People checking the Fox News website on debate day were traumatized by the unwelcome sight of President Joe Biden, the Destroyer in Chief, smirking back at them from prime ad space on the conservative outlet’s pages.
Fox, already slipping from its pledge of “fair and balanced,” began losing followers during the 2020 election when it boldly proclaimed Arizona for Biden prior to any documented results. The network continued its series of left turns, including the rollover and subsequent payout in the Dominion Voting Systems scandal and the firing of popular host Tucker Carlson.
But sleeping with the enemy took an even deeper meaning when Fox allowed the Biden administration to purchase ad space the day of the first Republican debate. The ads featured a popular internet meme of the president staring at viewers with red laser beams shooting from his eyes.
The meme, now called “Dark Brandon,” was a combination of the famous “Let’s Go Brandon” catchphrase that took the conservative world by storm in 2021. During an interview with NASCAR driver Brandon Brown, the reporter heard the crowd chanting “F— Joe Biden” and thought they were cheering “Let’s Go Brandon” to show support for Brown. The phrase is now widely used by conservatives to show disapproval of the president and the Biden administration.
In 2022, progressives began to refer to supporters of former president Donald Trump as “Dark MAGA,” an attempt to describe them as unhinged. Conservatives chose to combine the Biden slur with the “Dark MAGA” concept, and Dark Brandon was born. In still photos and cartoon depictions, Dark Brandon is depicted as a slightly crazed figure with a smirking expression and red lasers shooting from his eyes.
The Biden administration decided to lean into the movement, adopting Dark Brandon as their own campaign message. Biden himself appeared to be amused by his evil twin persona and owned it during the 2022 White House Correspondent’s Dinner. “The floor is yours, and I’m going to be fine with your jokes,” Biden told the crowd, slipping on a pair of dark sunglasses as he added, “But I’m not sure about Dark Brandon.”
It was a genius move for the Biden campaign and has steadily gained traction as a popular platform for the president. The meme no longer holds a negative connotation for Biden supporters and now represents an edgy alter-ego that is both cool and nerdy. Dark Brandon appears slightly dangerous but still uses stock phrases like “kiddo,” “come on, Jack,” and “no malarkey.”
The last place Fox News viewers expected to see Dark Brandon was sneering at them from the conservative outlet’s web pages. But Fox permitted Biden’s campaign to purchase 24 hours of ad space to air his reelection messaging the day of the first Republican debate, an important milestone for GOP presidential hopefuls. Even more alarming, the ads were the first ones officially released for the president’s reelection campaign.
At Fox. Just ahead of the network-hosted GOP debates.
The ads featured several progressive messages, but many of them featured Dark Brandon proudly voicing his support of abortion and calling for donations to “bring Roe back.” Others included messaging touting his “successful” economic policies, his ongoing “fight” to lower drug prices, a vow not to cut Medicare and Social Security, and his commitment to raising taxes “on the wealthy.”
Even worse, Fox gave the Biden campaign airtime to run its first nationally televised ad just ahead of the debates. The ad, titled “Fought Back,” outlines Biden’s COVID-19 pandemic response, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the passage of infrastructure legislation. The painful ad lasted a full minute, which was 60 seconds longer than Fox News viewers needed to see.
Who gave the green light to allow a Democratic presidential candidate, and an unpopular one at that, to purchase airtime on a “conservative” media outlet? Even CNN would see a conflict of interest in airing Donald Trump ads and would never allow them to share airtime with Biden.
It’s another example of Fox’s questionable lurch to the left.
A mass exodus from Fox News started at the time of Carlson’s firing, and while it’s still the most-watched prime-time conservative programming, it’s reeling from the loss of its formerly loyal viewers. As Newsmax saw an 88% jump in viewership during the coveted prime-time programming spot, Fox’s dropped 26%.
Fox News has, so far, declined to comment on the strategy, quietly pocketing the dark money. But for a news outlet that’s already bleeding viewers, aiding and abetting the enemy during a pivotal GOP presidential debate might be the final nail in the outlet’s proverbial coffin.