There is an unmistakable relationship between the tenor of Fox News reporting and the unhinged ravings of Donald Trump. Both engage in unrestrained hyperbole and lies floating in a pungent broth of foul rhetoric. What were once called “dog whistles” intended to subtly appeal to loathsome confederates, are now better described as bull horns bleating to faithful disciples.
Recently Fox News has been taken to task for offensive remarks by their hosts and guests. The only thing about this that’s new is the criticism. Fox News has long been a source of racist commentaries and abhorrent outbursts on the air. Some examples that occurred in just the past couple of weeks include host Laura Ingraham comparing the immigrant child cages to “summer camps.” Or the former Trump deputy campaign chief, David Bossie, saying that the African-American he was debating was “out of your cotton-picking mind.” For these and many other instances, there has been a backlash against Fox News by advertisers.
Consequently, the new Fox News president, Suzanne Scott, called a meeting of the network’s producers to law down the law: “You are responsible as the producers. You have to protect the talent and the brand.” Notice that the admonition by Scott was not that they needed to refrain from making racist or derogatory statements, or from being insensitive to the suffering of children or other victims of injustice. It was purely a fiscal matter to prevent tarnishing the company or the reputation of its personnel. In other words, they were welcome to express the very same heinous opinions so long as they hid them within more “acceptable” language.
It should be noted that Scott could not have been surprised by the discourse on her network. She was the executive responsible for giving both Ingraham and Tucker Carlson prime time programs. Ironically, before Carlson supplicated himself to Fox he referred to them as “a mean, sick group of people.” So Scott knew exactly what she was getting into. But what’s unprecedented about this new corporate mandate is simply the fact that producers need to be told to clean up the patter of their hosts and guests. That’s actually a recognition on Fox’s part that there is a big problem with them going out of the bounds of decency and that they need to be carefully monitored – and even punished – to insure that they are constrained from acting on their natural, ugly impulses.
What that tells us is that Fox News is now aware of something most news consumers already knew: That Fox is a bastion of crudeness and invective and that their “talent” can’t be trusted to be civil. But to be fair, the same thing is true of Donald Trump. So if the President is doing it, and Fox News is really just a State TV asset, then maybe they need not bother with the nannies at all. Let it all out and let the viewers and advertisers decide.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.