The Unembarrassable Network

roger ailesAnother poll makes Fox News look bad. This one says Americans believe Fox News is the most uncivil network. Another recent survey showed – again – that people who only watch Fox are less informed than all other news consumers.

A lot my fellow lefties, bless their hearts, think polls like these embarrass the Fox Newsers. The awful numbers would chagrin real newshounds. I know. I used to be one.

But the folks at Fox aren’t real newshounds. They’re rabble-rousing hacks in the tradition of the country’s old-time partisan press.

Fox is the Republican Party’s propaganda ministry. Likewise, almost all 18th and 19th century American papers were mouthpieces for one party or another.

Old-time editors and publishers never let the truth stand in the way of a good story. A “good story” was one that made your party look good and the enemy party look bad.

Seldom — if ever — is seen anything on Fox News that makes Democrats look good at the expense of Republicans.

At newspapers of yore, civility was for wusses. It was no-holds-barred, kick-’em-in-the-groin. And do unto others before they do unto you.

Okay, Fox rival MSNBC leans toward the liberal side. But Fox bends miles farther to the right than MSNBC tilts leftward.

Roger Ailes, Fox News president, is proud of his right-wing Republican pedigree. For years, he was a bare-knucks GOP media consultant. Ailes famously demonized Democrats in the service of Republican presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Ailes slammed Bill Clinton as “the hippie president.”

Berry CraigAiles, the attack ad maestro, is often linked to senior Bush’s racist Willie Horton campaign spot. Ailes vehemently denies any connection to it. But he told Time magazine, perhaps too candidly, “The only question is whether we depict Willie Horton with a knife in his hand or without it.”

Anyway, Fox folks don’t give a flip about polls except the ones that gauge how Republicans are doing. Fox News chiefs don’t sweat it if their viewers know less than beans about what’s really going on in the world or if John and Jane Q Public think Fox’s talking heads are less than nice and polite.

The only thing that counts with Ailes and his well-paid hired guns on TV is the only thing that counted with old-time press lords and their lackey reporters: getting people to vote their party’s way on election day.

Berry Craig

Posted: Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Published by the LA Progressive on June 19, 2012
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About Berry Craig

Berry Craig is an emeritus professor of history at the West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah and a freelance writer. He is a member of American Federation of Teachers Local 1360, the recording secretary for the Western Kentucky Area Council, AFL-CIO, and the author of True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon and Burgoo, Hidden History of Kentucky in the Civil War, Hidden History of Kentucky Soldiers and Hidden History of Western Kentucky. He is a native of Mayfield, Ky., where he lives with his wife of 33 years and their 20-year-old son.