The news is America's new religion, and we're in a religious war

For decades, TV news readers gave off that Ron Burgundy-esque vibe of, “This copy was literally just handed to me. I barely know what this shit says, and certainly don’t care enough to lie about it.”

By the Trump years, though, news readers started to sound like preachers. They used every traveling-revivalist trick in the book to pull in the faithful, from predicting the End was Nigh (or at least, the “Beginning of the End” was Nigh) to conferring Sainthood (Robert Mueller was depicted as Jesus, Batman and Superman in media profiles) to public deliverance of the gospel (remember when Annette Bening, John Lithgow, and Kevin Kline held solemn public readings of the Mueller report?) to dramatic altar calls to give “testimony” (e.g. Michael Avenatti coming on set to deliver an unvetted new rape accusation against Brett Kavanaugh live on the Rachel Maddow show), and even witchcraft (how about a former CIA chief predicting indictments of Trump on the “Ides of March” on MSNBC?).

America is a now a nation of warring media faiths, with Fox/OAN/Newsmax preaching a heretic Savanarola-style gospel of corrupt elites lying about everything from election results to vaccine efficacy, while the rival Church of the Mainstream, which describes itself as the (literally) true faith and exclusive arbiter of such things as “fact” and “science,” preaches a coming fascist apocalypse. Its pundits openly rejoice in Covid-19 as an instrument of vengeance against “denialism” and those who don’t “believe science,” and it’s not an accident that people who watch them too much do things like wear masks alone in cars.

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