The abrupt dismissal of Tucker Carlson by Fox News shouldn’t be at all shocking, considering how very few employees get away with calling their bosses vile names including the C-word, which was evidently as common in the original fake newsroom as were decades of carefully concocted fabrication.

What is shocking though, not to mention disgraceful, is what Carlson wasn’t fired for — what he’d gotten away with for years and how it so neatly fell into the cable giant’s objective: making America safe for armed, white, heterosexual evangelicals.

Strident racism was Carlson’s calling card as he famously cultivated a puzzled look, beginning an abundance of queries with “is it possible?” Of course, nearly everything is, providing bogus perceptions of credibility, especially for the already indoctrinated who made up the bulk of his audience. As has been exposed these past few months, largely through the Dominion voting systems’ lawsuit, in the battle between ratings and honesty, lies were the currency that financed what most believe was the network’s hold on viewers, but, in reality, it was the other way around.

The corporation —- aptly dubbed “Bullshit Mountain” by John Stewart — was built on propaganda that viewers bought hook, line and sinker. With the emergence of POTUS emeritus’s disdain for truth, a new political reality took hold, where veracity was suddenly a thing of the past and careful examination of issues, party platforms, candidates or ethics gave way to vulgar punch lines and rhetorical thuggery.

The loyal audience became so steeped in self-serving lies that any deviation toward honesty — usually accidental on Fox’s part — engendered rage over perceived betrayal. Lies became what the viewers expected, the fact of which all the talking heads were well aware.

Learning a Fox reporter shared an actual fact about the 2020 election’s Big Lie on Twitter, Carlson texted: “It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down.”

CEO Suzanne Scott wrote to Fox executive Lachlan Murdoch of “letting the viewers know we hear them and respect them” via providing more stolen election content. Suggesting in another text that this “respect” was not contingent upon agreement with what said viewers believed.

Senior writer at Salon, Amanda Marcotte, stresses the abundantly obvious: most people believe “it’s nonsensical that you respect someone by lying to them,” going on to point out that’s not precisely what Fox is doing. “It makes sense if you realize they’re not trying to deceive, not really. It’s more like they’re collaborating with their viewers to prop up a narrative the viewers prefer, since they don’t care about the truth, only about winning at any cost, this is a matter of Fox News respecting their wishes.”

Coupled with the admission under oath that he, along with colleagues Sean Hannity and Laura Ingram, never believed the misinformation they were pushing about Joe Biden’s win being illegitimate, these revelations confirm what Fox critics have maintained for decades: the network’s more than 20 years of falsehoods are the driving force behind what is now a national epidemic of irrational fears, extreme paranoia and the toxic ignorance playing out in increasingly dangerous ways.

Fox News, with ample complicity with a power-mad Republican Party is reminiscent of George Orwell’s convoluted Ministry of Truth from “1984,” which manufactures lies in the service of power, considered the most valuable commodity in Oceania by erasing the truth and replacing it with whatever the party or Big Brother deems correct with those of the ministry defining the truth.

Newspeak, the language developed by the ministry, erodes English to the point it is essentially meaningless, rendering the population incapable of independent thought.

“The GOP has been exploiting and encouraging grievances, resentments and fears in its conservative base,” according to David Corn in Mother Jones. “Fox has been doing the same thing for 26 years, presenting a steady stream of paranoia and conspiracy theories,” demonizing Democrats and those on the left as being out to destroy America with everything from death panels to a war on Christmas, critical race theory, antifa, open borders, replacement of white people, LGBTQ rights, a socialist-Muslim president and anything else to inspire rage and fear.

So, it isn’t surprising that fact-deprived Fox viewers who already believed the USA-despising, God-hating libs and their pedophile-commie president represented a threat to the republic were primed and ready to accept the defeated former president’s declarations that the election had been rigged against him, especially with their favorite propagandists pushing the false narrative day after day after day.

Despite the network stars swearing they’d not only lied but that they did so knowingly, 63 percent of Republicans still believe the election was stolen.

One less dirtbag spewing reality defying rhetoric on Fox will hardly make a difference. Whoever replaces Carlson will likely be worse, but the damage is already done. The monster is not only threatening its creator but holding the rest of America hostage too as the nation inches ever closer to combustion. With Republicans and red state governors laser focused on the culture wars and the “woke mind virus … a form of cultural Marxism that divides us,” a phrase void of meaning, we’ve gotten to the point where a knock on the door is catalyst enough to casually shoot someone.

Thanks to Fox and the GOP, millions embrace misinformation as though a birthright. Putin is heroic, Fauci is a criminal; rainbow flags are indoctrination while the Ten Commandments in classrooms are not. What they don’t like, from the LGBTQ+ community, children’s books, Black history to drag shows, women’s rights, immigration and mail-in voting are all more dangerous than 400 million guns.

Orwell’s dystopian novel remains one of the most frequently banned books of all time and it’s no wonder. Written as a political satire depicting an authoritarian government’s impact on society, it served as a warning in 1949 — given the threat of far-right ideology — that we should take very seriously today.

Walt Amses is a Vermont-based writer.

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