Fox News Actually Just Asked This Poll Question


Fox News is the number one cable news network in this country—by a wide margin—largely because it kills it with old people. If you are an old white person in the United States who watches cable news, you probably watch Fox. How does Fox rack up such stellar ratings among the twilight of life set? Well, it shouts about Matlock how the country ain’t what it used to be. With Vaseline on the lens, it plays the nostalgia game and confirms old people’s belief that the America they grew up in was actually as great as they’ve romanticized it to be. Everything wrong with the world today? That wasn’t a problem back in the ol’ days! Ebola? ISIS? Not in their day! The internet did it! The gays did it! The rock & roll did it! This country used to stand for something, by howdy! What is this world coming to? Where is it going?

Really: Where is this world going?

To Hell.

To Hell in a handbasket!

This week, Fox conducted a poll of registered voters and asked if they think the world is going “to Hell in a handbasket” or whether “everything will be alright.”

Fifty-eight percent think the world is going to Hell in a handbasket. Fifty-eight percent are wrong.

Look, aging isn’t easy. It’s a humbling sentence of inexorable graying punctuated by death. The way that people deal with old age is their own. No one can blame the 58 percent of registered voters who think the country is “going to Hell in a handbasket.’ They’re reacting from a very real place of loss and concern and guilt that they drove the economy into the ground. But, to be real, old people, chill. It’s going to be fine.

The good ol’ days weren’t so good. There has never been a better time to be alive in America. People live longer and better lives than at any other time in history. Today was better than yesterday, tomorrow will be better still. If I gave you a time machine and told you that you could take a one way trip anywhere in time, the only reasonable answer would be the future.

P.S. It’s worth noting that Fox clearly only worded the poll that way so that they could write the headline, “As election nears, voters say things are ‘going to hell in a handbasket.'”

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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