Is Fox News Good for America?

The Politics Blog Jan 18, 2011

This is more about Roger Ailes than FoxNews but the two are inextricably linked

And so, yes, on the one hand, Fox News has been good for America, because it has energized the argument, broadened the sense of what’s allowable in the debate, and pushed the American experiment in radical democratization farther along. On the other, Ailes’s experiment in free speech has also become an experiment in propaganda, and his attempt to redefine the mainstream has led the mainstream to become radicalized. The voice that never would have been heard without Ailes’s intercession has turned out to be the dark and nearly seditious voice of Glenn Beck, and the rhetoric that Ailes unleashed turned out to the charged rhetoric that has itself been the subject of charged debate since Jared Loughner went on a rampage in Arizona. Ailes owns it, and not just because of his success as a provocative programmer; he owns it because it captures his endless sense of personal grievance — a sense of personal grievance that is at the root of, and yet is completely unassuaged by, his success.

Of course, Roger Ailes was one of the first to come forward in the week following the Arizona shootings to say that he had told his anchors at Fox to “tone it down.” But anyone who knows Roger Ailes — anyone who loves him, hates him, admires him, fears him, or, as is most often the case, does all those things at once — knows that Fox will do no such thing, because Fox is Roger Ailes, and Roger Ailes is temperamentally unable to tone it down. He’s an extremist, by nature, and so his network is one of extremes. It’s not so much that he has let the genie out of the bottle; it’s that he is the genie, and his bottle makes a billion bucks a year for Rupert Murdoch. You just try getting him back in.

The best aspect of Ailes’ radicalization of FoxNews is its failure to mislead a majority of the American public.

Viewer Trust In Fox News Plummets In Past Year

PPP’s annual look at the public’s trust in various TV news outlets finds that Fox News’ credibility is on the decline, that the traditional networks are seeing an up tick in their numbers, and that PBS is at the top of the heap.

Crooks&Liars poster on FauxNews failure
graphic courtesy of Crooks&Liars

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