Monday, January 27, 2014

FOX NEWS, CORNERED RAT

I know some of you will agree with what Frank Rich is saying here about Fox News, but sorry, it's way too early to declare victory this way:
In truth, Fox News has been defeated on the media battlefield -- and on the political battlefield as well.... The only people who seem not to know or accept Fox's decline, besides its own audience, are ­liberals, including Barack Obama, whose White House mounted a short-lived, pointless freeze-out of Fox News in 2009, and who convinced himself that the network has shaved five points off his approval rating.

Ailes would like the president and everyone else to keep believing he has that clout. But these days Fox News is the loudest voice in the room only in the sense that a bawling baby is the loudest voice in the room. In being so easily bullied by Fox's childish provocations, the left gives the network the attention on which it thrives and hands it power that it otherwise has lost....

The most interesting news about Fox News is that for some years now it has been damaging the right far more than the left. As a pair of political analysts wrote at Reuters last year, "When the mainstream media reigned supreme, between 1952 and 1988, Republicans won seven out of the ten presidential elections," but since 1992, when "conservative media began to flourish" (first with Rush Limbaugh's ascendancy, then with Fox), Democrats have won the popular vote five out of six times. You'd think they'd be well advised to leave Fox News to its own devices so that it can continue to shoot its own party in the foot.
Yeah, Frank, I'm sure the fact that Democrats keep winning (or, in 2000, "winning") presidential elections is great comfort to women under Republican state governments who have to drive a hundred miles to get a legal abortion (and face multiple restrictions beyond that), or poor people in the same states who can't take advantage of the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, or blacks who've voted for decades and now can't because they don't drive and can't obtain a birth certificate, all because Fox and other right-wing media outlets keep motivating right-wingers to vote for state and local Republican candidates who spout Fox talking points, even in states Democrats win handily at the presidential level.

I'm sure affected citizens think these are just trivial issues compared to one big Democratic victory every four years -- a victory that inevitably gives us a president who faces a brick wall of Republican intransigence, and who is viciously attacked by the party on minor matters, all because Heartland America keeps voting in Congresses that hew to the Fox line. Yes, why should the poor care whether there's ever an increase in the national minimum wage, or the jobless care that unemployment benefits aren't extended, or the rest of us care that our bridges are falling down and the people who fix them are still unemployed, all thanks to a Congress full of wingnuts sent to office by Fox-fueled rageoholics? Our guy won in 2012! He won four years earlier, too! That's all that matters! Fox is dead!

Ahhh, but we're superior to the right because they got 2012 wrong, Rich says:
When the reality-based data of actual votes came in on Election Night, it only followed that Fox Nation would be shocked, as most dramatically revealed by Karl Rove's famous on-camera meltdown. Anyone who had spent the entire year in the Fox News cocoon -- repeatedly hearing happy-news polls from Rasmussen and the even more egregious Dick Morris, repeatedly being assured that Benghazi was the silver bullet certain to take out Obama -- knew the election was in the bag....

Rather than waste time bemoaning Fox's bogus journalism, liberals should encourage it. The more that Fox News viewers are duped into believing that the misinformation they are fed by Ailes is fair and balanced, the more easily they can be ambushed by reality as they were on Election Night 2012.
Did Fox encourage the right to misread the national mood in 2012? Yeah, sure. But what about our side? Haven't we done some misreading of our own? Didn't we think after the 2008 election that Reaganite conservatism was deader than the Monty Python parrot, and that we might be at the dawn of a decades-long era dominated by Democratic liberalism, with Obama as our FDR? Didn't a lot of us agree with the president that his reelection in 2012 might lead to the breaking of the tea party "fever"? Didn't we think the 2012 election would at least compel Republicans to sign on to immigration reform? And then didn't we think America was at a tipping point on gun control after Sandy Hook?

Yes, I suppose we have Fox where we want it: It's driving its presidential contenders to unelectable extremism, while struggling with a viewer base that's elderly (though not all that much older than MSNBC's -- average age 68 vs. 60) and small. But the old bastards who watch Fox vote -- and unlike us, they vote in House and Senate races, in races for governor and state legislators, in special elections to recall gun-control supporters.

So, yeah, we've cornered Fox. But cornered rats are very, very dangerous.

8 comments:

peabody nobis said...

Fox News is only important to political junkies. The vast majority of people are too busy just living their lives and trying to get by.
The only thing that bugs me about Fox News is that their talking heads can literally say anything about Liberals or Dems and get away with it. But let a Lib talker on MSNBC say something slightly offensive and it's "OMG!!! You've gotta apologize, and BTW YOU"RE FIRED!!!".
I just wish for once they would stand up to the screaming monkeys and tell them to eat a bag of salted dicks.

Philo Vaihinger said...

But what about our side? Haven't we done some misreading of our own? Didn't we think after the 2008 election that Reaganite conservatism was deader than the Monty Python parrot, and that we might be at the dawn of a decades-long era dominated by Democratic liberalism, with Obama as our FDR? Didn't a lot of us agree with the president that his reelection in 2012 might lead to the breaking of the tea party "fever"? Didn't we think the 2012 election would at least compel Republicans to sign on to immigration reform? And then didn't we think America was at a tipping point on gun control after Sandy Hook?

No.

No to each and every one of those questions.

Not for one second.

Maybe you did.

Not me.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Oh, but you're right about Rich being all wet on this stuff.

aimai said...

Rich is such an upperclass twit--his real belief is that only rubes and mouth breathers watch fox. Thats not true or, if true, is not relevant. Fox news has literally cornered a segment of the market which, though sthrinking, is important. Among other things it holds the key to red state politicians and voters and despite the overall showing of those groups in the recent presidential campaigns that's not the only political game in town.

Rich stupidly falls into some kind of bizarre romance of politics inwhich the only thing we have to do every four years is capture the presidency. That's not correct, obviously. Thanks to fox news and the tea party we need a majority in both the house and the senate to even get enough legislation through to keep the country from defaulting on its debts or letting poor people starve in a ditch. Because Fox has news and views locked up in specifically red state districts and these have been gerrymandered to their specifications there is simply no way to burst through thepropaganda wall.

As a result of Fox's exclusion of other points of view, or even the idea of balance, GOP and tea party politicians can basically fight on a field that excludes democrats in most red state/red county locations. Neither the democratic party nor any democratic president can make any headway.

This has been incredibly destructive for our politics and our country. Contra fucking Rich, btw, Obama rightly took on Fox news and limbaugh because only by punching bullies in the nose can you get them to back off and impress the ladeez. Something which I'm sure Frank Rich, because he has such an incredibly trite political mind, actively cheered at the time before it seemed good to pretend to be too cool for school.

Victor said...

Great writing in this post, Steve!!!

As long as FOX makes Rupe and Rog some money, it'll be around.

Maybe even when those two loathsome psychopaths are dead, if the heirs still see money coming in.

Ten Bears said...

... cornered rats are very, very dangerous.

As I recall that has long been one of my arguments here that we are witness to the painfully slow demise of the Retard Party. That a cornered rat will in its death throes thrash out and destroy everything within its reach, including self-immolation. It may still be a while, perhaps an election cycle or two, for it to quit kicking, and those kicks are still lethal, but it will die.

If it takes a few of the one percent with it, it will be as it ever was. We can only eat so much cake.

You're either with us, or against us.

No fear.

Jimi Henderix said...

BS on the Faux influencing state races. I live in a very conservative area in California and it was conservative even before Faux existed. Hell look at the Jim Crow laws in the south or the segregation in cities like Chicago. Did all of that happen because of Faux?

Steve M. said...

Fox sustains the hate. Fox fans the flames so they keep burning.