How Fox fuels moral panics

Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is one of the most malign forces in the world today, and it specialises in fuelling division. Media Matters has identified a good example of that in the way Fox News has covered President Biden’s anti-discrimination order.

Despite the order’s myriad protections, over the following week, Fox News aired 19 segments — totaling 51 minutes — that miscategorized the order as a move that would destroy women’s sports; only one of those segments even alluded to its nondiscrimination protections.

The order mentions sports only one time, saying, “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.”

The focus on trans athletes is a key part of the publicly stated Christian Right strategy to separate the T from LGBT.

This is classic moral panic stuff, and it’s baseless: trans people are not suddenly being allowed to access sports. They’ve been doing it for decades. There were anguished op-eds about trans people dominating women’s sports when Renée Richards competed in 1976; 45 years later, the only trans tennis player I’m aware of is, er, Renée Richards. The Olympics has allowed trans people to compete since 2004. There have been no trans Olympians. In the 2016 Olympics in Rio, no transgender athletes qualified.

But Fox is not trying to inform its viewers. It’s trying to inflame them.



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