CONFESSIONS OF A FOX NEWS HITMAN: INSIDE THE CONSPIRACY THAT BECAME THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN AMERICA
Author's Note: It's Official: America's partisan Tribal Hate Porn Apocalypse Is Here
February 22, 2018
In a few weeks I will publish the first draft of my newest book "Confessions of a Fox News Hitman: Inside The Conspiracy That Became the Most Powerful Force in America. Originally there were four important reasons to write this book and then a fifth reason appeared on February 16, 2018 that could not be more timely or ignored.
The initial reason for the book is simple: I consider it my moral and ethical responsibility after 14 years as a co-conspirator at Fox News (however late it may be) to be the first insider whistleblower to expose the never reported conspiracy behind the Fox News rigged outcome opinion programming segments that have duped millions of Americans for more than two decades.
As a Fox News New York City HQ based contributor, I was privy to Fox News’ entire “fair and balanced” rigged outcome opinion programming charade for 14 years as a paid right wing contributor working out of the New York based opinion programming department. PS: I came to quickly label our right wing tribal opinion content the production of “partisan tribal sociocultural hate and blame porn” or "partisan tribal hate & blame porn" for short.
I became fully cognizant of this right wing tribal duping strategy after a few years into my 2000 opinion “debate” segments career at FNC that started in August 2000.
I came to know that in fact and deed what we actually produced at Fox News were not expert opinion debates but rather carefully rigged/fixed outcome right wing tribal entertainment performances purposely designed to deliver a glorious victory and vindication for our right wing partisan viewers over their hated arch tribal enemy the loathed and despised “libtards.”
Later in my career in many cases I many times helped the producers rig these segments for me or other conservative tribal heroes to win the debate. Once I had the formula down it was easy…too easy.
Why did I help my producers rig the outcome of our opinion segments? My only excuse is that since I hardly ever met any our core 68 year+ aged small city/rural audience other than in an airport or restaurant, I had always assumed THEY knew . . . just like WWE wrestling fans know . . . that we fixed these right/left wing “cage match” melodramas purely for the purpose of their right wing partisan entertainment.
We had, after all, turned American politics and sociocultural issues into melodramatic TV entertainment; in order to consistently pull that kind of entertainment off I thought they all knew we needed to
- Manufacture melodrama
- Deliver a scripted happy ending that made our tribal right wing viewers feel great about their tribal belief systems and most important
- Graphic and verbal vindication that their tribal ideology had once again reigned supreme over their hate tribal enemy aka our token “libtard” opponent/crash dummy of the week.
That was our shtick--I thought they understood they watching a TV entertainment talk show not an actual "fair and balanced" debate. If you ever WATCHED our show "Bulls & Bears" on Saturday morning...how could you NOT see it was all set-up and rigged for the ultimate triumph of the right wing home team over the one poor liberal bastard on set or satellite fighting back like General Custer at the battle of Little Big Horn.
As I discovered later in my 14-year Fox News right wing pundit career, I was dead wrong; most of our core right wing viewers were 100% clueless the were being duped. More important, all the top brass at Fox News starting with Roger Ailes were the driving forces behind the scam. They all knew what I did not at the time; if you understood and knew how to leverage the innate chemistry an involuntary instincts and reflexes of partisan tribal psychology, duping ANY tribal audience was a breeze.
What I later discovered was that Fox News, a public company and a “news” institution” . . . a member of the constitutionally protected and enabled “4th Estate” and member of the unofficial 4th branch of our Constitution and Bill of Rights . . . had intentionally and methodically duped our core right wing audience since its beginning in 1996.
The political and sociocultural tribal hate and blame porn entertainment we produced and duped our core right wing audience with was NOT based on the classic entertainment viewer’s “suspension of disbelief” in order to work. Because of the enormous cognitive power of our DNA encoded instinctive tribal hard-wiring . . . what our right wing partisan tribalists did when they watched our performance was NOT create a 30 minute suspension of disbelief; the experienced our show through their innate tribal suspension of cognition.
Key point: It’s just too easy to NOT dupe these right wing tribalist--or LEFT WING for that matter as MSNBC is now learning the dark arts of partisan tribal hate and blame porn. Thanks to evolution and our still prehistoric brain, we ALL innately have the tribal virus for not seeing or hearing non-congruent tribal dogma IF we are watching/reading/hearing information in “tribal mode.” We ALL have the "circle the wagons" instinct to defend our self-identified tribe when attacked.
Fox News CEO Roger Ailes knew all of this innate tribal behavior. H knew from his 40-years of producing right wing tribal warfare and propaganda that IF we can turn a viewer from healthy skeptic into their most base emotional state or “tribal mode,” we had 'em. After 40 years of creating Republican tribal hate porn, Roger knew and taught his production team that in tribal mode, all the tribal viewer sees is the natural superiority of their tribally accepted right wing ideology playing out in front of their own eyes on their TV screen.
Most important, through their tribal shaded lens, what the viewer cognitively observed was just the righteous natural order of their political/sociocultural tribe being vindicated again. They were literally and cognitively oblivious to the fact that in every “debate” I, or another of their right wing tribal heroes, eviscerated the left wing libtard like a crash dummy. Every time, on schedule, like clockwork.
Shocker spoiler alert: NO one is that good.
OUR edge was the producers and the traffic-copping host did everything possible to stack the deck in favor of us right wing heroes to "win" our WWE like opinion debates; the over-matched under-prepared token liberal du jour was usually beaten before the segment every started.
