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July 1, 2011 3:44 PM   Subscribe

Gawker's John Cook yesterday published an exclusive report on a trove of documents from the Nixon Presidential Library tracing the development of Fox News to a 1970 internal memo annotated by then-consultant Roger Ailes. Part of a 318-page cache of similar documents, the memo -- "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News" -- called for the creation of a strongly pro-Nixon news outlet operated from the White House which would disseminate partisan news packages free of charge to local affiliates across the country. By coordinating release of these targeted reports with allied politicians and duping opponents into hostile interviews, Ailes hoped to bypass the "prejudices of network news" -- a desire which led him to advocate for some unexpected political policies at the time, from campaign finance reform to anti-poverty efforts. The report comes as Fox is waging an aggressive two-front PR war with perceived ideological enemies -- calling on viewers to file IRS complaints against Media Matters' tax-exempt status for their dogged fact-checking of the network, while on-air hosts launched a campaign to label Jon Stewart "racist" after he called out their record of falsehoods following a critical interview with Chris Wallace (previously).
posted by Rhaomi (92 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Alternate Daily Show links for Canadian readers:
"...while on-air hosts launched a campaign to label Jon Stewart "racist" after he called out their record of falsehoods..."
(I think that first link goes to the Fox part of the episode; if not, here are the other parts: clip one, clip three, clip four)
posted by Rhaomi at 3:44 PM on July 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


Is it true that the Daily Show has better ratings than most shows on Fox News?
posted by drezdn at 3:48 PM on July 1, 2011


drezdn, I think the Daily Show alone has higher ratings than all Fox shows averaged together, but that includes a lot of repeats and regular newscasts that drag the numbers down. Put head-to-head, individual shows like O'Reilly and Beck (who just left the network, IIRC) come out on top.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:50 PM on July 1, 2011


I was going to post a comment but Barack Obama just invited me to a round of golf.
posted by perhapses at 3:58 PM on July 1, 2011


"Beck’s 5 p.m. ET show averaged 2.7 million viewers during the first three months of 2010, and was at just under 2 million for the same period this year, the Nielsen Co. said."

Fox News ratings for April, 2011:
Primetime (Mon-Sun): 1.862M Total Viewers / 436K A25-54
Total Day (Mon-Sun): 1.076M Total Viewers / 272K A25-54

"The Daily Show averaged 2.3 million viewers, beating every program on Fox except Bill O'Reilly's average of 2.8 million." The Raw Story, June 5 2011
posted by crunchland at 4:01 PM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


calling on viewers to file IRS complaints against Media Matters' tax-exempt status for their dogged fact-checking of the network

From your "dogged fact-checking" link:
# Conservative Media Shout "Class Warfare" To Defend Tax Breaks On Corporate Jets
# Glenn Beck's Top 5 Most Inflammatory Moments
# Parents Shouldn't Trust Beck To Educate Their Kids
# The 50 Worst Things Glenn Beck Said On Fox News
# "They Think You're Stupid": Glenn Beck's Manipulation Of His Audience

That doesn't sound like fact checking, per-se. In fact, it sounds a lot like partisan attacks.

Probably for the best that we don't embrace a liberal propaganda machine while denouncing a conservative one.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:01 PM on July 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


So we should hate this guy because he had the greatest idea ever for disseminating propaganda?
posted by Renoroc at 4:01 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


launched a campaign to label Jon Stewart "racist" after he called out their record of falsehoods

Liars want to be considered a race?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:02 PM on July 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


Quoting is now a form of partisan attack, just ask Newt.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:02 PM on July 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Cook stops here.
posted by Elmore at 4:04 PM on July 1, 2011


So we should hate this guy because he had the greatest idea ever for disseminating propaganda?

Um, yes.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:05 PM on July 1, 2011 [33 favorites]


You have to admit, Nixon would have an absolute hard-on for Fox News if he were still alive.
posted by briank at 4:07 PM on July 1, 2011


Man, Nixon really is the gift that keeps on giving. I won't be the least bit surprised if his cryogenically preserved head actually does run for president again.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:08 PM on July 1, 2011 [19 favorites]



That doesn't sound like fact checking, per-se. In fact, it sounds a lot like partisan attacks.

