It’s fantastic that the Capitol attackers are now arguing in court that Fox News tricked them into doing it by feeding them lies. It’s not going to magically get the attackers off the legal hook. But it’ll help take Fox News down a major notch, if we use it correctly.
This is not at all about the dummies who actually watch Fox News and choose to believe. This is about the people they repeat this stuff to in their personal social circles, who aren’t sure whether it’s true or not, and often end up believing what their Fox fanatic pals are telling them.
Fox News viewers think that the conspiracy theories they’re hearing are making them smart. But if we make the average Americans in the middle understand that Fox is fiction, then they’ll stop being impressed when their Fox fanatic friends tell them this stuff. Instead they’ll start pushing back against it. This will make their Fox fanatic friends feel dumb instead of smart. They’ll stop bragging about what they’re hearing on Fox. And eventually some of them will stop watching, because they won’t be able to impress anyone anymore by regurgitating it.
Far too many people are looking for a magic wand solution for taking Fox News down. But things rarely work that way. The realistic solution is to use things like the Capitol attacker defense to convince the people in the middle that Fox News is dangerous fiction. Then they’ll push back on the Fox viewers in their lives, and one by one, Fox’s ratings will drop.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report