Watching a fixed outcome Fox News opinion debate was like watching your favorite football team win the Super Bowl (in our case) every Saturday. The tribal "W" was a lock …your home team (us right wing commentators) ALWAYS won because that is how the show was scripted, choreographed and produced. Everyone in the production chain of command knew the segments were highly stacked in favor of us conservative tribal heroes EXCEPT for the poor liberal “Democratic Strategist” test dummy the producers had also carefully selected for ritual sacrifice at the altar of right wing political and cultural tribalism.
That was the trick of the show; the tribal viewer never SAW that from behind the camera and from the production chair they were being duped; that our clockwork evisceration of our right wing audience’s hated “libtard” took a LOT of careful orchestration and choreography and production elements to make happen.
As the anchor of my weekly Fox News opinion program “Bulls & Bears” shared with me after a few years in the tribal hate and blame porn business when I asked her why these right wing/left wing cage matches I performed in every week were so rigged for us right winger pundits to win, she finally and exasperatingly said “Jesus Toby, what do you think Fox News producers DO ALL DAY?”
Obviously we at Fox News greatly benefited from 30 years of conservative tribal radio media ecosystem which had already plowed the fields of right wing tribalism and created tens of millions of radicalized right wing tribe members. We also greatly benefited from the fact that older 65+ aged Americans regardless of political or sociocultural affinity ALREADY watch on average 7 hours of television programming per DAY.
What WAS obvious for right wing partisan tribalists was one overriding factor: It was fun and it was thrilling and most all it FELT GREAT to watch a good Fox News libtard fist bumping, forearm bashing ass-kicking.
What our viewer did NOT seem to grasp was that they were celebrating, WE at Fox News purposely programmed and choreographed the delivery of ALL those feelings they craved. It’s a simple concept: IF you create images expressly designed to create a base human emotion and emotional arousal…that is the general definition of pornography. Images that create sexual arousal are sexual porn; images and words that arouse basal tribal feelings and emotions is partisan tribal hate & blame porn;
Porn is porn. The only difference in porn is WHICH feelings and emotions you are trying to arouse. Today schools around the U.S. are teaching "porn literacy" courses to teenagers who are surrounded from the inescapable ubiquity and gravitational pull of the world sex porn has made.
What I later found much later in my career at Fox News was not surprising; for hundreds and hundreds of thousands of these mostly elderly right wing political and sociocultural tribalists, Fox News had become an inescapable world of 4-6 hour a day addiction in the very same way there are hundreds of thousands of reported addicts to free sex porn (and millions worldwide).
In addition, for many of the evangelical viewers of Fox News, we also had become a branch of evangelical church that 25% of which Americans say they are a member. As evangelical media critic Amy Sullivan points out, in evangelical America today Fox News has spawned a new religious worldview; "Fox Evangelism." “A pastor has about 30 to 40 minutes each week to teach about Scripture,” said Jonathan Martin, an Oklahoma pastor and popular evangelical writer. “They’ve been exposed to Fox News potentially three to four hours a day.”
Clearly the cumulative psychological effect of watching tens of thousands of hours of carefully scripted and choreographed right wing tribal hate and blame porn for many of our elderly and increasingly isolated viewers (50% of Fox News viewers are 68 and older) became a highly predictable plague of sorts; they simply fell through the proverbial looking-glass into an unhealthy, desocialized partisan tribal derangement disorder that for many I later discovered via new geriatric public health data exposed the worse chronically isolated one's with a 50-60% higher risk of premature death vs. their normally socialized and similarly aged neighbors.
So yes, the second important reason for this book is to expose the critical health issues that Fox News addiction brings their “superfan” aka most addicted viewers and the turmoil and pain to their families and loved ones. A fast growing number of the Fox News addicts that we now estimate in the hundreds of thousands (defined as watching three of more hours of Fox News’ tribal hate and blame porn opinion programs per DAY) are quite literally SO addicted they suffer from such acute levels of desocialization and personal isolation.
That is a fancy was of saying that their grown children and other family members conveniently find excuses to NOT visit them in person because they just can’t take the pain of yet another dinner listening to their Dad or Mom/Uncle or Aunt/Siblings or Grandparents rant and rave about what they saw in the last 30 hours+ of Fox News they just consumed in just the last 5 days.
I’ve come to call this “Fox News Social Derangement” disorder which manifests itself primarily in older Fox News addicts (defined as watching 3 or more hours of Fox News opinion programming on average per DAY.) This 50% higher risk of premature death used to called an epidemic or worse a plague; now we just call it "collateral "damage" from the explosion in America's daily partisan tribal warfare battles.
As one victim of a pair of radicalized and desocialized Fox News parents named Stef noted: “ I’ve seen this (scene over and over): The older person drops a bon mot into the middle of the conversation, usually irrelevant. No one reacts at first (because it’s usually really absurd.) Escalation follows, with the older person imitating the exact verbal style of the TV host – which means getting louder and sounding angrier.
Meanwhile everyone else is side-eyeing each other and looking for an escape. If you engage, it turns into a highly unpleasant situation. If you don’t engage, it just goes on (“What about Benghazi?” “What about the knock-out game?” “What about Planned Parenthood’s [insert latest abuse of the week]?”)
The problem is, someone who’s a “mostly every waking moment” conservative-media consumer is not going to be satisfied to talk about football or the latest movies. They are genuinely being scared by what they hear. The action IS the reaction.
