Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why Frank Rich Is Wrong To Tell Liberals, "Stop Beating A Dead Fox"

We continue with the same theme with a short piece by "Ellen" at titled, "Why Frank Rich Is Wrong To Tell Liberals, a rebuttal of yesterday's posting, "Half of Fox News' Viewers Are 68 and Older."

You'll remember from yesterday's piece, "A key data point from Frank Rich's profile of Fox News:
"Fox News is losing younger viewers at an even faster rate than its competitors. With a median viewer age now at 68 according to Nielsen data through mid-January (compared with 60 for MSNBC and CNN, and 62 to 64 for the broadcast networks), Fox is in essence a retirement community...If it is actually possible, its median viewer age will keep creeping upward. (It rose by two years over the course of 2013.)"
"Ellen" objects:

"Frank Rich has written a lengthy, important and fascinating article in which he argues that Fox News is dying and that liberals play into its hands by paying attention to it. As much as I respect and admire Rich, I think he is dead wrong in his prescription. Let's discuss!

"Rich's article is called: Stop Beating a Dead Fox The conservative news channel’s only real power is in riling up liberals, who by this point should know better. The title pretty well sums up his thoughtful piece.

"I certainly agree with the first part of his premise, that Fox is dying. Rich writes:
"'Fox News is losing younger viewers at an even faster rate than its competitors. With a median viewer age now at 68 according to Nielsen data through mid-January (compared with 60 for MSNBC and CNN, and 62 to 64 for the broadcast networks), Fox is in essence a retirement community.'
"'The million or so viewers who remain fiercely loyal to the network are not, for the most part, and as some liberals still imagine, naïve swing voters who stumble onto Fox News under the delusion it’s a bona fide news channel and then are brainwashed by Ailes’s talking points into becoming climate-change deniers. They arrive at the channel as proud, self-selected citizens of Fox Nation and are unlikely to defect from the channel or its politics until death do them part. (As Sherman writes, "Ailes’s audience seldom watches anything" on television but Fox News.) Hard as it may be to fathom, Fox Nation is even more monochromatically white than the GOP is, let alone the American nation.'
"But Rich seems to think that Fox's power is as frail as its audience:
"'Rather than waste time bemoaning Fox’s bogus journalism, liberals should encourage it. The more that Fox News viewers are duped into believing that the misinformation they are fed by Ailes is fair and balanced, the more easily they can be ambushed by reality as they were on Election Night 2012. We are all fond of quoting the Daniel Patrick Moynihan dictum that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” But we should start considering the possibility that it now works to the Democrats’ advantage that Fox News does manufacture its own facts. Much as it lulled its audience in 2012 into believing that Romney’s "47 percent" tape was just a passing storm, so it is now peddling similar assurances about Chris Christie’s travails.'
"Rich also seems to think that Fox will just self-destruct if liberals will just get out of the way and let it do its thing. Rich cites the uproar over Megyn Kelly's 'white Santa' comments as a case in point:
"'When this supposed "national firestorm" (as Al Sharpton inflated it on his MSNBC show) finally died down, only two things had been accomplished beyond the waste of everyone’s time. Liberals had played right into Fox’s stereotype of them—as killjoy p.c. police. And Fox News could once again brag about its power to set an agenda for its adversaries even as it also played the woebegone ­victim. "Because they can’t defeat us on the media battlefield, the far left seeks to demonize Fox News as a right-wing propaganda machine and a racist enterprise," said O’Reilly when sermonizing about the episode on his show. "That’s why Miss Megyn got headlines about a Santa Claus remark that was totally harmless." Fox News is a right-wing propaganda machine and at times (if not this one) a racist enterprise (witness, among other examples, its fruitless effort to drum up a "New Black Panther Party" scandal over some 95 segments in the summer of 2010). But O’Reilly was half-right. Kelly’s inane remark was harmless and unworthy of headlines. Without the left’s overreaction, there wouldn’t have been any pseudo "national firestorm."'
"Those latter two parts are where Rich and I part ways. While Rich makes a legitimate argument that Kelly's 'white Santa' comment did not merit the backlash it engendered (though I disagree), the fact of the matter is that "white Santa" is an easy-to-grasp soundbite that stands in for a larger picture.

"For one thing, Fox is not just some lone, Voice of Aging Conservatives niche television channel. It's part of a very large echo chamber that includes other News Corp. properties such as the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal. Fox is symbiotic with conservative talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh and his ilk and, of course, the Republican Party. The GOP may be on its way out but just look at the way that they have stymied President Obama's agenda in the meanwhile. Gun control, for example, is overwhelmingly popular with most Americans. But Congress has been unable to pass a ban on assault weapons, even in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre. Guess which side Fox News has hyped?

"If Fox didn't still have the power to reach beyond its insular group of diehards, would we still be talking about Benghazi nearly a year and a half later, when there is still no real there there?

"In my view, the most dangerous aspect of Fox is its 24/7 regimen of hate mongering. Hate doesn't just sell to Fox's select believers, it has pernicious side effects for society and for those who may not have a cadre of followers to back them up. Just ask Ward Churchill (fired from his job after being targeted by Fox). Or Van Jones (he resigned from the Obama administration after being targeted by Fox). Or Dr. George Tiller's family (he was murdered after being targeted by Fox).

"The sad truth is that Fox has power disproportionate to its small audience. I'd argue that the solution is for liberals to respond in an educated, forceful and strategic way, as opposed to getting 'riled up.' But whatever the answer, I think the worst thing for liberals to do is to turn their backs and tell themselves not to worry because it will all be over soon.


We suspect we'll see the phrase, "The GOP may be on its way out but..." more than once for the next few years, and one of the points in "Ellen's" rebuttal, that Fox Snooze has directly contributed to the lack of gun control in the U.S. is a major one.

And her final rebuttal, that "...the most dangerous aspect of Fox is its 24/7 regimen of hate mongering," is also a major argument.  Hate is the offspring of Fear, and from the murder of Dr. Tiller to the deaths resulting from the absence of a weapons ban in Congress, we see that Fox is as guilty of murder as their bosses - the greediest and most power-hungry among us.

The criminalization of Conservatism will be accompanied by a ban on Faux News and any other front for Conservative "ideology."  Remember, Conservatism is a phony political philosophy that hides the true aim of Conservative leaders and their propagandists like Fox: The rule of America by its Elites, an anti-American belief that uses any and all criminal methods to achieve their New American Age of Feudalism.


“When the President does it, that means that it’s not illegal.”

Richard M. Nixon.


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