Fox News: “Servile Propaganda Operation”

Jane Mayer, arguably America’s best investigative reporter, exposes Fox News as the “servile propaganda operation” it is in a blockbuster story in the current edition of The New Yorker:The Making of the Fox News White House.”

It’s not that we didn’t already know or suspect much of what Mayer covers in her report; it’s that she brought new facts to the surface, shed light on shadowy relationships and connected many dots, all in a single story. Here are some highlights Mayer herself tweeted or retweeted:

We’ve said more than once around here that if Fox News had been around in Nixon’s day, he might have survived Watergate. The final graf of Mayer’s story reiterates that point:

Jerry Taylor, the co-founder of the Niskanen Center, a think tank in Washington for moderates, says, “In a hypothetical world without Fox News, if President Trump were to be hit hard by the Mueller report, it would be the end of him. But, with Fox News covering his back with the Republican base, he has a fighting chance, because he has something no other President in American history has ever had at his disposal—a servile propaganda operation.”

That doesn’t go far enough. Leaving aside the Mueller report, Trump’s public antics to date should have caused his “presidency” to collapse in scandal.

Fox News has been a cancer since its inception, but its fusion with Trump made it more reckless and powerful. The GOP has leveraged stupidity and hate to fight democracy and advance the interests of plutocrats for generations, but its merger with Trump made it more openly racist, sexist, xenophobic and greedy, as it mirrors the qualities of the demagogue it animated and sustains. Mayer skillfully lays all this out in a must-read story.

I have no idea how to address our nation’s Fox News problem, but blowing the lid off the network’s shenanigans as Mayer did seems important. One thing Fox News relies on — it’s founding principle, really — is the timidity of the mainstream Beltway press, most members of which have long pretended that Fox News is just a regular old cable news network.

Remember when the Obama administration correctly observed that Fox is “not a news organization,” sending cable news personality Jake Tapper and others to the fainting couches? Well, the Obama administration was right then, and the problem is even worse now.

Tapper and Co. righteously (and rightly) harangue Trump for painting targets on the backs of reporters; maybe a glimpse of how seamlessly Fox News amplifies and justifies Trump’s attacks will cause the Tappers of the world to reevaluate their “sister network.” Haha, nope, probably not!

Anyhoo, in my more optimistic moments, I hope Trump’s shit-Midas touch will boomerang back, causing the lies he flings as artifacts of projection to stick to their rightful objects. It’s Trump who’s the fucking crook. It’s his Republican lackeys who engage in witch hunts. Voter fraud that supposedly benefits Democrats isn’t a real problem, but election fraud to benefit Republicans damn sure is. There’s a crime wave alright, but it’s not undocumented immigrants — it’s corrupt white collar crooks and influence peddlers. And Fox News is fake news.

I don’t have a lot of hope that any of this will come to pass, but Mayer’s latest piece sure wraps up the last bit neatly. If the “view from nowhere” media yappers and Fox News reporters who still regard themselves as actual journalists are going to keep pretending that Fox News is legitimate, their delusion must be classified henceforth as “willful.”

PS: Sorry about the Twitter chain above — that’s not my preferred format. But since all of these tweets are from Mayer’s feed, it seemed like the simplest way to highlight what she thought were the most important aspects of the story. But do read the whole thing!






129 replies
  1. 1
    hueyplong says:

    Funny how no matter how bad you think it is, in reality it’s always worse.

  2. 2
    Mike in NC says:

    The 88 year old Murdoch has spent many years cultivating fascism. He cannot die soon enough.

  3. 3
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Remove T and Fux from the scene, and you still have ~60 million brainwashed idiots.

  4. 4
    jonas says:

    Wow @JaneMayerNYer reports Ailes fed Trump debate questions before the first GOP primary debate on Fox in 2015

    God, remember how much Trump and the Republicans were screeching about Donna Shalala supposedly giving Hillary a heads-up about certain topics that she might be asked about on the CNN-hosted debate? Every accusation is a confession. This started out as a jokey meme, but it’s absolutely true. All Mueller has had to do is take notes on what Trump accuses others of and start connecting dots.

  5. 5
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    for highlighting that former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, relied on an alt-right website fan with no known journalistic credentials for her research!

    It’s all Turtles all the way down, one more stupid than the other.

  6. 6
    The Dangerman says:

    Hold on. Are you telling me Hannity, Jessee Waters, and Diamond and SIlk are all hacks?

    I hope they and the rest of the asshole brigade (who made money their being assholes; see Gutfeld, who almost literally drops his pants and goes “nyah, nyah, nyah” on his show) saved up their money.

  7. 7
    scav says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: Mmmm, I think some of those turtles are callously indifferent, some are malicious and others are in it for the giggles. Not all turtles of inadequate mental capacity.

  8. 8
    MattF says:

    ‘Servile’ is a good word, and points to a systemic weakness in the Fox Version of Events. Fox has to follow and support every twist and turn in a delusional old asshole’s world. There are times where that just doesn’t work.

    However, Fox news has mastered the art of manipulating the opinions of angry, delusional old assholes, so it’s debateable whether the turmoil in their minds is an advantage or a disadvantage.

  9. 9
    Citizen Alan says:

    if Fox News had been around in Nixon’s day, he might have survived Watergate.

    Hell, if Fox News had been around in 1938, we’d all be speaking German today.

  10. 10
    Mike J says:

    Using presidential power to stop rich people from becoming richer might actually get Republicans on board for impeachment. I can’t think of anything else Trump could do that could get to 67 votes.

  11. 11
    germy says:

    @Mike in NC:

    He cannot die soon enough.

    If he dropped dead today, the machine he built would keep rolling on. I have no faith that his offspring would change course. And the machine is full of employees who learned from the master.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    FlipYrWhig says:

    The thing that really, truly wrecked American politics was the simultaneous rise of Fox News and decline of the local newspaper. Nowadays old people who like to keep track of current events get this overheated rush of symbolic culture-war nonsense when they used to get upset about slow-moving pothole repairs. And they vote accordingly.

