The form of government we call democracy relies on the wisdom of voters. But when I read the daily round-up on Yahoo News, I wonder how wise America’s voters really are. This morning for example, I read an item that made me scratch my poor old, bald head.
It wasn’t the one about the internet – and media – frenzy that resulted when Melania Trump wore stiletto heels on her visit to flood-ravaged Texas. Or the one about the latest episode on “Game of Thrones.”
I’ve come to expect fluff like that. Yahoo News routinely mixes earth-shattering events with trivia about the Kardashian family’s fashion picks and Princess Kate’s wardrobe malfunctions. It’s what they do.
What brought me up short this morning was a report about Fox News.
I never watch Fox News myself, but I understand it’s the most watched cable news channel in America. So when Yahoo informed me that Fox reported a shark swimming through traffic on a flooded Houston road, I wondered who was kidding whom.
But it was for real. The folks at Fox News really thought a shark was swimming along a flooded Houston street. Here’s what Fox News host Jesse Waters breathlessly proclaimed on “The Five”:
I’ve seen some amazing things out there just looking at television Alligators on people’s back door steps. I saw a shark on a highway swimming in the water. There’s some really weird biblical things that are going on down there in Houston.
Of course, you and I know the shark photo (above) is an old hoax. Sharks don’t swim along flooded streets – not even in the Bible. Watters’ “scoop” was photoshopped by some anonymous internet prankster many years ago.
But this is far from the most blatant hoax that Fox has fed its gullible viewers. The Fox folks love conspiracy theories – like the “assassination” of DNC staffer Seth Rich – and they shamelessly “spin” their newscasts to promote their political agenda.
So, I ask you, how wise are America’s voters – especially the millions who get their information from Fox?