Life in the Box: Ha Ha


I got to laughing so hard I was snorting yesterday. I will tell you why, but first you gotta know the set-up.

I started out looking for a fight. My thoughts were tumbling around in friggin’ partial sentences and declaratives about how people are being duped by Trump TV and those neo-Nazi commentators and liars. I wanted to DO something about it. Not just get Fox to change its tune, but also to herd those millions of American minds (Fox viewers) back to reality-land. Surely I could find the words to convince them they are so very, very wrong.

My motivation for this inner rumble was that I was preparing to visit some Trump TV relatives. I was pre-arguing with them. Just in case they had the dreaded cable news on while I was there.

I would tell them, “Never trust the network that consorts with lying Trump. Not only is he putting words in their mouths, but they are putting words in his!” “What part of corruption is hard to understand?” “You’re drinking the Kool-Aid—put down the cup and walk away!”

Yes, I was honing in on pithy truisms. I was polishing them for quick repartee. They weren’t quite as pointy sharp as I wanted them to be, so I was obsessing.

Then, the laugh part. You see, I have learned that when I obsess, one way to stop obsessing is to “do the opposite.” So, in this case, I was boring myself to tears and decided to think about what would happen if I actually WON the argument. What would that be like?

First, I laughed because I have never, ever, won an argument like that with my family. Ever. Ha! That would be a wonder and a half!

Then I thought, what would they say to me if they finally realized the error of their ways? “Oh, Nancy, thank you so much!! You are SO right! You have changed my whole outlook on life and I will never listen to extreme right-wing propaganda again! And the government is not really a big bad monster, at least it wasn’t until I gave it to Trump and his sycophants. I will start being kind and caring to those less fortunate; I will begin to believe the mainstream media networks are GOOD; I now see my part in global warming!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”  

This was when I snorted. Ha! Fantasy can be entertaining! What would I do if these family members suddenly saw the light, all because of me and their trust in me and my journalistic background! My pithy messages with the tingle of truth would overcome them, and they would fall to their knees in gratitude that I had saved them from their twisted ways.

Belly laugh! Those words will never come out of their mouths. The best I could ever hope for would be a slight agreement on a statement like, “we sure pay enough taxes!!”

I’ve shared this thought process with several of my like-minded friends, and they allow that their Fox friends are pretty set in their thinking, and would be unlikely to give up the Fox channel for more moderate fare—at least not after just a short conversation with relatives.

It seems like we don’t have enough credibility with our opposites to create change. That seems sad to me, as I have always thought that change happens in relation to being in close, loving relationships with people we care about.

The caring is real, but the moderation of belief is not happening right now. Did it ever? When I look at what possible remedies could apply to this needed change of hearts and minds, I was relieved to hear that a Fox insider has spoken up.

Fox commentator Lt. Col. Ralph Peters has declined to renew his contract with Fox because they wouldn’t allow his anti-Trump opinions on their air. He actually called Fox news a “propaganda machine.”

Buzzfeed reports that Peters says Fox has changed in the past year or so:

“Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration,” wrote Ralph Peters, a Fox News 
“strategic analyst.”

“Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed,” he wrote.

Peters does state that he respects some of the reporters there, and allows that some are “the grown-ups.” Which is a good point. Fox does have real news reports that cover current events like journalists should.

So, let me refine my opposition to Fox. Specifically what can’t be believed on Fox is any political commentary regarding the President, the White House, the FBI, the “dark state’” the “swamp,” the Republicans, or the Democrats. Or Russia or Mueller’s investigation or voter fraud or immigrants or the “fence.” Or poor people or Medicare, Social Security, the Budget, Medicaid, food stamps or minorities. I think that’s about it. Oh, or guns or Jared Kushner and the rest of the family. Or, anything that states the President is being targeted unjustly. Poor, poor Donny, doesn’t get any respect!

Peters can be such an extremist that I would never waste my time on him under normal circumstances. But in this one case, I want to give him a big hug and kiss. He has an insider’s credibility that I will never have with Fox viewers. His statement about Fox and their fiction with the President will get viewers’ attention in ways my obsessive (liberal) word-play never will.

I hope more Fox commentators will become whistle-blowers and create change from within. Maybe they can chip away at their more moderate viewers and show them how they are being manipulated. Yes I’m an optimist.

This insidious mind game played by Fox is hard to unravel, and it will take many more insiders to lash out before Fox is brought down. I just hope it happens in my lifetime. It’s certainly no laughing matter when it plays out in our national and local government policies and our personal lives.  

Nancy Heather Brown is a retired, Emmy Award-winning television producer whose career has included interviewing, writing, narrating and editing for a span of four decades. Today, she enjoys learning new things and reflecting upon the creative process and life issues, both inside and outside the box. Her opinions are her own, and are not necessarily those of this web site. 

Buzzfeed on Ralph Peters 

“Why you stink at fact-checking” from “The Conversation” 

Philanthropy against fake news from “Inside Philanthropy”

Fact Checking Online Class

Fact Checking  Cartoon

Malaysia Outlaws Fake News

Malaysia moves to outlaw fake news
“The Malaysian government raised eyebrows this week when both houses passed a bill outlawing fake news, punishable by up to six years in prison for both its publication and sharing. Online service providers would be responsible for third-party content, foreign news outlets reporting on Malaysia could be affected and anyone could lodge a complaint against an alleged purveyor of misinformation.

But the opposition argues the government’s definition of what constitutes fake news — “any news, information, data and reports which are wholly or partly false, whether in the form of features, visuals or audio recordings or in any other form capable of suggesting words or ideas” — is too vague and that the bill was an effort to stifle free speech ahead of the August election. Malaysia’s head of state still needs to sign the bill into law, but that is expected to be a formality since he supports the bill anyway.”