  14. 14
    Brachiator says:

    I am going to have to steal a little time to read the full story. I saw links a couple of times and wanted to save it for later.

    I really like how Mayer leverages social media to update her own story and to bring it to potential readers’ attention. And it helps that it appears to be a solid piece of journalism.

  15. 15
    VOR says:

    @jonas: Donna Brazile, not Shalala. Brazile at the time was both vice-chair at the DNC and a CNN commentator. The tip was that someone would ask a question about helping the people of Flint, MI. And lo and behold, someone asked HRC about the water at an event in Flint.

    As I sure you recall, the lead contamination in the water in Flint was a huge national story at the time. IMHO it seems blindingly obvious there would be questions about this topic at any debate or event. No candidate ought to need a tip to be prepared for such a question.

  16. 16
    Archon says:

    Even at the time I thought a major under reported story and turning point for our country was when the Obama administration correctly wanted to treat Fox News as as a right-wing arm of the Republican party and the “mainstream” media decided to back Fox. That’s when I really accepted the idea that the media is/was going to play a BIG part in America’s decline. Nothing that media has done to hurt democracy since that point has surprised me.

  17. 17
    Mary G says:

    Jane Mayer is a national treasure who points out that the emperor has no clothes. I wish I thought it would make a difference, but “Dark Money” didn’t do much but make the evil people double down when nothing changed.

  18. 18
    germy says:

    @Brachiator: I wonder if Fox News will report on Mayer’s story. My guess is they’ll ignore it, and so their viewers will never know.

  19. 19
    Plato says:

    @MattF:

    angry, delusional old assholes

    Going by the images and videos of tiki torch carrying magats, it’s not just the old assholes who are smitten with the racist totus thug. It’s the whole white klan.

  20. 20
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @scav:

    Mmmm, I think some of those turtles are callously indifferent, some are malicious and others are in it for the giggles. Not all turtles of inadequate mental capacity.

    Perhaps, except there is the example of Flat Earthers were these “wits” get so into their nonsense that they start believing it after a while.

  21. 21
    Betty Cracker says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The thing that really, truly wrecked American politics was the simultaneous rise of Fox News and decline of the local newspaper.

    Quoted for truth.

  22. 22
    patrick II says:

    “I once asked Rupert Murdoch why he was so opposed to the European Union. ‘That’s easy,’ he replied. ‘When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.'” Anthony Hilton.

  23. 23
    germy says:

    @Plato: Yes, lots of young faces at the trump rallies. And the ones who ignore fox tv get their “news” from a million other hate sources online. And then there’s talk radio. The syndicated RW personalities and the local ambitious RW personalities. A few years ago I even remember hearing some conservative students get their own three-hour show on my local college radio station. They filled their time with the usual edgy humor, and it was obvious they were auditioning for a bigger outlet.

  24. 24
    germy says:

    Someone remind me why the DNC is even contemplating giving Fox News a Democratic primary debate https://t.co/MUnCcquo1G— Fiddler (@cFidd) March 4, 2019

  25. 25
    germy says:

    Fox gets free advertising from their star employee:

    My wonderful daughter, Ivanka, will be interviewed tonight by Steve Hilton on “The Next Revolution.” @FoxNews 9:00 P.M. She works so hard and has achieved so much for the U.S.A.(and gets so little credit!). Then watch Mark Levin at 10:00 P.M., a great show!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2019

  26. 26
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @VOR: Yep. “There will be a question about Flint’s water at the debate located in Flint that we’re using to highlight the water situation” is… not really a tip.

    I think there was another case where someone told Hillary’s campaign they’d likely get a question about the death penalty and the campaign responded, “We know and we’re working on a better response.”

    Worst ‘rigging’ in history

  27. 27
    germy says:

    The quiet parts out loud.

    Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Fox News: "The reason your network has me on a lot is because I'm one of the leading voices defending the president" pic.twitter.com/Z8IlIyXwoG— Media Matters (@mmfa) March 4, 2019

  28. 28
    JR says:

    @Citizen Alan: Many of us would not exist

  29. 29
    germy says:

    Trump and Fox News are like a fucked up human centipede where he eats whatever they shit, then he vomits it out, and then Fox News eats the vomit and shits it out again.

    — The Volatile Mermaid (@OhNoSheTwitnt) March 4, 2019

  30. 30
    Darrin Ziliak (formerly glocksman) says:

    Since this is an open thread, I’d like to mention that since I ‘cut the cable’ years ago, I did miss the cable news channels.
    In particular, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.

    Since I’m not willing to pay $90/month for cable TV and internet, I started looking at the streaming services.
    After looking at all of the ones available, I found that Sling TV offered the best deal and has the channels I’d actually watch.
    I signed up with Sling Blue and pay $5 extra for the ‘News Extras’ package that includes MSNBC.
    The only news channel missing is Fox News, and I really am glad they don’t carry it.

    After my 3 months promo deal expires, the total package is $30/month.
    Couple that with my 30Mb Spectrum internet costing $15/month, and the cost is still half of what I would pay Spectrum for both cable & internet.

    I don’t get local channels but that’s what a good antenna is for.

  31. 31
    Brachiator says:

    if Fox News had been around in Nixon’s day, he might have survived Watergate.

    But that’s just the thing. Those conservatives who didn’t care that Nixon had committed crimes wanted to find a way to protect future Republican presidents. Fox News is the fruit of that amoral desire.

    On dealing with Fox News:

    I have no idea how to address our nation’s Fox News problem, but blowing the lid off the network’s shenanigans as Mayer did seems important. One thing Fox News relies on — it’s founding principle, really — is the timidity of the mainstream Beltway press, most members of which have long pretended that Fox News is just a regular old cable news network.

    Fox News is immune from any attack by the media. It can and has printed outright lies and its viewers eagerly lap it up.

    I’ve read that the Fox News Demographic skews old, but they still find a way to get their message out to a younger audience. And if Fox News stumbles, Sinclair Broadcast Group is waiting in the wings for its opportunity to fill the nutcase media niche.

