Anyone who watches Fox News with any frequency is painfully aware that it is little more than a marketplace for rightist propaganda and rancor. But lately, I noticed another kind of hucksterism that is rampant on the network. Several of their regular anchors and contributors are identified as authors in the graphics at the bottom of the screen. This happens often enough that I began to wonder just how widespread this practice of co-promotion of TV and publishing was. As it turns out, it is pretty damn widespread. If you were to populate your library with books by Fox News personalities, you would have to purchase all of these – to start:
Greta Van Susteren
|Updated to add:
Fox News Washington, D.C., deputy managing editor, Bill Sammon
At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election
Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism from Inside the White House
Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, Media Bias and the Bush Haters
Strategery: How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media.
The Evangelical President: George Bush’s Struggle to Spread a Moral Democracy Throughout the World
This a wholly unprecedented marketing partnership between a so-called news organization and a right-wing political crusade. The books being plugged by the Fox spokesmodels are hardcore partisan tracts that all reflect the same regressive ideology. They have implemented a campaign that blankets their airwaves with pitches for published opinion pieces that are mostly dishonest, manipulative, and overtly hostile.
So where is the other side in this debate? Of course there are no anchors or hosts that lean even modestly left on the “fair and balanced” network. But even amongst their pseudo-liberal commentators like Kirsten Powers, Bob Beckel, or the recently departed Alan Colmes, you would be hard pressed to turn up a handful of literary works. Even so, I have never seen any of their limited line advertised on the air. Conversely, grousers like O’Reilly hawk their books on every broadcast. And you’ll find that appearances from the Coulters and Goldbergs increase coincident with the release of each new product. As for the other networks, there are a few authors scattered about, like Lou Dobbs, but the shelf space they would consume would be a mere fraction of the Fox Book Club.
The truly astonishing thing about all of this is that anyone would want to read (or watch) any of these pathetic characters to begin with. They represent a collection of the world’s most ill informed, logic deprived, truth averse losers in modern media. Bernie Goldberg, the fired CBS alum, is an unrepentant propagandist who writes books about media bias. Well, I guess he should know. Major Garrett, Fox’s White House correspondent, presciently penned a tome with the subtitle of “The Inside Story of the Republican Ascendancy and Why It Will Continue.” That was published just prior to the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006, followed up in 2008 with additional congressional gains and an historic White House victory. Good call, Major
But my favorite is the Clown Prince of Fox, Dick Morris. His 2006 book, “Condi vs. Hillary,” predicts the prospects for the commencing presidential election. Here is a sample of his astute analysis from the introduction to the book:
[T]here is no doubt that Hillary Clinton is on a virtually uncontested trajectory to win the Democratic nomination and, very likely, the 2008 presidential election. She has no serious opposition in her party [...]
The stakes are high. In 2008, no ordinary white male Republican candidate will do. Forget Bill Frist, George Allen, and George Pataki. Hillary would easily beat any of them. Rudy Giuliani and John McCain? Either of them could probably win, but neither will ever be nominated by the Republican Party.
So Morris got the Democratic nominee wrong. He got the Republican nominee wrong. And the Republican who Morris said could win if he were nominated actually lost. It is on the strength of this sort of analysis that Morris gets asked back to provide additional insights.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter on Fox (or almost any of the TV news nets) if you’re wrong. The only thing that matters is that you faithfully regurgitate the conservative dogma and talking points. If you do, then you will have a job for life, and your books, web sites, and other media spew will become part of the marketing machine that props up conservatism. It’s an elegantly parasitic relationship. TV exposure begets propaganda which begets book deals which begets TV exposure which begets propaganda, ad infinitum.
And at the center of it all is Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., a vertically integrated media empire that channels disinformation throughout it’s layers of television, radio, newspapers, magazine and book publishers, and the Internet. This complex web of entanglements insures multimedia distribution of the right wing’s political philosophy. Each props up the other to produce an architecture of lies in support of their lust for power and their Utopian dream for social Darwinism. Goebbels would have been proud.