You are here

Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth (Hardcover)

Staff Pick Badge
Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth Cover Image
On Our Shelves Now
On hand as of May 4 8:16pm
(Poli Sci/Law/Current)

Staff Reviews

Confession: I've watched thousands of hours of the "Food Network" (good white noise to stop the dog barking at people outside walking) and fewer than 20 of Fox "News." In this well-researched, riveting and damning book, Stelter makes clear that whatever intentions Ailes and Murdoch had when they founded the "lifestyle brand," to make it a conservative cable network, it took a sharp turn in 2008 when a black man was elected president and its attacks on Obama were surprisingly well received by the hitherto more silent racist minority. (Fox has daily ratings meetings analysing minute by minute.) It's filled with stories about how college drop-out and "elites" hating Sean Hannity turned into the president whisperer, and "phones" his stories in--he was on tape on the last big election night!--from his mansions in Long Island and Naples. How the Russian Intelligence Agency invented the cruel Seth Rich conspiracy to hurt Hillary Clinton, and how Fox ran with it. How Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit  included complaints of "severe and pervasive sexual harassment" by nice guy Steve Doocy. How "Team Roger" member and "leg chair"   Kimberly Guilfoyle had no choice but to hitch a ride on the "Trump Train,"  after being forced out of Fox.  Since the only reading that Trump does is Twitter and Fox News chyrons (Stelter's reporting indicates he watches opinion TV  for hours a day)  the eternal feedback loop of Hannity, Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson, and Trump Twitter has created a state supported propaganda machine of unparalleled destruction. The author quotes David Plouffe arguing with Brian Kilmeade on a rare appearance on  "Fox and Friends": "Media accounts should hold the powerful to account--not the account to the powerful."

— From Carla's Picks


An NPR Best Book of the Year

“A thorough and damning exploration of the incestuous relationship between Trump and his favorite channel.” —The New York Times

“A Rosetta Stone for stuff about this presidency that doesn’t otherwise make sense to normal humans.” —Rachel Maddow, MSNBC

“Stelter’s critique goes beyond salacious tidbits about extramarital affairs (though there are plenty of those) to expose a collusion that threatens the pillars of our democracy.” —The Washington Post

The urgent and untold story of the collusion between Fox News and Donald Trump from the New York Times bestselling author of Top of the Morning.

While other leaders were marshaling resources to combat the greatest pandemic in modern history, President Donald Trump was watching TV. Trump watches over six hours of Fox News a day, a habit his staff refers to as “executive time.” In January 2020, when Fox News began to downplay COVID-19, the President was quick to agree. In March, as the deadly virus spiraled out of control, Sean Hannity mocked “coronavirus hysteria” as a “new hoax” from the left. Millions of Americans took Hannity and Trump's words as truth—until some of them started to get sick.

In Hoax, CNN anchor and chief media correspondent Brian Stelter tells the twisted story of the relationship between Donald Trump and Fox News. From the moment Trump glided down the golden escalator to announce his candidacy in the 2016 presidential election to his acquittal on two articles of impeachment in early 2020, Fox hosts spread his lies and smeared his enemies. Over the course of two years, Stelter spoke with over 250 current and former Fox insiders in an effort to understand the inner workings of Rupert Murdoch's multibillion-dollar media empire. Some of the confessions are alarming. “We don't really believe all this stuff,” a producer says. “We just tell other people to believe it.”

At the center of the story lies Sean Hannity, a college dropout who, following the death of Fox News mastermind Roger Ailes, reigns supreme at the network that pays him $30 million a year. Stelter describes the raging tensions inside Fox between the Trump loyalists and the few remaining journalists. He reveals why former chief news anchor Shep Smith resigned in disgust in 2019; why a former anchor said “if I stay here I’ll get cancer;” and how Trump has exploited the leadership vacuum at the top to effectively seize control of the network.

Including never before reported details, Hoax exposes the media personalities who, though morally bankrupt, profit outrageously by promoting the President’s propaganda and radicalizing the American right. It is a book for anyone who reads the news and wonders: How did this happen?

About the Author

Brian Stelter is the chief media correspondent for CNN Worldwide and anchor of Reliable Sources, which examines the world’s top media stories every Sunday. Prior to joining CNN in 2013, Stelter was a media reporter at The New York Times. His first book, the New York Times bestseller Top of the Morning, inspired the Apple TV+ drama The Morning Show. Stelter is a consulting producer on the series. He is also the executive producer of the HBO documentary After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News. He lives in New York with his wife and two children and is also the author of Hoax.

Praise For…

 "A deep, dispiriting dive into the nefarious intersection of politics, conspiracy, lies, and money as served up by Donald Trump and Fox News."
Kirkus (starred review)

"Stelter's account gives a sense that […] there's no one really in control — that Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham and the “Fox & Friends” morning team can essentially do what they want."
Associated Press

"[Stelter] chronicles the symbiotic relationship between [Trump] and Rupert Murdoch’s most famous product …Hoax is amply documented."
The Guardian
Product Details
ISBN: 9781982142445
ISBN-10: 1982142448
Publisher: Atria/One Signal Publishers
Publication Date: August 25th, 2020
Pages: 368
Language: English