    Fox News’ advantage is that they usually don’t have to be fair. They don’t need to retract false stories, or if they do, they follow up with a blizzard of more lies. And their close working relationship with Trump is outrageous, but again, complaints will not result in any change in their operation.

    Fox News’ disadvantage is that many younger citizens find Fox News, and most other traditional media, to be irrelevant to their lives. They are not loyal to the Fox News brand because they never cared about Fox News in the first place.

  32. 32
    different-church-lady says:

    @germy: A Möbius Human Centipede?

  33. 33
    Rommie says:

    Well, this should pressure the handful of people still at FN who have shown an ounce of journalistic integrity to leave. It probably won’t, but it should.

    And yeah, maybe the DNC can dump FOX from the debates now. Buh-bye!

  34. 34
    different-church-lady says:

    When faced with a choice between doing the right thing or circling the wagons around a colleague, journalists will ALWAYS choose the latter.

  35. 35
    Kay says:

    @germy:

    It’s way bigger than Fox News though. America’s biggest CEO’s went along with Ivanka’s bullshit “jobs summit”

    They “committed” to job training that they were already doing and set it up so Ivanka got credit. They colluded with the Trump Administration to mislead the public.

    “But those “commitments” to the president’s initiative do not translate into tangible jobs created, but rather, training and “career enhancement.” The Pledge to America’s Workers White House website expressly notes that the commitments are not for concrete jobs, but for “new opportunities pledged for America’s workers” over the next five years. Some entities, like A2Z Hospice Sterilization Corp., promised 25 opportunities, and on the high end, IPC, the association for the electronics interconnection industry, pledged 1 million. There does not appear to be a mechanism for tracking fulfilled jobs or training opportunities on the White House website.”

    They’re doing this because Trump gave them all huge, personal tax cuts. It’s a quid pro quo. Wal Mart and the building trades “committed” to training programs they already have. It’s ENRON accounting. It’s a lie. And the CEO’s of some of the biggest companies in the US worked with Ivanka to sell this lie. This problem is bigger than FOX. We’re surrounded by dishonest people who are acting out of self interest to promote Donald Trump.

  36. 36
    Darrin Ziliak (formerly glocksman) says:

    @Rommie:

    Well, this should pressure the handful of people still at FN who have shown an ounce of journalistic integrity to leave.

    I keep wondering how long Shepard Smith will last at Fox before he either gets fired or jumps ship.
    In any case, if CNN or MSNBC had any brains, they’d snap him up the instant he leaves Fox.

  37. 37
    germy says:

    Jared Kushner talks to Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch "every Day," asks him for advice: Report https://t.co/FIHToXzgFL pic.twitter.com/gyelmeJrlY— Newsweek (@Newsweek) March 4, 2019

  38. 38
    scav says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:Mere intelligence is no protection against delusion, especially when the delusion is easier, protects the ego and or results in monetary and staus benefits to self.

  39. 39
    germy says:

    even the new yorker doesnt get it on fox news though. it says "But has it become propaganda?" it's always been propaganda. look at fox during the bush years, or how they used rnc talking points as "news" during obama years.— Oliver Willis (@owillis) March 4, 2019

  40. 40
    Kay says:

    Cohen said the catch and kill operation was bigger than the National Enquirer. So now we know it was FOX and the National Enquirer. Cohen said there are more.

    We need to know the names of the media companies who buried negative stories about Donald Trump, so we can disregard their reporting in 2020. We need AT LEAST that information, to even have a fighting chance.

  41. 41
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Brachiator: I agree that Fox News viewers will continue to lap up any lies that confirm their preexisting prejudices and opinions. But I do think Fox News as an organization relies on the imprimatur of legitimacy that is voluntarily conferred by mainstream outlets and figures like Jake Tapper.

    I’m not sure to what extent the Fox News business model and its effectiveness as a propaganda outlet relies on that fiction, but off the top of my head, I can think of at least one vulnerability — advertising revenue. The possibility of Fox News losing its “news network” designation seems to have occurred to Roger Ailes too, according to Mayer’s reporting. He had misgivings about the network lashing itself to Trump so seamlessly. Ailes was evil, but he wasn’t stupid, so maybe he was onto something. We’ll see.

  42. 42
    germy says:

    @Betty Cracker: Every trump touches dies so…

    fingers crossed.

  43. 43
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Darrin Ziliak (formerly glocksman): We’re cord cutters too and tried the various Sling packages, but maddeningly, you can either get live sports and Fox News or crappy sports coverage and MSNBC. YouTube TV is pricier ($40 vs. $30), but it doesn’t force you to choose between sports and politics, and it lets you access local network coverage, even if you’re too far in the boonies to pick up stations with an antenna.

  44. 44
    Brachiator says:

    @germy:

    I wonder if Fox News will report on Mayer’s story. My guess is they’ll ignore it, and so their viewers will never know.

    They will ignore it, as will most other conservative leaning sites and media operations. And part of Fox News’ success is based on keeping it’s viewers uninformed.

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The thing that really, truly wrecked American politics was the simultaneous rise of Fox News and decline of the local newspaper.

    This was coincidental, but the impact has been tremendous.

    Nowadays old people who like to keep track of current events get this overheated rush of symbolic culture-war nonsense when they used to get upset about slow-moving pothole repairs. And they vote accordingly.

    Uh, no. A core of readers became upset, for example, when the Los Angeles Times ceased being a shill for right wing politics in the 1960s. But they still read news stories that did not kiss their ass with respect to right wing political correctness.

    When Reagan was California governor, the angriest readers would call to cancel when an editorial or editorial cartoon blasted Reagan. But they would soon call to re-subscribe because the paper met other needs. Now, these idiots can wallow in Fox News and get entertainment and local news on the Web.

  45. 45
    low-tech cyclist says:

    But do read the whole thing!

    Lately I’d been thinking I’ve been reading enough New Yorker journalism that I should subscribe. This clinches the deal.

