MSNBC Guest Tells Fascinated Host How to 'Deprogram' Fox News Viewers as Network Continues to Dominate
MSNBC is little more than a propaganda outlet — the cable annex of the milder propaganda outlet that is NBC News, where anchors and pundits can let down their hair and let viewers know what they really think of the conservative rabblement.
The only people who would outwardly deny this are the people running MSNBC, and I’d venture a good half of them couldn’t even do that with a straight face.
After all, this is the network that let Rachel Maddow broadcast the wildest note-cards-and-string conspiracy theories about Donald Trump and Russia for four years straight in prime time. It’s the outlet that gives Al Sharpton two hours every weekend to wrestle with reality and/or the teleprompter. (Usually the teleprompter.) It’s the network where host Joy Reid once claimed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp “bioengineered an electorate that would be essentially with enough white voters and few enough voters of color to elect him” over Stacey Abrams on her weekend show in 2018 — and then got a promotion to a weekday slot.
So imagine my temporary relief when I learned MSNBC would be featuring a guest who would inform viewers how to “deprogram” those taken in by fake news on cable TV. But alas, it had nothing to do with MSNBC’s agitprop. No, instead, this was all about “deprogramming someone or de-radicalizing” them after they’ve been watching Fox News.
Juliet Jeske is a podcaster and Substack newsletter writer whose sole topic — one might say personal obsession — is documenting the various perfidies of Fox News. “A weekly analysis of 15 hours of Fox News programing hosted by Juliet Jeske a researcher and journalist with a background in covering extremism,” a description of the show reads. “I watch all the Fox News you’d never want to.”
Well, apparently, there are a lot of people who would want to watch Fox News — much more than MSNBC, anyhow. According to Hollywood publication Deadline, Fox averaged 1.35 million daytime viewers in January, compared with MSNBC at 703,000 and CNN at 524,000. In other words, it beat out the two liberal networks combined.
But that’ll change if Jeske has anything to do about it. (Spoiler alert: She won’t.)
In an appearance on Stephanie Ruhle’s MSNBC show, “The 11th Hour,” the podcaster described how she was trying to reach the lost sheep who have been led astray by listening to news and opinion Not Approved™ by MSNBC.
“I’m trying to get to the friends, families, co-workers and colleagues of people who are already deeply entrenched in Fox,” Jeske said.
“Number one, to prevent them from getting sucked in, to help them navigate dealing with somebody who’s kind of in that cult mentality — because I would call it a cult. And to help them sort of figure out why their relatives and loved ones are saying these things.”
“Deprogramming someone or de-radicalizing them is a very difficult and long situation to go through,” she added. “It’s slow, it’s diff — it’s very, very hard but one way that you can do it is if you know that your friend is being completely manipulated and lied to, that is one step to breaking through to them.”
And it’s not like these people believe what they’re saying. I mean, how could they? There exists one opinion, and that opinion is broadcast on MSNBC and CNN. Any deviation is thoughtcrime — and in that department, Jeske said, Fox hosts “have absolutely no shame.”
“They’ll say whatever they think they need to say to promote their agenda,” she said. “And mostly lying through omission, like leaving out stories completely.”
An example of what this pattern of omission entails comes from a Feb. 7 headline on one of Jeske’s Substack missives: “Fox News: Jobs Report? What Jobs Report? RUN IT’S A CHINESE SPY BALLOON!”
According to Jeske, Fox hosts were focusing on the wrong thing by covering a Chinese spy balloon flying over the continental United States; that vessel became the first enemy aircraft shot down over U.S. airspace since World War II. Instead, we should be focusing on a decent-ish jobs report (after an entire administration of not-so-decent-ish economic reports), the Pope’s visit to Africa and labor protests in Europe. Spy balloon? What spy balloon?
Meanwhile, Fox News viewers are the ones consuming propaganda and who need to be deprogrammed. Right. This Twitterer made it short and sweet:
Hello pot, meet kettle.
— Tim Boyer 🇺🇸 (@timb5274) February 14, 2023
For better or worse, this likely isn’t going to have much impact. I’ve already mentioned MSNBC’s viewership numbers, which means this probably wasn’t must-see TV for anyone not in the Jeske family. And, as for Jeske’s newsletter, her Substack splash page says she has “over 2,000 subscribers.” I would venture to guess there aren’t many more than 2,000.
Keep at it, though, Ms. Jeske. A few more subscribers, and you could find yourself on Joy Reid’s show, explaining how Fox News bioengineers white voters to keep Stacey Abrams from winning elections.
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