A former adviser to two Republican presidents has hit out at controversial American TV channel Fox News for “brainwashing” the party into a right-wing extremist version of itself.
Economist Bruce Bartlett, who worked for both the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W.Bush, published a paper last month where he warned the channel was turning the party into a fringe group because it allowed conservatives to “self-brainwash”.
In the paper for Social Science Research Network, he said: “Many conservatives now refuse to even listen to any news or opinion not vetted through Fox, and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth.”
Bartlett said the channels biased coverage of major news events had allowed the party to believe the country was more conservative than it really was.
As a result the party leadership has only run radical right wing “Tea Party” candidates who represent the views of Fox News viewers rather than the electorate as a whole.
In an interview on CNN, he said: “Many conservatives live in a bubble where they watch only Fox News on television, they listen only to conservative talk radio — Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, many of the same people.
“And so, they are completely in a universe in which they are hearing the same exact ideas, the same arguments, the same limited amount of data repeated over and over and over again. And that’s brainwashing.”
In March, the network was voted the "most trusted" news network in America in a poll by Quinnipiac University in Conneticut.
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