Probably for the best that we don't embrace a liberal propaganda machine while denouncing a conservative one.


It's not propaganda, it's reporting. Calling FOX on their bullshit does not require a liberal agenda, just a higher than room temperature IQ.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:11 PM on July 1, 2011 [45 favorites]


Tell Me No Lies, every story on that page is composed almost entirely of lengthy transcripts from the programs in question along with blockquoted text from news reports contradicting them. They're obviously pushing a viewpoint, but they're pushing that viewpoint using direct quotes, sources, video clips -- uncontested fact. It's not like they're putting out a bunch of op-eds.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:12 PM on July 1, 2011 [18 favorites]


Look, let's get one thing out of the way: news does in fact (IMHO) have a liberal bias, because good news reportage is all about uncovering the truth. Uncovering, as in revealing something that was previously unknown or even intentionally hidden. Truth, both facts and captial-T Truth, is what is revealed. When you reveal hidden truths, and enough people are moved to emotion over it, change happens. Liberals want change. The liberal raison detre is positive changes to society.

Conservatism is generally about keeping the status quo, and to do that, conservatives very often don't want certain truths to be revealed. Conservatism is about keeping things as they are, and not stirring the hornet's nest, as it were. Therefore you don't see much of a conservative bias in the news. (I'm painting with a really broad brush here, I admit).

FOX News is an odd duck when it comes to the news. They clearly are not interested in revealing hidden truths, but in selling a narrative. That the network itself was a GOP plan from decades ago doesn't surprise me in the least.
posted by zardoz at 4:20 PM on July 1, 2011 [17 favorites]


From now on, we can just refer to Fox as GNN (aka Geobbels New Network).
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:23 PM on July 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Daily Show averaged 2.3 million viewers, beating every program on Fox except Bill O'Reilly's average of 2.8 million.

How the shows are watched matters, too. You know where I see Fox News? At the gym, one or two among many TVs, and when I visit grandparents, where it plays on continuously (along with Turner Classic Movies).

In both cases, it gets half-attention at best. Still poisons our political discussions, but the same thing happened with my late grandmother in the pre-Fox era -- only it was tabloids. "Well, things I read say ....."
posted by msalt at 4:24 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


At this point, the thing that worries me as much as Fox News, if not more is that there are several large papers that have started moving to the right. Here in Milwaukee, the only daily print or online news source is the Journal Sentinel, and there news reporting has started to reflect the right wing views of the publisher.
posted by drezdn at 4:31 PM on July 1, 2011


I started reading this on not-my-usual computer so I wasn't logged in. Turns out the Google Ad is for GBTV Glenn Beck's new thing. I don't think that's really going to work...
posted by grapesaresour at 4:38 PM on July 1, 2011


So much that has been wrong about the twenty-first century seems to have its roots in the Nixon or Ford Administrations. Ailes, Rumsfeld, Cheney.

It's like the rest of us are collateral damage in an endlessly re-fought Culture War of the "silent majority" against the "hippie kids". Hell, it's arguably true that Senator Kerry lost the presidency in 2004 because of Lt. (j.g.) Kerry's testimony before the Fulbright Hearing in 1971.

These fucking entitled Baby Boomers, they always make everything about them, about their fights, their grudges, and they never stop shouting "me! me! me!" and sucking the country dry.
posted by orthogonality at 4:40 PM on July 1, 2011 [44 favorites]


How the shows are watched matters, too. You know where I see Fox News? At the gym, one or two among many TVs...

This has always been my assumption, but I've never been able to find the facts to back it up. Can anyone provide? Every - and I mean EVERY - chain car repair place (both dealer and non) I have ever been to in America plays Fox and only Fox. Sometimes it's the local Fox, which means 700 Club and the like during the day, and sometimes it's Fox News, but it is never anything else.
posted by curious nu at 4:41 PM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Gawker has been all up in Roger Ailes' face for the last few months. Yes, Nick Denton's network of sites has some issues, but they really don't pull any snarky punches when it comes to going after assholes.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:42 PM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Every - and I mean EVERY - chain car repair place (both dealer and non) I have ever been to in America plays Fox and only Fox.

