Violent rhetoric and authoritarian attacks on democracy continue to rise more than a year ahead of the 2024 election, with right-wing media serving as the engine for this hate machine. Former President Donald Trump, who is likely to be the Republican presidential nominee, has been making explicit threats of violence. He has called for shoplifters to be shot on sight, advocated for the execution of former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, and threatened legal action against him could lead to “potential death and destruction.” It is important to note that Trump is echoing the dangerous rhetoric that is prevalent in conservative media.
One prominent figure in the world of right-wing media is Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld. Despite being portrayed as an affable iconoclast bringing comedy to the network, Gutfeld regularly promotes violence. He has called for targeting protesters and urged Fox News viewers to post their personal information online to make their lives difficult. Gutfeld dismisses violence from right-wing militias, blames social unrest on fictitious reverse racism, and claims that white people will always be the target. His attempts at comedy are merely a thin cover for toxic rhetoric.
Gutfeld is not the only one on Fox News promoting violence. Jesse Watters, who was recently promoted to the coveted 8 p.m. slot, has suggested running over climate protesters and called for martial law in San Francisco. Fox host Mark Levin has compared Trump’s election-interference indictment to the Dred Scott decision, which served as the foundation for the Civil War.
Other right-wing media outlets and personalities are following suit. Commentators on rival network Newsmax are matching the violent rhetoric, while Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk suggests that Democrats are provoking the right into violence. PragerU co-founder Dennis Prager warns that the U.S. is already in a civil war, and Daily Wire co-founder Ben Shapiro has suggested secession. Daily Wire host Michael Knowles has advocated for bringing back public executions, and Matt Walsh claims that the Founders would violently overthrow the current government.
The demand for increasingly violent commentary in right-wing media poses a direct threat to the peaceful function of American democracy. This rhetoric has become the norm for the audience, who now requires shock value to stay engaged. Fox News executives are aware of the dangers of playing into these impulses but will do anything to retain their audience, even if it means attacking democracy itself.
The consequences of this violent rhetoric were evident during the mob storming of the Capitol on January 6. However, it is clear that even that horrific day was not enough to quench the thirst for violence. It is crucial for everyone to remain vigilant and recognize the ongoing threat posed by authoritarian attacks on democracy and the dangerous rhetoric perpetuated by right-wing media.
Original Story at www.msnbc.com – 2023-10-10 20:43:17