  46. 46
    Darrin Ziliak (formerly glocksman) says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Good thing that I don’t watch sports other than NFL games, and they do have the NFL Channel on Sling Blue. :)

    I can get all the locals except ABC and PBS with my antenna.
    I live in the city itself, but their transmitters are located in the next county and the signals can’t penetrate the walls of my apartment building.

    That said, I really don’t miss them much.

    Added: I just checked out YouTube TV, and while they do have a few of my local channels, they don’t carry the 2 that I can’t pick up. :(

  47. 47
    trollhattan says:

    As bad as Murdoch-News Corp is in the States (very, very bad indeed) the stranglehold he has in his native Australia is utterly mindboggling, and I’m frankly surprised they have not rigged up an antitrust law to break his near-monopoly. Get a load of the Aussie newspapers in this list of properties.

  48. 48
    germy says:

    @low-tech cyclist: I subscribed to their print magazine for years.

    Just be aware: they will send out frequent letters warning you to resubscribe (“Expiration Notice!”) even if you’re paid up for the next two years. They did this to me for the decade I subscribed. At first they fooled me, and I’d write another check. Finally, I realized my subscription wasn’t going to expire for about four years. And still they sent expiration notices. David Remnick and his staff enjoy a certain lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to, apparently.

  49. 49
    Woodrow/Asim says:

    The official Fox News Twitter account has not posted since Nov 8th, 2018.

    4 months of silence that no one seems to have reported on.

    That’s an…interesting data point, and one I 1st learned here.

  50. 50
    Brachiator says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I agree that Fox News viewers will continue to lap up any lies that confirm their preexisting prejudices and opinions. But I do think Fox News as an organization relies on the imprimatur of legitimacy that is voluntarily conferred by mainstream outlets and figures like Jake Tapper.

    I guess. But all this is also complicated by Trump’s labeling of the media as fake news and the enemy of the people.

    I’m not sure to what extent the Fox News business model and its effectiveness as a propaganda outlet relies on that fiction, but off the top of my head, I can think of at least one vulnerability — advertising revenue. The possibility of Fox News losing its “news network” designation seems to have occurred to Roger Ailes too, according to Mayer’s reporting. He had misgivings about the network lashing itself to Trump so seamlessly. Ailes was evil, but he wasn’t stupid, so maybe he was onto something. We’ll see.

    Yep. Good points. I have not been following Fox’s revenues and business, but advertising, especially in the age of Internet competition, has got to be a consideration.

  51. 51
    jacy says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I tried all the different streaming services — Sling, Playstation Vue, Fubo, and Hulu — I finally settled on Hulu. It gives me all the channels I want except AMC, which is a problem I haven’t found a workaround for. It has a 40 hour DVR function and it also gives local channels to a lot of markets. You also get the regular Hulu for free with the package. The only thing I really use it for live is MSNBC and occassionally CNN, and NBCSports network to catch the hockey games that aren’t in the NHL package and the NHL playoffs. So I have HuluPlus, Netflix, and Amazon Prime (with and HBO addon), and The NHL package seasonally for hockey. The nice thing about Prime is you can add channels like Shudder or HBO or Showtime, etcetera on a monthly basis and then suspend them when you don’t need them. So for all of that, I pay about $63 a month when you add the $10 a month Hockey ends up adding.

  52. 52
    plato says:

    Here is the full list of 81 Trump-connected associates and organizations that the House Judiciary Committee has contacted for documents. pic.twitter.com/38l49pYbFi— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 4, 2019

    No jarvanka in the list. Wonder why.

  53. 53
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Woodrow/Asim: I remembered that Fox News stopped tweeting because of a hissy fit over something, but I had to look it up — it was because some demonstrators posted white nationalist Tucker Carlson’s home address on the platform. Still, their content is ubiquitous on Twitter. I see plenty of clips from news aggregators.

  54. 54
    Just Chuck says:

    I’m not sure anything can be done about Fox News. 24/7 infotainment and social media means everyone gets their own private reality if they choose. Destroy FNC and another, like Sinclair will rise in its place, because there is too large of a market of those who wish to be lied to. We live in a post-truth world now.

  55. 55
    Kay says:

    @plato:

    Imagine if we hadn’t have taken the House. None of this stuff would ever be investigated.

    It’s a slender reed to cling to because it’s just a congressional investigation and actual law enforcement would have to follow up if there’s to be any accountability, but it’s markedly better than “nothing” which is what we would get without the House.

    It gives you a sense of how there aren’t really “strong” protections in place. If we had a bad midterm there would be no oversight at all. It’s really dependent on…luck. I always though “our institutions” were more vulnerable than people like to admit but even I didn’t realize how really FRAGILE is it- how one election can make or break it.

  56. 56
    germy says:

    @plato: That’s an amazing list. I notice not only Flynn, but Flynn junior.

    And Assange, and even Sean Spicer.

  57. 57
    plato says:

    Bernie Sanders is officially running for two different federal offices under two different party labels. On Monday, Sanders filed for re-election to the Senate in 2024, listing his party as "independent." https://t.co/qEJcyq4hSU— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 4, 2019

    Grifting assholes gonna grift as long as there are rubes.

  58. 58

    This is not a news network anymore

    Newsflash, Mikey B: it was *never* a news network.

  59. 59
    plato says:

    @Kay: Yup, all that ‘checks & balances’ meme is a national fraud.

  60. 60
    Cheap Jim says:

    @plato: Both Jared Kushner and the Kushner Companies are on that list. Not Ivanka, but her older brothers (I guess Barron isn’t being trusted with any of the business yet).

  61. 61
    Brachiator says:

    @Darrin Ziliak (formerly glocksman):

    After looking at all of the ones available, I found that Sling TV offered the best deal and has the channels I’d actually watch.

    Good cord cutting choice. YouTube TV works for me right now. I’m just glad there are reasonably priced options.

