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Fox’s Pander-for-Profit Business Model
Plus, Josh Hawley's false choice.
Recently in The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: Paul Ryan, Fox News, and the Future of the GOP.
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AMANDA CARPENTER: Exposed: Fox’s Pander-for-Profit Business Model.
Fox News loves to project bravado, but the Dominion Voting Systems defamation lawsuit shows how deeply threatened the network is by flimsy, fringe competitors and how executives and hosts talked themselves into dishonestly pandering to viewers to keep ratings and profits up.
A pair of court filings released Monday and last week by Dominion reveals frantic discussions inside the network about losing viewers by correctly calling Arizona for Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Leaders at Fox then hushed truth-tellers and latched on to election conspiracy theories to lure viewers back.
Dominion must meet a high standard to win its $1.6 billion case. But the filings are already proving something significant, beyond the shadow of a doubt: that Fox casually and knowingly feeds its viewers lies.
BILL LUEDERS: Three Things the House GOP Should Look Into.
As Republicans start yanking the reins of power in the U.S. House of Representatives, we have entered a new era of investigations. No longer are resources being squandered on trivialities like the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol and the threat it posed to American democracy. Now the focus is on things the GOP cares about.
Many of their concerns may seem a bit ironic. Like labeling Hunter Biden a grifter while pretending that Donald Trump Jr. is not. Or claiming that Joe Biden but not Trump Sr. mismanaged the COVID-19 pandemic. Or that Biden bears sole responsibility for our military’s disastrous rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan, even though Trump gave the order for it after negotiating with the Taliban and tried to accelerate the timeline following his election loss. And then there’s the committee looking into whether Biden has weaponized the federal government against his political rivals, which Trump did all the time.
The former Speaker of the House tells Charlie Sykes a Reagan 2.0 candidate would have a shot in '24. He also discusses his relationship with McCarthy, how the base has evolved, and how he thinks Fox has "proper" conservative voices despite Tucker Carlson. Ryan and Sykes spoke at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
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MIKE ST. THOMAS: Ron DeSantis Doesn’t Believe in Democratic Education.
Ron DeSantis’s efforts to make Florida’s classrooms more conservative have been well documented and rightfully criticized. There was last year’s “Stop WOKE Act,” then the planned conservative takeover of the New College of Florida, and soon after, the state’s decision not to teach AP African American Studies. Most recently, state legislators introduced Florida House Bill 999, which would invest many of the governor’s talking points on education with the force of law by “limiting diversity efforts, vastly expanding the powers of university boards and altering course offerings” in the state’s public postsecondary institutions. DeSantis has certainly shown no qualms about treating Florida’s schools as a battleground in an ideological war.
As a high school English teacher for the last fifteen years, I think about these kinds of things a great deal. Two experiences in particular have formed my thoughts on the intersection of education and ideology.
JILL LAWRENCE: Josh Hawley’s False Choice.
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley has been trending, sadly, for presenting a false and dangerous choice to his fellow Republicans in Congress: “You can either be the party of Ukraine and the globalists or you can be the party of East Palestine and the working people of this country.”
Puh-leese. It’s absurd to suggest the United States should ignore what’s happening in the rest of the world or that America can’t handle a literal train wreck at the same time it is helping Ukraine fight to survive and bury Vladimir Putin’s imperialist delusions of resuscitating the Russian Empire. What’s even more ridiculous is that Hawley himself isn’t choosing either option. He’s made clear he wants to back away from Ukraine, to cut off aid. But he has also passed up major opportunities to help working people.
Today we’re looking at entitlement reform—mainly Social Security and Medicare—which Republicans have smartly taken off the table for the upcoming debt ceiling negotiations. But the longstanding Republican positions supporting these reforms aren’t going away, leaving some on the right in limbo when it comes to what they view as a long-term problem. We’ll also examine tonight’s primetime House hearing on China.
Social Security and Medicare are headed for insolvency—that’s just a mathematical, demographic fact. But when it comes to addressing the problem, there’s virtually nothing the two parties actually agree on. For years, Republicans have waffled between proposing cuts and kicking the can down the road.
Happy Tuesday! It’s a gorgeous day to end February, but beware the Ides of March! As a reminder: JVL has the rest of the week off, but we hope to see you this weekend at Principles First.
An evening with Paul Ryan… If you missed Charlie’s recap, it’s here. But if you want to watch the video yourself, here it is:
Walmart retreats… Growing up in Cleveland, we didn’t really have them around, and as a kid visiting family in rural Ohio, going to such a store was… a welcome culture shock. As we’re seeing, Walmarts don’t work everywhere. Washington, D.C., the city, long didn’t have the store either, until it came in 2013. I covered the grand opening back for The Weekly Standard. Three years later, Walmart dropped plans to build stores in poorer parts of the city, and just today, we’re finding out that this location on H Street is closing for good.
“America needs to stop pushing the war in Ukraine…” Kevin McCarthy’s BFF Marjorie Taylor-Greene has, uh, thoughts (if you can call them that?) on who is really responsible for the plight of the Ukrainians.
Is this censorship?! For all the complaints about cancel culture / censorship from MAGA conservatives, we’re finding out top Trump officials lobbied to cancel Jimmy Kimmel. (Which specific insult Kimmel lobbed that irked the orange guy is unclear.)
Meanwhile, in the “free state of Florida”… A look at why public record requests there take so long: Ron DeSantis “reviews” them first.
Sir, what do you make of this propaganda? Matt Gaetz used some in a hearing and Undersecretary of Defense Colin Kahl was not having it.
Herschel Walker, call your office… Turns out the campaign spent $600,000 with a firm called Jetts. Turns out it’s a defunct car wash owned by a donor. Yikes!
Your George Santos moment of Zenn… Here’s video of him taking a glam shot, alone, in front of the Capitol. Rather than, you know, expel him from Congress, Republicans are considering legislation to try and prevent Santos from cashing in on a book deal. But they need his vote, so they won’t expel him. Cowards.
“They don’t want you to watch this…” Oh yeah? I do. Well here you go: a stupid ad for another far-right “parallel economy” company. This alternative? They’re trying to be the MAGA Amazon. Get a load of their offerings. Nothing screams We The People™ like a green screen of a farm. Meanwhile, the “Starbucks of the right”—Black Rifle Coffee Company—seems to be doing, uh, not so great!
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