While I like Jay Rosen, a media critic who teaches at NYU, and as a confirmed drunk blogger, I should be endorsing his latest experiment of recording some thoughts while drinking a big glass of scotch. Here’s a taste:
On Fox, the news exists in order to generate controversy. Controversy exists in order to generate resentment. And the resentment is what generates ratings. […] Resentment of whom? A cultural elite that is corrupt and maneuvering and manipulating behind the scenes to exercise power. It’s resentment against this elite that provides the motion, the passion, the commitment, the fireworks at Fox.
Rosen goes on to point out that every story at Fox goes back to the way myths are generated: “many signifiers, one signified” or “many stories, one narrative that endures”.
Many provocations, one lesson: the liberals, the cultural elite, are at it again. This is the essence of myth. No matter what happens, the story stays the same. This is one reason why the whole notion of Fox as a news channel is a little dubious, because nothing ever changes in Fox land.
The reason I’m quoting rather than embedding the video is because his voice and manner channels a younger Wallace Shawn, which is tough to take. But if you want an insight into the power of Palin, and why she’s more of the Fox candidate than Huckabee, Romney or Pawlenty, his explanation is pretty powerful. She’s the purest embodiment of resentment towards the cultural elite on offer at Fox, even more than Rosen’s choice, Bill O’Reilly.
Update: Rosen has a sense of humor. I asked him via email if he didn’t think Palin was the better example. Here’s his response:
Palin is a more powerful example, yes. But O’Reilly was there first. And I think Fox is drafting off Palin as much as Palin is exploiting Fox.
O’Reilly: resentment news personified.
Palin: resentment politics embodied.