There’s also a certain kind of older-person selfishness that seems to be completely oblivious to the kinds of responses they invoke in other people. They literally don’t see how their behavior affects others. When it becomes all one-sided (“We have to humor Grandpa or he goes off on one of his ‘old man yells at clouds’ episodes”), family interactions become highly strained.
A lot of elderly grandparents and older parents are going to find that if their choice is yelling along with Bill O’Reilly vs. having a relationship with their children or grandchildren, well, it’s a choice they’ve made.”
Key Point: What the latest geriatric public health data reveals is startling but unfortunately NOT that surprising to me after 24 month of research and reporting: WHEN that Fox News Social Derangement disorder becomes the primary reason for a Fox News addicts chronic social isolation ("addict as defined as 3+ hours a day of consuming Fox News opinion programming per DAY) THAT condition results in a 50-60% higher risk of premature DEATH vs. their socialized and non-isolated peers.
Warning: This epidemic of senior-aged tribal political and sociocultural desocialization and chronic isolation comes at the very same time 10,000 Boomers turn 65 every day and 4,000 turn 70 years of age for the next 11-12 years. They too will of course watch on average 7 hours a day of television. They too will be sitting ducks for Fox News’ addictive tribal hate and blame porn programming.
The third reason for the book is to address the recent and growing trove of research data that concludes Fox News Channel’s explicit right wing and unpaid conservative infomercial/propaganda programming has become a disproportionate and weaponized influence on recent elections. Professors Martin and Yurukoglu’s groundbreaking research provides powerful evidence that Fox News is a critically important actor in American politics now and that our secretly rigged outcome partisan tribal entertainment conspiracy had effectively become weaponized with undue influence on public opinion.
This of course was the intent from Fox News’ invention by Roger Ailes from the start…and to his utter delight he lived long enough to see his liberal Death Star machine become reality. The Fox News he created and Rupert Murdoch paid $billions to stand up is much more than just serving a market need for gladiatorial political and sociocultural reality show entertainment; it’s incontrovertibly reshaping American public opinion.
In an election where just 80,000 votes in just 3 states and a handful of counties in a country with 18,000 counties and 150 million votes cast decides the 2016 Presidential election, Fox News’ influence at the critical electoral margins is more than just incremental erosion in America’s electoral system; it’s now clear and present threat to our democratic institutions.
Fourth, with the inauguration of Donald Trump, Fox News Channel (now without it’s guiding light Roger Ailes) has clearly and unabashedly converted from its original Republican partisan’s infomercial/elected conservative official’s and GOP operative bandstand + right wing tribal hate porn programming strategy into a full-time 24/7 Trump normalization + GOP infomercial network + extreme right wing tribal hate porn network combined into one.
While it true that John McCain’s selection of TV broadcaster Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 was the spark that celebritized rage/hate/blame politics in America, it was what Fox News and the media monster Palin was born for—social media—that not only monetized political tribal warfare…it socialized and weaponized tribal hate rage and of course served as the precursor for the daily Trumpian POTUS-as-reality show that Fox News now broadcasts 24/7/365 today.
Fox News Alert: Fox News’ recently announced a new Fox News Nation streaming service described as taking the “greatest hits” of their right wing tribal hate and blame porn to a new level. No one yet can say what that “new level” will be, but it is described as being aimed at their “super fans.” In psychological terms that meets the criteria of a woman Washington Post columnist Eric Wemple interviewed and described as “Our favorite Fox News super fan who tells us she watches the network “every night from 6 p.m. through 2 a.m., including repeat programming.”
I can tell you from our research and reporting that this woman, while certainly at the extreme end of the Fox News addict spectrum, she is NOT alone. She is in fact the living breathing tribal cousin to hundreds of thousands of behaviorally and clinically addicted Fox News addicts who are addicted to the release of the highly addictive suite of brain chemicals they receive from the emotions they feel by watching Fox News’ angry outrage-to-sweet redemption ideological tribalism-as- entertainment programming.
My fellow Americans; with Fox News’ monthly reach now expanded to over 78 million Americans on its complete cable and digital platform, it is TIME for hard break and a deep reality check.
Never before in the history of our Republic has an entire national television network and 24/7/365 digital and another 100 million more on social media platforms non-apologetically become the unpaid personal cheerleader, propagandist and apologist for not only the POTUS but with an unpaid GOP/Conservative Party infomercial running 24/7/265 for one political party to our entire nation.
Let’s not forget: The result of Facebook’s “engagement algorithm” was to identify those who are most emotionally engaged by partisan tribal warfare. The more emotion their user felt and sought, the more tribal hate porn Facebook news-feed machine pumped into them. The power and impact of Fox News’ now algorithmitized Fox News tribal rage/hate/blame porn content was exponentially expanded by Facebook/YouTube and self-selected on Twitter…for free! Roger and team NEVER EVER imagined their right wing tribal hate & blame porn content would get algorithmically and exponentially more weaponized by social media platforms not invented when they Fox News was imagined and launched. Lucky for FNC...not so lucky for America and our already-in-decline democracy.
And of course today, in order to match the level and intensity of the right wing’s tribal anger and vitriolic blame casting energy and match every insult and mockery toe-to-toe, the natural reaction on the left has been to clone Fox News in the form of MSNBC and other left wing tribal hate porn media. Now the original cable news network CNN has quickly converted to a 24/7 Trumpian hate porn network along with all the liberal late night talk shows, too.
