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Can I just say to everyone here: I am grateful for your sharing your experiences with us, including those that have been quite personally painful. By shedding light on the impact, it helps make change possible.

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Here is how it has infected my world:

I was looked down upon by members of my family for being a liberal even before Donald Trump.

I had to detach myself from my relatives who are Republican, because their relatives by marriage we're not safe to be around via Fox and Trump.

I was not invited to a wedding, because of my relatives allegiance to Republican Fox world.

My aunt and uncle went insane verbally attacking Muslims in their Western New Jersey town, to the point where I told them to stop the car one time and let me out. They had been brainwashed by Fox News. That same aunt had Hillary Clinton toilet paper in her guest bathroom, which I'm sure she got from an infomercial on Fox News. It got to the point where I was calling my uncle on the down low from my aunt, as he was dying with Alzheimer's and he didn't know where I was. He died last year and not only was I not informed of his death, I was barely mentioned in his obituary and not by name. She had cut out his entire family, my blood relatives because they weren't on the MAGA train I'm sure.

If you're Liberal or Center Left, you are automatically demonized by Trump supporters, who think they are superior to you, which is hilarious as they are the ones who always play victim.

A former coworker of mine came to work infected with covid and refused to wear a mask because MAGA. I was infected with covid, but I can't prove it's from him, and have been suffering from long-term covid for about a year now. I lost two jobs because of it.

My former best friend is an anti-vaxer, and ended our friendship because she claimed that I got covid from the vaccine which is something that Fox News pedals in.

It's amazing when you try to do the right thing in this country, and be on the correct side of History, what a lonely path it is. I have no regrets from losing all these people in my life. I can sleep at night. I hope they can sleep at night too when this country collapses because of them..

Oh yes and I stopped being a poll worker in 2018 because I saw what was coming.

I'm a 60-year-old woman living in Los Angeles. My golden years shouldn't be like this. Thank goodness I'm a fighter.

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Mary, I'm so sorry.

When my uncle and a good friend of the family died just a few days apart, my mom didn't tell me, my brother thought to call and let me know of their passings because he knew she wasn't talking to me. It's not easy being on the outside, I know.

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I'm so sorry, Mary. I have no family and few friends left in Montana because of Fox/Faux news, MAGA cult-indoctrination, and Oath Keepers. It has been devastating. I sit and cry most mornings, as the loss is so tremendous (all for greed and power -a hard truth to live with), but I have to keep going. Newsletters and communities like this one are so helpful to me. Thank You!

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founding

Terrible so sorry!

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Hang in there. It hurts, but in the long run, you will feel better for it.

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founding

Really remarkable to read about the number of these awful disruptions in personal relationships because of TFG’s lies and Fox; sounds like a conscripted wave of negativity has suddenly lodged forever in the thought processes of formerly “conservative” folk who used to be able to handle their political beliefs reasonably rationally and still maintain close personal relationships with other family and friends who were more progressive; this is what Trump has uncovered amplified by Murdock. Scary because this wave of hate and paranoia has spread so fast and has reached deep into family and friendships? He is such a flawed individual that it hard to see why he has had such an impact? Without the constant repetition of Fox by seemingly charming TV personalities, I doubt if he would have been able to pull it off so persuasively. If he had won in 22, there is no doubt that he would now be on the way to dictatorship. Thank you Joe and 15% of moderate Indys and Rs. But this example of how fragile our democracy is should stay within us for 24 big time!

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founding

The enormity of the interruptions in family and friendship relationships caused by a combination of Trump and fox should be a matter of concern to the rest of us too. It seems from what has been commented here that the normal way of avoiding personal conflicts among family and good friends do not seem to work? This could grow much worse as Nov24 draws closer. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to avoid this?

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Ira, If we understand that we're dealing with a cult mentality and/or addiction, it could help us find solutions as to how to navigate family, friend, and community relationships now and in the near future. As for the severity of what has happened to my family (and friendships, but the family is just devastation, I can't find another one), I feel it has been the 'canary in the coal mine' -that this sickness will eventually run roughshod over all of us and our country unless we get a handle on what is going on. Thanks so much.