Huh. My car repair places all play CNN. Viva California, I guess?
posted by The World Famous at 4:42 PM on July 1, 2011


MacDonald's also plays Fox News. Or at least the one in Minneapolis at Lake and Hennepin does. All Fox, all the time.
posted by marsha56 at 4:45 PM on July 1, 2011


Huh. My car repair places all play CNN. Viva California, I guess?

Listen, I am trying to make a huge sweeping blanket statement here. There can be no exceptions. Just wait til I get my talking points in order!
posted by curious nu at 4:52 PM on July 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


in fact (IMHO)

The failure to distinguish between in fact and IMHO is at the heart of a lot of the trouble here.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:55 PM on July 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


You know who else had the greatest idea ever for disseminating propaganda?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:02 PM on July 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't suppose you're going so say Santa? 'Cause I was told some straight up lies.
posted by maryr at 5:12 PM on July 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


You know who else had the greatest idea ever for disseminating propaganda?

That Pope guy?
posted by secondhand pho at 5:15 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Adolph... Santa?
posted by hincandenza at 5:15 PM on July 1, 2011


You know who else had the greatest idea ever for disseminating propaganda?


Ron Popeil.
I told those girls that they were "good lookin'" and that we'd be back to pick them up later, but we totally just kept drivin and never went back.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:18 PM on July 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


The Atreides?
posted by curious nu at 5:18 PM on July 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


Conservatism is generally about keeping the status quo, and to do that, conservatives very often don't want certain truths to be revealed.

That brand of stand-athwart-history-yelling-stop conservatism is as dead as the passenger pigeon in America: the modern American Republican party is devoted to a program of social and political transformation more radical than either party has attempted in two generations. If Nixon were alive today, for all that he was a racist sociopath, he'd be to the left of half the Democratic party and every Republican except Collins and Snowe on fiscal issues.

Anyway, all news is interested in promoting a narrative. Fox's narrative just happens to be really fucking evil and crazy.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 5:32 PM on July 1, 2011 [27 favorites]


Wow. This stuff is pretty much what we all assumed, but I never thought they'd actually find the document formulating it.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 5:41 PM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


MacDonald's also plays Fox News. Or at least the one in Minneapolis at Lake and Hennepin does. All Fox, all the time.

Actually, the McDonalds I've seen here in Georgia are just about the only restaurants with TVs that don't play Fox News.
posted by JHarris at 5:42 PM on July 1, 2011


It's because a lot of small business owners are republicans
posted by delmoi at 5:43 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's because it's Georgia, Jake.
posted by JHarris at 5:47 PM on July 1, 2011


the modern American Republican party is devoted to a program of social and political transformation more radical than either party has attempted in two generations.

Two generations? Hell, a century and a half. Nevertheless, this is a truth that cannot be repeated too often. There is nothing remotely "conservative" about the contemporary GOP. The party is dominated by nativist, crony-capitalist, Christianist factions that seek nothing less than the total transformation of the American polity.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:47 PM on July 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, as always, the good news here is that someday we'll all die.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:50 PM on July 1, 2011 [15 favorites]


orthogonality: "These fucking entitled Baby Boomers, they always make everything about them, about their fights, their grudges, and they never stop shouting "me! me! me!" and sucking the country dry."

I see what you're saying, but to me that attitude is not exclusive to older people, and its different iterations are what make the entire world a shittier place. Most people want their life to go their way, no matter what. Fox News and conservatism are just some of those things that give people justifications for that attitude.
posted by Red Loop at 6:02 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Koch Industries Foreign Subsidiary Admits Making Illegal Donations.