  62. 62
    Ksmiami says:

    @hueyplong: Rico their asses, seize all their properties and put the perpetrators in jail or re-education camps. Once again as I’ve been saying for years we don’t just have a Republican problem, we have a Fox problem

  63. 63
    plato says:

    @Cheap Jim: True, I missed it. But ivanka must top that list since she is the totus thug’s most trusted henchman.

  64. 64
    Martin says:

    @Betty Cracker: Fox News can survive just fine with no ad revenue. All cable channels negotiate their cut of subscriber and ad rates. Top channels like ESPN pull down huge sub fees – $7 per subscriber. Nobody else is even close. Some even are negative – HSN pays the cable companies to be carried. Fox is around $1/sub, which is about the same as Disney Channel which gets no ad revenue. So Fox News is starting at about $35M a year in revenue before the first ad runs. But Fox News serves another purpose which is why Murdoch would be willing to run it at a loss – it’s how they leverage political power – trying to block the ATT/TW merger, etc. That helps protect profits at all of the other Fox properties.

  65. 65
    Doug R says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The thing that really, truly wrecked American politics was the simultaneous rise of Fox News and decline of the local newspaper. Nowadays old people who like to keep track of current events get this overheated rush of symbolic culture-war nonsense when they used to get upset about slow-moving pothole repairs. And they vote accordingly.

    Newspaper circulation was dropping in the 1970s long before the internet and Fox “news” came around. The begining of the end was probably here:

    In the 1830s, the largest newspaper in New York City had a circulation of only 2,600, at a price of 6 cents, making it a luxury product for its time. Benjamin Day, a 23-year-old print shop owner, had the ingenious idea to sell a paper for a penny. That cent wouldn’t cover the cost of journalism and printing, but that was alright, because Day’s decided he would use the low price to attract an audience of readers that could be converted into a salable audience for advertisers. The customers were the product. His paper, the New York Sun, first appeared on September 3, 1833. Within two years, it had nearly 20,000 readers, the most of any paper in the city. Day “decisively demonstrated that a business could be founded on the resale of human attention,” Wu wrote.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/11/the-print-apocalypse-and-how-to-survive-it/506429/

  66. 66
    Mandalay says:

    This Tucker Carlson interview with historian Rutger Bregman (which never aired on his show for very obvious reasons) is a thing of beauty. Initially Carlson agreed with his criticisms of global elites, but once Carlson was lured in Bregman turned on him.

    Poor Tucker was humiliated, had a meltdown, and hilarity ensued:

    RB: But, I mean, you’ve been part of the Cato Institute, right? You’ve been a senior fellow there for years?
    TC: Well how does it work?
    RB: You’ve been taking their dirty money.
    TC: Wait, wait a second… (Carlson finally realizes at this point that the person he is interviewing is not his friend.)
    RB: They’re funded by Koch billionaires, you know?
    TC: Wait, why don’t you tell me how it does work?
    RB: Well, it works by you taking their dirty money. It’s as easy as that. You are a millionaire funded by billionaires, that’s what you are…you’re not part of the solution Mr. Carlson. you’re part of the problem actually….you’re a millionaire funded by billionaires
    TC: I wanna say to you, why don’t you go f*ck yourself…
    RB: You can’t handle the criticism can you?

    Carlson later claimed that the interview couldn’t be shown because he used the f-bomb, but the real reason was far more dangerous to Fox.

    Rutger Bregman is a class act.

  67. 67

    @different-church-lady:

    A Möbius Human Centipede?

    A human centipede ouroboros.

  68. 68
    PJ says:

    @plato: Jared Kushner is on the list. There’s been no indication so far that Ivanka was involved in the Russian conspiracy or the coverup. (She was, however, fined, for fraud involved in the Trump Soho hotel, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s indicted in NY for more real estate fraud and/or money laundering).

  69. 69

    @Cheap Jim: Ivanka’s not on the list? Damn it!

  70. 70
    Brachiator says:

    @Martin:

    Fox News can survive just fine with no ad revenue. All cable channels negotiate their cut of subscriber and ad rates. Top channels like ESPN pull down huge sub fees – $7 per subscriber.

    Of course, ESPN is losing subscribers. Cord cutting has had an impact.

  71. 71
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    OT: Luke Perry (star of Beverly Hills 90210) is dead at 52. Stroke.

  72. 72
    plato says:

    @Mandalay: Would love to see that interview. The whole teevee journalism needs to die in its current avatar.

  73. 73
    Kay says:

    @plato:

    It kills me how the financial press are all confidently making predictions again. I don’t know- if I had missed the 2009 meltdown I might be reluctant to do that. I might have this giant (and justified) crisis of confidence where I would refrain from pronouncements :)
    But, no! They’re back in the predictions business! God forbid anyone should show uncertainty! It would just be so refreshing if they would just admit they don’t know. I feel like people would forgive that- in a way it would enhance trust- if experts would just admit they can’t really predict these things.

  74. 74
    Cheap Jim says:

    @plato: Well, the list is alphabetized by first name in the case of individuals, like it was done by a machine.

  75. 75
    Doug R says:

    @jacy:

    I pay about $63 a month when you add the $10 a month Hockey ends up adding.

    CBC streams Hockey Night in Canada games live, is that only a Canadian thing?
    https://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/nhl/hnic-stream-hockey-nhl-cbc-sports-1.4981772

  76. 76
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @plato: Haha. So Wilmer is planning on going back to being a Senator after 4 years as President?

    That’s rich. Fuck that guy.

    Oh, and he’s going to be President AND a Senator for those couple weeks of overlap in 2025 at the age of 83?

  77. 77
    Kay says:

    Maybe some good will come out of the collapse of “institutions”. If presidential debates are discredited we’ll have to come up with something else. There’s no rule that says we have to have these stupid debates moderated by multi-millionaire cable tv stars where no one learns anything. Whatever comes out of the ashes could possibly be better. I admit I tend not to believe “new” will be “better” but that is, in fact, possible :)

    We all know that the current “newsgathering” doesn’t seem to be up to the challenge of Trump. That’s (supposedly) when innovations happen- when they absolutely have to happen, and not before.

