The flagrantly right-wing bias of Fox News is no longer in doubt by anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the network’s aggressive propagandizing. Most of the network’s anchors, contributors, and guests lean so far to the right that Joseph Goebbels would have been proud to be associated with it. And yet, their own pride of ideological leaning is carefully hidden under a veil of phony fairness and balance.
That’s why it was surprising to find a public admission of political spin from a high level Fox insider buried in a story on a completely different subject. Last week Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine published another article in his investigative series that contributed to the downfall of Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Sherman is also the author of the Ailes biography The Loudest Voice in the Room.
The sexual harassment scandal that led to the humiliating ouster of the most powerful man in media had been steadily escalating. Dozens of women came forward to tell their painful stories of abuse. One of those women was Laurie Luhn who worked for Fox News for more than twenty years. The circumstances of her harrowing experience are spelled out in excruciating detail in Sherman’s article. But little noticed was this paragraph buried deep withing the article that revealed something unrelated to the abuse:
“As she was promoted through the ranks at Fox, Luhn worked harder and harder to please Ailes. She zealously promoted the network’s right-wing agenda. ‘I was very proud of the product. I was very proud of how we handled 9/11. Very proud of how we handled the run-up to the Iraq War,’ she said. ‘My job was to sell the war. I needed to get people on the air that were attractive and articulate and could convey the importance of this campaign. It was a drumbeat.'”
As the Director of Bookings for Fox News, Luhn saw her job as “selling the war” in Iraq. And she clearly recognized the benefits of seeking attractive, articulate salespeople to move the product. The “drumbeat” to which she refers was evident every day as the network hammered its advocacy of a war that had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. This was much more than a typical news slant to sway public opinion. This was a blatant effort to steer the nation into an international conflict that has had disastrous results from which we are still suffering today.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
These revelations turn the Luhn story into a much more complex affair. While she was on a daily mission to help her employer embroil the country in an immoral and illegal war, she was also a victim of unconscionable behavior from her despicable boss. There is no excuse for what Ailes allegedly did to her and the many other women making similar allegations against him. But there is a strange and sad irony that these heinous acts resulted in Luhn providing one of the most potent examples of how Fox News deliberately deceived the American people and unleashed an era of war, terrorism, and misery on the world.