I'm sure Fox will be all over this too.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:04 PM on July 1, 2011


TheWhiteSkull: "Man, Nixon really is the gift that keeps on giving. I won't be the least bit surprised if his cryogenically preserved head actually does run for president again"

Fucker though he was, Nixon would be denounced by the current GOP as a pinko commie, and disowned by the Dems as unelectable. That's how fucked up the landscape is right now. The US is in desperate need of an anti-tea party. Of course they wouldn't win anything directly, but they would shift the Overton Window. ( cf. the Tea Party.)
posted by Jakey at 6:30 PM on July 1, 2011


It'd be so much easier if Roger Ailes could just be defenestrated via the Overton Window...
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:39 PM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why isn't there a maximum age for voting?
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 6:49 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


>>Every - and I mean EVERY - chain car repair place (both dealer and non) I have ever been to in America plays Fox and only Fox.
>Huh. My car repair places all play CNN. Viva California, I guess?


I suppose. Here in Portland, they alternate between Al Jazeera and Genesis P-Orridge videos.
posted by msalt at 6:53 PM on July 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


What politician would vote for that bill, Stonestock Relentless? It would never pass a legislative body. It'd have to be enacted in the constitution of a new state.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:55 PM on July 1, 2011


Not to make this thread all about Nixon (though I'm sure his ears are pleasantly burning up in heaven...or elsewhere) but I'm reading Nixonland, only about a quarter of the way through, and I think he would marvel at the unabashed Machiavellian mindset that helps get Republicans elected on Fox News, but he would probably disagree with almost all of the current Republican Party's platform. This is a president that signed into law many of our environmental protections (REGULATION!), the 55mph speed limit (INFRINGING ON PERSONAL FREEDOM!), ended the Gold Standard (INFLATION! UPSETTING THE CONFIDENCE OF THE MARKETS!) and went to China to personally meet with Mao (COMMUNIST! FOREIGNER!). Noam Chomsky called him the last liberal president, which is just about the saddest thing I've ever read, but (with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter) I can't help feel it's true.

On preview: Stonestock, I was going to make that exact same comment but in a more sarcastic way on the thread a few days ago about Florida privatizing its state parks, but I though better of it.
posted by MattMangels at 6:57 PM on July 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here in Portland, they alternate between Al Jazeera and Genesis P-Orridge videos
Yeah, well you should see what's on in Olympia.
posted by whir at 7:01 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid, I remember TV sets in public places were almost always were set to CNN Headline News or ESPN. The switch to Fox News everywhere seems, to me at least, to have started in the last five years, which is about as long as Fox has been beating CNN in the ratings.

Small business owners typically being Republicans explain part of it, but I figure that a lot managers just assume more people would want to watch the higher rated network. That's the only way I can explain why I see Fox News playing in the lobby of government building I've been in.

Also, Fox News viewers seem like the type who would complain loudly if they saw a TV set to any other news channel.

At least my credit union has their TV on MSNBC, which is why I keep my $26 there.
posted by riruro at 7:03 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


and went to China to personally meet with Mao (COMMUNIST! FOREIGNER! OPERA PROTAGONIST!)
posted by hippybear at 7:06 PM on July 1, 2011


Florida privatizing its state parks

This comes to mind.

Man 4: Hey, they're trying to learn for free!
Guide: [sees them] Get 'em!
Man 3: Use your phony guns as clubs!

posted by Talez at 7:15 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, well, funnily enough, Fox News' accusation against Media Matters is that they violated this one little portion of the 501(c)(3) law (pulled from DKos):

"...501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office."

So...Fox News is coming out of the closet about being a political campaign? Awesome.
posted by Slackermagee at 7:50 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ohio Gov. Kasich's administration reportedly orders TVs at the Ohio Dept of Transportation be changed from CNN to Fox News.

(However, it was just the cafeteria, and not all the TVs at ODOT-operated rest stops, as I had heard in the rumor mill.)
posted by wowbobwow at 7:52 PM on July 1, 2011


MacDonald's also plays Fox News. Or at least the one in Minneapolis at Lake and Hennepin does. All Fox, all the time.

