The hack gap is causing more challenges for those on the left. Unfortunately, it may be getting harder to see. And it’s *mostly* thanks to Fox News.
Fox remains a news outlet with a lot of national power. It’s viewers, according to recent studies, tend to watch only Fox News. If not, they trust only conservative outlets.
The “hack gap,” simply says that Republicans have a media organization that makes messaging easier. Theoretically, that conservative news outlet has no major equivalent for liberals. (Yes MSNBC gets relatively close, but its reporting is still primarily fact-based.)
Fox News, according to this theory, is a funnel through which the GOP pushes rhetoric. As Fox pushes conservative thinking, after Trump, it becomes more indefensible.
Trump experimented with this theory by blasting conservative news with untruths. Sometimes in a flood, he would go on air with a lie or two in the pocket. Fox would, sometimes unabashedly, allow the former president to go uninterrupted.
This content would find its way to other news outlets. Some would go on to say that they need to cover presidential gaslighting. Others, including MSNBC, would tell the story, limiting coverage. Very few would avoid republishing the news.
Politically, the disadvantage here is enormous.
Liberal points of view, and messaging tactics, can often incur more scrutiny. When a slip-up happens under a liberal or moderate Democrat, its national coverage is roundly criticized.
There is no safe space for Democrats seeking to explain themselves unquestioningly.
Leftists in America, in part due to a shifting idea of what’s normal, get more outside of the scope. That window of normalcy, the Overton window, otherizes political outsiders.
People like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cory Bush become punching bags. Moreover, more liberal black and brown voices become even easier to incidentally undermine.
I can bet that you know about Vice President Kamala Harris not going to the border. I can also bet you’ve heard the take what you can get questions on National news. The parroting of talking points that are overwhelmingly favorable to GOP members.
However, you may have missed any attempts to do the same on the left. That’s because these attacks aren’t as impactful via legacy media.
With the party leadership remaining in the hands of the twice-impeached former President, Fox News and Newsmax are still central to conservative messaging. They are inescapable.
Moreover, the lies and conspiracy theories that make it to air are over-reported. Often news outlets outside of the conservative bubble have to cover the chaos that ensues. That includes acts of racism from its late-night bandwagon.
This isn’t because outlets are understaffed.
The newsrooms at Fox are not understaffed or without journalists. In fact, Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter often points to the newsroom at Fox News. He points to the real journalists, not TV talent, getting stories out.
But those real journalists are not TV talent. Sunday shows aside, the daily news operations thrust news out the window some days. Moreover, it’s the chaotic will of Donald Trump that has lingered.
Because Fox News has not stopped talking, recycling, and adjusting. And now, their unwillingness to support accurate reporting has codified in Newsmax and the ghost of One America News.
I’ve enjoyed being an excitable “Gen Z Themfluencer,” working in politics, writing as a student journalist, and discussing what matters most. I currently produce and host podcasts, contribute to hyper-local news outlets and continue my education as a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland.