The new meme that Fox News is moving to the middle because crazy doesn’t sell is a big con. This meme was started in a willfully blind article by Howard Kurtz for the Daily Beast’s Newsweek and has since been duly picked up by obedient media soldiers. The truth is that “crazy doesn’t win.” And the larger truth is that as Fox repositions itself, we will all now be treated to mea culpas by their colleagues in the press, at the same time as they dance around the elephant in the room that Fox News is not a news organization.
Fox News is trying to appear to move to the “middle” or “center right” because it behooves them financially to do so and it behooves the Republican Party for them to do so as we gear up for a national election. The narrative that they are adjusting post Gifford’s shooting and aren’t “partisan” is a pre-packaged ad campaign masquerading as an apology tour (sans apology), but it will be the new meme.
Joe Scarborough and panel discussed Fox News’ move to the “center” because crazy doesn’t sell and it doesn’t win today. Video courtesy of Media Matters:
While I agree with them that crazy doesn’t sell in national elections and it sure as heck doesn’t win in national elections, I question the very premise that an appearance of a move to the “center right” is, in fact, any such move. The panel brings Chris Wallace as an example of the “good work” Fox is doing. That’s like saying that a criminal who doesn’t steal from their mom is reforming. One moment of not lying does not “good work” make in the real world. Chris Wallace was just called out yesterday by the White House for misleading his viewers on the tax issue.
It seems the media is conveniently forgetting whom we are discussing.
Fox News was denied a license to air their “news” program in Canada because the CRTC has a law that prohibits deliberately lie in news content. The USA has no such thing.
Reader supported news reported in March of this year:
Canada’s Radio Act requires that “a licenser may not broadcast … any false or misleading news.” The provision has kept Fox News and right-wing talk radio out of Canada and helped make Canada a model for liberal democracy and freedom. As a result of that law, Canadians enjoy high quality news coverage, including the kind of foreign affairs and investigative journalism that flourished in this country before Ronald Reagan abolished the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987. Political dialogue in Canada is marked by civility, modesty, honesty, collegiality, and idealism that have pretty much disappeared on the US airwaves.
In fact, when conservatives tried to change the regulation in order to allow organizations like Fox News in Canada, it , “resulted in a tidal wave of angry responses from Canadians who said they feared such a move would open the door to Fox TV-style news and reduce their ability to determine what is true and what is false.”
Furthermore, Fox News has employed or does employ past, current and future Presidential candidates for the Republican Party, including those who teased their base in order to get a better contract on Fox. Fox News has donated millions to the RNC. These facts set Fox News apart from other news organizations and put to rest any attempts at false equivalency with MSNBC or any other network. It’s not about the ideology; it’s about the purpose of the machine.
Fox News is not a “conservative” news organization, as Ailes likes to tout. Ailes says they stand out because they are conservative and no one else is. That’s patently absurd. True conservative thinking is inherently not equal to rabid hate, lies, and rhetoric bordering on anarchy and treason. Conservative is not radical by nature. Radicalism is an oxymoron to real conservatism.
This claim that they can move to the “center right” from “right” and be legitimate is absurd, because Fox News is not truly an ideological organization. They are a get out the vote organization, a PR organization, and a political machine for the GOP.
Fox News is a radical political PR machine for the Republican Party, which deliberately uses divisive tactics in order to get out the vote for the GOP and distract from an ideology that can’t be sold to the average American without tricks.
In all fairness, true conservative intellectual thought as represented by a sparse few these days is comprised of debate-worthy ideas and long-standing beliefs that serve as a legitimate, necessary balance liberal thought.
A real conservative would not suggest that we do not need revenue to run the country, or allow the Republican Party to have spent like wild frat boys, leaving costs off of the budget for two wars. A real conservative would not suggest that we let the nation default by refusing to honor our debt.
The ideas being sold as conservative on Fox News and most of the conservative media outlets are a bastardization of and co-opting of the word conservative, because the word evokes and imbues their radical ideas with the undeserved gravitas of old-fashioned thinking, respectability and personal responsibility. When we look under the hood at the modern day Republican Party and its engine, Fox News, we see no such thing. We see, in fact, the antithesis of conservative thought. We see radical nihilism, dishonesty, irresponsibility, and a juvenile, dangerous immaturity.
The fact that the notion of conservatism has such a rotten name these days is due in large part to Fox News’ hard yank to the far, radical right of Any Randian nihilism, sold under the cross and with a flag pin.
As Fox repositions itself for a national election, knowing as they do that their radical ideas will not sell in a national election (the senate failure in 2010 tells them this if they didn’t already know it), they distance themselves from Beck and Palin with leaked stories of a rethink. That is all crap.
They didn’t have a rethink. If they had a rethink, they would have changed their tactics right after the Gifford shooting. But of course they are not having a rethink about their methods – their purpose is to make money and sell propaganda. They are repositioning themselves for a national election, but we will all now be treated to the media telling us with sage agreement that yes, Fox News finally got the message and we were all correct in our judgments but they have made nice now.
The bad boy has returned home for a spanking but he’s going to share his toys now.
If the bad boy were reformed, he would stop lying to the public. He would apologize for the previous lies and hate. He would come clean and we’d see the fundamentals behind the entire purpose for the network change.
But we aren’t seeing any of that. We’re seeing a Roxy Hart “I done wrong but I’ve seen the light” tour, which is even more disingenuously being sold as coming from those in the know. It’s all a big show, and the final act is the 2012 election. This sudden shift to the “center middle” is nothing but a shrewd political adjustment for the Republican Party in advance of a national election. I wonder if Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin realize just yet that they were roundly used to get out the vote, and now that their hate is no longer useful, they are being gently but firmly kicked to the curb, in public, so daddy can prove that he is cleaning up his act.
Cue the tap dancing media heads protecting Big Daddy, the puppet candidates and the big money machine behind “ideas” that are toxic to Americans. It’s an outrage that any thinking pundit or journalist would suggest that Fox News is an ideological machine. They are a propaganda machine, and even if they moved to the far left, it would make no difference because lying to the public under the guise of news kills democracy.
Do not be pulled into the false pretense that people distrust Fox because it is conservative. People mistrust Fox News because Fox lies, and they do it knowingly and with a purpose.
I’d love to hear one pundit or journalist ask Roger Ailes why Fox had to sue for the right to lie if Fox is really a news organization. Any discussion regarding the validity of Fox or false equivalencies should end on the fact that Fox News lies as a matter of daily business.
Image: The Fifth Column