Whaaaaaaaa? Has Uptown really become so suburbanified where McDonald's is playing FOX to appease the suburbanites?
posted by nathan_teske at 8:13 PM on July 1, 2011


There are some really interesting things in the Gawker article, beyond even the blatantly evil stuff. Particularly I'm thinking about the declaration to end poverty and pollution by 1980. I'm not one to judge whether this was a purely theatrical plan, but there are some curiosities and contextual nuances there.

1. LBJ had already sort of staked the claim to fighting poverty in the previous administration. What we see quoted of Ailes' memo there doesn't really explain how he planned for them to receive the legacy begun by their predecessor without being the ones to put it into action (as made clear by his comparisons to the moon landings.)

2. Nixon actually did enact the most important environmental legislation we've seen, well, ever. In this case, Ailes seems to be making the mistake in the wrong direction. Perhaps it's (to use exactly the wrong word) forgivable that he would imagine pollution would cease being a problem within ten years, but the plan undersells the work Nixon actually did (or at least signed into law.) Or perhaps Ailes wanted Nixon to do no further action than allowing the establishment of the EPA, and hoped that lip service would be enough. Hard to say, but odd that it's presented so cynically.

3. Gawker elides this point (it's a great article, but this is key to me) that this idea is explicitly drawn from Kennedy's promise to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Ailes says straight out that Kennedy then received the credit for doing so, even though others were the ones who brought the promise to fruition. Specifically, Nixon did. Now clearly that could only have been accomplished after phenomenal efforts under Kennedy and Johnson, but Nixon was the first President to put a man on the damned moon. In fact, he is the only world leader to have put anyone on the moon. There have been no landings since his administration. If the administration was already recognizing at the time that the credit was going to Kennedy, Nixon's famous political rival, I can imagine that smarted a little bit.

Anyway, the attacks on Stewart are less troubling to me than they are humorous. Attacking Michael Moore is one thing; he's a straight-up firebrand whose jokes don't land as often as he wants them to and whose tactics, fairly or not, can be branded as prankish or misleading. He also has physical attributes which the right doesn't need to mention overtly in order to get their base laughing at them. Attacking Al Franken can work for them as well. He's a former comedian who gave up any lingering claim to objectivity when he ran for office, and now his former career is fair game.

But attacking Jon Stewart, who has no ambition for public office and who out-foxes them every time they face off? They are further elevating a man who (sadly) is their chief adversary, and who is hard to cut damning soundbites around in those interactions. He's simply much, much smarter than they are. The goal seems to be to brand him as the Voice of the Left and thus focus their attacks on the guy on the comedy channel. This seems very, very short-sighted to me, strategically speaking.

For one thing, as I've said, Stewart always wins those debates. Even (trying my best) viewing them without bias, he just kills. He's courteous when met with bile. He lays out facts. He's charming and disarming and doesn't let the narrative go where FOXNews wants it to go. As Omar would say, you come at the King, you best not miss. They come at him constantly, and always miss.

Going deeper, when you pick as your counterpart the host of a Comedy News Show, and he comes across as more reasonable, you strain your credibility as being the reasonable balance to CNN and MSNBC. Again, it's one thing, if you're on the right, to paint someone like Michael Moore as fringe leftist. A hell of a lot of people on the left don't even like him, even as they agree with him. The left won't choose that hill to die on. But they have instead chosen Jon Stewart. In Harry Potter terminology, they have "marked him as [their] equal." This takes away from their credibility. Ironically, of course, as Stewart is far, far superior to them in reality.

But at least it should be entertaining television.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:51 PM on July 1, 2011 [18 favorites]


msalt: ">>Every - and I mean EVERY - chain car repair place (both dealer and non) I have ever been to in America plays Fox and only Fox.
>Huh. My car repair places all play CNN. Viva California, I guess?


I suppose. Here in Portland, they alternate between Al Jazeera and Genesis P-Orridge videos.
"

Mine are too busy repairing cars to have a TV.
posted by symbioid at 9:39 PM on July 1, 2011


How the shows are watched matters, too. You know where I see Fox News? At the gym, one or two among many TVs...

