December 17, 2021

I did not know something Eric Alterman, Nation columnist and author of "What Liberal Media?" wrote 25 years ago: that Roger Ailes got New York mayor Rudy Giuliani to make Time Warner Cable carry Fox in New York. "It had originally been left off the dial and could not likely have survived without that market. That gives you a clue that maybe it was not a typical “news” station from moment one," he wrote. Via The American Prospect:

Those clues have been mounting on a daily basis ever since. I can’t count the number of times I’ve felt compelled, in different fora, to argue that what Fox does is not and has never been “news.” I think my clearest statement of this fact, and of the problem that everybody pretended that this was not case, came in a “Think Again” column I wrote in 2010 on the website of the Center for American Progress. The piece, headlined “Just What Exactly Is Fox News?” began with this:

Fox News Channel is often described as a cable news station. On occasion, the words “conservative” or “biased” are attached to that description. But few dispute the journalistic orientation of the overall enterprise.

This is a mistake. Fox is something new—something for which we do not yet have a word. It provides almost no actual journalism. Instead, it gives ideological guidance to the Republican Party and millions of its supporters, attacking its opponents and keeping its supporters in line. And it does so at a hefty profit, thereby turning itself into the political equivalent of a perpetual motion machine.

Alterman, who is one of the most incisive media analysts out there, wrote in 2010:

I’m not exactly sure what to call Fox. It has more in common with the integrated political/judicial/business/media empire that is making a mockery of Italian democracy under the rule of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi than any American political or media machine of the past. And yet for a whole host of reasons, both financial and psychological, many in the media cannot admit this, thereby allowing Fox to benefit from the protections of journalism offered up by the First Amendment while simultaneously subverting their purpose.

I therefore have to chuckle quite a bit when someone like Jonah Goldberg writes that a reason he left Fox News after 13 years “was that I didn’t want to be complicit in so many lies.” How many lies was the right number, Jonah? A thousand? A million?

I do urge you to watch the 2008 video, in which he debates Tucker Carlson on the topic of media bias.

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