How Fox is helping Obama
December 14, 2011 7:40 AM   Subscribe

How Fox News is Helping Barack Obama's Re-election Bid (via Naked Capitalism)
posted by wittgenstein (50 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
By covering Republican candidates?
posted by box at 7:47 AM on December 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


I suppose the Guardian would know, given their experience inadvertently helping George W. Bush's re-election bid.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 7:50 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Think of it this way. Obama is the greatest thing ever to happen to Fox News. It gets the people who watch their shows all riled up to watch their shows. Fox would lose ratings if Obama was not President of the United States.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:52 AM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


Heh. They are a bit trapped in the Fox bubble; the extreme hysteria that has been inculcated into their viewers means that they cannot easily shift to promoting someone who does not share that hysteria. Fox (and now, apparently, core Republican) support is based on that constant drumbeat of hysteria, and any slowing of the beat really means a lessening of power over the group.

It's hard to see how that dynamic can change, but it's noticeable that the financial prizes in the Republican party often now go to whoever can shout most intensely.
posted by jaduncan at 7:54 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Related: One of Andrew Sullivan's readers on how moving to a la carte cable might kill off Fox New's influence.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:58 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't stand Fox News Channel, but I don't understand why folks on the left get so worked up about it. It's just one fake news channel out of several fake news channels. "How dare the neo-cons even have one fake news channel they can watch without letting their guard down!"
posted by resurrexit at 7:59 AM on December 14, 2011


Because Fox News is predicated on actively making the country dumber.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:00 AM on December 14, 2011 [16 favorites]


We're through the looking glass here, people. I'm half convinced that Newt Gingrich is deliberately trying to throw the race to Obama just so Newt can score some big-time fees on the lecture circuit, railing against the "evil socialist" in the White House.
posted by SPrintF at 8:01 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


It has an undue influence on the Republican primaries, and thus pushes the national political discourse to the right. They don't have to fight for the general, they have to fight for the primaries and to create the memes that can help sway the election.

It's not a fake news channel, it's targeted agitprop.
posted by jaduncan at 8:03 AM on December 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


Actually it's predicated on making money. It just so happens that whipping up outrage through selective reporting is fantastic at making money. Fox news is an organization with an ideological bent, but that ideology only exists so long as it is profitable. If 80% of Americans had decent critical thinking skills, Fox news wouldn't exist.
posted by modernnomad at 8:04 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Shhhh, don't tell Fox News that they are doing this, because then they will start to actually think about what they are doing and try to pick better candidates!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:05 AM on December 14, 2011


Every time you say that Fox News is no better or worse than any other 24 hour news channel realize that you're paraphrasing a Fox New talking point.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:12 AM on December 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


Fox News 2012? Nearly All Potential GOP Candidates on Fox News Channel Payroll
posted by jonp72 at 8:13 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Nonsense. Fox News is qualitatively different than MSNBC?
posted by resurrexit at 8:13 AM on December 14, 2011


Why do I have the feeling I'm about to see a claim that Rachel Maddow is a mirror image of Sean Hannity?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:18 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Don't get me wrong, MSNBC is dumber than a bag of wet hair. But it is qualitatively different from Fox News.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:19 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why do I have the feeling I'm about to see a claim that Rachel Maddow is a mirror image of Sean Hannity?

Chris Hayes is Greta Van Sustren.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:20 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


One of Andrew Sullivan's readers on how moving to a la carte cable might kill off Fox New's influence.

I'm afraid I can't share this reader's optimism. In Spain, cable is close to non-existent, but the introduction of free-to-view digital terrestrial television has produced a flurry of almost comically rightwing channels that nearly make Fox News look fair and balanced indeed. As the last link notes, they aren't earning much money, but this is mostly because there are so many of them!
posted by Skeptic at 8:24 AM on December 14, 2011


Fox News is qualitatively different than MSNBC?

