Fox Is Worse Than You Thought
Their business is being the Republican party's Pravda. Plus: How the GOP hopefuls are being backed into a corner by January 6th.
1. The Problem with Fox
It is one thing for a media organization to have editorial bias. That’s the cost of doing business in a free society and we ought to regret it, but also appreciate it as a marker of freedom.
But what do you call it when a media organization’s bias extends into the back-of-the-house machinery so that it uses its business as a tool for advancing the electoral prospects of a particular party? Even going so far as to (allegedly) break the law?
Here’s the lawsuit filed by Media Matters alleging that Fox’s business side accepted money from the Biden campaign to run ads; accepted the creative from the Biden campaign; and then showed the ads to the Trump campaign in advance of their airing, so as to facilitate the Trump campaign’s response.
The complaint alleges that this was done not by some rogue underling but by Rupert Murdoch himself.
Next to everything else, slipping the Biden ads to Jared Kushner on the down-low seems minor. The ads were going to be public anyway, right? It’s just a little insider information; a tiny, if not strictly legal, in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign.
And put next to Fox’s other activities?
Fox hosts regularly making on-air statements which they do not privately believe in order to help Republican electoral prospects.
Fox employees providing regular advice and guidance to Republican politicians and operatives without disclosing their role as unpaid consultants.
Fox employees attempting to manipulate reporting in order to satisfy the demands of Republican politicians.
Next to that, the sneak preview of the ads looks like small-ball, right?
But all of that other stuff is related to the front-of-the-house parts of Fox. That’s the customer-facing part of the operation and you could argue (if you really wanted to) that such activities are the core of their business. Fox exists to earn carriage fees and advertising dollars; the best way to do so is to provide the content its audience wants, irrespective of whether such content is true or the presentation of it is compromised by relationships with political actors.
But there is no customer-facing aspect to giving away the proprietary information that flows to your business from advertisers. There is only an ideological aspect. It shows that Fox News as a business is entirely corrupted and functions not as an independent business, but as an unacknowledged arm of (in this case) the political party that controlled the executive branch of government.
In other words, Fox is to the Republican party what the Daily Worker was to the CPUSA, or Pravda was to the Kremlin. It is not truly independent at any level.1
What do you call this? Propaganda? State-run media? Something else? Either way, it’s something illiberal. Something that would not be out of place in Viktor Orbán’s Hungary.
Even Fox’s high-level employees understand this.
Here’s part of a deposition in the Dominion case that was released last night:
David Clark, senior vice president for weekend news and programming for Fox News, testified in his deposition that he was responsible for overseeing Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo. Asked whether he considered that show to be a “credible source of news,” Clark answered: “I don’t know.”
A Dominion lawyer followed up, incredulously: “You don’t know as the executive in charge of Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo, whether her show is a credible source of news?”
Clark replied: “I am going to answer the question yes.”
I have no words.
2. Trump 2024!
One of the reasons I’ve long thought that Trump has an advantage in the 2024 campaign—dating to October 2020—is because I understood that there would be a Big Lie and that the rest of the GOP would go along with it. This put them in an untenable position to run against Trump in 2024.
If a Republican candidate is required by primary voters to stipulate that: