First: I know this is supposed to be a blog about Missouri politics and politicians, but on the grounds that, judging from polls and the virulence of local Tea Party crowds, lots of Missourians form their views of the political firmament based on Fox reporting and opining, this report by Eric Boehlert of Media Matters is, if not exactly enlightening, at least validating. It is based on interviews with a former Fox News employee and is worth reading in its entirety.
Second: My apologies for offering little or no commentary, but the following highlights from Boehlert’s article say it all:
– On Fox’s Republican bias:
It is their M.O. to undermine the administration and to undermine Democrats,” says the source. “They’re a propaganda outfit but they call themselves news.
– On Fox’s political role:
The real story, and the real danger posed by the cable outlet, is that over time Fox News stopped simply leaning to the right and instead became an open and active political player, sort of one-part character assassin and one-part propagandist, depending on which party was in power. And that the operation thrives on fabrications and falsehoods
– On employee attitudes:
My internal compass was to think like an intolerant meathead,” the source explains. “You could never error [sic] on the side of not being intolerant enough.
– On the Bush years:
We were a Stalin-esque mouthpiece. It was just what Bush says goes on our channel. And by that point it was just totally dangerous. Hopefully most people understand how dangerous it is for a media outfit to be a straight, unfiltered mouthpiece for an unchecked president.
– On the Fox news strategy:
… If one controversy faded, goddamn it they would find another one. They were in search of these points of friction real or imagined. And most of them were imagined or fabricated. You always have to seem to be under siege. You always have to seem like your values are under attack. The brain trust just knew instinctively which stories to do, like the War on Christmas.
And best of all:
The former insider admits to being perplexed in late 2009 when the Obama White House called out Murdoch’s operation as not being a legitimate new source, only to have major Beltway media players rush to the aid of Fox News and admonish the White House for daring to criticize the cable channel.
You don’t say.