Fox News Suddenly Worried About Foreign Propaganda

This is pretty rich given who controls Fox “news.”

Following the news that the House just passed a bill which could lead to a nation-wide ban of the popular app TikTok if the parent company doesn’t sell the business within five months, which Biden said he will sign if it passes the Senate, and that Trump flip-flopped on after cozying up to a billionaire donor with a stake in TikTok, Fox’s Harris Faulkner and Steve Hilton compared TikTok to a media company such as their own, and whined about the amount of foreign “propaganda” being shown on the social media network.

No mention, of course on Trump backtracking, or that his former Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin is interested in buying the company. I guess foreign propaganda is a-okay in Fox-land as long as it’s coming from an Aussie like Rupert Murdoch, or Russia, or right-wing fascists in the United States for that matter, as long as it’s not China.

FAULKNER: And I want to add that Chairman Gallagher also told me yesterday that this is not a ban. He was emphatic about that. He said, look, the parent company of TikTok, ByteDance, can sell. There are a lot of buyers out there right now.

They need to divest themselves from the assets in TikTok. They have to do it in the next five months or so, or then legislation takes hold if it makes it out of the Senate. So that’s worth saying. This is, you know, people are saying, oh, free speech. I wanna get your take on it.

HILTON: Well, I think the crucial point was the one that Mike Gallagher made just there, which is it’s really important for us to understand what TikTok is and how it works. It’s easy to say it is a social media platform and in that in some senses it is, people can upload content and so on.

But the big difference between TikTok and others, is that TikTok became successful through what’s called the algorithmic programming. So you see what someone decides. It’s an editor who decides what you see on TikTok.

In that sense it is no different to a media outlet just like Fox News or CNN or the New York Times, pick whichever one you want. It is a media outlet where somebody is deciding what you see. Now who is that somebody in the case of Tiktok?

It’s somebody in Beijing deciding what you see. How they implement their decisions, not through a phone call, but through algorithms, but it’s editorial control in Beijing, and you see the outcomes right now in our society.

Look at the way TikTok has exploded with anti-Israel content just in the last few months. That is a decision that’s been made about what people see. We would never allow for a second the Chinese regime to buy Fox News or CNN or the New York Times or The Wall Street Journal or anything else.

It’s not allowed. It is illegal. So why on earth should we sit back and say it’s fine for this hostile foreign power to control, as Mike Gallagher says, the main news source for young people in America?

After showing a clip of Ted Cruz complaining about “pro-Hamas propaganda” on TikTok and users promoting the “free Palestine” hashtag, Faulkner and Hilton continued with their criticisms.

FAULKNER: So it’s about clicks and likes and all that. And you know who controls the algorithms to do that? To make something blow up like that? China.

HILTON: Exactly. This is, it is so important we understand the dynamic here, Harris, because I mean, I was just speaking to someone who wrote a fantastic book called Collective Illusions about how the way that our opinions are shaped shaped by social media leads to real world outcomes that are very different from what people want.

Most people in America actually have pretty solid center right views, But because of the way the perception of what people think is shaped by the extremes, that can lead to extreme outcomes in politics.

And social media is a huge part of that. This is an incredibly important part about social activity, our political activity, everything that goes on. I mean, let’s just say, to pick a demon that the Democrats in the Senate, Chuck Schumer and all the rest, constantly go on about, Vladimir Putin.

Imagine if this was Vladimir Putin controlling what Americans see. I mean, they went mad when it was a bit of election interference on Facebook that they talked about in 2016. The scale of what’s going on with China and TikTok is vast compared to that.

And yet we hear that the Senate may not be interested in passing this bill. It’s absolutely inexplicable.

FAULKNER: Well, it’s interesting what you just tipped into, because this would be foreign policy interference. I mean, think about it for a moment. Who’s in trouble right now with the side that pushes against supporting Israel? Biden.

HILTON: Exactly.

FAULKNER: Yeah. I mean that that is fascinating what you’ve entered into the conversation now.

I don’t think we have to imagine too hard Steve, given the amount of pro-Putin propaganda being pushed these days by your network and Republicans.

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