Fox News gave out lists of Tea Party gatherings, and websites to visit for more information, during news shows. Not opinion shows, news shows, with an anchor taking a break from the top stories to promote specific political rallies. That doesn't happen by accident. MSNBC uses its news shows to broadcast news stories.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:25 AM on December 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


Santorum for President.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:26 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think skeptic points out the reason Fox has "undue" influence. It's the only American channel like it and, very sadly, likely to remain so. On the other hand, if people want their news fair and balanced in the other direction, there are choices that differ only in degree. Cable choice wouldn't hurt Fox News in the least.
posted by resurrexit at 8:28 AM on December 14, 2011


MSNBC uses its news shows to broadcast news stories. celebrity scandals and missing blonde girl stories.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:28 AM on December 14, 2011


Republicans like reality TV

Fox is good at producing reality TV.

Fox is treating the Republican primary as a reality show to boost its ratings to its core audience.

Successful candidates are thus those reality show contestants who produce the best ratings for Fox.
posted by bonehead at 8:29 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


So the dark-horse candidate people talk about might be Omarosa?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't stand Fox News Channel, but I don't understand why folks on the left get so worked up about it. It's just one fake news channel out of several fake news channels

You hate Fox News Channel less than I hate false equivalencies.
posted by inigo2 at 8:43 AM on December 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm waiting for the moment when Fox announces "OK, we hyped/destroyed all these other losers just to show you how awesome SARAH PALIN really is, and we're totally behind her now. Really, this is how awesome she is. Vote Palin!" and then Obama actually has to put some effort into it.
posted by Runes at 8:44 AM on December 14, 2011


Wait then Obama would have to put some effort into it?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:44 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Fox can't have a tournament of champions without at least a few former seasons primaries. I bet that they'll save Palin for 2016, when they've got a few saved up.
posted by bonehead at 8:51 AM on December 14, 2011


This is good news for John McCain!
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:54 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


this is going to be a long election cycle on mf
posted by lampshade at 8:58 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Fox News is qualitatively different than MSNBC?

It is certainly quantitatively different. Their prime viewership is larger than all the other cable news networks combined and it's total viewership isn't far behind that mark.

The Scoreboard: Monday, December 12
25-54 demographic (Live +SD)

* Total day: FNC: 290 | MSNBC: 118 | CNN: 113 | HLN: 89
* Primetime: FNC: 499 | MSNBC: 137 | CNN: 176 | HLN: 137

Source
posted by VTX at 9:06 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fox News is just disorienting to me, beyond parody.

I only really consider it when it is placed as background entertainment in some place I can't avoid it(doctor's waiting room, airports). Then it feels like I have become trapped in a kind of random re-education facility, urging me to be angry, and pointing to the villains that I need to oppose. Interrupted by commercials, a preposterous percentage of commercials. Then back to what you need to know about them and how they are screwing you out of something.

It appears that most of the other people in these pseudo-involuntary public confinements are actively ignoring this (usually) blaring intrusion unsuccessfully. It fills the gaps in every space, and seems to make the people in these spaces vaguely tenser, a little more coiled, as if a half step closer to triggered flight responses.

While I'm fairly certain that being involuntarily yelled at by anything in pseudo-confinement will have that effect, and I am also repulsed by other news channels that way(or the enforced Bravo at the car dealer that caused me to stand in the rain for five minutes for a break), it always seems a little more raw with Fox. The newsreader seems in the same state of heightened response to incredulous facts that must be related with immediacy, always immediacy. They seem to be on the verge of hysteria all the time.

That must be an exhausting job. It certainly seems pretty trying on the the people immersed in it.
posted by dglynn at 9:28 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Nonsense. Fox News is qualitatively different than MSNBC?"

Yes, by quite a lot actually.

Not only is Fox News intentionally built as a house organ for the Republican party, watching Fox News makes you quantitatively less informed than watching anything else or even no news at all.

