I am biased against FOX News – I detest it. I dislike FOX News for what I think are good reasons. It misinforms. It uses false information to create public opinions that are dividing America. It is nurturing the mob mentality among a certain segment of American society. It is impeding social progress in America. It is using journalistic terrorist tactics against conventional facts. It is making a mockery of long established journalistic standards. It is providing a forum for a sneaker wearing clown with a blackboard to act as a social commentator. It is owned by super rich foreigners who manipulate ill-informed white Americans for some mysterious end. It also pays big money to scurrilous on air people while losing money and having fun doing it. I hate FOX News.
There used to be a black comedian on television called “Redd Foxx.” He was called “Redd” because of his hair color. I like to call FOX News “White Fox” because of the restricted color of its on camera mannequins and the hand puppets who watch them. I think my moniker is a natural fit. So with your kind indulgence, here is what I think about the present state of White Fox and what I see in its future.
The FOX News Channel was created as an alternative to the alleged liberal bias in the major media. In fourteen short years, the network has risen to the top of the clamoring cable clan outdoing CNN and MSNBC. White Fox is the indisputable grand ratings dragon of the cable news competition. White Fox gained 80 million viewers from its launched in 1996. It claims to present a “Fair and Balanced” view of the news, and it has spent millions promoting its brand. White Fox (FNC) is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Rupert Murdoch is an Australian business titian, about whom Bill Moyers once said, “He buys lobbyists the way Almeda Marcos bought shoes.” Murdoch has been widely accused of destroying the foundation of American democracy – a free press, as seen in this documentary.
The man who owns the next largest share of FNC is Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who gave former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani ten million dollars for finance relief efforts after 9/11, but then released a statement blaming the attack on the World Trade Center by Saudi hijackers on the United States policy in the Middle East. Giuliani returned the money. These are the two foreigners who control the network that is moulding public opinion among America’s under-informed.
White Fox didn’t struggle long with growing pains. It allied itself with the Republican Party and the conservative movement and found a large audience of chronically malcontented people who welcomed FOX’s validation of their disgruntlements. FNC justified their fears and with concentrated programs that gave them other reasons to feel dreadful. FOX News really hit its stride during the George W. Bush presidency when it became so cozy with the White House that “some people said” (a phrase often used on FNC to sidestep having a source) it was a quasi-arm of the Republican Party. White Fox received talking points from the White House and issued a daily memo of the day’s attack target to its newsroom personnel and on air staff. There was absolutely no risk to FOX’s credibility for running misleading or blown out of proportion stories that whipped people into a frenzy. FNC’s influence was obvious and widespread among people resentful of the social changes America is making, but the election of Barack Obama has driven it beyond faulty journalism. FOX News openly supports and promotes conservative anti-government causes while the personnel of one its competitors MSNBC, supports free health clinics for uninsured people – each becoming the news itself. I guess taken as a whole, that’s a balanced approach, but they should stop making news and simply report it.
Deregulation of the broadcast media is what has brought us to this point. The Federal Communications Commission was formed in the 1930s to regulate broadcast stations as public trustees of the airwaves and to maintain the Fairness Doctrine. In 1981, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill to deregulate the broadcast industry. Prior to this time, one major media outlet could not buy up another and broadcasters could not own multi-media or same market media. This was to prevent conglomerates from forming and decreasing the diversity of opinion moulders. Deregulation has given the people’s natural resource – the airwaves – to self-concerned industry types. The profit motive now controls the people’s airwave, and now the American people pay high cable subscription fees to be bamboozled by those who control a medium that the people once owned.
As much as White Fox has to do with the desecration of the quality of the news we receive, it’s not all their fault – some of the blame has got to fall on viewers themselves. I mean who watches a network known for giving doctored points of views and false news and for what reason? Eighty million people do, that’s who- but why? Could it be that the provocateurs, liars, and propagandists on White Fox are unresistingly appealing? I don’t think so. They all look (even the women) alien to me – loathing has a way of distorting the face in unattractive ways. I know it’s not FNC’s “Fair and Balanced” reportage of the events of the day that brings millions to their television sets – that could be gotten at other channels with far better looking people. It may be the company they get at FOX News – misery loves company. Or, is that these millions of viewers want to be misled? That just can’t be. It’s a mystery to me why people watch White Fox.
I take solace in the fact that FNC may not have a good future. Some people say, when they look at demographics, that FOX’s average viewer is 65 and white (I’m 69 and black), and this will cause shifting ratings in the coming decades.
White viewers over 65 are the demographic that gives White Fox its edge in the ratings. A great many of White Fox’s viewers are white men over 65. Over the next decade and a half Fox will lose a lot of its subscribers to the grand reaper and younger Americans watch Jon Stewart, who, by the way, has been polled to have a better informed audience. FNC is relatively young and has not yet displayed any ability to adapt to changing demographics, so its future is bleak.
Plus, I forecast a down shift in White Fox’s high ratings after this year’s mid-term elections. The conventional wisdom is that the out of power party usually picks up seats in the House and Senate during mid-term elections. This November’s election will stun the experts because the Republican Party will lose additional seats and be humbled to its knees.
I have the sense that the progressives in the country will rally this November, as we did in November 2008, to give the Republican Party the defeat they so richly deserve. We will give the party of “No” what they have given America the past two years – rejection. The Republican Party will be forced to re-think its one position of “No” to everything. They will have to start honestly working with the Democrats to fix problems or go on a death march to oblivion. If the Republicans choose the latter, White Fox will accompany it and they will perish together. If the Republicans choose the former, that will be the beginning of the end for White Fox as we now know it. FNC will have to re-invent itself or die alone.