The net result: Since the election of Donald Trump, the size and scope of the now $12 billion right and left wing partisan tribal hate porn complex and the level of weaponized tribal warfare has DOUBLED. Why? Because every insult, joke and mockery aimed at Trump's "basket of deplorables" only serves as an attack on the Deplorable tribe . . . and our hard-wired tribal instinct is to DEFEND the tribe and it's leader to the death. The more the left wing mocks the Deplorables as 'racist, homophobes and Islamaphobes, the STRONGER they dig in to defend their Deplorable tribe. Tribal psychologists tell us the new flood of left wing tribal hate and blame porn does nothing but make the left wing tribe hate the right wing tribe MORE...and the more they hate the right wing tribe gets the more the right wing partisan tribalists hate and fight back against the left.
KEY POINT: What we now have in America is "not a failure to communicate"; what we have right now in America is a self-reinforcing "tribal hate validation feedback loop" that serves to self-reinforce ever HIGHER levels and magnitudes of political and cultural partisan tribal warfare and a more rapid decline of America's democracy.
People ask “How did our adversarial form of compromise-based lawmaking get so binary and blood sportish?” There now is no question that the political and sociocultural hate and blame porn/politics and tribal culture-as-entertainment complex, now a $12 billion industry and growing, is a direct and fast growing causative factor.
The other now obvious reason for the mass expansion of the weaponized good-vs-evil warfare politics created by Newt Gingrich in the early 90’s is purely political: In order for lawmakers to stay in office, they are forced to recognize and listen to their louder and more politically potent tribal activist base on both the right and left and basically ignore the MUCH numerically larger but less politically strident middle.
How did those political and sociocultural tribal warriors get so angry and loud?
You know the answer—its America baby and the new tribal hate and blame porn entrepreneurs know a good thing when the see it. The new wave of tribal hate and blame pornographers have developed a $billion monthly industry to support and grow the tribal hate porn “art form.”
Key Point: All the research and reporting I’ve done on the rising tribal partisan hate porn explosion in America, I find it the most underestimated and least understood force in America today. As cultural icon Oprah Winfrey recently observed “The darkness is spreading so fast these days; the only thing that is faster than light is the darkness.”
Fueled by a now tribal polarized America and turbocharged by massive social media redistribution, @ 170 million+ 18 year and older Americans today consume thousands of hours of right wing and increasingly left wing tribal hate porn content per tribalist per year.
Let me ask you this: What do you think would happen to a person who consumed thousands of hours of sex porn every year? We know that answer; they would be considered sex porn addicts. Sex porn addiction specialists report sex porn addicts have a 45% divorce rate 35% loss of job rate among other pathologies.
Then WHY have we never had a national discussion on the societal and personal ramifications from the annual consumption of thousands of hours of political and cultural tribal hate porn?
I’d suggest many are in denial and not been honest and objective about what Fox “News” and other tribal hate and blame porn producers are; I can tell you this about Fox News—it never ever WAS about the “news”—the news reports are their only to keep the pretense alive. At Fox News I was taught that we were in the viewer outrage and addiction business; we were fortunate that with as Roger Ailes described “the most powerful force in the word—television”—we had the technology and 40 years of programming expertise to weaponize tribal hate and blame porn and turn into a psychically lethal weapon.
Unfortunately for America, it turned out that the fastest growing subset of tribal hate porn watchers AND social media users are the millions of 65+ aged who already watch on AVERAGE 7 hours of television a day. Many of elderly Fox News fans (median age 68—so 50% are OLDER than 68) consume at least 3-4 hours of their daily TV watch time consuming Fox News’ extreme tribal hate programming or 30+ hours a week.
The woman described in the Wemple article, as extreme as that sounds to you…is NOT based on our research and interviews with Fox News addicts, THAT much of an outlier. I have read hundreds and hundreds of emails and post that all tell the same story.
Here’s another example of what we are talking about when I refer to geriatric Fox News Social Derangement disorder: Than man I’ll identify as “FL Transplant” PERFECTLY describes Fox News Derangement Syndrome as I have personally observed and indirectly researched:
“I have some relatives that retired and now spend their days and nights parked in front of the TV watching Fox News, except when they’re in the car running errands timed to listen to Rush. Each and every conversation/remark is instantly politicized (“Great weather we’re having for August, aren’t we?” “Absolutely. Completely disproves those global warming libtards. But they’ll keep spewing their nonsense to all the low information voters out there, same as they do about Benghazi and immigration. Speaking of immigration, did you see what Odumbo and his lackeys are trying to do now–thank God we’ve got great Americans like Ted Cruz working to preserve our freedoms and protect our rights, especially my right to own whatever damn guns I want to…”
And they’re off and running… And EVERY, absolutely EVERY, conversation with them is like that. You can’t even talk about the weather without it being completely political with them; don’t even try to ask them about their health (ObamaCare), movies, TV, books, or newspaper/magazine articles (lame stream media liberals ruining what used to be a moral society) or grandkids (we’re handing them a dying country and they don’t even recognize it because those liberal college professors are brainwashing them).”
Do these folks sound familiar to you? We polled a large cross section of 25-65 year old Americans left, right and middle and asked "Do you personally know or know of anyone who has become so de-socialized and politically/culturally radicalized that they have become estranged by some or all of their family and friends/social circle?"