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founding

Morning Joe today illustrated the cult aspect by a poll that 42% of MAGA even trusted him more that their religious leader and 72% trusted him more than family and friends! That’s the bad news but the “sort of good” news is that more than 50% of the country ( including those in R states) support the trials and believe he has done criminal acts. Take away 20-25% of his support among moderate Rs and he loses overwhelmingly as their nominee. So all the media speculation of who could beat him in the primaries is pure fiction—no one can or will. But R primaries are just that, not the final vote in Nov 24! Not even close! What do we have going for the Nationhood then: 1) continuity of our Democracy (with a big D); 2) defeat of the Rs’ promise of a nationwide abortion ban (absolutely a key determinative “personal” issue at the polls rather than just a policy issue); 3) future passage of strong and effective national gun safety legislation;4) immediate consideration and enactment of powerful long range climate policies; 5) massive support for democrats in both the House and Senate with all that portends; 6) definitive support for LGBTQ rights and recognition of a multi-racial society!

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Wow Mary that is just so sad! Sorry to read all that but can also relate. 🥲

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I'm so sorry...that's an awful position to be trapped in.

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It is everywhere, even in the Doctor's waiting room. It is not good for anyone's health. However why must it be included with my cable selection. Why do I have to pay for it. I've signed a petition to have it removed.

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I feel you on this one. I called Spectrum to change my subscription to stop subsidizing Fox's existence. If they hadn't had a plan for that, I would have dropped cable completely as me and my wallet aren't interested in contributing to our nation's demise in the areas where I have a choice.

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How did you do that. They tell me one can’t deselect “core” channel in a package

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It's called Spectrum TV Choice. I picked 10 channels to keep and ditched the rest. That option may not work for all, but it did for me. Since it was something I could do, I signed up.

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wow I have been begging Comcast for the same and they say they will then they never do.

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Mar 4, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

I am lucky - I live in CT where society is much more civilized and intelligent. Fox News is watched, I am sure , but those who do watch don't swagger and boast about what they saw on it. I love to remind folks, "Remember when Fox had to defend Tucker Carlson in that law suit, and had to come out and say Tucker wasn't News, he was merely entertainment"?

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Unfortunately, the person I know that was twisted by Fox is living in CT as well. It sucks. I don't visit often, but he seems to get worse every year and I hate watching it happen...

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I live in the South, in a very red state, and followed my mother's lead in politics (liberal). My mother had a long-term friendship with a very sweet lady who unfortunately was dealing with the aftereffects of trauma and some mental health issues most of her life. She had also been close to me, and I would drive her to appointments and the pharmacy.

My mother passed away in 2020 (not from COVID, but her treatment was impacted by the hospital having to devote many resources to COVID patients and COVID prevention protocols not allowing us to visit her to speak with her doctors in person). I hoped to continue to retain the friendship with her, even though we had "agreed to disagree" about politics long ago and just not discuss it.

When COVID became politized, and conspiracy theories abounded, though... I was masking when taking her to appointments for myself AND her, but she wouldn't wear one because she said she couldn't breathe through them (she did have serious lung problems by this point, however, and panic attacks related to things covering her nose and mouth). I didn't argue with her, just wore my own.

But she kept bringing up the conspiracy theories, and while I tried to be gentle when I tried to steer the conversation another way or say I had seen evidence something was false if I recognized what she was talking about, it became harder and harder.

Eventually she text-bombed me with a TON of misinformation graphics. I'm not in the best shape myself, and was having a flare so had been trying to sleep. I had a specific tone for when she texted, so after about 7 messages over 15 minutes. I got up thinking it was an emergency. I perhaps responded poorly, but said we'd agreed to disagree and not discuss these things with each other, and that I would prefer her not to break the agreement, because I *did* care about her and wanted to retain the connection.

She never called or texted again, or responded to any of my calls (went straight to VM every time) or texts over a few months. Also, she blocked me on Facebook. She'd occasionally done that with Mom for months at a time, so I was hoping it would just be like that. I checked new friend requests, but never got one from an account w/ her name.