Ah, the perks/pitfalls of living in Washington, DC. There are 3 TVs in one of the treadmill rooms at my gym.

TV #1: C-SPAN
TV #2: C-SPAN 2
TV #3: C-SPAN 3

I swear to God, I'm not kidding.

(But, you're right. Fox News blares 24/7 in every non-union "blue collar" business on the planet. Alternatively, it's conservative talk radio. I literally quit a job because of this.)
posted by schmod at 9:51 PM on July 1, 2011


Allies Cheney and Rumsfeild are like the evil Easter Eggs in American history, put it so the fans would notice all this hilarious behind the scenes gimcrackery.
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


follow the yellow brick road.
posted by clavdivs at 10:19 PM on July 1, 2011


Is it within the realm of possibility that we quit calling it Fox News and call it what it is? I don't know, Fox Comedy, or Fox Dark Comedy, or Fox Politicizing, or Fox Propaganda? I like that last best -- maybe Fox Prop.

Every time we call it Fox *News* rather than call it what it is ie propoganda and/or entertainment, it sets a bit deeper into the consciousness of anyone who hears it, including the person who spoke it.

It's like they call themselves "News Corp" and rather than pronouncing Corp as in corporation, which is absolutely what it is, they try to give it legitimacy, even authority, by pronouncing it Corp, as in Marine Corp, Peace Corp, or whatever legitimate organization you want.

Call it semantics if you want but it really is important, they've got every person in this thread writing it as Fox News and it goddamn sure is not that.

Words are important.

Fox Prop. But that doesn't ring, really -- whaddaya got?
posted by dancestoblue at 11:09 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fox Corp(s)?
posted by Rhaomi at 11:54 PM on July 1, 2011


Oh wait, you said that lent it legitimacy. IMHO, it imparts the martial, lockstep, doctrinaire mindset that typifies the network.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:16 AM on July 2, 2011


"Like a Fox"
posted by clavdivs at 1:31 AM on July 2, 2011


These fucking entitled Baby Boomers, they always make everything about them, about their fights, their grudges, and they never stop shouting "me! me! me!" and sucking the country dry.

Thank you, Bill O' Reilly, for that insight.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:38 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't like Fox Prop, it's too angry and there's already too much angry shouting on most of the politicized parts of the internet. Think more. . . Fox Talk. Because that's all they're doing, really, is talking. They're making noise and rabble rousing and back and forthing, but nothing of substance comes out.

If you want to rebrand someone, you go for the subtlest snark possible. Fox Talk sounds like a nice fireside chat, a friendly conversation over whiskey in the den while the wives are watching the kids. It's something a lot of conservatives want, and on some level that's what Fox is already giving them: regressive faux-intellectual speech we should've known better than to take seriously fifty years ago and unnecessary fear mongering with a light side of poorly motivated victim blaming.
posted by sandswipe at 4:00 AM on July 2, 2011


I've called it Faux News for quite a while now. It's a nice pun and is also a legitimate description of the service.
posted by hippybear at 4:16 AM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know where I see Fox News? At the gym, one or two among many TVs, and when I visit grandparents, where it plays on continuously (along with Turner Classic Movies).

Almost every doctor or dentist office I've visited usually has FOX News playing on the ubiquitous flat screens. A ton of fast-food places play FOX. Basically, any business that has a customer waiting room usually has a flat-screen playing FOX. I've even been in sports bars which, amongst the dozens of screen playing sports shows, there will be at least one screen playing FOX.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:51 AM on July 2, 2011


Almost every doctor or dentist office I've visited usually has FOX News playing on the ubiquitous flat screens. A ton of fast-food places play FOX. Basically, any business that has a customer waiting room usually has a flat-screen playing FOX. I've even been in sports bars which, amongst the dozens of screen playing sports shows, there will be at least one screen playing FOX.

While I don't recommend using it in a sports bar, all those other places are perfect opportunities to use one of these.

