Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Alternative Universes


Fox and Friends for Fans Facebook page

Examples of “alternative universes” mostly devoid of fact and charged with rabid racism are floating around now. This one (above), was recently posted on the Fox and Friends for Fans Facebook page.

Back in the olden days, when I was in college (1967-1971), we studied “yellow journalism”, the kind practiced by Hearst and Pulitzer to build circulation for their New York newspapers prior to the Spanish-American War, (circa 1898).

For Hearst and others, this form of publishing worked because, among other things, it grabbed their reader’s attention using, “…daily multi-column front-page headlines covering a variety of topics, such as sports and scandal, using bold layouts (with large illustrations and perhaps color), heavy reliance on unnamed sources, and unabashed self-promotion” (Joseph Campbell). Further, the practitioners used, “faked interviews, misleading headlines, pseudoscience, and a parade of false learning from so-called experts, according to historian Frank Luther Mott. 

So, creating an alternative reality to support a political agenda is not new. 

The only difference is today we have Fox News and Facebook helping pander the deceptions vastly more effectively to millions of Americans vs. just the readers in the old New York City. 

This November I hope we don't fall victim to the modern yellow journalism and lose our Democratic Republic along the way.

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