I Googled somewhat recently and found out she had passed away in 2022. I can't tell what the cause was from the obituary, but it said she passed in her home. She was about 10 years younger than Mom, who had died before she hit 70.

I wish that we had been able to stay in touch, and respect boundaries like we had before, but the current political environment made that impossible. I'm SO sad the last thing she probably read from me was a negative message rather than any of the "Hey, just checking to see how you are doing, love you" texts or VMs.

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You showed compassion with integrity. You did your best. I think you were valiant in your efforts. Don't beat yourself up.

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Thank you. I really did try to not let the fact she was getting deeper and deeper not make us break the friendship apart -- she was reading/watching not just Fox, but the stuff Fox says and people search about -- but it ended. I wish I could have gone to her service and told her father (he outlived her) and her daughters how sorry I was for their loss, and for mine.

But we can't change the past. Thank you again.

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I'm sorry to hear about your painful experience and loss of your friend. So much of this is the fault of Fox Infotainment Lies and they knew they were lying in order to keep their ratings high. This all just breaks my heart. Best to you, you gave so much and I'm sure you still do. XO

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Thank you. It does still hurt, but I figured if this writer is collecting such stories, that maybe I could go ahead and talk about it to get some processing done myself by writing it all down.... and maybe someone else will read it and recognize they're doing those things (like insisting on political talk vs trying to play like we're in so-called "polite company", etc.), and how that is damaging having even a "token liberal" friend and isolating people to only associate w/ people on "their side".

And that is just making the polarization worse, and causing calls for "national divorce", etc. As a liberal in a red state, I'd be having to ask for asylum -- or at least demand that if housing is to be swapped, it should be swapped by square footage of structure and features, not land value. Egads. I hate to think about it.

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Mar 4, 2023·edited May 3, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

Thank you Steven for the opportunity to contribute to this conversation. Canadians were able to watch the wayward path of denial, deflection and destruction authored by Donald Trump, as it was covered on our major National news channels, as well. We were incredulous that such an unqualified individual as # 45 could reach the echelon of President of the United States. Trump was glorified through coverage by his loyal enablers on FOX News. Their most radical news presenters like Carlson, Hannity and Ingraham seemed to revel in disseminating a litany of false and misleading information, which caused the 'doctrine of Trump' to evolve at an alarming rate. Attendees at Trump rallies fanatically chanted along with their 'chosen one' leader, in a cult-like fashion. Without any checks and balances or a code of conduct, lies were touted as truth repeatedly, and falsehoods seemed to develop a virtual life of their own. If I mentioned any of Trump's indiscretions, I discovered that his fans were distrustful of traditional government, and seemed generally unaware of his inappropriate actions on the National and International world stage. They seemed all too willing to justify his behaviour. This psychological shortfall is due to a feature of human thinking called cognitive biases. Cognitive biases are detours or shortcuts in reasoning, remembering, or evaluating something, that can lead to mistaken conclusions. FOX provided a platform for misinformation and conspiracy theories to thrive. The greatest travesty is that so many Republicans fell in lockstep behind Trump, and did not protest his egregious behaviour. FOX acted as a willing partner in aiding, abetting and misleading their TV audience. The damage from false media is entrenched and long-lasting. It will require a yeoman effort to bring America back into any semblance of reason and balanced thinking.

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Mar 4, 2023·edited Mar 4, 2023

When my parents had a projection TV the Fox logo was burned into the screen. Bill O'Reilly's rants gave way to my step-dad yelling responses as practice, now he takes notes when watching Carlson. My mother believed everything Lou Dobbs said. They believed they could game the system, bought homes they couldn't afford to buy, borrowed against one to purchase another, then lost both. Dad involved himself in pyramid schemes, and now we learn that he owes taxes with mounting late fees. These were at one time perfectly nice and proper people, now they're in their late 80's and dependent upon SS, have an EBT card and despite the fact that their credit was ruined they now live in a beautiful community that we bought into and rent to them. According to them we liberals are the dummies. Everything mentioned in the article we've experienced. They love Trump, hate liberals, and even after an innocent family member was shot and killed they still believe that nothing can or should be changed. When discussing other news sources they always revert to "who can we trust?" When suggesting they watch other news sources they claim to have done so but didn't like what was being said. So much for accepting the truth, Fox dishes out exactly what they want. Fox is clearly a platform intended to abuse the elderly and those unable to think critically. These aren't the parents I grew up with nor does it represent their actual beliefs. Maybe now is the time to file a classaction lawsuit to sue over lost time with loved ones who succumbed to the wily Fox...

