FOX News did not set out to destroy the Republican Party. To the contrary, it sought to strengthen its conservative base. By twisting and filtering news to make the right-wing feel triumphant, it did succeed in bolstering their self-confidence. Some members of the audience may have had a hunch that FOX was not broadcasting real news. But feelings of being validated after having been denounced by liberals for years as "the lunatic fringe" had a hypnotic effect. The Tea Party emerged as the vanguard of this movement. In this hermetically-sealed world, the Obama-is-an-evil-terrorist-with-a-Kenyan-birth-certificate meme reverberated through the news waves, leaving the impression that the rest of the American public had finally figured out "the truth" as well. In short, FOX News polished and mirrored and amplified and gave some modicum of intellectual respectability to their biases. This state of affairs worked for a while. But every now and then reality intruded, such as the re-election of the Barack Obama.
Millions of viewers watched in shock as right-wing commentator Karl Rove suffered a melt down on election night. The Republican political hack refused to believe that the man, whom he and FOX viewers knew America had come to despise, actually won reelection by a wide margin. After all, didn't all Americans detest that Kenyan imposter?
The same scenario is happening again. FOX News convinced Tea Party "patriots" that Obamacare was so hated across the country, that the American public would rise up and de-legislate it under pressure of a government shut-down. They might even impeach Obama in the process. But of course that is not happening. The Republicans are unable to wrest the party away from the right-wing radicals, because their diminishing base is still listening to and believing FOX News propaganda. Conservative viewers of FOX News will be at least as shocked and grasping for conspiracy theories to explain reality, when the party itself collapses.