MSNBC supports some liberal positions, but came to that mostly through the ratings success of Keith Olberman, and again it's important to dispel the false equivalency by reminding of the context: MSNBC moved more "left" when, around 2006, it became critical of the Iraq War in contrast to other mainstream media outlets. MSNBC was right, if late.

Fox News is a sensationalistic churn of Republican talking points, in the style of the party press in the late 1800s. They're incredibly successful in using the model built by talk radio to turn reactionary conservatism into entertainment, as pioneered by Rush Limbaugh.

As an example, at this very moment, MSNBC and Fox News are covering Obama's speech to the troops on ending the Iraq War. MSNBC has made their focus the high unemployment and suicide rates among veterans; Fox News is crediting Bush for the victory in Iraq, complaining that Obama didn't commit as many troops, and saber rattling against Iran.

Arguing that there's no qualitative difference seems to be ignorant coming from you; coming from Fox it's willfully misleading and disingenuous.
posted by klangklangston at 9:32 AM on December 14, 2011 [27 favorites]


this is going to be a long election cycle on mf

This is going to be a long election cycle in the US
posted by TedW at 9:57 AM on December 14, 2011


I know you know I'm not a Faux News apologist, but this is just from the Wikipedia intro paragraph for MSNBC:
Following several years in which many observers noted promotion of liberal political positions and emergence of politically partisan views in the channel's programming, MSNBC publicly acknowledged its progressivism in October 2010 while launching a marketing campaign with the tagline "Lean Forward."[10][11][12][13][14][15][16] In a June 2011 interview, MSNBC president Phil Griffin stated that "MSNBC has established a sensibility, a position, a platform" and that "MSNBC is really the place to go for progressives."[17]
We can debate about whether they're just trying to cash in on what FNC's been doing, and whether MSNBC might have a better veneer over what they do than Fox, they're both selling the same snake oil. They use the news as a segue for what they want to talk about, whether it's harping on a health care crisis or that Iran is hiding under your bed.
posted by resurrexit at 10:27 AM on December 14, 2011


"Chum bucket"

apply to anything in this thread that suits you.
posted by edgeways at 11:09 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


"We can debate about whether they're just trying to cash in on what FNC's been doing, and whether MSNBC might have a better veneer over what they do than Fox, they're both selling the same snake oil. They use the news as a segue for what they want to talk about, whether it's harping on a health care crisis or that Iran is hiding under your bed."

No, they're not. And again, I think you just don't have a very informed opinion on this. FAIR documents corporate pushback mitigating the liberal lean of MSNBC, and MSNBC viewers perform better on tests of news knowledge than Fox News readers do. You're drawing a false equivalency — and I'd also remind you of the adage that "truth has a liberal bias." MSNBC's "progressive" reporting includes things like acknowledging that humans contribute to climate change, that the Iraq war was a quagmire, and that the bank bailouts ended up being a debacle marked by a large private capture of public treasure. That's qualitatively different than the anti-factual reporting and opining that Fox does.

Even a cursory browse of Politifact on MSNBC versus Fox shows that the misrepresentations are rife on Fox, and that the primary misleading claims on MSNBC tend to come from the right. (And Politifact is even overly deferential to Republican claims in order to avoid charges of bias.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:21 AM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'd also remind you of the adage that "truth has a liberal bias."

Well there is just no arguing with that. :) But I'd remind you of the adage quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
posted by resurrexit at 11:40 AM on December 14, 2011


But I'd remind you of the adage quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

Did you even read the rest of his post?
posted by inigo2 at 11:41 AM on December 14, 2011


I did and wasn't impressed. People have been citing MediaMatters, FAIR, Politifact, etc., but no one here cites Newsbusters or the Media Research Center. (Because they're WRONG!1!)

People on both sides are convinced the other side is lying or distorting reality when, most of the time, one side is just reporting the glass as half empty and the other says it's half full.

