Tuesday, November 02, 2021


Greg Sargent writes this about the Virginia governor's race:
For months, [Glenn] Youngkin and his allies have pumped ... raw right-wing sewage directly into the minds of the GOP base, behind the backs of moderate swing voters, via a right-wing media network that has no rival on the Democratic side.

Democrats will have to reckon with this. Whether Democrat Terry McAuliffe wins or loses — it will be very close either way — this race highlights this lopsided communications imbalance with unique clarity.

... Youngkin and his allies have transmitted some of their most visceral and hallucinogenic versions of the anti-CRT demagoguery straight to the base via right-wing media.

... In contrast to countless Fox segments on [critical race theory], Democrats rely on more conventional news outlets to reach their voters.

“One of the strategic advantages that Republicans have is they’re able to feed their base propaganda and misinformation directly through their news outlets,” David Turner, senior strategist at the Democratic Governors Association, told me.
But if this is a close race, after Joe Biden won the state by 10 points, that means there are clearly Biden-Youngkin voters. Are they all watching Fox? I doubt it. So the Fox propaganda isn't just reaching the base -- it's leaching out into the conversation among swing voters.

Much of Fox's propaganda goes unchallenged for days, weeks, or months, because the mainstream media doesn't pick up on the stories that are inflaming the right, and certainly doesn't offer a corrective to the most inflammatory and specious allegations. The anger eventually becomes a mainstream story.

I don't think it our side can build a left/liberal Fox rapidly, and it might not be possible to do it at all. Left-leaning advocacy media outlets have a niche market. They don't reach nearly as many people as Fox. And much of the Democratic base doesn't want a news diet that's largely ragebait.

What Democrats need to do is disrupt the messaging of the right. They need a sense of what's being said in the right's propaganda channels and they need to respond to it fast, before the messaging reaches voters in the middle. They need to debunk dishonest allegations and they need to make the dishonesty the story.

The 1992 Bill Clinton campaign was known for a "rapid response" capability that didn't allow bad news to fester. Democrats need to recognize that Fox News is the Republican Party, and that they need to treat messaging on Fox as if it's messaging from Republican campaigns. (Because it is.) They need to see propaganda campaigns like this coming and they need to counter such campaigns as fast as they can.

It's not an easy task. But allowing Fox News narratives to gain traction is the alternative, and we see how that works out.

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