A former Fox News employee kicks the culture of Murdoch inspired intimidation in the heart by talking to Media Matters about what it takes to work at Fox News. It’s not pretty. The source explained that he was told to spin things with a conservative, dramatic bent meant to engender feelings of being under siege at all times. He clarified that in order to achieve this spin, “My internal compass was to think like an intolerant meathead. You could never error on the side of not being intolerant enough.”
Fox News is basically the Archie Bunker network of made up news, spun for dramatic effect with no basis to fact or reality. In other words, it’s your basis propaganda outlet dumbed down for the least tolerant among us and serving as a “Stalin-esque mouthpiece” for Republicans. Sure, this isn’t “news” to the thinking among us, but it’s fascinating to have it confirmed from inside the nest of nasty.
Media Matters kicked open the Murdoch empire of intimidated employees in speaking with a former Fox employee, who dished details about the behind the scenes tactics of the propaganda network.
The source requested anonymity for obvious reasons, but it won’t be long before he’s outted and we are treated to a Swift Boat attack on him as a disgruntled employee, which could very well be the case. However, his allegations have already been proven over the past several years, so we aren’t relying on this guy’s word that Fox News operates as he claims they do. We already know that.
We already know that Fox News contributes money to Republican candidates only, that Fox News has hired most of the Republican 2012 presidential contenders to offer them in kind contribution of free air time as advertisements, we’ve already seen the leaked emails proving that they deliberately altered information regarding climate change, we already know that they repeatedly, deliberately present doctored video even after its been proven a hoax.
We already know how they use their lower third to tell the audience what to think while carefully crafting their libelous falsehoods as questions, and we already know that Fox News used to read the Bush White House press releases right off the fax machine, typos and all, without even fact-checking them or offering any commentary. We already know that Fox News is dangerous, having witnessed the disastrous results of their calling the Florida election for Bush prematurely as well as the violence against innocent Americans ensuing directly from Glenn Beck’s show.
The Media Matter’s source illuminates rather not the already well-documented violations in ethics and basic assumptions regarding “news” themselves, but the tactics behind the misdeeds. The source explains, “But anything—anything–that was a news story you had to understand what the spin should be on it. If it was a big enough story it was explained to you in the morning [editorial] meeting. If it wasn’t explained, it was up to you to know the conservative take on it. There’s a conservative take on every story no matter what it is. So you either get told what it is or you better intuitively know what it is.”
Of course, in real news, you present the news and then you give commentary on the news if you are a liberal or conservative pundit or even a non-partisan pundit. You analysis the news for your audience, but that’s a far cry from manufacturing it or altering it to feed into a narrative. It’s a far cry from undisclosed political activism.
The source expounded on how one would cope if they aren’t instinctively conservative or don’t have an intuitive feeling for what the spin on a story should be, “My internal compass was to think like an intolerant meathead. You could never error on the side of not being intolerant enough.”
“We were a Stalin-esque mouthpiece. It was just what Bush says goes on our channel. And by that point it was just totally dangerous. Hopefully most people understand how dangerous it is for a media outfit to be a straight, unfiltered mouthpiece for an unchecked president.”
The source is explaining a fundamental difference between the falsely equivocated MSNBC and Fox News, for example. Fox News is creating news to actively promote a political party. The source explains that Fox doesn’t bother to fact check anything because that isn’t the point.
The point is to rile the audience up, to create an atmosphere of us versus them. The sole purpose of Fox News was to work for George W Bush, to push his agenda at any cost. A news organization doesn’t serve as a mouthpiece for an administration. The White House has a press secretary whose job it is to attempt to spin things for the White House, in all honesty. And the press’ job is to fact-check that press secretary. Of course, Fox’s new agenda is to destroy the current administration, contrary to what Bill O’Reilly tells his easily duped audience.
Journalists are supposed to seek the truth and report it, as well as seeking to do no harm to their subjects. Here are just a few examples from the Society for Professional Journalists that Fox violates regularly (ACORN, Lila Rose’s Live Action, Van Jones, Egypt, Planned Parenthood, Tiller the Baby Killer, etc.): Deliberate distortion is never permissible (ooposie!). Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context (er, OK, cancel the entire Fox News line up, the lower thirds, the videos….it all has to go).
Never distort the content of news photos or video (yes, never show a video you know to be distorted ACORN Lila Rose). Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public (er, playing dress up as a pimp and an underage prostitute is OK, though, right? Especially if said undercover “journalists” have been arrested or already proven to be deliberate liars…right?). Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context (oh, oh….shot through the heart! So unfair. See the upper right hand corner of this website: real liberal politics. Disclosure matters and is still not a license for lying or blatant disregard for facts). Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two (does this mean political advertising for candidates who are also hosts and guests is out? Gosh, that sucks!).
There’s plenty more where that came from, and you can be assured you won’t find Fox’s rules of engagement in the war on information anywhere in their lists. The source topped it all off with, “People assume you need a license to call yourself a news channel. You don’t. …I don’t think people understand that it’s an organization that’s built and functions by intimidation and bullying, and its goal is to prop up and support Republicans and the GOP and to knock down Democrats…. You’d think that people would wise up, but they don’t.”
They don’t wise up because Fox News appeals to the Archie Bunkers of America; the fearful, racist, bigoted, small-minded intolerant Archies who need someone and something to hate and rail on about in order to forget their own small lives. The psychology behind Fox’s success is nothing new. We’ve always had conservatives who hate change bonding over Bircher-esque cliques of white superiority. The thing that makes Fox News so noxious is that they have sold this low-level propaganda as news. Their network infects millions of people with a disease known as intolerance, tainted by deliberate doses of outrage meant to foster hate of Democrats and liberals. Their channel plays on our military bases. Think about that and what it means.
Archie Bunker was funny in his way, because he served as a foil for all we were struggling against socially at the time. He was not presented as a truth-teller. He was not a political leader of millions. He was not a mega-phone of hate. Fox News isn’t funny in the larger picture because like so many propagandists, their agenda is frightening, it’s effective, and it’s poisonous to democracy.