    Ya know, “necessity is the mother of invention” and all that. Maybe this clears a space for new thinking on a whole range of things. So the downside is the institutions folded like cheap lawn chairs but the upside is they were sort of calcified and inflexible and maybe not as high quality as we thought they were and something new will fill the hole they left.

  78. 78
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    Mrs. Lurker and I have been TV sober for decades now. We cut the cable when we realized the kids were picking up some very strange ideas. Not that we’re against the free exchange of ideas, but the kids would rather argue their TV talking points and there is no arguing with TV.

    Anything worth watching will be on YouTube within a matter of nanoseconds after broadcast. And in most cases, the posters have removed all the commercials and interstical material.

    You can get free DVDs from your local library (in most cases). New movies too. At my local branch, there’s even a display showing the librarian’s top picks for that month. Not always compatible, but always interesting.

    A few years back, one of my former students gave us an Apple TV. My wife and I clicked on the various icons and we’re simply amazed by the derth of decent programing available. We did have Hulu for a period of time, but it kept knocking us off while we were watching the show. Junk.

  79. 79
    plato says:

    @Kay: I think ‘democracy as an experiment’ needs a complete redo.

  80. 80
    rikyrah says:

    Kevin D. Grüssing (Pronounced Grew-Sing) (@KevDGrussing) Tweeted:
    So @BernieSanders has filed for Re-Election to the Senate in 2024.
    As an Independent.
    Again.
    Dear @TomPerez, why is Bernie allowed to run for our nomination when it’s clear he wants nothing to do with our party?

    https://t.co/9F6AhoCXxK
    #NeverBernie https://twitter.com/KevDGrussing/status/1102632573111537664?s=17

  81. 81
    Mandalay says:

    @jonas:

    about Donna Shalala supposedly giving Hillary a heads-up about certain topics that she might be asked about on the CNN-hosted debate?

    It wasn’t Donna Shalala, it was Donna Brazile. And it wasn’t “supposedly” – it actually happened: Brazile admitted it, and CNN fired her for doing it.

    Apart from just being the wrong thing to do, it was also a massively stupid and pointless action by Brazile. She gave Sanders supporters real reason to believe that the selection of Clinton was rigged, however inaccurate that perception might have been.

  82. 82
    rikyrah says:

    There should absolutely be no Democrat that goes on Fox anymore.
    Period.
    No phucking excuse 😠

  83. 83
    rikyrah says:

    @Ksmiami:
    I hear you about R-I-C-O

  84. 84
    plato says:

    GOP got lost in the Russian nesting dolls. https://t.co/BEUJNQCnZr— Charlie said: (@CharlieSaidWTF) March 4, 2019

  85. 85
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @germy: Yes, this. Except add The Base too that human centipede.

  86. 86
    Luthe says:

    @germy: The alternate option is they report on it in such a way as to demonize Mayer and The New Yorker and portray their network as victims of a vicious smear campaign. And the rubes will lap it up, because obviously Fox is being persecuted by the evil liberals, just as their viewers are persecuted for being white/male/rich/old/Christian/etc.

  87. 87
    gene108 says:

    @Kay:

    It gives you a sense of how there aren’t really “strong” protections in place. If we had a bad midterm there would be no oversight at all. It’s really dependent on…luck. I always though “our institutions” were more vulnerable than people like to admit but even I didn’t realize how really FRAGILE is it- how one election can make or break it.

    I think any institution, at some level, depends on its members acting in good faith.

    Republicans decided to act in bad faith publicly, when Gingrich took over the House, and it has only gotten worse, because they keep getting rewarded for it.

    Education would crumble, if teachers accepted bribes from parents for better grades for their kids, for example. We expect teachers to not do this, and they don’t, so there’s some good faith there that keeps the system running.

    Maybe not the best example, because there are laws against this that can actually be enforced, but generally, no institution can generally stand, if entire block of people act in bad faith.

    I am surprised things have held up as well as they have. The Party in charge of the Senate and White House, as well as several state and local governments, openly act in contempt of laws that make things fair for people, and care nothing but advancing their own grip on power.

    The fact we haven’t broken down into a system of one Party, Republican, rule with ineffectual opposition parties for show is a testament to how strong our institutions are.

    We’ve bent but not broken.

  88. 88
    Brachiator says:

    A couple of related media coverage stories:

    Covering President Trump in a Polarized Media Environment

    Specifically, outlets with a right-leaning audience cited fewer types of sources in their reporting, offered more positive and fewer negative evaluations of President Donald Trump and his administration, and had reporters who were less likely to challenge something the president said than outlets whose audience leans to the left or those with a more evenly distributed audience.

    Definitely a Fox Effect here.

    Another story,

    Trump, Clinton Voters Divided in Their Main Source for Election News

    Fox News was the main source for 40% of Trump voters

    According to a new Pew Research Center survey, Americans who say they voted for Trump in the general election relied heavily on Fox News as their main source of election news leading up to the 2016 election, whereas Clinton voters named an array of different sources, with no one source named by more than one-in-five of her supporters.

  89. 89
    Gravenstone says:

    @mrmoshpotato: He knows he has basically zero chance at the Dem presidential nod, so he’s just covering his bases. Run for pres to grift on the national stage (again) and run for his comfy sinecure in Vt so he can keep that separate grift going for him and the family.

  90. 90
    Brachiator says:

    @The Midnight Lurker:

    OT: Luke Perry (star of Beverly Hills 90210) is dead at 52. Stroke.

    Very sad. From comments when the stroke was first announced, this will hit fans of the show hard. I think there were plans for a reboot or new sequel?

  91. 91
    Martin says:

    @Kay:

    We all know that the current “newsgathering” doesn’t seem to be up to the challenge of Trump. That’s (supposedly) when innovations happen- when they absolutely have to happen, and not before.

    Well, innovation tends to be thought of as a technical act, but it’s really when something happens which changes the possible business model. Often that’s technology, but not always. I’ve been watching Pro Publica for this reason. They’re a non-profit, driven initially by a large donor, but now mostly by operating in partnership with a wide range of publications that are struggling to maintain their long-term investigation outfits, where Pro Publica has been been able to build that out, so they have strong data infrastructure, data reporting, and so on.

