Vox makes a good point: Fox News is a freak show. It’s a chapter from a dystopian novel. Unabashed racism, sexism, partisan hackery, and distorted facts. Unsurprisingly, Vox wishes to return to the past, when news show hosts like Sean Hannity didn’t openly campaign for a political party. But, my question is this: didn’t the past lead to the present?
Liberal democracy requires its participants to have faith in its process. To believe in the neutrality of the system. A privately owned, partisan “news” network like Fox News must abstain from pursuing partisan hackery from the good of its heart. A private corporation must assume neutrality rather than maximize profit. Perhaps, that is where the problem lies. FoxNews is not the only network that enabled Trump because he generated a lot of views. CNN and MSNBC hopped on the Trump train as well. The media under capitalism is addicted to controversy and sensationalism.
Certainly, our past news networks were less polarized. Fox News is a turning point. Yet, did it make a categorical difference? USS Maine. The Chinese Exclusion Act. Martin Luther King Jr. Angela Davis. The Black Panther Party. The media represented them as the controversy and sensationalism of the time. FoxNews certainly opened a new era of unabashed FakeNews. Yet, I cannot say that a privately owned media network in a racist, capitalist nation does not possess the seeds of Fox News. Similarly, fascism forever haunts capitalism as a specter.
Private corporations pursue profit rather than the liberal ideal of neutrality. Capitalism itself is opposed to the public good. Maybe, we need to question the nature of these networks owned by billionaires. Perhaps, large, private media networks should be converted to be more public and democratic? More radical than NPR and PBS which are rather largely private. If we do not want to repeat the past and the present, perhaps we should move towards the future. It won’t be perfect at first. We might just hear what we like. Democracy ain’t easy. Democracy is the difficult project of learning to build the future together. To make political decisions together. To make sure we hear the truth. To share a common life. Liberal democracy expects us to make decisions together while living separately as individual consumers.