Brian Stelter, author of Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth, made it his mission to shine a light on the truth-bending by Fox News in its blind support of President Donald Trump.
While researching his book, Stelter was not prepared to hear just how many members of Fox were worried about the direction the network was heading, particularly the opinion hosts Fox uses at prime time such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.
“There is a real resistance inside Fox News,” Stelter told The Associated Press. “Nobody there would use that term. But there are many people there who are uncomfortable with Sean Hannity’s lies and Tucker Carlson’s xenophobia. It’s just that they are powerless, or feel powerless, and the prime-time stars have all the power. There are Trump true believers at Fox, but there are many others who are concerned about the damage being done, and don’t feel that they can speak out publicly.”
Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth went from no.340 to no.1 on Amazon’s best-seller’s list after Stelter appeared with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.
Insider accounts give Stelter his juicy details, including how Sean Hannity, despite his staunch on air support, regularly expresses doubts about President Trump off-air.
The recent viral epidemic has made for some disturbing content for Stelter’s book, as the danger of COVID19 was minimised by both Fox News and President Trump who both called for early opening after a brief lockdown, and particularly disturbing was how hydroxychloroquine was pushed even as studies showed it wasn’t effective against the virus.
“It’s readily apparent that Fox failed its viewers at key moments during the pandemic,” Stelter wrote. “This story is about a rot at the core of our politics. It’s about an ongoing attack on the very idea of a free and fair press. It’s about the difference between news and propaganda. It’s about the difference between state media and the fourth estate.”
Stelter’s CNN credentials and constant critic of Fox News means he is unpopular with many conservatives, according to Tim Graham who works for a conservative watchdog Media Research Center.
Graham is also skeptical about anonymous sources, saying “I do not trust anonymous sources when the author is hostile to the subject.”
However, Stelter noted that within an environment like Fox, where dissent is met with serious opposition, there is a real fear about speaking to the press to the extent that some ex-employees who hadn’t worked there for years didn’t want to be named.
“I’m just as skeptical about anonymous sources as anybody else,” he said, “but there was no other way to tell a story inside Fox News.”
Childish attacks have already begun from the Fox News anchors who have called Stelter ‘Humpty Dumpty’ and ‘a eunuch’.