Also, seriously? I can't remember the last time I was in a place which had FauxNews running which wasn't a bank. And I live in a pretty conservative part of WA state.
posted by hippybear at 5:58 AM on July 2, 2011


Look, let's get one thing out of the way: news does in fact (IMHO) have a liberal bias

Let's get something out of the way: news doesn't have an inherent liberal bias. Across the world, liberals and lefties are just as capable of claiming that outright bollocks are truth.

The reason why facts and modern republicanism don't tend to go hand in hand is because modern republicanism is so far to the right that it has left 90% of what would be the political landscape in most other countries to its left. It is party that is, in its current form best on extremist dogma.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:18 AM on July 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


The basic problem is that cable news is a great business model. You can't really TiVo it because the whole point is that it's live, it's cheap to produce, nonstop, and if you're watching it the way described (half watching, or in waiting rooms) then no one cares if it's half commercials.

If you really wanted to get rid of fox, you'd need to disrupt that model. I think the only way to do so would be a dozen more channels like it, to split up the audience and make the advertising less lucrative.
posted by condour75 at 6:53 AM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here in Portland, they alternate between Al Jazeera and Genesis P-Orridge videos
Yeah, well you should see what's on in Olympia.
posted by whir at 7:01 PM


Oh yeah? Well in Santa Cruz muffler shops hire Wavy Gravy to come in person and entertain you while you wait.
posted by 445supermag at 7:01 AM on July 2, 2011


Has Uptown really become so suburbanified where McDonald's is playing FOX to appease the suburbanites?

I don't think it's meant to please their customer base. Quite the contrary. Along with the uncomfortable plastic seats, it's meant to prevent anyone from hanging around any longer than necessary. Certainly works for me. So, why do I go there at all? Because it's one block from a major transit hub, and a convenient and cheapest possible place to use a restroom and grab a quick bite.
posted by marsha56 at 7:03 AM on July 2, 2011


Pretty sure they want people to hang out, they see Starbucks as competition now.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:22 AM on July 2, 2011


Noam Chomsky called him the last liberal president, which is just about the saddest thing I've ever read, but (with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter) I can't help feel it's true.

Rick Perlstein disputes Chomsky's characterization of Nixon as "the last liberal president," because Nixon was primarily focused on foreign policy and dismissed domestic policy as "building outhouses in Peoria." The reason that there were still some liberal domestic policy achievements during the Nixon Administration had more to do with Kennedy and Johnson holdovers in the federal bureaucracy than with any liberal convictions on Nixon's behalf.
posted by jonp72 at 8:27 AM on July 2, 2011 [3 favorites]




Although I can't take credit for it, I like calling Fox "Der Foxischer Beobachter".
posted by dhens at 2:10 PM on July 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Although I can't take credit for it, I like calling Fox "Der Foxischer Beobachter".

I have to admire someone like you who's willing to play the long odds with respect to puns.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:33 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am so glad that FOX news is a paid subscription channel in Canada. I am mercifully spared its uber-presence.
posted by Vindaloo at 7:27 PM on July 2, 2011


I've been suspecting and arguing this was the case forever now, but I never, never expected there to be such a stupidly obvious paper trail. It's like a conspiracy out of a comic book.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:59 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shouldn't this kind of thing be a crime of some sort? Well, you can argue not a million ways, but I think it should be.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:59 PM on July 2, 2011


"There are 3 TVs in one of the treadmill rooms at my gym.
TV #1: C-SPAN
TV #2: C-SPAN 2
TV #3: C-SPAN 3
I swear to God, I'm not kidding.


One exercise room for the Senate staffers, one for the House staffers... but which channel do the White House interns watch?!
posted by markkraft at 12:25 AM on July 3, 2011


But attacking Jon Stewart, who has no ambition for public office and who out-foxes them every time they face off?

They attack Stewart because it get's the most buzz. Stewart has an active and vocal fan base who will repeat the story all over the places where FOX news itself has no traction (like MeFi or Reddit).
posted by doctor_negative at 7:57 AM on July 3, 2011


Tell Me No Lies: "That doesn't sound like fact checking, per-se. In fact, it sounds a lot like partisan attacks.

