Cable News And Respecting Red America

Will Wilkinson writes:

I think it is easy for some liberals to miss just how antagonising flip mockery of absurd religious beliefs can be, though it's hard to believe they don't, at some level, grasp what's at stake. To laugh at someone's views on the evils of masturbation or witchcraft or gay marriage is clearly to imply that these views, and the people who hold them, deserve to be laughed at and, thereby, diminished.

It is easy to believe that Fox News is so popular among conservatives simply because it caters to their prejudices. But another way of saying almost the same thing is to say that it treats conservatives with the respect they feel they deserve; it asserts on their behalf a claim to social status that acknowledges the efforts of liberals to weaken that claim, all the while encouraging pride in the identity-constituting affiliations and convictions liberals seem to disdain.

That's an apt description of the impression Fox News gives its audience. But a network that so regularly misleads its viewers about the truth is not actually treating them with respect. If CNN were able to express respect for Fox's audience, while avoiding the lies and propaganda of its rival, it could do a lot better.