    A common theme is around the notion of bundling and unbundling. Fox is about bundling – pulling more and more of the disparate pieces in house and getting synergy between Fox News and WSJ and other properties. Pro Publica is about unbundling – pulling the various components of news apart and specializing in them. For them it’s long form deep investigative, largely data driven. Opinion might go somewhere else. Local reporting might end up being partnerships between local broadcasting and newspapers and maybe social media structures like NextDoor. That’s what Facebook was trying to do – break apart the per-publication subscriptions into a centralized revenue feed that would pay publications by demand. Of course, that centralized revenue was ad-based, not subscription Apple’s upcoming service will be subscription based, and may or may not fare any better. I think everyone agrees that Facebooks has mostly been a disaster.

    But these cycles of bundling/unbundling happen all the time. You go through a period where one has clear enough advantages to beat the other, and then it reverses. In the 90s Intel/Microsoft/Dell was the winning formula (unbundled), in the 2010s it’s Apple (bundled). At some point soon it’ll swing back. That’s what to look for in reporting. Look for how it’ll unbundle. I think Pro Publica is an early indicator.

  92. 92
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Gravenstone: I know. I was just stating what could happen, and that possibility is absurd. But it is what he’s setting up for himself if he is elected President in 2020.

  93. 93
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’m on DirecTV Now – not to be confused with their satellite service – it’s a streaming service that is a competitor to Sling, Hulu, YoutubeTV, etc. My only complaint is we’re running it through a Roku, and changing channels involves scrolling through the guide so you can’t just punch in a channel number. Sucks if you want to change channels as fast as possible, but I’m paying $40 for DirecTV Now and it gives me all the standard cable channels (including sports and news), plus $40 per month for 100 Mbps internet service. I bought my own wifi router so no equipment rental fee or anything else applies – I’m getting a better channel lineup than my cable company was giving me for $80 a month…they were charging me $220 a month for internet (25 mbps) and a basic cable lineup. so I’m saving $140 a month. For that I’ll deal with a slight channel changing inconvenience.

  94. 94
    trollhattan says:

    Does this mean anything? Perhaps not, but the less seen of Gorka the better.

    Conservative pundit and former White House official Sebastian Gorka is no longer a paid contributor at Fox News, the network confirmed to TPM Monday.

    Gorka made headlines last week for his comments at the Conservative Political Action Conference, when he claimed that Democrats’ Green New Deal was a guise to “take away your hamburgers.”

    “They want to take your pickup truck, they want to rebuild your home, they want to take away your hamburgers,” he said. “This is what Stalin dreamt about but never achieved.”

    It is unclear if Gorka’s comments led to him breaking ties with the network, where he frequently appeared as a guest on Sean Hannity’s and Jeanine Pirro’s shows. Gorka told The Hollywood Reporter in an email that he decided not to renew his contract with Fox because he wants to focus on his new radio show.

    Surrender your truck at the nearest Antifa security center by Friday.

  95. 95
    joel hanes says:

    @mrmoshpotato:

    I would hope that the junior Senator from Vermont has realized that his campaign for the Democratic nomination for President will once again be effectively over on the day after Super Tuesday (those darn black women just won’t vote for him), and expects to to return to the Senate after his Presidential grift-cum-ego-gratification campaign has wound down.

  96. 96
    joel hanes says:

    @Kay:

    I think that the “debates” would have continuing value if The League of Women Voters took back responsibility for them. IIRC, both political parties colluded to give that responsibility to the infotainment companies, because $$

  97. 97
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @rikyrah: Bernie is happy to be an ‘independent’ until he runs for President and needs money and support. Then he’s a Democrat. And he openly trashes the party while doing it. I have zero respect for this and don’t understood why party leaders allow it to happen, especially after the last time.

    But what bothers me MOST is the simple fact that BOTH the GOP and Putin start salivating at the idea of Bernie at the top of the ticket. Why is that? Socialism? Or something else?

  98. 98
    Josie says:

    @jacy:

    I settled on Hulu Plus, also. and am pleased with it. I like the combination of my sports coverage and politics plus local news.

  99. 99
    catclub says:

    @The Midnight Lurker:

    Why is that? Socialism? Or something else?

    There is lots of Bernie in Moscow in the 1970’s video. Plus all of Bernie’s other history that Hillary never brought up.
    Freethinking about sex may be a good thing, but I am not sure the US voting pop wants that from a president.

  100. 100
    cynthia ackerman says:

    @germy:

    And “servile” misstates at least slightly.

    Before Trump, Fox was arguably more of a sidecar in a rightwing assault helmed by old-guard Republican Havmores.

    In the Trump era, those traditional elites seem to be more along for the ride, and crazypants and his court jester jointly occupy the driver’s seat.

  101. 101
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Brachiator: Didn’t Fox win a court case some yrs ago in which the court said Fox was not required to tell the truth??

    IIRC some Fox reporters sued the network because Fox had changed their report to state the opposite of what they had reported.

  102. 102
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @different-church-lady: Journos acting like cops, you say??

  103. 103

    @Ksmiami:

    we don’t just have a Republican problem, we have a Fox problem

    Fox is a problem, but by this point they’re just one part of the right wing noise machine. If we somehow got rid of them, they would be quickly replaced by a similar propaganda network like Sinclair.

  104. 104
    gene108 says:

    @catclub:

    Plus Bernie trashing Reagan and praising Ortega, in the mid-1980’s. I think he also gave Ortega some advice on getting better coverage with the U.S. Media.

    If e-mail’s or “inventing the internet” or “faking” being wounded in Vietnam could become major campaign themes, I am sure Bernie’s praise of the USSR, Ortega, etc. and criticism of the USA will get their turn in the barrel.

