Rational people know this sort of misdirection is corrosive, yet there is still a powerful incentive by major figures to play into this game it when it’s (arguably) working.

“Some find it embarrassing, others downright heartless,” one Fox News journalist told my Daily Beast colleagues. “It’s just gross.”

Beyond the embarrassment is the realization that what helps Trump in the short term isn’t likely to make for a successful post-Roger Ailes Fox News. The thing about conspiracy theories is that they will always be a part of the landscape, especially in a decentralized social media world.

But the only way a major media operation adds value is by separating fact from fiction. Otherwise, why not go to Infowars and get your conspiracy straight from the source?

In the long run, Fox News can’t win a race to the bottom.