4 Ways Fox News Has Become a Doomsday Cult
Like most of you who aren't Batmen, I have parents, and living in Texas means that at least one of those parental units gets most of their news from Fox News. Now, this may shock you as I confess it from the art blog of a Voice Media Group affiliated news agency, but I am a fairly liberal fellow. As such, I often do not agree with the words that Fox News throws at me.
That's not why I don't like them, though. I can handle philosophical disagreements just fine. No, what has me worried more and more for my poor father stuck out in Dayton, TX consuming nothing but Sean Hannity is the fact that he is clearly being brainwashed by the largest doomsday cult in American history.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not calling people who watch Fox News stupid. Cult members mirror the general population in intelligence according to the International Cultic Studies Association, and if my premise is correct that means that Fox News watchers are just a bright as the average American. The problem isn't intellectual, but emotional, and the more and more I am exposed to the techniques used by the Fox News media juggernaut the more it mirrors cults obsessed with the end of the world.
Appeal to Tradition
Pictured: Utopia, apparently
The modern world is a fast-paced, confusing, and at times frightening place, particularly for older people who often find themselves unable to keep up with times. One of the primary ways that cults recruit and retain members is to offer people a place that feels safe and secure away from the non-cult world.
Now, the average age of a Fox News viewer is 68, so that leaves you with a demographic that both struggles to understand the shifting paradigms and also feels nostalgic for a past that frankly they may not remember all that accurately. You can listen to Bill O'Reilly wax poetically about how we were better in the 1950s, citing it as a magical time of more respect, less dependence, and more purity (O'Reilly did openly acknowledge that this was true only for whites and that the government, having offered civil rights to minorities was not obligated to institute programs to rectify racial inequalities).
And while it's true that life was pretty sweet for most white people in the '50s it has little to do with the points usually made on Fox News. High income taxes fed a blossoming social safety net and kept the federal budget more balanced and inflation at bay. The G. I. Bill paved the way for a new, educated workforce that was considerably better paid than we are today percentage-wise as employers competed for the highest quality workers in the form of bucks. Credit cards were born and suddenly everyone had, for now, access to more money than they actually had.
You'll recognize that this represents more or less the opposite of the Fox News conservative bent, but that's not important. What is important is that they can dig into the memories of people of good times and exploit them without ever bothering to mention what made those times good in the first place.
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