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Reprinted with permission of Media Matters.

Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency was defined by fear, paranoia, and a distrust of the government and mainstream media. And it succeeded thanks, at least in part, to right-wing media outlets, which have spent the past few years competing for Republican voters’ attention by terrifying them with increasingly apocalyptic horror stories about the state of the country.

This brand of right-wing paranoia poses a real threat to American democracy — radicalizing voters and lawmakers alike. And if journalists can’t figure out how to effectively dispel that paranoia, Americans are going to keep seeing their government hijacked by hucksters who are more interested in profiting from a shtick than they are in actually improving lives.

Researcher Dina Radtke contributed research to this report.

IMAGE: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Greensboro, North Carolina on June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

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