The response was staggering; 1-in-5 or near 20% responded "YES" to our poll. With 50 million Americans > age 65 and 10,000 a day turning 65 . . .they prime target for Fox News addiction . . . the potential for further family, societal and political damage is unfortunately inevitable. And of now to exacerbate the scourge of political and culutural tribalism in America today Of COURSE…in the age of the daily Trump reality show… there is also a fast growing partisan left wing tribal hate porn industry rising too.
We will soon find out the social and societal ramifications of the televised and weaponized left wing tribal hate and blame porn complex. If it follows the Fox News pattern, we will see hundreds of thousands more left wing tribal hate and blame porn addicts and broken families.
Special Note: I contend the most under reported aspect of this literal explosion in partisan tribal hate porn is its’ parallel rise and commonality with the explosion of free online sex pornography. When online sexual porn became “free” online porn viewing and porn addiction exploded. Sexual porn addiction experts consider a person watching 11 or more hours of sex porn per week a “porn addict” that requires addiction therapy to end his disorder.
Now sexual porn addiction specialists estimate there are 200,000 sexual porn addicts in America today as a result of the online explosion in free hard core pornography and millions of porn addicts worldwide.
All of which again begs the question: If watching just ELEVEN hours of sex porn per week is the definition of a debilitating sex porn addiction disorder (with serious personal relationship and work pathologies like 4o% divorce rates and 35% lost jobs), what should we consider a 60+ aged person (a majority male BTW) who watches 25-30 hours or more of Fox News’ carefully scripted and choreographed tribal hate porn per WEEK . . . 2-4-6 hours per DAY…and on average over 7900 hundred 7 minute segments per year?
What we have identified in researching the public health data and interviewing/reading/ and observing hundreds of Fox News addicts that, when compared to sex porn addicts, there is a VERY similar pattern of social self-destruction we have come to these Fox News addicts aka “Fox News Social Derangement” disorder. In fact, research shows that of all of the forms of online entertainment—like gambling, gaming, surfing, and social networking—porn in any flavor has the strongest tendency to be addictive.
Yet there have been NO studies on the clear addiction of hundreds of thousands of mostly elderly to Fox News’ tribal hate pornography. Neuroscience researchers tell us that sex porn and other behavioral or “process” addictions like gambling, bring no new chemicals or substances into the addicts body that weren’t already there.
Key Point: But startlingly, these process addiction behaviors initiate strikingly similar processes inside the brain like substance addictions, and that’s what makes them so potentially addictive.
Our polling indicates that from within the 78 million monthly reach of Fox News’ brand of tribal hate porn (TV and digital video device reach) + the massive daily redistribution of FNC’s digital tribal hate porn to over 150 million Americans over 30 years of age via Facebook/YouTube/Twitter, there are between 200,000 and 300,000 60+ aged Fox News tribal hate porn addicts—and if you expand that cohort to 40+ ages the numbers are FAR larger.
On the left? No guess but in the age of the 24/7 POTUS-as-Reality Show taping daily and 24/7 left wing hate porn there undoubtedly will be a massive rate of growth in that cohort too. As much as left wing tribalists consider themselves “evolved” and “awoke” they cannot outrun their DNA encoded hard-wired tribal nature and instincts.
Just how large could this Fox News addiction be on the right? Again remember our wide reaching online poll where we asked “Do you personally know or indirectly know of a de-socialized/hyper-obnoxious Fox News addict whose radicalized behavior has caused them to be estranged and isolated from their grown children and/or some/all of their family members and friends?" and 1-in-5 of those polled answered “YES”.
Just consider the math at play here for the next 12 years: With over
- 50 million Americans 65 years and older today all of whom AVERAGE watching 7 hours of television per day and
- 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 per PER DAY or 3.65 million per year until 2029 (4,000 a day turning 70)
Unless something really changes, the prevalence of Fox News addiction and the incidence rate of the very real “Fox News Social Derangement” disorder pathology can ONLY be accelerating and growing over the next 12 years!
Frankly the only good news here is the largest demographic in America…our 75 million Millennials…generally despise Fox News. Thank God for the millennials. But between now and the time when the 75 million Millennials take over America, we have a giant and rapidly growing societal problem on our hands that NO ONE is widely and effectively addressing or even acknowledging.
I am NOT the only analyst to observe and report on this hidden-in-plain-sight: The vast digitally fueled explosion in the partisan hatred and the cultural power of political/cultural tribal hate porn weaponized and algorithmitized on social media 24/7/365.
In mid-2016, technology researcher Aviv Ovadya realized there was something fundamentally wrong with the internet — so wrong that he abandoned his work and sounded an alarm. A few weeks before the 2016 election, he presented his concerns to technologists in San Francisco’s Bay Area and warned of an impending crisis of misinformation in a presentation he titled “Infocalypse.”
As Buzzfeed.com and others reported “The web and the information ecosystem that had developed around it were wildly unhealthy,” Ovadya argued. The incentives that governed its biggest platforms were calibrated to reward information that was often misleading and polarizing, or both. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google prioritized clicks, shares, ads, and money over quality of information, and Ovadya couldn’t shake the feeling that it was all building toward something bad — a kind of critical threshold of addictive and toxic misinformation.”
His presentation was largely ignored by employees from the Big Tech platforms — including a few from Facebook who would later go on to drive the company’s Newsfeed integrity effort.
Now fast forward to today. We clearly now as a nation now suffer from a tribal hate “pornocalypse” as well. Much irreversible damage has already been inflicted on our country, our society and our civil discourse from this newly energized partisan tribal pornocalypse. But our demographics much MORE damage is happening for the next 12-14 years.
