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Fox News Is A Republican Super PAC, So Act Accordingly
For Over 25 Years Fox Has Tried To Elect Republicans
“A Plan For Putting The GOP On TV News” is not a slogan some liberal came up with to describe Fox News, but rather is the title of a memo involving Fox News founder Roger Ailes during his time as an aide to Richard Nixon. The memo lays out the 1970s thought process behind the venture in very clear language: “Today television news is watched more often than people read newspapers, than people listen to the radio, than people read or gather any other form of communication. The reason: People are lazy. With television you just sit—watch—listen. The thinking is done for you.”
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It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the direct line behind this approach and Fox News’ launch in 1996. Fox was ideologically molded by Ailes and financed and staffed by News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch as a vessel to elect Republicans to office and to empower conservative ideas. It is a political action committee that describes itself as a “news” network and has always operated with this goal in mind.
The recent revelations from the Dominion lawsuit against Fox for pushing lies about the 2020 election show this is still the case with Fox. But unfortunately in far too much of the coverage, and in the reaction from Democrats and liberals to the revelations, it is being discussed as if Fox’s 2020 behavior is an aberration from the norm.
Yes, it isn’t journalism when Murdoch admits that he allowed Fox hosts to lie on air about the election results because the network wanted to curry favor with Trump cultists. But it also wasn’t journalism when in 2004 as part of the documentary “Outfoxed” it was revealed that Fox News reporters and hosts were sent memos from management telling them to cheerlead George W. Bush’s war in Iraq.
Fox has never practiced journalism. It is not even opinion journalism or ideological journalism, which is still supposed to be tethered to facts and reality. Fox News just makes things up, like the claim that then-Senator Barack Obama was educated in an Islamic madrassa.
The people who work at Fox News aren’t there to do journalism. They are campaign staffers, hired to work at a political action committee that has operated in multiple election cycles.
Just ask Murdoch, who sent an email to Fox CEO Suzanne Scott making the role of Fox News in the Georgia Senate runoff elections very clear: “We should concentrate on Georgia, helping any way we can.”
That is the kind of mindset behind committees that work every year to elect Republicans and Democrats.
I would argue that this has been clear for decades now. When I was part of the team that launched Media Matters for America back in 2004, this was extremely clear, but far too much of the mainstream media treated Fox as if it were in the same business as them, with perhaps more emphasis on providing the television equivalent of a conservative op-ed page.
Through the years, members of the Democratic Party have also operated this way towards Fox News. President Obama sat down for a television interview with Bill O’Reilly, as did Sec. Hillary Clinton. These appearances occurred even after Ailes called into question both of their willingness to fight Al Qaeda because they wouldn’t appear on Fox for a debate. “The candidates that can’t face Fox, can’t face Al Qaeda,” he said. And they still went along with it.
The Dominion lawsuit isn’t revealing anything new about Fox News, but rather is just pointing out with more evidence, again, that this is what Fox is all about.
My pessimistic hope is that this time people won’t forget. Because honestly, they always forget (witness how people are wistful for George W. Bush’s butchery because Donald Trump is awful).
The approach towards Fox News should not be accommodationist nonsense. Stop listening to Democratic Party communication hacks who preside over failed presidential campaigns that insist Democrats must appear on Fox because they’re friends with the bookers and other operatives at Fox News. Stop believing that the only way to reach center-right voters is through Fox News — it’s like thinking the only way to convert someone’s faith is to concentrate on the most devout worshippers.
The Democratic Party and anyone even remotely to the left of center should treat Fox News as if it were an operation from the hive mind of the most vicious Republican operatives, from Karl Rove to Roger Ailes to Steve Bannon.
Don’t try to be friends with Fox News, go to war with it.
The dismissive, combative tone that most Republicans and conservatives use when confronted with the truth from the mainstream media should be the approach Democrats use with Fox News’ lies and deception and bigotry, but ten million times stronger.
To paraphrase none other than Donald Trump, Fox is the real “enemy of the people.” They always have been and they will be until the entire vile enterprise goes away.
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