Keeping The Faux In Fox News: The Lunatics Control The Asylum
The market demand for lies is too huge to give up the lucrative business model
I wonder what might have gone down if anyone at Fox News had had the balls or labia to issue the following statement if it had been part of the terms of their legal settlement.
“As you most likely have heard, Fox News just settled with Dominion Voting Systems over our claims in 2020 that their systems were used to rig the election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. We claimed that Donald Trump rightfully won the election but it had been stolen from him, a falsehood we amplified along with other untruths about the election that subsequently connected us to the January 6th insurrection. As part of the terms of the settlement, we are required to level with you and admit we lied. We lied about the election. We lied about Dominion’s systems. We lied about Joe Biden stealing the election. While we lied to you we texted and messaged each other behind the scenes acknowledging there was zero evidence of widespread voter fraud. We lied in our reporting of it, and we’ve been lying about the outcome until now.
We lied because we knew if we told you the truth about what was happening on Election Night, you would likely get mad and move to one of our competitors. And that’s exactly what you did. Fox News was the first network to correctly call the swing state of Arizona for Biden-Harris. And you, our audience, moved immediately to our competitors Newsmax and One America Network, who were more than happy to tell you what you wanted to hear.
When we gave you back the lies you demanded, you returned to us. We thank you for your loyalty, support and forgiveness. We here at Fox News will have to balance what will keep us on the air and providing paychecks versus potentially getting sued. Make of that what you will, but we want you to be quite clear on something: Our competitors are also getting sued by Dominion. If Newsmax and OAN lose their suits or settle out of court as Fox did, and remember, they don’t have our deep pockets, they too will have to be more circumspect in how much they can afford to serve their audiences what they want to hear, rather than the truth.
Think about that, faithful news consumers. Fox News and our competitors have been held and are being held to account for falsehoods we told you on Election Night. If Dominion and Smartmatic prevail against the other news networks, you will have nowhere to run when the ugly truth emerges: Our side also legitimately loses elections.
We will continue to serve you as best we can but think about what we’ve said. What will you do on Election Night next year if things don’t go your way?
More crow, Foxfolks?
It seems to be part of the settlement that Fox News doesn’t have to apologize on-air to Dominion or admit their lies. While the settlement is widely regarded as a huge victory against misinformation, fake news, Donald Trump and the Republican Party, not being required to admit their falsehoods, say, three times in the week after, was a huge blow against public accountability.
Would have been interesting to watch Tucker Carlson, their top-rated, most popular liar, deliver at least one of those messages, right before they fired him.
Fox’s fantasy apology wouldn’t have read like the above. There’s no way they’d have been that truthful or criticized their audience so boldly. But it would have been arguably been the first time they ever did something to serve their country—by levelling with their audience.
Defamation lawsuits, I’ve found, are about money, not apologies. Dominion supposedly didn’t care; they wanted compensation for their fleeing clients and prospects when the fake-news coalition turned them into America’s Traitors. Deals in their pipeline dried up in the wake of allegations their machines were used to commit fraud. The Fox settlement is about ten times their current worth. They will undoubtedly be awarded more money not just in their lawsuits against Newsmax and OAN but also Mike Lindell, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and a few others.
This whole sorry debacle has rocket-boosted their power and bottom line and shaved years, maybe decades, off their growth roadmap.
Yes, we all wanted to see Tucker Carlson (or whoever was left) eat a huge helping of white supremacist crow baked in a dish of abject humility and liberally (ar ar!) seasoned with Donald Trump’s tears, on-air, apologizing and admitting they lied to their audience.
Even without the admission of their business model, a more realistic apology and ‘fess-up of their lies would have really rubbed their audience’s faces in the ugly fact that they truly are as gormless as liberals think. That it’s been confirmed how immature, how willfully ignorant, what incredible snowflakes they are, unable to handle the truth.
That America’s ‘libtards’ were right about them all along.
What does it say about America that millions of viewers want to be lied to, and will run like crying toddlers to another insular bubble to protect them from reality if you dare to confront them with it?
The road to hell, paved with bad intentions
The Idiocrac-izing of America by the Republican Party and the far right has been a First World Wayback Machine for decades. Before the 1980s, Washington D.C., and Congress in particular was able to function despite political differences. At the end of the day, so the legends from old-timers go, Republicans and Democrats came together to tip a few and maybe have dinner together after hours. They knew each other, knew their families, and even if you had considerable differences with Senator Byrd, maybe you loved his lovely wife and played with his grandkids.
When Ronald Reagan died in 2004, pundits spoke of how he was the first American President to make downright mockery of the opposition, including dinging them for admitting they’d raise taxes when he himself raised them eighteen times before he left office.
Then there was his ‘joke’ about the Democratic platform.
In 1992, as the country sweated through another election summer, critics and TV pundits commented on how the Republican National Convention’s much-vaunted ‘big tent’ was getting smaller and smaller, not to mention whiter and richer.
Then came the Clinton years, marked by a noticeable decrease in journalistic integrity and fact-checking, and Republicans more intent on bringing down Bill Clinton than fixing America’s problems. They manufactured scandal after scandal, until he played right into their hands by having launched their secret gotcha plan months before they’d even thought of it.
Once another Democratic President was in power, President You-Know-Who-Who’s-Darker-Than-You, the gloves were off. As has been famously recorded, the GOP leadership vowed to stop any mandate or objective of the Obama administration. Which they’d have done in had he been white, since they treated Bill Clinton much the same way. But now, with bald-faced racism.
It’s been downhill fast. They took a noticeably harder-right turn in 2000, when they went from watchdogging the government (the traditional role of journalism) to cheerleading America and President Bush.
