(ThyBlackMan.com) On April 13, 2023, Ralph Yarl, a 16-year-old African American teenager, was shot and wounded after ringing the doorbell to the wrong house in Kansas City, Missouri. Yarl was attempting to pick up his twin brothers and ended up at the wrong address, according to family members.
The incident was one of several recent cases involving young people shot or killed after mistakenly going to the wrong house, the wrong driveway, or the wrong car.
Klint Ludwig; grandson of the Kansas City shooter, Andrew Lester, sympathized with the wounded teen and criticized his grandfather’s actions.
“I was disgusted. I thought it was terrible. We – myself and my family – stand with Ralph Yarl in seeking justice,” Klint Ludwig said. “This is a horrible tragedy that never should have happened.”
When asked why he decided to speak out against his grandfather, he replied, “It’s the right thing to do.”
Too often in the US, “people get away with killing unarmed, innocent Black people.”
“People need to speak out,” he said, “not make any excuses for this kind of behavior and this violence.”
Klint Ludwig said he was disturbed by disparaging racial comments made by his grandfather; Andrew Lester, in the past, including those directed to and about Black people.
He said his grandfather believed in right-wing conspiracy theories and was influenced by the “fear and paranoia” stoked by some on right-wing media, namely Fox news, which was often “blaring in his living room.”
I applaud Klint Ludwig and his willingness to call out injustice, even at the hands of his misguided and misinformed grandfather, no thanks to the vile and relentless cable news profiteers at Fox news.
Last week, after years of spreading fake news and misinformation, Fox News had to pay a hefty price. To be precise, the organization was taught an expensive lesson by Dominion Voting Systems. The latter filed a lawsuit against Fox News in relation to the false allegations made by the news channel regarding election fraud in 2020. To settle this case, Fox will be paying $787.5 million, making it one of the largest monetary settlements in the United States’ history for a case of defamation.
However, many critics are apprehensive about Fox actually learning its lesson despite the exorbitant damage. Jack Shafer, a Politico media critic, stated “Rupert wins again,” referring to Rupert Murdoch, Fox Corp. Chairman. Although $787.5 million is certainly a high price, with over $4 billion cash on hand, Fox News can certainly afford it.
In particular, critics of the settlement are aghast that Fox News need not inform viewers about its false allegations pertaining to the 2020 elections and Dominion. Noting that a lot of people believe that Fox has won, liberal writer Molly Jong-Fast explains that this is because Fox, which is the most-watched news outlet in the country, is not facing any backlash from the public.
In fact, Fox’s announcement of the settlement involved significant gaslighting as well. While agreeing that the court ruled that a few claims made by Fox against Dominion were not true, it continued to claim that the settlement is a testament to Fox’s commitment to the highest journalistic standards. The irony of the latter statement is not lost on many.
Although the frustration pertaining to the settlement is understandable, no public apology would deter Fox’s cult-like followership from continuing to consume its content. The fact is that viewers of the network are not people who pursue objective, balanced news.
They prefer hearing lies that appeal to their sensibilities.
The beginning of this case dates to election night 2020 when Fox News was honest with its viewers about the predicted results. It asserted that Donald Trump would most probably not win his bid for re-election. The viewers of the channel refused to become enlightened when a few correspondents from Fox publicly rectified Trump’s false claims and mistruths regarding this election. Despite truth pouring in, they did not acknowledge or accept that Trump and his team were feeding them lies. They joined forces to demand that Fox validate their beliefs that the election in 2020 was stolen from them. To hear the news that reaffirms their beliefs, they switched channels to watch Newsmax and One America News. As such, when Fox refused to say what they wanted to hear, they found less righteous media houses that would appease them.
To this reaction, Fox responded quickly and predictably. Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott bashed the channel’s election team, when they called Arizona for Joe Biden, stating that they were not safeguarding Fox’s brand. Star hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity demanded the layoff of White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich when she decided to fact-check Trump’s tweet about elections. In a group chat with Hannity and Laura Ingraham, he claimed, “It’s measurably hurting the company,” attributing it to the plummeting stock prices. Heinrich eventually deleted the tweet. Executives at Fox expressed concerns over brand threat when host Neil Cavuto decided to leave a White House news conference when false fraud allegations were made by press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
However, Fox staff and executives understood Cavuto, Heinrich, and others were not wrong. This was evidenced by Dominion when it shared their text messages and emails that were publicized during legal filings. However, they were aware of the unspoken deal they made with their viewers long ago – to only tell them what they want to hear, and in return, they would remain loyal proponents of Fox.
It was a mutually beneficial move that Fox News’ made when it enabled the election obsession initiated by Trump: Fox retained its viewers while the latter were fed news that reinforced their beliefs even when they were far from reality. In fact, if Fox ever decides to admit that their news stories regarding the 2020 election were replete with falsehoods, their viewers would overlook it, compartmentalize it, or even justify it in some manner. Because if they believe that Fox lied to them, they’d have to acknowledge that Trump did too, which would lead to the collapse of their entire belief system.
For a long time, the echo chamber of the conservatives has been functioning exactly like this. Eight years ago, when Trump first ran for elections, he accumulated Republicans’ favorite mistruths and fueled them up further. He told his followers that not only would he put an end to immigration, but also build a wall. Moreover, he promised to defeat Hillary Clinton and then put her behind bars. He also claimed that his goal is not just to ban a few Muslims but to prevent every person of this religion from even entering the US. In Cleveland, he said “I alone can fix it,” at the 2016 Republican National Convention. As a president, he did not follow through with any of these claims. Yet, all of his followers continue to support him and assert that he did make America great again during his term.
Following the 2020 elections, he continued to lie about it being stolen for two years, despite ample evidence demonstrating that his claims were untrue. One may even go as far as to claim that Trump would only lose his followership if he ever told the truth, which is something he rarely does, since he came down the Trump Tower on an escalator.
However, that may not resolve the underlying issue because his supporters will merely drift to another politician who is willing to lie to them, akin to how fervent supporters of Fox News temporarily switched to other networks when it conveyed a few facts that were hard to hear for Trump’s supporters.
Sadly, Fox News is not the first and will not be the last network spewing propaganda to earn profits by reaffirming the ideological fantasies of their viewers. Although it is true that Fox is particularly unabashed when spreading misinformation, the popular bible adage “evil triumphs when good men do nothing” is accurate. This is a fundamental truth and an apology from Fox News will not magically change that.
This writer is adamant that Fox News has caused many deaths due to its deliberate vitriol and foolish rhetoric perpetrated by its broadcast personalities on air. There is no creditable news in the oxymoron “Fox News” It is purely an entertainment network without a rudder and without a conscious.
Staff Writer; Stanley G. Buford
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