmful policies. Instead, their hosts continue to perpetuate the image of Trump as the savior of the country. Fox News is single-handedly creating a cult of personality that, left unchecked, can lead to the first authoritarian regime in US history.

letters@chronicle.utah.edu

@TheChrony

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