Fox News has become a platform for Russian propaganda

By | October 5, 2022

William Saletan writes:

For seven months, Russia has waged a vicious war of aggression in Ukraine, killing thousands of civilians. To make matters worse, in the past two weeks, Vladimir Putin has illegally annexed parts of Ukraine and has once again threatened to use nuclear weapons. A principled American conservative TV network might advocate a muscular response to this behavior. At a minimum, it would tell the truth. But Fox News is unconstrained by such principles. In primetime hours, it has become a platform for propaganda that serves Putin and undercuts Ukraine.

During the day, you can find many Fox News hosts and guests who speak candidly about Putin’s war crimes and the importance of American resolve. But the hosts who control three of the four hours between 8:00 p.m. and midnight on the East Coast—Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Greg Gutfeld—are peddling arguments that coincide with Putin’s interests. So are several other Fox hosts. Here’s what they’re telling the network’s viewers.

1. America is marching into a world war. On Saturday night, Fox host Dan Bongino warned viewers that “the U.S. is slow-walking its way directly into World War III.” He repeated this phrase three times, each time citing a different alleged American provocation. First he pointed to the recent sabotage of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, suggesting that the United States may have done it. Then he cited President Joe Biden’s warning to Putin that America would defend every inch of NATO territory. Then he cited a bulletin from the U.S. embassy in Russia, which urged Americans to leave that country. No matter what we do, Bongino has the same warning: It might trigger a world war.

It’s true that Russia might escalate the conflict in response to American acts. But by framing our acts as the cause of Putin’s behavior—and indiscriminately applying that framework to anything we do—Bongino’s advice would paralyze the United States. And he’s hardly alone. On Friday night, another Fox host, Will Cain, blamed American leaders for Russia’s deployment of planes that could carry nuclear weapons. Cain asked Fox viewers: “Why is virtually every politician [in] both parties trying to provoke Russia into using those bombers?” [Continue reading…]

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