Despite their best efforts, Fox News is the biggest loser this morning, having utterly failed in their crusade to advance the prospects of their primary client, the Republican Party. Their sacred mission of partisan deception was proven to be impotent and ineffective.
It was an uphill climb from the start given that they were saddled with a GOP field that included zany characters like Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain. The eventual ascendency of Mitt Romney was unavoidable, even though he was a pariah in his own party who regarded him as a flip-flopping, north-eastern, moderate who created ObamaCare.
The campaign devolved rapidly after Romney’s nomination was evident. They never found any footing other than lunatic conspiracy theories that challenged President Obama’s citizenship and patriotism. When all you have are birthers and commie-phobic survivalists hunkering down in bunkers, you are not exactly going to appeal to middle-America.
The Fox News campaign effort relied conspicuously on false themes that never took hold outside the confines of the Fox bubble. They accused Obama of going on an “apology tour;” of disparaging small business owners by saying that they didn’t “build that;” of weakening welfare by removing work requirements; of plotting to ship Jeep production to China. None of it was true, and none of it was accepted by a public who is smarter than Fox thinks they are.
Nevertheless, Fox persisted in forcing their pre-masticated bullshit down the throats of American voters. They featured a parade of Republican politicians and pundits to pound their message into the already mushy brains of their viewers. Among their most brazenly partisan escapades was the broadcast of a four minute anti-Obama campaign-style video that was so egregiously inappropriate that they later pulled it from the air and their web site.
In the end, Fox had to work with the product that was handed to them. Mitt Romney was a flawed candidate who seemed to have no moral center. His primary argument for running was his experience as a businessman. But that item on his resume was dominated by Bain Capital, an investment firm best known for making millions by driving struggling companies into bankruptcy while sucking out fees and profits from loans that would never be repaid.
Romney hit the campaign trail with a brilliant strategy to make himself seem even more out-of-touch than was initially presumed. He spoke about corporations as people, how he wasn’t concerned about the poor, how he likes to fire people, about his wife’s two Cadillacs, and most damaging, about the 47% of the country that he regards as moochers and doesn’t have to worry about.
Wrap all of that into a package that also included a War on Women, an aversion to fact-checkers, and his now-famous Etch-a-Sketching of his prior positions, and you have a recipe for electoral disaster. Not even the unprecedented presence of Super PACS dumping unheard of millions into the GOP effort could rescue Romney from defeat. Although it is heartening to know that folks like Sheldon Adelson, Karl Rove, and the Koch brothers wasted so much money and have nothing to show for it.
This morning Fox News is scrambling to make excuses for coming up short. However, they refuse to take any responsibility for the electoral outcome. In many ways they seem to refuse to even admit defeat. Every story begins with the observation that the Republicans retained control of the House, and ends by saying that the losses were not the fault of the conservative agenda, but the strength of a powerful Obama campaign team and the bias on all the other media outlets.
That sense of denial is what defines the character of Fox News. And it may harden as they dig in to oppose Obama’s next four years. Their purpose for the next week or so will be to absolve themselves of any guilt, and to comfort their shocked audience who, because of Fox’s single-minded partisanship, never saw this coming. But judging from the reactions this morning, it is clear that Fox intends to continue to lie to their glassy-eyed disciples and to lie about their ideological adversaries. So strap yourselves in – it’s gonna be a bumpy four years.