However it happens, however you find out, hearing the news that a parent is a loyal viewer of Fox News can be a shock to your system. Life as you know it will be forever changed, and it will fall to you, the level-headed son or well-adjusted daughter, to care for a parent who can no longer trust their own judgment.
Studies show that the number of adults aged 50 to 80 who watch Fox News has been steadily increasing since the late 90’s. While the impetus for this growth continues to be debated, it is clear that by the year 2023, 100% of adults above the age of 67 will watch Fox News more than 8 hours a day. Let that sink in for a moment. Think about what that means for millions of middle-aged children throughout this country.
First and foremost: don’t panic. Though, as a child, you may have imagined a day in the infinite future when your parent would start watching Fox News, you probably won’t be prepared for the overwhelming disappointment their behavior will have on your emotional well-being. Unbidden thoughts of brainwashing and racism may swirl around your head. Physical reactions such as shortness of breath, vomiting, or unstoppable hiccups may occur. This is all normal. The world is in upheaval and will continue in such a state while you ponder the meaning of life with your parent.
Second: don’t engage. By the time you learn of your parent’s behavior, they will already be firmly entrenched in the Fox News doctrine. There is nothing to be gained in debating a Fox News viewer. Familial love will drive you to want to help your parent by calmly explaining that Obama is not a muslim. You must resist this and all other desires to appeal to their sense of reasoning and logic. It serves no purpose, because:
Third: accept there is no going back. Nothing you say or do will ever change your parent’s mind. They belong to Fox News now. The most you can do now is make them comfortable in their final years. However old you might be, you have to accept that you will face the rest of your life without your parent’s input. No one will ever be there to guide you as your parent once did, but clearly it would be the lesser of two evils.
Coping with Conversation
There may come a time when you have to have a conversation with your parent that touches on current events. Here are some coping tactics you can use should your parent suddenly turn into a Fox News anchor.
- Sing a song in your head, something catchy, like Shake it Off
- Imagine yourself somewhere else, perhaps on the ledge of a very tall building
- Dig your thumbnail into your palm until the pain is all you can think of
- Place toothpicks in your mouth to help force a polite smile
- Use short, precise sentences. Don’t use large words that misundereducated people might find offensive.
- Have prepared statements regarding misbehavior by Democrats, something like I heard Obama didn’t wash his hands after using the restroom one time.
- Don’t look your parent in the eye; this can be seen as a sign of aggression and implies your intention to take away their guns, bible, or both.
Fox News Viewership affects far more parents that most people realize. If your parent has succumbed, don’t be afraid to reach out to your siblings and friends for support. Children have been dealing with this issue for years, and hearing about their experiences may help you move on.
“My father started watching Fox News in 2007. I never knew anyone could become so obsessed with a birth certificate. He flew to Africa in 2010 on a “fact-finding mission” and that was the last I saw of him.”Paul Bargman
“When mom started quoting immigration statistics at our Sunday dinners, we knew something was up. Turns out she had been a frequent commenter on foxnews.com for years. We didn’t know until it was too late.”Ed Stanton
“Every time I came to visit my parents, the TV would be tuned to Fox News. They would both deny putting it on that channel. I think they both felt a sense of shame and could never admit they were avid viewers, even to each other.”Laura Pineda
If there is one thing to take from this article, one thing you absolutely must do, it is this: move slowly. Realize that you are not alone in this and do not make hasty decisions. The shock of finding out your parent watches Fox News will wear off over time, and life may eventually approach something resembling normalcy. Until then, be respectful of your feelings and the feelings of your siblings. Keep the lines of communication open. As much as you might want to cut ties with your parent, resist the urge.
Their brains may belong to Fox News, but the blood that flows through their hearts is the same as yours.
Support them and support each other.
And, for the love of Republican Jesus, block the Fox News channel on your television. If not for you, then for your children.