As mentioned, we now know that the very real social, cultural and public health threats posed to America by the vast reach of Fox News’ tribal hate porn opinion programming (now a combined 78 million viewers and digital users per MONTH) are multiplied by MANY orders of magnitude with the explosion and ubiquity of the algorithmic engagement methodologies embedded in the social media giants Facebook and You Tube.
Which now brings us to the final and most timely issue of 2018: It’s now NOT just the Right and Left wing tribal hate/blame/resent pornography industry has grown into a $20 billion a year Partisan Tribal Hate Porn Complex . . . or that its impact and reach are now multiplied an order of magnitude from the political and cultural engagement algorithms of Facebook and YouTube that most observers seem to have missed.
While our once relatively civil adversarial political and cultural competition of ideas has been turned into a gladiatorial spectacle of zero sum, “Us vs. Them” tribal warfare entertainment complete with a separate set of alternative facts enshrined by each tribe as “facts . . .
… The Russians know it too and the slipped into our elections underneath the darkness of our digital tribal hate and blame pornocalypse and infiltrated our national elections.
We now know that Fox News and the rest of the right wing political/sociocultural hate and blame pornocalypse industry provided Russian intelligence with a simple, hackable and extremely effective digital wormhole to enter into our electoral process undetected.
With the indictments of 13 Russian intelligence operatives, we now know that it took less than 100 Russian intelligence operatives known as the “Internet Research Agency” to manipulate our 2015-2016 election cycle. It took less than 100 social-media and partisan tribal hate porn content savvy Russians via Facebook and Instagram to hack and expose at LEAST 125 million carefully target Americans to hard core right wing tribal hate porn in order to disrupt and sow disorder in the 2016 American election.
Worse? Fox News’ brand of tribal hate & blame porn gave the Russians cover for their crimes. What the Russians want further erode America's political institutions in order to diminish our ability to lead the world in the direction America wants--and that is EXACTLY what we are giving them.
ALL this “troll farm” had to do was copy the SAME content and images virtually identical to the right wing tribal hate porn on ANY typical Fox News opinion program sees every night. All these “hackers” had to do is pay Facebook to place their tribal hate and blame porn in the news feed of Facebook’s hyper-targeted audience.
From a hacker perspective that was NOT much of a hack; the used the Facebook ad tools to select their targets by their susceptibility to being influenced by right wing tribal messaging AND by their zip codes.
The unambiguous reality here? We hacked ourselves…Russia launched a very real Information War strike against America and all they had to do was ape the American tribal hate porn industry and pay for Facebook’s platform to declare and execute a 2 year information strike on America . . .and not only did we enable their attack…we were clueless.
And really; How could the targeted audience know the difference between Russian hate and blame porn and Fox News’; they BOTH inundated their algorithmically managed Facebook and Twitter news feeds and You Tube recommendations during the 2015-2016 election cycle.
What we now know, as National Security Adviser and still uniformed lieutenant general in the Army H.R. McMaster admitted Feb 16, 2018 is this undeniable reality: Right wing tribal hate porn content and images, made to look identical to Fox News and its more extreme clone Brietbart News, served as the cover and shield for Russian intelligence operatives to spread right wing propaganda and imaginary-but-look alike right wing partisan hate porn to 125 MILLION micro-targeted voters on Facebook.
Key point: You must understand that THIS image above and the others presented in the espionage indictments could be a simple screen shot from ANY of Fox News’ hard core right wing hate porn programming like Hannity or Tucker Carlson…how would anyone tell the difference?
The head-shaking reality in 2018: WE DID THIS TO OURSELVES!
Our unregulated political and sociocultural pornocalypse industry plus the hyper-targeted Facebook and YouTube “social graph” where, based on your online behavior Facebook knows more about you and I than you and I know about ourselves, were combined into a LETHAL weaponized election opinion influencing platform-for-hire.
Let’s not kid ourselves: In our naïveté and ignorance, WE gave Russian spies and provocateurs the keys to the America’s soul and let them crash it into the opinion making process of 125 million of the U.S. voting public. Russia launched an Information War against America that some are calling “the equivalent of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor” and just like Pearl Harbor…and we were clueless and un-prepared.
Instead of a call to “Man the Ramparts,” we get a third person response tweet declaring “See—no collusion with Trump! 100% exonerated.” Wow . . .sure glad to know who the innocents are in this Information warfare attack on America.
I can tell you Fox News is most definitely NOT the innocent here; we created our partisan tribal hate porn on purpose and we knew exactly what we were doing.
In my 14 years as an on-air Fox News contributor and fill-in anchor and now as a part-time tribal communications analyst, I can tell you with profound certainty that the ENTIRE goal and strategy of our SOT (“sound on tape) evidence presented to our right wing television audience dozens of times a day was that:
A) Left wing in America and Islamic immigrants in particular were nothing less than an
B) Illegitimate and existential virus infecting white America’s way of life that needed to be
C) Reduced or rendered politically impotent by any means necessary by patriotic Americans (read “white”)
D) To save America (read “white America’) from the rapidly advancing hordes.
I can also set the record straight on the fact of life in the House of Fox: In most of the over 2000 opinion debate segments I participated in, I closely collaborated with the segment producers to make SURE the segment I appeared in was so carefully rigged and so stacked in favor of me or another right wing contributor on the payroll to “win” the debate that the liberal opposition hardly ever had a fair chance.