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So sorry -- and it really shows how much of the MAGA promoters are really about the grift, and supporters like your parents have sadly been the target.

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Yes, so sorry, Karen. Fox is a grift and they've destroyed countless families and friendships because of their Lies. They destroyed my Montana family, too, and I dearly miss them, but it is too late now to be repaired. What a travesty all of this insanity has been for this country and for so many of us individually. Very Best to you. XO

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THIS! After Dominion accepted the settlement with Fox Propaganda, my first thought was “We need to group together and file a class action lawsuit against Fox to expose them.” Not asking for money, but require they apologize for all the lies prior and in the future are required to have a tag that stays on throughout every single show they air, that says “Fox is not to be considered news, rather personal opinions which should not be taken as truth.”

Or however these legal terms need to read. Basically, what Fox said about Carlson in the other lawsuit, that nobody could be expected to believe anything he says anyway, so they have no responsibility…blah blah.

I would sign on to this Class Action lawsuit in a heartbeat.

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Of course, as you suggested, your parents should watch other news sources. But think about this the next time you're watching MSNBC...apart from the content, pay attention to the vocabulary, sentence structure, references, allusions, etc. used by the anchors and guests on those other sources. Typical Fox viewers simply wouldn't understand much of what is being reported or discussed. Fox viewers don't think or speak in those terms nor do the people in their circles. It doesn't surprise me that Fox viewers don't turn to other news sources.

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Apr 18, 2023·edited Apr 20, 2023

Since I don't subscribe to cable it's a rare moment that I watch MSNBC and I wouldn't have recommended watching it to them or any other Fox viewer. Viewing or reading anything found via PBS, NBC, CBS or ABC would be closer to middle ground than either of the extremes found at MSNBC or Fox but my parents were indocrinated into believing they couldn't trust any other agency but Fox. Some food for thought as there are differences in cable subsciptions - MSNBC is a premium channel while Fox is in the more basic package - so much for being fair and balanced. I would also warn against taking anything to heart when the channel is owned by Sinclair since they've purchased as many small town stations as they can afford in order to sway the populace in a conservative direction. Just listening to Sinclair news reports, when knowing the facts, and you'll see that Sinclair could be even more dangerous than Fox. Factual information should be a priority for any news agency, rather than playing to the public for ratings and/or attempting to sway the vulnerable.

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It contributed to ending my marriage, and yes, it's ended a friendship or two. When I met my now former husband in the mid 90s, he was a normal main street republican, and really, so was I. But that's the time period Fox "News" came into being, and he's been an avid Fox watcher since. I paid little attention to politics until around 2007, but I had noticed the R party had moved way way out from under me. I'm a moderate. My now former husband....I drew a boundary of no politics, and he respected it, but he believes things to his core that he hears on Fox and talk radio, and it became a big gulf between us. A longtime work friend probably always leaned right, but had until recent years not ever seemed much interested in politics. She married a man in more recent years who appears much more political than I had known her to be. She would post things on fb that were straight off of Fox and the like, and while I didn't actually "comment" on them, sometimes I would put a link to better information on the subject of the day into her comment area under those posts. Not often, but occasionally. In other words, I didn't get ugly, I didn't even really "comment", just gave a link to credible info. She unfriended me, which surprised me. Just recently, after a few years of no contact, she has recently "re-friended" me on social media, and I have since moved out of state. Rupert Murdoch has earned burning in hell. He has damaged democracies all over the world, for money. How much money does he need? I don't know what the answer is, but he and others like him sell poison and they do not care the effect it has on society or systems of government.