This is why I think Fox News is contemptible and MSNBC is unoriginal and lame, but I don't get mad at either of them for having "influence" in their party's primary.
posted by resurrexit at 11:48 AM on December 14, 2011


I don't get mad at either of them for having "influence" in their party's primary.

Allegedly.
posted by resurrexit at 11:53 AM on December 14, 2011


Both sides are bad, so vote Republican.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:21 PM on December 14, 2011


Fox News organizes and provides GOP talking points (see also: the Tea Party). MSNBC at best parrots the same for the Democrats, and there's plenty of times that their correspondents have taken GOP talking points at face value.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:35 PM on December 14, 2011


"I did and wasn't impressed. People have been citing MediaMatters, FAIR, Politifact, etc., but no one here cites Newsbusters or the Media Research Center. (Because they're WRONG!1!)"

Perhaps you're unimpressed because you don't understand what an ad hominem fallacy looks like. Dismissing the FAIR piece because it comes from FAIR without addressing the claims made within it (which are fairly well sourced — another bit of false equivalency, comparing it and MediaMatters to Newsbusters). Further, Politifact is expressly non-partisan, while FAIR is openly liberal. Neither Newsbusters nor Media Research Center are non-partisan, while they pretend to be (especially Media Research Center).

"People on both sides are convinced the other side is lying or distorting reality when, most of the time, one side is just reporting the glass as half empty and the other says it's half full. "

Except that's not really what's happening at all. Again, this is a false equivalency born of ignorance — though since I've mentioned that several times, and you've yet to support yourself with anything outside of an out-of-context Wikipedia blurbs. For example, the Wikipedia paragraph you list as "influence" on the primary, actually links through to a study done by Pew of relative coverage of candidates, which does show that Obama received more positive coverage, but lists the causes of that as being primarily driven by polling. Likewise, major detriments to McCain's coverage included things like selecting Sarah Palin (and her subsequent media stumbles). Any objective observer has to concede that Palin was a detriment to McCain (as well as his foibles like suspending the campaign to "deal with the economy").

The fundamental finding wasn't that media coverage drove opinion, but rather that it reinforced it, and that's a broad statement that applies to all the major media outlets, and is thus insufficient to make a case for MSNBC driving the influence.

So, you don't really know what you're talking about, and have retreated to a lazy position out of that ignorance. I hope you take some time to really read through these studies (especially the Pew one) and gain a broader understanding of the media environment.
posted by klangklangston at 12:42 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Cable news is dumb, period. FOX News is no special snowflake in this regard.

The complex issues of politics do not lend themselves to worthwhile discussion in a pithy TV format. Real understanding requires reading, research, careful consideration. This does not happen in 30 minute commercial-filled blocks.
posted by legion at 1:08 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think the whole problem with the GOP primary is not enough princesses. Even ONE princess would be a marvel on Fox, and conservative women voters would push her and Newt G. straight into the White House.
posted by sneebler at 6:26 PM on December 14, 2011


People on both sides are convinced the other side is lying

Fox has, multiple times, had to go to court to defend a practice of knowingly broadcasting false information during news shows (colloquially, "lying"). They've won their cases, not through any finding that they weren't lying, but because it's not actually illegal to broadcast false newscasts. (Regretfully, I have to agree with that judgment, though I fantasize about it costing them their license).

As far as I know other news networks have not done this.
posted by hattifattener at 9:34 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


MSNBC kind of positioned itself as the counter to Fox (or perhaps, Olbermann positioned it that way).

Which means... telling the truth, mostly. Albeit in what is frequently a troll-like manner.

And then there's HuffPo, where politics is just a subclass of "SHOCKING!" celebrity gossip.
posted by Foosnark at 7:39 AM on December 15, 2011


Politifact, R.I.P.
posted by homunculus at 1:01 PM on December 20, 2011


Jon Stewart Crushes Fox News In The 2011 Ratings
posted by homunculus at 12:29 PM on December 29, 2011


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