Toxic Politics: Roger Ailes And Fox News

Rolling Stone has done a great piece about Fox News and its impact on this country. I love this excerpt: The result of this concerted campaign of disinformation is a viewership that knows almost nothing about what’s going on in the world.

4 years ago by David
up

Rolling Stone has done a great piece about Fox News and its impact on this country. I love this excerpt:

The result of this concerted campaign of disinformation is a viewership that knows almost nothing about what’s going on in the world. According to recent polls, Fox News viewers are the most misinformed of all news consumers. They are 12 percentage points more likely to believe the stimulus package caused job losses, 17 points more likely to believe Muslims want to establish Shariah law in America, 30 points more likely to say that scientists dispute global warming, and 31 points more likely to doubt President Obama’s citizenship. In fact, a study by the University of Maryland reveals, ignorance of Fox viewers actually increases the longer they watch the network. That’s because Ailes isn’t interested in providing people with information, or even a balanced range of perspectives. Like his political mentor, Richard Nixon, Ailes traffics in the emotions of victimization.

What Nixon did – and what Ailes does today in the age of Obama – is unravel and rewire one of the most powerful of human emotions: shame,” says Perlstein, the author of Nixonland. “He takes the shame of people who feel that they are being looked down on, and he mobilizes it for political purposes. Roger Ailes is a direct link between the Nixonian politics of resentment and Sarah Palin’s politics of resentment. He’s the golden thread.”

Much of the article is similar to what John and Dave wrote about in "Over the Cliff", but the Rolling Stone article reaches even farther. For example, Fox News has created a "fundraising juggernaut" for Republicans, which is what enabled Republicans to bounce back so hard after being trounced in 2008:

But Ailes has not simply been content to shift the nature of journalism and direct the GOP’s message war. He has also turned Fox News into a political fundraising juggernaut. During her Senate race in Delaware, Tea Party darling Christine O’Donnell bragged, “I’ve got Sean Hannity in my back pocket, and I can go on his show and raise money.” Sharron Angle, the Tea Party candidate who tried to unseat Harry Reid in Nevada, praised Fox for letting her say on-air, “I need $25 from a million people – go to SharronAngle.com and send money.” Completing the Fox-GOP axis, Karl Rove has used his pulpit as a Fox News commentator to promote American Crossroads, a shadowy political group he founded, promising that the money it raised would be put “to good use to defeat Democrats who have supported the president’s agenda.”

Just this morning, Fox and Friends ran four separate segments over their 3-hour time slot about Sarah Palin. They didn't stop there, though. There were 3 segments on Chris Christie, and an interview with Michele Bachmann where she got to play coy about her upcoming "major announcement" in Waterloo, Iowa. Then they pivoted to a Palin vs. Bachmann narrative for the last hour.

Anyone with half a brain knows Sarah Palin isn't going to run for President. She is just the next Donald Trump lined up to keep wingnut engagement high while the candidates jockey for funding and position.

Kaili Joy Gray at Daily Kos has it right:

So you can all hop off the Palin Paparazzi Tour of 2011, go back to your air-conditioned offices, sit back, and let her show off her savvy "new social media" skills on Twitter and Facebook—and Fox "News"—and then mock the holy hell out of her for being a fucking idiot. That's all. That is the sum total of the amount and kind of attention she deserves. You don't have to treat her like a serious presidential candidate, or even a serious person. Despite her protestations that she doesn't want media attention, she's starving for it. Hell, she quit her job as governor just so she could devote herself full-time to getting you to give her attention in the pages of your Very Serious papers.

This is our Very Serious Political Media. The Beltway Boys. Today's hot stories include more Breitbart mania, Palin, Bachmann and Christie. This is because they do not really want anyone to think about how Republicans are trying to force a financial crisis on this country by holding a faux debt ceiling vote today which will fail without Very Serious Spending Cuts, or how cynical it is to cry wolf over the national debt while refusing to raise revenues to cover it. They don't want us to keep talking about the Paul Ryan plan to destroy Medicare, or how they'd love to kill Social Security and Medicare with one smooth debt ceiling stone. So instead we get Palin, Bachmann, and a world turned upside down over absolutely...nothing.

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