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Most of these stories – and I have my own – illustrate the personal pain that so many people are going through watching a profound transformation happen to friends and loved ones. In addition to feeling public outrage at the policies and actions against vulnerable groups in the nation, there is this very personal, very intimate assault on the ties that bind us together.

It reminds me so much of the feeling you get from some classic novels and dramas of the fascist

Or Cold War period. I’m thinking of things like Ionesco’s play Rhinoceros, or the existential dread of Invasion of the Body Snatchers where you wake up and everything looks the same, seems the same, but it’s creepily different. People you know are all of a sudden just a little off.

I don’t think those who are of us who are liberal have truly reckoned with the impact of the constant state of anxiety and dread, the constant waiting for the next shoe to fall. It’s debilitating, and perhaps part of why we’re not mounting a strong enough defense for liberal democracy.

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Good point, however more Dems need to be expressing and doing NOW those things that will strengthen our democracy. We need to discuss more vociferously how we can legally put some reasonable limits on the First Amendment.

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founding

I hope not as the First is the cornerstone of our democracy. If there is an answer, I suspect that controlling Congress and enacting sound Legislation that would demonstrably improve most lives and tax the super-rich to pay for it would level out the intense criticism over time?

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I moved away from Texas after living there for 20 years. After the Biden-Harris bus was run off of the road, local television showed a police officer on an on-ramp, watching, being recorded as he LAUGHED.

I had a culture shock to see the information in my community limited to Fox, Facebook & church. That’s it. I’m originally from New England & have lived overseas, giving me a perspective that these insular societies lack. I’ve also survived 2 cults, one as a child & the other QAnon while in Texas. I watched my “normal” church change drastically to one that stopped preaching scripture & started preaching The Matrix.

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Steven there is so much to say and I only hope time to do enough. Free speech is not totally free of course( dont call out fire in a theater!!) but Fox, Newsmax & others must be treated like they are calling out FIRE in our democracy! The conservative ultra MAGA right is trying to burn our house down and must be stopped and the only way is to hit them financially.

I will never listen to or watch any of these so called "News" services. I think this country if it can be saved will only exist after all of the destroyers are eliminated completely.

My own older family, all Republicans in name only all are Ultra MAGA. It is disgusting to say the least and we do not speak to each other any more. Prolly never will again.

Keep shining the light on these Companies and put them out of business.

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I no longer talk to my four siblings. I accept that they just are all lost in a cult.

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Same here. My brother and sister both went down the rabbit hole years ago. They used every argument in the above post. I walked away years ago and never looked back. Whoever said “blood is thicker than water” has not dealt with MAGA siblings.

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I’m so sorry, James. My mother & 3 sisters are lost to me, too. It’s impossible, loving someone & also wanting to shake them back into their real way of thinking/acting.

Sending you love, strength & hope. I escaped from a QAnon church, it is possible. Try not to lose hope.

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Mar 4, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

For years I’ve been concerned about the blatant and dangerous lies by FOX but the reality slapped me in the face when two of my relatives died from Covid as proud anti-Covid vaccines because they believed the lies. One just had his 50th birthday

All my East coast relatives believe the lies

I love them all and on occasion risked asking about lies and Trump and FOX. Immediate denials of facts

FOX ignited the most dangerous anti Democracy cult I have ever experienced in my 76 years

It saddens me deeply that they thrive at the expense of their own viewers and all of us

Broken friendships, anxiety, and heartbreak

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AV, I'm so sorry about the loss of your relatives. What a shame.

Fox = anti Democracy cult -well said. Very best to you,

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founding

I am a 2nd generation American born & raised in a very diverse immigrant Jersey City.

My mother, who passed several years back, was vibrant, intelligent, interesting, fun, always down to earth and wise in raising the six of us.

My father was very successful in business and Hudson County politics. I registered as a Democrat at 18 and never wavered--- although I have supported GOP candidates that I saw were authentic, engaged, and willing to serve their constituents.

But in the Bill O'Reilly years, a distinct and troubling thread was suddenly very prominent in my frequent conversations with my mother. At this point she was in her 70s. Literal hatred towards immigrants, the "elites" the socialists and Hillary oozed from her TV. I would ask to shut it off so we could talk.

