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Democracy

Iraq War veteran shares how military service to his country prompted him to give up on Fox News

Iraq War veteran shares how military service to his country prompted him to give up on Fox News

Let me preface this post by saying that I am not a regular Fox News watcher. The handful of times I've tried to watch it, I haven't been able to stomach it for long. I don't watch televised news much anyway, but the blatant biases and sensationalist tone of Fox News is a huge turnoff for me.

It's not for a sizable percentage of Americans, though. There are more than a few people who believe Fox News when it says it's "fair and balanced." There are folks who believe Fox News when they tell them that "mainstream media" is hopelessly biased toward "the liberal left" and therefore can't be trusted like they can.

I wrote a whole article once about venturing over to Fox News's Facebook page to expose myself to different perspectives and coming away endlessly frustrated by the amount of verifiable falsehoods Fox News followers were perpetuating—a sad reality that only confirmed my belief that Fox News erodes people's ability to discern what is actually true.

But don't take my word for it. Take one of their analysts who quit the network and called it a "propaganda machine." Or take this veteran on Reddit who shared how they used to be an avid Fox News watcher until their tour in Iraq gave them a wake-up call.

In a Reddit thread about a Fox News segment discussing Fox News' coverage of Michelle Obama's DNC convention speech, user BabyMFBear wrote:


"My personal thoughts on Fox News:

Following 9/11, I found myself glued to Fox News. It was, after all, 'America's news network,' and included a 'no-spin zone' to ensure we were getting the real story. The reporting was 'fair and balanced,' and it was up to the viewer to come to conclusions based on 'we report; you decide.'

The hosts proudly wore their American flags on their lapels, and they taunted the French for not supporting our call to arms, and I cheered as we established the 'Coalition of the Willing' as we trounced Iraq, and started kicking Taliban ass in Afghanistan.

Then I got to Iraq, and my attitude changed. The Iraqis I worked with were normal, every day people. They were friendly and inviting. Aside from the language and cultural differences, they were no different than myself.

And then I met Colin Powell when he addressed everyone in the compound and, in not so many words, told us he appreciated our service but this mission was in error.

His exact words were 'You may hear a lot of things about the mission here in Iraq, but just know I am grateful for all of you who answered the call on behalf of your nation.'

That was quite a profound moment, not only for my time in service, but for my entire outlook on information, politics, and life in general.

Were Iraqi's better off without Saddam? Most likely. Looking back, that wasn't our problem to solve.

We have more weapons of mass destruction than nearly every other country combined, with the most advanced delivery systems available.

Could you imagine another country bombing us because our President isn't a good person with nuke release authority? Could you imagine being blown back into the Stone Age over it?

We are just living our lives, in total disagreement, in an intense atmosphere, but could you sit by peacefully while getting obliterated by a foreign country over it?

I'd be making homemade bombs to protect my family. I would want those invaders out of my country, even if it was because they and I both agree in our views of the U.S. President. That goes out the window when foreign troops are at my door.

Fox News helped sell a lie. Fox News put on theatrics, and pumped me up for war.

Two years later, I was covering a high-level NATO Security Conference. A 4-star Dutch general made the opening remarks about 'a war of necessity (Afghanistan)' and a 'war of choice (Iraq).'

I served in an unnecessary war. I am proud of my service to the Iraqi government. I was there to help. I am happy my next two deployments were in support of combat operations in Afghanistan.

Fox News sells theatrics. They sell hyperbole. That network's agenda is to serve the defense industry and military industrial complex.

Fox News has convinced people that someone like me hates America.

Fox News has convinced people that someone like me doesn't belong here.

Fox News has convinced people my views are unAmerican.

I'd be the first person to lead a charge against a foreign invasion.

Fox News has people convinced I'm the enemy.

Turn off Fox News. I'm pleading with you."

Comments have poured in, thanking the poster not only for their service, but for sharing their experience of breaking up with Fox News. Many of us have friends and relatives who are hopelessly glued to that station, constantly being fed the propaganda they're peddling, distrustful of award-winning journalism yet somehow trusting of Tucker Carlson.

Others shared similar stories of having once been Fox News fans but then recognizing it for what it was:

"I remember being a young man, watching Fox News after 9/11. It was shiny, entertaining, engrossing.

But I knew something was off about it. I didn't really know what Jingoism was, but I was sensing that this was most definitely some kind of propaganda.

I really do see the appeal and why it captures so many."Antnee83


"Brother, U.S. Army Signal Corp. Vet here, and I have to say a big Thanks, to you for being able to share your experience. I have also tried to share my experience from the perspective of a Signal Solder that is saturated with intel. as part of the job, and to witness the active misinformation campaigns that are used by the FOX propaganda outlets and how they were coordinated from the inside out, not to mention outside interference from hostile nations using 3rd wave warfare tactics against the U.S." – UrzasPunchline


"Iraq Vet here as well and the same for my wife (2004-2005) coming home I was a different person than when I went and not just for the obvious "going to war" reasons, but for the reasons you laid out above. If someone bombed my county to the Stone Age I'd be out there fighting them too, they're just supposed to lay down and let us run over them?!

I think there are a lot of Vets just like us but there are plenty of trump supporters too. I just hope this year is a wake up and the crazy things he's doing now will wake ppl up. I do know many trump supporters that say they can't vote for Biden and won't... but they also can't vote for trump so they'll stay home. That's good enough for me."Lathus01


I'd be making homemade bombs to protect my family

"Yep. Formerly in intelligence, and spent 2 years in Baghdad doing it. Lots of other intelligence people would refer to insurgents as "terrorists", and it always felt so wrong. They aren't terrorists, they are doing exactly what I would be doing if someone invaded my country and my city, and if you wouldn't you can't call yourself a patriot. Those people were basically fighting an army from the future and they STILL fought. Now THAT is bravery and patriotism."TalentKeyh0le


"Great post brother. I too was in the same boat as you. Born and raised in conservative catholic household and watched much of the same hyperbolic "America is great at kicking ass" propaganda generated by Fox News.

I too served in Iraq and in a very much "enemy" facing role where I spoke to these men we were holding indefinitely as enemy combatants and there were some long conversations I had with them where things sometimes didn't sit right, honestly.

I've had many years to realize what I was a part of, not necessarily regret, but certainly had to come to terms with things I did against men who were probably acting exactly as I would have in opposite roles.

I love this country and I love its people and still appreciate the time getting to serve it, but Jesus if I don't worry every day about what may be needed to save it's soul and that of all its citizens."TheRealAJ58


The original poster thanked people for the responses, saying "I hope what I've said here empowers other vets to speak out, and know they are not alone."

They also wrote of veteran suicides and the role false information plays:

"The number of veteran suicides is not hyperbole. Reconciliation is sometimes not possible without self-destructive behaviors. Some just cannot bring themselves to face their actions, and I cannot place blame on them. I place the blame on those who manipulate our youth into believing false realities."

I'm not saying we don't need a military. I fully believe in having national defense as a priority- right now more than at any other time since WWII.

We just need a military that is willing to defend our citizens, and not an away-team "bringing the fight to an enemy" under false pretenses.

Again, thank you. I'm now drained and emotional - in a good way.

I wish nothing but the best for all of us."

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