Luke O’Neil: What I’ve Learned From Collecting Stories of People Whose Loved Ones Were Transformed by Fox News

From NY Magazine:

No matter where the stories came from they all featured a few familiar beats: A loved one seemed to have changed over time. Maybe that person was already somewhat conservative to start. Maybe they were apolitical. But at one point or another, they sat down in front of Fox News, found some kind of deep, addictive comfort in the anger and paranoia, and became a different person — someone difficult, if not impossible, to spend time with. The fallout led to failed marriages and estranged parental relationships. For at least one person, it marks the final memory he’ll ever have of his father: “When I found my dad dead in his armchair, fucking Fox News was on the TV,” this reader told me. “It’s likely the last thing he saw. I hate what that channel and conservative talk radio did to my funny, compassionate dad. He spent the last years of his life increasingly angry, bigoted, and paranoid.”

Fox News, and all the right-wing, conspiracy theory laden sites out there, changes people.  Full stop.

5 thoughts on “Luke O’Neil: What I’ve Learned From Collecting Stories of People Whose Loved Ones Were Transformed by Fox News

  1. Jeremy
    I am not a big fan of Fox news or any cable news for that matter. But I do follow conservative sites along with more leftist sites.

    What do you think of Johnathan Haidt who found that conservatives tend to understand liberal views better than liberals understood conservative views?

    1. I’m sure I could google it, but would you mind providing a link to what you’re referring?

      Lots of people think they know how to argue the opposing side better than the opposition.

      I’m sure this person feels he could argue the liberal standpoint better than so-called liberals. I am personally perplexed by the conservative position. It resembles very little of the conservatism I grew up in. So from that standpoint, yes, he could likely understand liberal views better than most.

      Good for Johnathan!

      1. Johnathan Haidt is a liberal sociologist. He does not let his liberal views get in the way of his studies though. He wrote the righteous mind and a very influential paper called the emotional dog and its rational tail

        Click to access haidt.2001.emotional_dog_rational_tail.pdf

        He did a study where he asked people to answer questions and about what they believed and why. He also asked them if they identified as liberal or conservative or moderate. He also asked them how they thought the other side would answer the questions.

        “Haidt found that self-described liberals, especially those who called themselves “very liberal,” were worse at predicting the moral judgments of moderates and conservatives than moderates and conservatives were at predicting the moral judgments of liberals. Liberals don’t understand conservative values. And they can’t recognize this failing, because they’re so convinced of their rationality, open-mindedness and enlightenment.”

        I think these results were discussed in the righteous mind.

      2. Hi Joe,

        Thanks for the recommendation! I ran through the Times article quickly, but will revisit. I also found an article at Psychology Today that I quickly skimmed. And I skimmed his Wiki and took a look at the PDF you linked.

        On the surface, I can agree with his proposal. But I need more time to digest it, and possibly read his book for myself.

        My personal experience is that I know several outspoken conservatives. There’s not one of them who I can talk to because I can’t get a word in edgewise. I don’t personally impose my views into a conversation, regardless of topic. I tend to ask questions and just listen.

        So from personal experience, which is not scientific in any way, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with Haidt. But I’d love to understand his perspective better. I see his credentials are impressive, so you know he’s smart. 😃

        Thanks for the engaging conversation today. I am sure you’re well-versed in a variety of topics that — had I more time — I would love to discuss much more.


      3. Hi Jeremy

        I like to discuss politics and religion – which of course everyone will tell you are the things never to discuss. So I have spent some amount of time learning about why people get polarized. Haidt has done some interesting research and I generally enjoy reading or listening to his points of view.

        I just listened to a video of him where he says he is a moderate that votes democrat – so maybe he is moving to the right. I don’t know.

        Thank you for the compliment. Of course I wouldn’t be posting comments on your blog if I thought you were not worth talking with. So I hope we can at least exchange some ideas to keep us at least minimally informed on the different sides of the political/religious debates.

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