Fox News and Cubavision: Characteristics of state propaganda networks

According to Media Matters, Fox “news” has given Trump 15 million dollars in free advertising since April 28th.

On July 5, President Donald Trump went to Montana for another “Make America Great Again Rally.” Fox News not only teased the rally throughout the day, but aired the president’s speech — during which Trump lashed out at critics, took a swipe at the #MeToo movement, and gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a pass — in its entirety.

Fox aired the rally for an hour and 14 minutes, bringing the network’s total airtime given to Trump rallies to 7 hours and 47 minutes since April 28. According to iQ media, a media monitoring service, the advertising value of Trump’s Montana rally was $1,902,542.65. Since April 28, Fox News has gifted Trump $15,174,430.00 in free advertising by airing his rallies.

It should be pretty obvious why this is a problem, but in case it’s not let me put it this way – While the Dems and independents have to pay for ad time on news networks, and have their coverage split with many, many other people and issues, Trump and those in his favor get that kind of coverage and advertising for free, given by the immensely wealthy people who run Fox.

This is yet another example of how conservatives have no respect for even the notion of democracy. They want to win, and they don’t care how. And what does Fox get from it? They get the support of the government, and Trump kindly tells his fans that their blind hatred of “the media” and “reporters” doesn’t need to apply to THEIR media.

When I heard about the amount of time Fox is dedicating to Trump, it reminded me of my short visit to Cuba in 2001. I don’t need to go into a lot of detail about that right now, but I spent two weeks in Holguin Province visiting other Quakers with my father and a couple family/church friends. A large part of the soundtrack of that trip was Cubavision, the state TV network of the Castro regime. It had a fairly wide variety of content, from news with a pro-government slant, to children in patriotic outfits singing patriotic songs, to cartoons about Cuba standing up to the U.S., to hours and hours of Castro’s speeches.

What’s important to note is that Cubavision was not the only indication of the government’s presence in people’s lives there. While we were there, we frequently saw people make a gesture miming shackles on their wrists, and everybody was very clear – if you aren’t old friends with everybody in earshot, then it’s safest to be pro-Castro to everybody in earshot. Most of the people in earshot almost certainly weren’t spies or informers, but enough were that you had to assume that anyone could be.

Controlling the reality people think they live in is essential to controlling people. Convincing us to turn on our fellow humans isn’t about overcoming our natural inclination to get along, it’s about adding a filter to our brains that makes us see certain people as a threat, and then allowing our natural desire for a safe, happy society guide our actions from there. It’s like the logic that led “loving” Christians in the past to burn people alive or find other ways to torture them to death for believing the wrong things.

If you honestly believe that dying with sin on your soul will send you to a place of eternal torture, then the most loving thing you can do is whatever it takes to save everyone from that. If pain in this life improves the circumstances in which you spend eternity, then what’s a few weeks of torture between friends?

Likewise, if you believe that reporters are working with brown people to bring about the downfall of society – if you believe it the way so many believe in their gods – then the only logical step is to find a solution to that problem.

And at risk of ringing the Fascism alarm bell too loud, if the problem is that the wrong sort of people exist within your country, then it’s a matter of basic arithmetic. With the right approach, you can end up with what you might call a final solution.

If you found this post useful or enjoyable, please share it, and please consider becoming a patron over at my Patreon page. Your donations make this blog possible, and even as little as one dollar per month adds up to make a difference. If you feel you can afford more than that, you can get access to all sorts of other content and perks! Your patronage allows me to put more of my time and energy into making this blog a useful resource. Thanks for reading!



  1. says

    And of course, it is interesting to see how much other “news” supports the general thrust of the status quo, by limiting both the range of topics or issues covered, and the depth at which anything is covered– in the Republic of Amnesia that we inhabit. I am reminded of Chomsky and Herman’s Manufacturing Consent, in which they make the point that in a relatively open society like ours, censorship is most effective if the press and other “organs” internalize the necessary taboos about what to say and what to avoid. With this self-censorship practice in place (largely invisible to the practitioners, very often), active disinformation campaigns can “ride” on it, as students (and practitioners) of propaganda have known since at least the days of Lippman and Bernays.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *