In an interview with Business Insider’s Oliver Darcy, a conservative radio host lamented the fact that conservative media has conditioned its followers to distrust the mainstream media so much that they have become fact-free “monsters.”
In a tweet promoting an upcoming piece on rightwing media, Darcy posted an excerpt from an interview with conservative radio host Charlie Sykes who claims candidates like Donald Trump can say anything on the stump without fear of being fact-checked by the likes of Fox News or conservative websites.
“We’ve basically eliminated any of the referees, the gatekeepers. There’s nobody. Let’s say that Donald Trump basically makes whatever you want to say, whatever claim he wants to make. And everybody knows it’s a falsehood,” he explained. “The big question of my audience, it is impossible for me to say that. ‘By the way, you know it’s false.’ And they’ll say, ‘Why? I saw it on Allen B. West.’ Or they’ll say, ‘I saw it on a Facebook page.’ And I’ll say, ‘The New York Times did a fact check.’ And they’ll say, Oh, that’s The New York Times. That’s bullshit.'”
According to Sykes, any attempts to continue fighting back against misinformation is dismissed with complaints that he has “sold out,” adding, “Then they’ll ask what’s wrong with me for not repeating these stories that I know not to be true.”
Sykes warned “There’s got to be a reckoning on all this.”
“We’ve created this monster,” he warned. “Look, I’m a conservative talk show host. All conservative talk show hosts have basically established their brand as being contrasted with the mainstream media. So we have spent 20 years demonizing the liberal mainstream media. And by the way, a lot has been justifiable. There is real bias. But, at a certain point you wake up and you realize you have destroyed the credibility of any credible outlet out there.”
“And I feeling, to a certain extent, that we are reaping the whirlwind at that,” he continued. “And I have to look in the mirror and ask myself, ‘To what extent did I contribute?'”