In the vast majority of opinion debates I appeared on, the liberal opposition was nothing more than a televised crash dummy and tribal sacrifice in the eyes of our producers and most important our core right wing tribal viewer.
But perhaps even worse than our fraudulent fixed outcome programming scam: We in the Fox News’ opinion programming department turned delegitimizing and demonizing the left wing of American politics into a $2 billion a year tribal hate porn entertainment empire. The massive success of the Fox News Tribal Hate Porn Empire then launched 250+ new competing digital conservative and liberal tribal hate publishers too whose only program differentiation strategy and value proposition is to turn the volume and intensity of their partisan tribal hate porn UP even higher.
The result of this tribal hate porn industry arms race is obvious; the hard core tribal outrage/hate and blame content which was until recently considered “fringe and extreme” is now, like the explosion in the now $13 billion online industry, considered mainstream.
In the last 20 years America took its hard core tribal partisan hate pornography from the edges of society to now broadcasting it 24/7/365 into 100 million American homes every night…for their entertainment.
In essence today, advertisers and cable distributors are PAYING Fox News (and now to a lesser degree MSNBC and CNN of the left) about $4 billion a year to DESTROY our barely functioning democracy and hasten its decline with our political and cultural systems now converted into an episodic reality programming ENTERTAINMENT product.
Mea Culpa: At Fox News we purposely and carefully stage and present America’s modern form of adversarial but civil political and cultural debate as a melodramatic form of modern gladiatorial, bread-and-circus spectacle combined with hourly human cock-fighting. I knew it, the producers knew it and the executives starting with Roger Ailes that created the televised partisan tribal hate porn industry knew and loved it. At this ratcheting higher pace, soon we’ll be producing and broadcasting live modern reenactments of Aaron Bur’s deadly duel with Alexander Hamilton with real bullets and Go Pro cameras mounted to our heads.
I personally cannot conceive of a more toxifying activity for any self-governed electoral democracy than using the most powerful medium on earth . . . television . . . to present our democracy’s respectful but adversarial competition of ideas . . . that thing we used to call our democratic process . . . as nothing more noble than a melodramatically staged and rigged zero sum fight-to-the-death cage matches.
And we are SHOCKED that the Russian Intelligence service knew how toxic we let our fragile democracy become? EVERY day Fox News runs there toxic-to-democracy deadly cage matches 24/7 in 100 million American homes and reaches 78 MILLION unique users each month according to comScore Multi-Platform Media Metrix, August 2017.
How could Russian intelligence NOT see their opportunity to influence U.S. public opinion and incite tribal discord in America?
How powerful is Fox News’ and others weaponized tribal hate porn distributed into Facebook’s algorithmically selected engagement engine aka news feed?
Facebook, more than any other technology tool, was singled out by the Justice Department when prosecutors charged 13 Russians and three companies for executing a scheme to subvert the 2016 election and support Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign. In the 37-page indictment, officials detailed how the Russians repeatedly turned to Facebook and Instagram, often using stolen identities to pose as Americans, to sow discord among the electorate by creating Facebook groups, distributing divisive ads and posting inflammatory images.
Like I said…I’ve got news for you non-Fox News watchers—any of those images could have been a screenshot of ANY of Fox News’ opinion programs last night.
In other words, in order to stir tribal discord amongst Americans, the Russians simply copied the most outrageous Fox News style partisan tribal hate porn and used it to incite tribal levels of anger and retributive emotions by the right wing tribalists that were EASY to discover and target on Facebook’s hyper-targeted ad machine.
All which begs another question that few if any are asking: IF the Fox News like tribal hate porn created by Russian spy agencies and distributed on Facebook is powerful enough to affect or at least disrupt a national election, HOW POWERFUL is watching 2-4-6 hours a DAY of partisan tribal hate porn on our electorate, our society and our families?
Enough is enough! The data and analysis I present in this book I hope makes it unambiguously clear that America has hit a downward spiraling tipping point of tribal hatred melodrama and political discourse produced, presented and widely distributed as tribal bread-and-circus gladiatorial entertainment.
It is now clear that the explosion in the digital reach and magnitude of partisan tribal hate porn in our tribal validation feedback loop is negatively affecting hundreds of thousands of partisan tribal hate porn addicts and millions of families affected by a desocialized Fox News addict parent or sibling.
At the same time it appears most consumers have little or no understanding of tribal pornocalypse impact nor have grown bored with it as if were just a passing craze.
Finally considering all the above facts, I hope you too understand how important to ourselves, our families and our democracy it is to give America and the world the first inside look at what I learned during my 14 year Fox News tribal hate porn actor aka paid contributor journey.
It took a long time for me to learn the tricks and conspiracy behind Fox News’ unique brand of fixed outcome tribal hate porn; in this book I will present you a master class on partisan tribal hate porn, how it works and most importantly how to keep YOURSELF or loved ones from being sucked down in the rabbit hole of tribal hate and blame pornography.
Awareness and acknowledgement that a real problem exists is the first step to knowledge. Knowledge of the hate porn methodology is the way you inoculate yourself from the tribal hate porn virus.
I hope this book helps to expose the extremely negative ramifications of this tribal pornocalypse and they are finally widely acknowledged. As in all addictions, the journey to recovery first has to start with personal awareness and acknowledgement that the problem exists.