  105. 105
    Scotian says:

    This was a well written deep dive on FOXNEWS, thank you for highlighting it. I enjoyed the read and the thuroughness of it, if not the actual content itself, which I find horrifying. Not new of course, been well aware of Pravda from the South for many years now, but wow, even I was a little taken aback at just the level of interconnectivity between Trumpco and Fox.

    Tass and Pravda used to be more credible that what FOXNEWS is now, and that takes a LOT of doing.

  106. 106
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    OT and BTW: Today is National Grammar Day!

    “Knock, knock.”

    “Who’s there?”

    “With.”

    “With who?”

    “With whom.”

  107. 107
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    What’s the difference between a cat and a comma?

    One has claws at the end of its’ paws, and the other has pause at the end of its’ clause.

  108. 108
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Roger Moore:
    One America News is ready, should Fux fail.

  109. 109
    Mike in NC says:

    Turtle claims the Senate will vote down Fat Bastard’s fake wall emergency.

  110. 110
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @plato: How do people in colleges and high schools teach about the way the federal govt works in the age of Trump??

    You could teach the 3 equal branches, checks and balances we learned in the 50s, but wouldn’t students just stare in disbelief as if you were teaching about how pre-revolutionary France operated??

  111. 111
    Ksmiami says:

    @rikyrah: I mean this a classic conspiracy as far as intent and execution – the biggest conspiracies aren’t even hidden

  112. 112
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Kay: We could all look into how the League of Women Voters ran the debates.

    They were very much ‘no yelling, shouting’ oriented. People said they were boring.

    IIRC the League refused to put up with a candidate (W?) who kept changing the number of debates, the format,etc.

  113. 113
    trollhattan says:

    This could be interesting.

    The Democratic chairmen of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees wrote to the White House chief of staff and the secretary of state on Monday demanding a response to their questions about President Trump’s interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and requesting new information about the substance of their conversations.

    They also asked the White House and State Department to make translators and other Americans who were present during the meetings and phone calls between Trump and Putin available for committee interviews.

  114. 114
    Millard Filmore says:

    @rikyrah:

    I hear you about R-I-C-O

    A comment over at emptywheel: “As has been said here frequently, if a prosecutor can establish the predicate crimes necessary to establish a RICO claim, she would prosecute those and ignore the unnecessary extra time, cost, work and distractions for the jury and press of establishing, in effect, a meta-claim based on RICO.”

    https://www.emptywheel.net/2019/03/04/foiling-a-good-walk/#comment-778449

  115. 115
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    Jerry Nadler (Judiciary Chair) just dumped the list of people and documents that the House wants to see.

    Fox ain’t on it.

  116. 116
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @A Ghost To Most: A while back I was having my car serviced in a place I don’t normally go, and that was on. It was downright scary. Since I was the only one there and I could reach the remote, I changed the channel.

  117. 117
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @The Midnight Lurker: Would it be in keeping with the spirit of the day to point out your incorrect use of the apostrophe?

  118. 118
    JaySinWA says:

    @Millard Filmore: I’ve finished with the urge to link to Popehat when RICO is mentioned. I’ll just take it as shorthand for the underlying crimes since almost no one understands what RICO actually is. Sort of like giving up arguing about Medicare for all when most people really mean something like universal healthcare.

  119. 119
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @Gin & Tonic: You say you want more? Okay!

    When I was in grammar school, the English teacher called on me saying, “Name two pronouns.”

    I replied, “Who? Me?”

  120. 120
    Citizen Alan says:

    @gene108:

    I’m convinced that if the media gave ten minutes of serious attention to his call for solidarity with the Iranian revolution right in the middle of the 1980 hostage crisis, that would be the end of him.

  121. 121
    NotMax says:

    Disagree with the designation “servile propaganda.”

    FOX is an aggressive instigator, source and driver of agitprop, an unctuous co-equal partner running a factory of propaganda.

  122. 122
    Ksmiami says:

    @Millard Filmore: then investigate The underlying crimes and collusion as Fox at a minimum has basically donated millions in campaign assistance without properly filing/accounting for it. If Kushner has been talking to Murdochon the daily, this counts as a coordinated election/re-election effort

  123. 123
    NotMax says:

    @NotMax

    Expanding a bit more, it is politicians who are servile to FOX, not the other way around.

  124. 124
    geg6 says:

    @JaySinWA:

    Isn’t it meant to get the guys who give the orders to commit crimes? I can totally see a RICO case being brought on Trump and others in the Trump Organization and/or FOX, if I’m right. According to the federal statute, I believe, they have to pin a certain number of felonies on that guy who gives the orders. And then there are the state RICO statutes, which may differ slightly from the federal. Not sure why you’d want to pursue each felony on its own when the penalties for RICO can be significantly higher. But IANAL, so I should just shut up now.

  125. 125
    eemom says:

    @Millard Filmore: @JaySinWA:

    Civil RICO permits recovery of triple damages and asset forfeiture under a lower standard of proof than in a standard criminal case. Those are kind of big deals.

    btw, Wheeler isn’t a lawyer. She just plays one on — well, everywhere. I’d look elsewhere for confident predictions about what prosecutors will or won’t do.

  126. 126
    NotMax says:

    @NotMax

    In line with the topic, highest recommendation to the dark satire The Perfect Dictatorship (La Dictadura Perfecta).

  127. 127
    Brachiator says:

    @JaySinWA:

    I’ve finished with the urge to link to Popehat when RICO is mentioned. I’ll just take it as shorthand for the underlying crimes since almost no one understands what RICO actually is.

    As long as the actual prosecutors understand, then I am OK with any confusion elsewhere.

  128. 128
    (Reality is a) Persistent Illusion says:

    @low-tech cyclist low-tech cyclist – I do believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how great some of their reporting is, combined with the excellent new fiction and non-fiction they publish. I learned to read from their cartoons. My dad would read them and we would talk about what it meant. Subtext: how to raise a child into a life-long Democrat.

  129. 129
    Francis J Kvidahl says:

    Perhaps we should be letting Fox News viewers know that America’s immigration problem is allowing one particular immigrant access to media ownership.

Comments are closed.