Right on point, in my opinion. We seem to be living in another era of yellow journalism.
There are some subtle but important differences, though. This time, it’s not a business competition between two sides, both aiming for profit. It’s a prolonged campaign of political aggression, waged to overthrow democratic government, replacing it with single-party rule. There is only one side to this aggression, and their motive isn’t profit.
Fox wasn’t started in the late 1980s because there was a market for fear-mongering and outrage and thus a chance to make money. It was started to push conservative propaganda, literally to reshape America culture, with a business requirement that it pay for itself. Google ‘history of fake news’ or ‘history of Fox’ and read all about it.
Over the years, their political progamming has displayed a range of journalistic ethics, from almost straight-talking conservative opinions (their main News show), to the total misinformation, disinformation and deception aimed squarely at hooking the viewer on preferred alt-realities, and building cult loyalty (their Opinion shows, like Hannity and Carlson). The common element across all Fox' programming is the intention to persuade and influence, not to make money.
But they found ways to do both. For example, X-Files was a hugely popular late 1990s show that made conspiracy-theorizing fun. It made money, but it also normalized conspiracy theorizing, which catalyzed the growth of right-wingnut talk radio.
CNN has engaged in some sensationalism as of late, no doubt about that. But they are just playing defense on ideology, and copying Fox’s style (simplistic and enraged) because that’s what the Boomers will watch.
In other words, nobody would follow Anderson Cooper off a cliff. He’s not gaslighting anyone. The same cannot be said of Trump. Millions of Republican Americans were (are) fully primed to commit genocide against Democratic Americans, had Trump decided to go that direction, and the Fox Opinion hosts had made the case for it. Many former “good Republicans” were genuinely brainwashed, and still are. By that I mean that they now have some deeply held core beliefs that are untrue, irrational, didn’t arise from their own reasoning, and pose a danger to their free will.
We can’t tackle this problem as only a matter of a media industry in need of content regulation. The conservative propaganda campaign is an aggression, an act of war. The Republican party fights for power to rule, by force if necessary, in the minority if necessary, in order to exploit the people. Theirs is an illegitimate political objective. Strong anti-propaganda laws are needed now.