We have to as a country, in my judgement, desperately need to walk this ubiquitous mainstream tribal hate porn industry back . . . and that process has to start with recognition of the problem first.
On A Personal Note
I held off on publishing this book out of respect for my dear friend and host of my weekly weekend Fox News opinion program Brenda Buttner who passed away in early 2016 from a long and very brave fight against terminal cancer. This is for you B.
Frankly, with all the firsthand observations, secrets and stories I accumulated as a 14 year Fox News insider within the Fox’s 6th Avenue New York headquarters, I was also more than just a little afraid of Roger Ailes as well (until his passing in May of 2017).
In late May 2017, I published a short essay on my experiences at Fox News for 14 years and got over 250,000 views—that was when I knew my story was important to many Americans.
The events I’ve described in these pages are based on private conversations, communications and personal firsthand experiences and my subsequent reporting that took place over a period 14 years and 2000 opinion segment appearances in my tenure as a paid Fox News contributor and permanent panel member on the Fox News’s recently canceled weekend “business block” aka “The Cost of Freedom” programming and other appearances on much of Fox News’ other opinion programming.
All the independent research, interviews, opinion polling and public health research was conducted and analyzed by my macroeconomic and consumer research firm Transformity Research LLC
A final thought and warning: Americans are clearly interested in the symptoms of what now can only be described as America’s institutional collapse : Government shutdowns, ad homonym attacks on elected legislators, spoken and tweeted attacks on long honored traditions/democratic and legal/law enforcement institutions, an explosion in domestic terrorism and school shootings by young, hopeless enraged young men now turning AR-15 rifles on student occurring on average in 2018 America every 60 hours . . . but few seem to be interested in the causes other than their simplistic and go-to tribal ideology.
In this way, I find most Americans have become like a social analyst recently wrote “something like tourists of our own democracy — not participants in it.”
The explosion of the digital tribal hate porn complex in America is NOT the cause of the chaos we have sadly grown to stoically process and accept; but it clearly now IS a major symptom of a far more dangerous disease.
The disease in America for many today is more than just fear—fear of lost livelihoods, fear of losing a long revered culture and way of life. Tribal hate porn is not about politics; the animating hate is sociocultural; it comes from the visceral fear of losing one’s culture and a way of life in a rapidly changing 21st century American circa 2018 .
My REAL emotion Fox News has always preyed and continues to manipulate is NOT just the tribal fear of losing one’s tribal culture and way of life; it’s the personal shame one feels for not preventing that loss for yourself our your family.
For many Americans not living in the top 20% of families or not residing in the 15 truly thriving urban/suburban regions of America, there is extremely visceral feeling of shame in Red State small town/rural America; shame from losing the ability to decently feed their families, to decently educate their children for the 21st century and to honor the sacrifices their parents and grandparents willingly made for them.
Worse . . .Fox News and all tribal hate pornographers deeply damage and in many cases mortally wound the most precious ingredient to life—hope for a better life for your children and grandchildren. Every generation of parents who brought children into this world does so with the idea in America that if you worked hard and sacrificed greatly your children would live the life YOU dreamed for them.
Today that dream too has faded for far too many parents and their children in America…and that makes them sitting ducks for right wing tribal hate and blame porn.
Our politics have never been more polarized since the Civil War according to many US historians; but they are missing what I have found to be a grimmer reality for many Americans: They don’t hate their tribal enemies for what they have or where they live . . . they hate and are aggrieved against fellow Americans they have never met for whom they see them as; co-conspirators against their family and way of life.
Embedded in those horrible feelings of shame and self-doubt is the worst feeling possible; lost hope and hopelessness.
At the same time America is deeply in need of transcendent leadership that restores hope and confidence in the future for ALL Americans and delivers respect to all our diverse citizens, we instead increase the volume on divisive hate. At the time we need a positive feedback loop of inspirational energy in turn creates more positive energy feedback, we find ourselves in a self-inflicted, self-reinforcing toe-to-toe negative energy sucking tribal hate, fear and blame porn validation feedback loop.
Pollster Frank Luntz said of Oprah Winfrey recently, “Respect. That is what the average American is looking for from their leaders, from the media, you name it. I don’t share her politics, but it’s not about your ideology. It’s about confidence in the future and mutual common respect towards each other. She provides both. I really see her as the antidote for what ails this country.”
I could not agree more. Televised tribal hate porn is based on flashing “sound on tape” or SOT evidence of tribal disrespect or heresy so we the actors can then can toss lighter fluid on our audiences real and deep unhealed wounds of shame, fear and diminishing hope.
We methodically perform this degenerative act as emotionally arousing entertainment. The premise of partisan tribal hat porn is now horrifying to me: We in the tribal hate porn industry eat our young; we prey on the very same top-of-mind, visceral and existential fears and shame that we sow, feed, grow and magnify 24/7.
We can do better than this…we have to do better than this. This response has to acknowledge that we never had an adversary OTHER than Russian political hackers that we ever blindly enabled and abetted ourselves. We created the tribal hate porn industry…we can fix it and limit it too. Knowledge is the great disinfectant and power deflater of tribal hate porn
My optimism is this; our partisan tribal pornocalypse is one of our own making; that means we can unmake too. I also believe the skeptical Millennials will one day break the curse of our self-inflicted cultural hate porn industrial complex.
I’d like you to consider this book as a step back from our partisan tribal pornocalypse ledge.
And if anyone reading this knows Oprah, hook us up would ya?