Masks & Fox News | The truth is paywalled but the lies are free | The alt-right is ‘squatting’ on keywords

Masks & Fox News: Does it surprise anyone that there’s a split over masks between the Fox news side and opinion side? At the beginning of the pandemic, many Fox News anchors were advocating for public health measures to stop the virus from spreading further, says Jeremy Barr in the Washington Post. However, preventative measures like masks weren’t popular among their conservative audience, and Fox began spreading some conflicting messages about what their viewers should do. No surprise here, but Fox contributors came out questioning the science behind masks and denying their effectiveness. According to Barr, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Jeanine Pirro have advocated for masks and publicly worn them (but are not necessarily staunch mask supporters), and have been met with criticism from their audience. Tomi Lahren and Laura Ingraham have been vocal anti-maskers. Shocking that a year into the pandemic the most basic measures like masks are still under fire from Fox and its followers. 

The truth is paywalled but the lies are free: Many credible news sources don’t give away their content for free; readers are faced with a paywall soon after they begin reading the New York Times, the New Yorker, or the Washington Post. Breitbart, Fox News, and other outlets spreading misinformation do not present readers with the same blocks. The same is true of scholarly articles, textbooks, and other sources of information — they are costly and hard to come by. Nathan Robinson advocates for the free spread of knowledge in Current Affairs, and questions the potential that humans could unlock should the spread of information be made easy. Writers and content creators need to be compensated somehow if they are to make their living off of what they do, says Robinson, but this would require the complete restructuring of entire economic systems.  

The alt-right is ‘squatting’ on keywords: The alt-right is using “keyword squatting” to promote a racist message by taking over certain words and phrases searched online, say Brandi Collins-Dexter and Joan Donovan in CJR. Right-wing media platforms dominate search terms like “1619” to blunt the New York Times’ project addressing the history of Black Americans, “critical race theory,” and “1776” to promote racist misinformation that advocates for the continuation of the whitewashing of history. This process of spreading misinformation by burying academic research and credible stories by using the phrases in the headlines is undermining the necessary work that many historians and academics are doing to expose American history as it actually was rather than presenting an overly positive, patriotic narrative, according to the authors.

Live Q&A with Marty Baron, former executive editor of The Washington Post on April 1. Fundraiser for student scholarships: Register now

From exposing the priest sexual abuse scandal in Boston to confronting Donald Trump’s attacks on the media to addressing the country’s racial reckoning, Marty Baron has stood at the center of the journalistic storm. Now he talks candidly about his time as editor of the Washington Post and Boston Globe, what it was like to be attacked as an “enemy of the people” and cover Trump, and what he sees for the future of journalism—and the country. 

Under his leadership, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and the Miami Herald won a total of 17 Pulitzer Prizes. Baron was also featured in the Oscar-winning movie SPOTLIGHT. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from one of America’s greatest journalists and defenders of democracy and a free press. Baron will be interviewed by Jonathan Kaufman, Director of the Northeastern University School of Journalism.

Celebrate and support the School of Journalism with this groundbreaking, Northeastern-exclusive event! Tickets are $25 ($20 of which represents a tax-deductible donation to the School of Journalism Fund). Event proceeds will go towards scholarship and stipends that directly benefit Journalism students. All gifts will be included in Giving Day totals. Register today.


Event Registration$25 per ticket

Students free

$20 of your event fee is a tax-deductible donation to the School of Journalism Fund


6 – 6:10 p.m.: Welcoming Remarks

6:10–6:45 p.m.: Interview between Chair Kaufman & Marty Baron

6:45 – 7p.m.: Audience Q&A


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s