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Scary: People Who Watch and Trust Fox News Will Surprise You

One in four Americans believes "most or all" of what's said on Fox News, despite Fox's fabrication of everything from death panels to Climategate.

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By encouraging people to attend local rallies and providing incessant coverage of town halls around the healthcare bill, Fox lent structure and legitimacy to what might have otherwise been a brief episode of "tax day" anger. And as far as the 2010 midterms are concerned, both the Tea Party movement and Fox News deserve credit for the Republican sweep of the nation. What's sinister here is not the change of power -- the response of an unsatisfied American populace is, indeed, "vote another guy in" -- but the very deliberate manufacturing of that change by a force masquerading as a reputable news outlet.

The UK is currently faced with the prospect of full News Corp ownership of BSkyB. As political and opinion leaders think through what this would mean for their country, they should carefully consider not only Fox's worst instances of propagandising, but also the potential British audience for such misinformation. And, most likely, they need look no further than their flatmate. Seddon warns in Tribune that "America needs to wake up before people like Beck and his ilk has it by the throat." Let me end here with a counter-admonition: the UK needs to wake up before Murdoch and his corporation have the media -- and, by extension, British citizens -- even more in the palm of his hand than he already does.

Ilyse Hogue is the Senior Adviser at Media Matters for America.

 
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