I'd say things such as: Bobcie was an immmigrant.

Mom would ssay: "That's different. They came by boat."

I'd say: Dziadek was a union man and had a pension & health care.

Mom would change the subject.

I'd ask: How can you vote for people who would deny me, your lesbian daughter, equal rights.

Mom was clearly distressed by this question but brushed it off a absurd.

One of the Christmas gifts she gave me was a copy of that book about Hillary. I left it on the train.

It seems as if it is a normal circumstance when we as parents cope with adolescence and all its trails and tribulations, but to watch a parent--- who is still sharp, devolve into hate speech and distain for difference was heartbreaking. Her alliance with FoxNews was baffling and frightening.

Yet we sustained our love for each other and I was there until she passed.

Out of all of my siblings, only me and my eldest sister have advanced degrees. We were the Obama contingent and the Biden supporters. I am fortunate for my education and I see how the inability to question or seek confirmation about the propaganda FOXNews perpetrates fear though willing ignorance. I am wary of people who say college is useless or unnecessary.

FoxNews prime time is not anything more than dangerous gibberish and above all, I believe Rupert Murdoch shoulders the responsibility for its deceptions. The lawsuits filed by Dominion have been the best thing to happen to FoxNews. It has opened the box and let out the facts.

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So sorry, Merry, about your mom and how it affected your relationship. My parents, too, especially my mother were affected by the onslaught of Fox Lies and cult-indoctrination tactics.

My mother, once Alzheimer's set in, became a very loving present person because she forgot the Fox propaganda, which really can take over a person's mind and character. Best to you!

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founding

Dear Lisa,

I am touched by the responses I have received and am tremendously grateful for a forum like this where we can share our experiences of being American in another time of serious challenges for our country.

Thank you so much for your comment.

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Merry, Yes this has been healing and deeply touching to share this way with you and others here on this forum. I am grateful. Thank you for your comment. Very best to you. xo

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Fox has an indirect effect through the sheep who watch it inhabiting a chunk of the country (not even close to half, as they like to think). Useful as a breaking point when meeting people, and in demonstrating the bottomless ability of some humans to gaslight themselves into reality seaparation.

I blame the people who choose to watch it rather than the firehose of BS it spews for its effect on those who took horse paste and died. If Fox did not exist I suppose the flock would find an equally disinformative way to get "news". I am appalled it is ubiquitous on military bases, where impressionable very young recruits are stewed in it daily.

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Yes, “chunk.” And in spite of what the polls say, about everything and anything, I’ll look at it this way: the country is divided into thirds, Democrats, Republicans, and independents. Of the Republicans, about half are batshi*t crazy magaheads. By my calculations that means that these loudmouth, obnoxious, bigoted, hate-spewing, fascistic toadies represent only 1/6 of the voting population.

I am relieved by, and applaud, Biden’s making the distinction between “normal Republicans“ and Maga heads in his speeches. And I am happy to see these insurrectionists make total idiots of themselves. The more outspoken and crazy they are, the more they will push people into the Democrat column, even if only for one or two election cycles. Watching MTG scream like a banshee (well sorry, that’s an insult to banshees) at the state of the union address, was pure delight for me. Keep it coming!

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They’ve set the crazy bar so high (or low depending on perspective) it’s increasingly hard to top the last absurd statement, so we get democrats sacrificing babies to drink their blood to ward off something, something, woke, drag queens, Hillary pizza pedophile rings, something, Putin is better than Biden, etc, ad nauseam. Still only a few on the fringe of the fringe may be repelled. But it does make it easier to identify the escaped inmates from the asylum.

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And it keeps Democrats and other sane people running around frantically trying to debunk their myths, while they’re busy undermining our democracy

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An impossible task, they can make crap up faster than it can be debunked, as if facts mattered anyway

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Indeed. Sometimes I wonder if that’s not their explicit tactic

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founding

The effect is remarkable because its daily audience is only a little more than 3Mllion or about 1% of our total population including children so maybe 6 or 7% of adults and fewer than that in blue states.

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Only indirectly, through its impact on others. That, though, is unfortunately huge.

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