If you thought that the Republican presidential primary has had the intellectually vacant stench of a reality TV show, then you have obviously been paying attention. The past nine months have been a virtual Survivor-like season with enemies and alliances and losers literally getting voted off.
Starring in this parade of idiocy is the actual host of a real life reality game show, Donald Trump. And he has milked the genre for all its worth. Trump’s demeanor has exhibited all of the juvenile melodrama that epitomizes the worst of an already pedantic television format – insults, anger, ignorance, betrayal, pandering, and transparent phoniness.
Recognizing the tone of the campaign, Fox News has decided to give up on news entirely and adapt by reinforcing their staff with the sort of experience that is best suited to the shallowness of the GOP and their constituents. To that end they just hired Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame as a contributor. I guess Honey Boo Boo must have turned them down. Still, Fox News could not have made a better choice to affirm their utter disrespect for journalism and their audience.
Robertson, of course, has no reporting credentials whatsoever, so he is no less qualified for the position on Fox than the rest of the crackpots on the network. His ultra right-wing Christianist dogma will fit in nicely with his new colleagues. And his endorsement in January of Trump makes him an ideal representative of Fox’s notorious unfairness and imbalance. As an added bit of tabloid conflict, Willie’s father Phil endorsed Ted Cruz. All of this adds up to Fox’s abandonment of journalism in favor of low-grade entertainment, a devolution that News Corpse has described previously:
“Fox News has redefined television journalism by fundamentally transforming it from an information medium to an entertainment medium. They dress up their pseudo-news segments in the same melodramatic packaging that entertainment outlets use: conflict, scandal, mystery, and hyper-charged emotions including hero worship and fear. Fox employs flashy graphics and attention-grabbing audio whooshes and gongs to decorate their reports that are presented as “ALERTS” regardless of the news value. And always there is sex. Fox’s roster of hosts has more former beauty pageant contestants that journalists. And they aren’t shy about putting their “talent” in revealing clothes and camera angles. In fact, Fox CEO Roger Ailes demands it. As for news, Fox’s concentration on tabloid thrill-fiction like Benghazi and Obama’s birth certificate is the news equivalent of porn.”
I can’t wait to see Robertson’s contribution to the circus atmosphere that is the Republican Party’s Presidential Apprentice contest. But you have to hand it to Fox News who, rather than bolstering their team with seasoned professionals as the campaign approaches the general election phase, chose to snag a duck call huckster to bring his unique insight to American democracy and to pitch for the Storm-Trumpers.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.