Probably for the best that we don't embrace a liberal propaganda machine while denouncing a conservative one.
"

I know this is kind of belaboring your point in a way, but... Is FOX then calling for the non-profit status of Media Research Center to be revoked as well? I thought Accuracy In Media was also 501(c)3 but apparently they just say they're "non profit" but not registered (from the little bit I found).

Look I'd love all non-profits to be 100% non-partisan, but the fact is that in our current climate, anybody can claim to be non-profit regardless of actual affiliation. Or is it because it's not "fact-checking" and more "attack the conservatives only" that it seems more troubling?

I see where you're coming from and in a way it would be more appropriate to call them another PR firm, one whose mission is to attack their political opponents biases.

Technically it IS fact checking, just checking one side... I hate sounding like I'm defending them, because I DO think there's a need for a real non-biased fact checking institution, and we do haveFact Check and Politifact. I bet you that if FOX News had the chance, they'd be railing on these groups as well.

So let the liberals have their biased fact-checkers, the conservatives have theirs and then have one that examines both sides. If you're going to allow 501(c)3 exempt status for one ideological fact-checking group, then you are going to have to allow it for all. If you're going to revoke it for Media Matters (and FAIR as well), then MRC and MEMRI needs to have theirs revoked.
posted by symbioid at 8:11 AM on July 3, 2011


"Is it within the realm of possibility that we quit calling it Fox News and call it what it is? I don't know, Fox Comedy, or Fox Dark Comedy, or Fox Politicizing, or Fox Propaganda? I like that last best -- maybe Fox Prop.

Every time we call it Fox *News* rather than call it what it is ie propoganda and/or entertainment..."
posted by dancestoblue at 7:09 AM on July 2 [1 favorite +] [!]

Protainment? Enterganda?
posted by marienbad at 10:33 AM on July 3, 2011


Propatainment
posted by msalt at 11:04 AM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I hate sounding like I'm defending them, because I DO think there's a need for a real non-biased fact checking institution, and we do haveFact Check and Politifact. I bet you that if FOX News had the chance, they'd be railing on these groups as well."

I think they've settled for only mentioning them when they negatively rate people like Stewart, Maddow, and Obama. I've seen fringier sources play weird six-degrees-of-separation games connecting PolitiFact and FactCheck to George Soros and William Ayers, though. There have even been attacks like this on Snopes due to their consistent bulldozing of conservative chain emails.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:16 PM on July 3, 2011


From the National Organization for Marriage's website (emphasis mine):
Consistent with its 501(c)(4) nonprofit status, NOM works to develop political messaging, build its national grassroots email database of voters, and provide political intelligence and donor infrastructure on the state level, with a focus on developing new strategies for increasing influence in the Northeast and West Coast, where marriage is most under threat.
From Media Matters:
Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.
BTW, I'm not cherry picking - those are the first sentences I found on either websites 'about' page.

Anyone know the difference betweeen 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4)?
posted by maryr at 7:11 AM on July 4, 2011


(Oops, meant to highlight that last phrase in the MM quote as well, sorry about that).
posted by maryr at 7:11 AM on July 4, 2011


One of the biggest reasons all these small businesses play Fox News on the flatscreen TVs inside their waiting rooms etc is simply that Fox News looks better than all the other news networks when played on flatscreen TVs with or without sound. The graphics are simple. There are bullet points. There are titles below the anchors and hosts explaining what the story is. There are no weird off-center angles or cameras moving around a lot. The anchors and hosts don't wave their arms around or walk around the set. Everyone looks good and the lighting is flattering and the backdrops in the studios look great and don't hurt your eyes if you look at them too long. You can pick up watching right in the middle of any given program or segment and figure out what's happening within about five seconds. The only exception to this was Beck but he's gone now. It just seems to me that part of why they get such big ratings on cable is that as pure television it is produced very well.
posted by citron at 12:58 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone know the difference betweeen 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4)?

Wikipedia has brief outlines of 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4). The main difference is that (4) organizations can lobby directly for legislation and do political stuff.
posted by hippybear at 4:47 AM on July 5, 2011




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