Fox News served the market for right-wing perpetual aggrievement of those who felt their their ‘way of life’ was under siege. Fox wasn’t the first media outlet to offer a sop to those who voted for their own economic oppression. That begin with Reagan’s striking down the Fairness Doctrine which mandated equal time for controversial views. It’s what enabled Fox News to become a clear conservative network, with G. Gordon Liddy, conspiracy theorist Art Bell, Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk radio pioneers clearing the way.
By the time election 2020 rolled around, juiced by the Internet and the rise of social media for the previous decade, the U.S. had become a nation of multipartisan bubbles, further divided daily by the bipartisan identity politics and labels of the right and left.
The winning business model
Fox’s audience has demonstrated a second time it’s little better than a crying baby who refuses to eat its spinach. With the departure of their favorite liar, the 8:00pm evening audience formerly enthralled with Tucker Carlson has departed once again to Newsmax and One America Network, apparently unaware they’re next in the Dominion/Smartmatic lawsuits.
It demonstrates just what ‘sheeple’ we’ve accused them for decades of being.
The ‘reality-based community’ is laughing its ass off, but let’s remember, lawsuits for Klan Murdoch are simply a cost of doing business, just like most of the world’s banks continue blithely laundering money for terrorists and drug cartels because even if they get fined a few billion for breaking federal laws, they write it off as an operating expense. Too big to jail.
Fox News took their fiction factory business model, streamlined, refined, optimized, and evolved it, and turned it into the most monolithic tool for promoting conservative goals by appealing to its morally ugliest, most gullible base, and it raked in billions. Eroding and arguably destroying democracy in the process? Bonus! Their business model has never adhered to the ‘highest journalistic standards’ as they laughingly alleged after the settlement. It’s been to lie. Period.
On Election Night 2020, a few Fox News rogue idiots deviated from the corporation’s otherwise market-based content decisions and made the ill-informed choice to serve up a single ugly fact to their audience.
One little mouthful of strained spinach, and the toddlers screamed. Except, they weren’t trapped in high chairs, they were old enough to run, thumbs in mouths, to those who would protect them from those mean old Foxes.
As execrable as Fox’s lying was, lies are money. They made a rational decision to not go out of business when they returned to lying. They knew telling the truth would piss off their customers, and they couldn’t compete with real news organizations on their turf. Not with the Fox stars’ journalistic integrity skills decades out of date, if they ever existed. They knew it would damage their stock price, as came out in the behind-the-scenes mad messaging. They worried about what this would do to their bottom line, from the corporate down to the personal. Carlson fumed how they’d spent twenty-five years building their brand and reputation, all to have it destroyed in a single night with a damnable truth.
Any successful business owner or CEO would have backtracked. ‘Facts’ are the New Coke of right-wing media.
Their customers returned when Fox learned their lesson. Tucker Carlson may be a ‘twitwaffle’ as one of my Facebook friends put it, but he was the ringleader who molded a certain segment of American minds to the point where he had almost supreme power over them, ready to act on what their ‘most trusted network’ told them to do. And when Donald Trump purportedly incited a riot using, as U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta noted, “words of incitement not protected by the First Amendment,” Fox News’s stars and staff collectively pooped their pants and begged the President to tell people to stop.
It was at that moment the lunatics took over the asylum.
A Salon story details how the late Roger Ailes, one of Fox News’s founders, dreamed of a right-wing propaganda network in the early 1970s that would consist of Republican and conservative leaders issuing dictates for how people should think, arguing to weaponize TV’s passive engagement experience. (A few years later the term ‘couch potato’ would be popularized by TV Guide.)
It was nothing more than a Nixon-era pipe dream, but Fox News became the post-Fairness Doctrine baby he nurtured to psychopathic adulthood, verbally mass-shooting counterbalancing liberal thought and making the world safe for bold racism, misogyny, violent political expression, and every -phobia dear to conservative hearts.
Then the lunatics overthrew the dictators. It may be why Fox began sliding even more toward crackpot political conspiracy theories and how a compulsive liar like George Santos could get elected to anything.
I ask, nevertheless, not whether we’re being too hard on Fox News and its unquestionable American commitment to money over ethics or morality, but why his customers are so willfully blind and ignorant.
And whether we ignore, perhaps, our own potential Fox Newses on the left.
Lies, damn lies and liberalism
Media Bias Fact Check categorizes content sites by bias and factualism. Its description of ‘Left-Biased’:
“These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward liberal causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage liberal causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy.”
Here are a few of our fave-or-ite left-wings:
Alternet - Black Lives Matter - Boingboing - Change.org - CNN - Daily Beast - Feminist Current - GLAAD - Human Rights Campaign - LGBTQ Nation - Media Matters - NAACP - Occupy.com - Pink News - Rolling Stone - Slate - The Good Men Project - TruthOut - Vox
Nothing that screams ‘The future Fox News of the left.’ So far.
But the rise of authoritarianism on the left includes the shock ‘n’ awe politics of personal destruction embodied in ‘cancel culture’, the ‘deplatforming’ of controversial speakers, (not always from the far right), the censorship of books and other content, and the utter takeover by ‘woke’ ideology of cowardly university academics who meekly submit to each dictatorial demand to fire any faculty member who dares challenge their power. I’m coming to realize that America may be turning into a shade of Afghanistan, when two coalitions regularly overthrew each other for power: The Northern Alliance and the Taliban until NATO overthrew the Taliban.
Whichever one ruled that week, it wasn’t good for anyone. Except those in power. Hateful fundamentalists or fundamentalist haters? Which do you prefer?
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