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The propaganda machine called Fox News

David W. Marshall / March 16, 2023

In 2021, the bill to award gold medals to the U.S. Capitol Police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 insurrection passed, despite 21 GOP lawmakers voting against it. The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress’s highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished contributions made by individuals. Surprisingly, party members that pride themselves as supporters of law and order opposed honoring the officers who upheld law and order on that tragic day. It is both shameful and insulting that the lawmakers who benefitted from the officers’ bravery and sacrifice found reasons to ignore the fact that five officers died carrying out their sworn duty to serve and protect.

No officers were killed on the day of the riot, four died by suicide and the fifth died of natural causes triggered by the events of the riot. The men and women of the U.S. Capitol Police are worthy of the nation’s recognition. Rep. Andrew Clyde argued a month before the vote that the riot at the Capitol was nothing more than a “normal tourist visit,” regardless of the multiple photos of Clyde helping barricade the doors of the House chamber after rioters breached the Capitol building. With the help of Fox News, Clyde’s assessment would later prove to be part of the GOP’s ongoing narrative in recreating the events of Jan. 6. Fox News, like its competitors CNN and MSNBC, are cable opinion outlets rather than pure news outlets.

Unlike the news received from traditional TV networks, cable “news” channels cater to the political interests of their viewers. For entertainment purposes, each cable network presents stories with opinions, facts, and a degree of conservative or liberal spin. But the manner of omissions, outright lies, and the sacrificing of facts for extreme political spins (and ratings) separates Fox News into its own special category.

Fox News viewers are more likely to accept and believe misinformation than viewers of other opinion outlets. Fox News may have once been an outlet for “enjoyment and entertainment,” but it has now evolved into a propaganda machine disguised as an entertainment outlet. We see how Donald Trump uses the network to disseminate information — facts, arguments, rumors, name-calling, half-truths, and lies — to influence conservative viewers’ and voters’ opinions and beliefs. Now, Kevin McCarthy, as House Speaker, is using his position to do the same. Speaker McCarthy gave Fox News host Tucker Carlson exclusive access to over 40,000 hours of sensitive Capitol security camera footage from Jan. 6. As a result, Fox News was given the freedom to spin, edit, and spin again as they saw fit. Carlson took advantage of a unique opportunity to pick up the talking points of lawmakers such as Rep. Clyde and others who downplayed and attempted to normalize the insurrection. He released to Fox News viewers a manipulated and bogus version of Jan. 6, seeking to change the narrative of the event as peaceful. In doing so, Fox News has become a state-sponsored propaganda machine typical of non-democratic nations.

Approximately 140 police officers were injured during the insurrection. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was sprayed by chemicals and collapsed, according to witnesses, and died the following day. The family of Sicknick joined Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manager in condemning Tucker Carlson for airing “cherry-picked” video from the calmer moments of the riot rather than the “chaos and violence” that occurred on a day that officers described as medieval warfare with officers slipping on their own blood and vomit. Manager called Carlson’s accusation about Sicknick the most disturbing of the program.

“The Department maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day,” Manager said. Sicknick’s family issued a statement to CBS News that said they were “outraged at the ongoing attack on our family by the unscrupulous and outright sleazy so-called news network of Fox News.”

Kevin McCarthy, who seeks to maintain the power of House Speaker, gave Fox News viewers exactly what they wanted. The same is true for Tucker Carlson and Rupert Murdoch, who aims to increase ratings and revenue. Therefore, the propaganda and misinformation continue, as does the viewership. But the right-wing media giant may have met their match.

Fox News is facing a defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based manufacturer of voting machines, over the network’s coverage of the 2020 presidential election and Donald Trump’s bogus claims that the election was “rigged.” “Yet despite knowing the truth — or at minimum, recklessly disregarding that truth — Fox spread and endorsed these ‘outlandish voter fraud claims’ about Dominion even as it internally recognized the lies as “crazy,” “absurd,” and “shockingly reckless” the filing claimed. Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in lost profits and reputational harm. With the lawsuit, Fox News is now trapped in a spiral of lies and conspiracy theories of its own making. Should Dominion succeed in winning its case, it could have a devastating financial impact that would threaten the media giant’s ability to survive. Fox News has no shame and should be held accountable for its misinformation. The network will also have a loyal following. I am sure there are U.S. Capitol Police officers and officers elsewhere who will also continue to be Fox News viewers. The events from the last two years should be eye-openers to the fact that the network and many of its viewers are not true supporters of law enforcement as they claim but followers of a political and cultural cult.

David W. Marshall is founder of the faith based organization, TRB: The Reconciled Body, and author of the book “God Bless Our Divided America”. He can be reached at


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Since 1967, the Carolina Peacemaker has served as North Carolina’s leading news weekly with a national reputation. Founded by Dr. John Kilimanjaro, the newspaper is published by Carolina Newspaper, Inc.

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