American Lessons: The Absurd Show Can End Badly For The Extreme Right In Times Of Pandemic

In these weeks of isolation and increased consumption of information, Fox News, the most watched cable television in the United States, has not been the main beneficiary. Its presenters criticize confinement and the use of masks and have promoted treatments that have proven dangerous. TV is still the most watched of cable channels, but has grown less in April, for example, that CNN. The smallest and most partisan media, on the right and left, have been the ones that have least noticed the increase in the public and their attention, as these Internet consumption data in March.

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The conservative media’s anti-confinement message has not caught on with the majority of the American population despite protests backed by the country’s president. Only 12% believe that the measures have gone “too far,” according to a survey for the Associated Press. The overwhelming majority believe they are correct or should even “go further.”

The extreme right of the United States is the mirror where the Spanish version is often looked at, both for the triumph of Donald Trump and for the success of the network of powerful TVs, radio stars and activists specialized in montages and conspiracies with the help of YouTube and other channels. A moment of fear and hoaxes like this might seem especially conducive to imitating them, but the pandemic has so far not nurtured propagandist experts.

“Conspiracy theories are growing. They are all focused on protecting Trump. But the official speech is not clear, “explains Will Sommer, journalist and author of a newsletter on the extreme right, The Right Richter. “There are a lot of lies every day, but many are moving from one side to the other without knowing if they have to say that this disease is not so serious or if hydroxychloroquine must be defended.” In the case of impeachment against Trump or the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, the message was clearer. “There has also been no new star,” he explains. Only some doctor with a dubious track record and little impact compared to the authority now held by Anthony Fauci, the head of the committee of experts on Trump’s coronavirus and who often contradicts the president.

The current crisis has two faces, a greater production of hoaxes, but also more confidence in the sources of the medical authorities and in the traditional media.

Something similar has happened in Spain and other places in Europe. The main beneficiaries of this world of uncertainties are the national general media and the local media. This is indicated trends from the audience measurement company Comscore in several European countries. In the UK, the land of the tabloids, the majority of the public, regardless of ideology, believe that the BBC is doing a good job as readers flee from tabloids like the Daily Mail and they prefer newspapers like him Guardian.

The other measure of media use is the increase in subscriptions worldwide. In the United States, the New York Times, the Wall street journal or the magazine The Atlantic their subscribers have increased in recent weeks despite leaving much of their coverage of the coronavirus open. In Europe, the Guardian, the Italian Il Post, Swedish Dagens Nyheter, too. In Spain, most of the media that have subscribers do not make their data public. eldiario.es now has more than 52,000 members (on March 10 it had 36,000).

In Spain, when asked about trust in “the media” in general, the result is usually low, but the data is better than usual when asking specifically about the coverage of the coronavirus crisis: more than half of the population says they now trust “the media” to find out about the pandemic, according to a recent report from the Reuters Institute

for the study of journalism at the University of Oxford. Trust and the use of traditional media resist against platforms. “LThe majority rated the platforms as less reliable than experts, health authorities and the media, “says the report with data in Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Argentina and South Korea.

In Spain and the United States, a more polarized audience is perceived, something that politicians feed and exploit.

The mix of show business, flashy political messages, and tabloid-style information has been successful in some cases in the United States, especially with the complicity of traditional television variety shows, a way to reach voters through popular culture and perhaps the model that the extreme right would want to imitate in Spain.

One of the most effective exercises to understand Donald Trump’s rise is to watch his interviews on the popular David Letterman show over three decades, on two mainstream television networks, NBC and CBS.

Since Trump’s first intervention In the program, in October 1986, the essential is fun. Letterman enters Trump’s office and they laugh that the businessman has “nothing to do” while canned laughter sounds.

In interviews over the years, Letterman jokes about the millions that the businessman can distribute to the public even if it is not true, he makes false claims such as Trump is the richest and most successful person in the country “when not, in the world ”In a peculiar mix between the ridiculous and the entertaining in which the guest is portrayed as a person who“ says he thinks about it ”. The gossip about his life mixes almost naturally with his political aspirations and inventions about 9/11 or Barack Obama’s birthplace.

Trump’s specialty in New York was always the art of the tabloid, which he cultivated until he convinced the New York Post to publish, in the midst of his first wife’s divorce, that his new girlfriend and later second wife, Marla Maples, said that he had had “The best sex I’ve ever had”.

Sex was part of the show. Conversations with Howard Stern, a popular and provocative radio host, included comments about Trump’s fantasies with his daughter, his alleged sex with actresses and princesses, and the breast operations of some pseudo-celebrities.

Trump’s case is the most extreme in terms of the scope of his show and its political impact – he would hardly have been president without his reality show on how to get rich – but it’s just one more example of the mix of entertainment and political lies.

Some of the most famous voices that have been shaking their audience with falsehoods for years are reeling. This is not the best time for some like Alex Jones, the creator of Infowars, a website that was born as a denunciation of the George W. Bush government and the Iraq war and that was then full of rumors and uncorroborated theories.

Jones became famous for his apparent attacks of anger in which he released claims such as the government putting “chemicals in the water that make frogs gay.” This is the man who encouraged bullying against parents of 5-year-old children. and 6 years murdered at Sandy Hook School, saying their tragedy had been invented to fight to tighten control of firearms, and their followers threatened to kill and chased people hurt by pain.

Jones said in court, in his divorce proceedings, that he was only “playing a character.” During the pandemic, he has dedicated himself to selling toothpaste as a false cure against coronavirus. YouTube has vetoed their videos and the United States Drug Authority (Fda) sent you a warning to remove your fraud ads within 48 hours.

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