Confirming what everyone with a pulse already knows, Roger Ailes, the CEO of Fox News, is a revered figure in the realm of wealthy, right-wing, evangelical, political manipulators. The latest evidence is the tribute to Ailes from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, an organization that rivals the Koch brothers for their advocacy of extremist conservative issues. Huffington Post reports that…
“Over the past decade, the Wisconsin-based Bradley Foundation has given away more than $400 million to fund conservative causes, including school voucher campaigns, anti-union ‘right to work’ laws, pro-marriage initiatives, global warming denial groups and efforts to combat voter fraud.”
The Bradley has also been one of the biggest funders of AstroTurf Tea Party groups like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, as well as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive assembly of corporations and politicians who draft custom legislation to enrich themselves.
In his acceptance speech, Ailes spewed typically jingoistic rhetoric that reeked of American supremacism. His words betray a repulsive bigotry that seeps into the reporting on Fox News every day.
Ailes: “We have allowed ourselves to be manipulated by others, many who of whom want to impose their culture and laws under the manufactured utopian idea that all cultures are equal and most are better than America’s.”
Ailes doesn’t say who the “others” are who have been manipulating us. However, his use of the term is just the sort of divisive alarmism that bigots generally employ. Ailes also doesn’t bother to describe what the American culture is. Considering that the United States has grown out of a wildly diverse population of immigrants, it would be difficult to define a specific set of cultural elements that compose an American identity, unless it is one of wild diversity. In which case, it is the imposition of other cultures that has specifically shaped what is unique about us.
Nevertheless, Ailes goes on to state that…
“Traditional American culture influenced me greatly as I created the Fox News Channel for Rupert Murdoch. We knew that a fair and balanced news channel could succeed, as long as no views were rejected and conservative views were allowed to be heard.”
It’s interesting that he claims to reject no views, but only stipulates that conservative views be heard. That subtle prejudice is affirmed in the following paragraph where Ailes praises his network for reporting stories that others do not. He cites as examples the Dr. Gosnell story, the trumped up Benghazi hysteria, and the IRS/Tea Party affair – all conservative leaning news items. And with regard to the IRS, Ailes ventures off into conspiracy theory lunacy by advancing nutty allegations about the hiring of some 16,000 armed IRS agents enforcing ObamaCare (when is he going to give Alex Jones a show on Fox?).
As if to tie up his speech with a demonstration of the ignorance and shallow thinking that is so rampant on Fox News, Ailes makes the absurd (and factually erroneous) statement that…
“You know how I know this is a great country? Because everybody is trying to get in, and nobody is trying to get out.”
First of all, it is ridiculous to try to establish America’s greatness by what those on the outside think. There are at least as many foreigners who hate, or disapprove of, America, as admire it. What’s more, there are millions of people who want to get out of America. Three million leave every year. As for the people trying to get in, they are not doing so because America is great. They are coming because America is rich. Contrary to the worshipers of wealth with whom Ailes associates, that is not the same thing.
It is entirely appropriate that Ailes would receive this tribute from an organization that celebrates Randian-style greed and selfishness. And his acceptance speech perfectly illustrates his devotion to that philosophy. It’s just too bad that the $250,000 award is going to someone who is already a multimillionaire, and whose life has been dedicated to hiring other rich people to tell middle-class people to blame the poor for all of their problems.