Politics · Technology

Looking forward to WWDC 2023, reflecting on Fox News and voter denial.

One of the things I like to do is to go through the App Store looking at the ad blockers that are available so that I can give them a test run then compare them to what I am using today – AdGuard Safari Extension. As good as AdGuard is at smacking down ads and popups it still lets a few through so I like to see what else is out there and whether it performs the same or better than AdGuard. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve given them a try, I’ve provided feedback via feedback in the App Store (but alas those reviews aren’t visible in the App Store which is why in the past I couldn’t be bothered reviewing products if my review isn’t even going to be visible in the first place) and what I have found is that once again AdGuard comes out on top. What I hope is that as MV3 matures that Apple fills in those functionality gaps which would improve the content blocking reliability.

Tucker has been fired from Fox News with rumours that there could be still more to come (based on the number of redacted conversations that haven’t been made public) and of course there have been celebrations outside of the right wing echo system. As enjoyable as it is to bask in the pleasure of schadenfreude it is important not to get complacent because although Fox News is a big player in the right wing ecosystem their primary demographic skews to an older cohort. My concern isn’t necessarily Fox News but the next generation that is being shaped by right wing ‘influencers’ that play into the idea that your friend, that they’re on your side, that because they aren’t part of a big corporation they’re honest actors who aren’t beholden to anyone – the faux authenticity of billionaire backed influencers may end up being more effective are recruiting the young and disaffected than the mass market style media outlets that Fox News operates as.

Regarding the election deniers, Vice News uploaded a video recently regarding a county in California that decided to terminate its contract with Dominion Voting Systems with those who turned up to these meetings offering not evidence other than vibes, feelings and second/third hand information they got off some random website or social network.

What is the solution that some suggest? going back to paper ballots but here is the problem, if they go paper ballots that will take longer and if they take closer then that if it takes a long time to count that ‘obviously they’re fixing the election’ – in other words it isn’t about actually believing the election was stolen but holding onto a belief that makes them feel good that their favourite politician won but it was stolen vs the reality that their favourite politician actually lost because they didn’t deliver the goods on the day when it was needed. For many, they have melded their own identity with the identity of their favourite politician resulting in anything bad that happens to said politician as being also an attack on them, they are living a parasocial relationship .

Why do I also think that they’ll dream up new conspiracy theories? Because they were told over and over again that the mail in ballots get processed after the in person voting was counted and because Democrats are more likely to vote via mail there will a massive uptick in favour of Democrats when the mail in ballots are counted .What happened? such individuals engaged in conspiracy theories because they aren’t interested in listening to reason or facts, they’ve created a narrative to justify why their chosen politician hasn’t won so matter how much evidence you bring, no matter how in depth and dumbed down you explain it they’ll keep denying reality in much the same way that a young earth creationist will keep claiming that the world is only 6000 years old even though a mountain of evidence points to the exact opposite of that claim. Maybe it is the sunken coast fallacy, that they’ve invested so much in the narrative that it is now part of their identity, who they as as a people not to mention created a community around that narrative that many feel boxed with no way to back out of the rabbit hole they’ve gone down.

Joe Biden hoped back in 2020 that the ‘fever would break’ and the the GOP would go back to be ‘normal’ again but the problem with that is the fact that the GOP has been a problem for at least 50-60 years where it first started with the ‘Southern Strategy’ where they coopted the Dixiecrats into their ranks then going into the 1970s and early 1980s there as the coopting of the religious right and so on and so on to eventually we see what makes up the modern GOP today. To talk about the ‘fever breaking’ would be to imply that Trump and the Trumpification of the GOP was a recent phenomenon and if the part are de-Trumpified then the party would go back to normal but the problem is that it is ignores what the ‘normal’ actually was. That ‘normal’ was the fertile soil which bought to fruition Trump in the first place – Trumpism didn’t occur out of nowhere but a byproduct of a party that believed they had a rabid voting base that they could throw meat at, fail to deliver, blame the Democrats for being obstructionist then repeat the same cycle again.

What is the solution to the current situation? I’m no expert however I believe these might help the situation and they don’t require any constitutional changes:

  1. Get the state government out of running primaries – parties are private organisations and how they choose which candidate to run for which position is an internal party matter. That in and of itself would trim back those who participate because “I saw him on television” vs people who actually take politics seriously because they’re interested in advancing workable policies.
  2. The states role is to register parties and candidates, and enforce the rules.
  3. Rank choice voting for both senate and congressional representatives.
  4. De-Gerrymander the districts so that elections are competitive as to avoid extremists from being voted in.

Those 4 points wouldn’t magically create a utopia but it would at the very least result in candidates being run who are being selected based on their electability rather than their capacity to pander to the base, the rank choice voting would result in the winner being the one with the most support along with, and De-Gerrymander districts will result in competitive races rather than the situation being the winner being a full gone conclusion when the primary is run. I don’t see any of the above happening but I don’t see things improving unless there is a systemic change in how elections are carried out in the United States.

Regarding the whole firing of Tucker Carlson, there are a lot of rumours going around regarding the reasoning but I think the one thing most can agree on is the fact that on Friday he said he would be back on Monday which tells me that if there was something bubbling below the surface at Fox News that he didn’t know anything about it. At this point I have to wonder what was the straw that broke the camel’s back but that being said maybe Fox News had wanted to ‘clean house’ for quite some time but they had to wait for the right pretext. Personally I don’t see this whole experience changing Fox News because their brand is pretty much wrecked at this point – if they were serious they would be looking at retiring the Fox brand and relaunch two channels (one business and one news) under the WSJ brand with a traditional centre right perspective but I doubt it will happen.