This is an excerpt from the introduction to the book Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Community’s Assault On Truth. The book contains more than fifty examples of Fox’s rank dishonesty with verifiable documentation of the falsehoods.
When Fox News debuted sixteen years ago, it was crafted from scratch to be a partisan outlet for right-wing propaganda and a platform for advancing a conservative agenda. Its founder, Rupert Murdoch, was already an internationally known purveyor of right-slanted newspapers and broadcasters. Murdoch’s first move was to hire Roger Ailes, a Republican media strategist, to build a network that would reflect his conservative views.
Today Fox News is the highest rated cable news network, having surpassed the innovator, and long-time leader, CNN about ten years ago. However, putting that into perspective, Fox News still draws only about half the viewers of the lowest rated broadcast news program (CBS Evening News), and about 25% of the broadcast leader’s audience (NBC Nightly News). Its ratings are lower than Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and Spongebob Squarepants too. Nevertheless, Fox has parlayed its cable success into a juggernaut of hype and hyperbole.
Complimenting Fox’s television presence is its Internet community web site, Fox Nation. The statement of purpose posted on the Fox Nation web site says that it is “committed to the core principles of tolerance, open debate, civil discourse, and fair and balanced coverage of the news.” However, a cursory glance at the site reveals that they have fallen wide of their stated purpose by several light years.
The pretense of fairness and balance is even less true for Fox Nation than it is for their parent, Fox News. At any given time, Fox Nation is layered thickly with far-right extremist diatribes and links to disreputable articles plucked from the Internet’s fringes (i.e. Breitbart and the John Birch Society). They compose headlines that are dripping with hyperbole (i.e. O’Reilly Demolishes Liberal Hypocrisy, and Cheney’s Daughter Annihilates MSNBC Anchor). They display overt disrespect by attaching disparaging and childish nicknames to people they don’t like (i.e. “Pig” Maher for Bill Maher, or Stuart Smalley for Sen. Al Franken).
The notion that civil discourse can take place on Fox Nation is dispelled with the viewing of their user forums. When they aren’t referencing the President as Odumbo or the First Lady as Moo-chelle, they are engaging in the rankest display of racism and hatred this side of the KKK’s home page. The Fox Nationalists use the “N” word as if it were an acceptable descriptive noun. And it doesn’t take much effort to find outright advocacy of violence and even assassination.
These sorts of comments are not anomalies. Fox Nation is deliberately catering to this caliber of audience. The frequency of comments like these makes it impossible to deny that they meet with the approval of the site’s editors. Which raises another pertinent question: Who are the site’s editors?
Most legitimate news enterprises identify their principle staff – publishers, editors, etc. But Fox News treats these people as if they were covert agents of espionage. There is no masthead or bylines or any other indication of who is responsible for the repugnant content posted daily on the web page. Requests for this information from Fox corporate communications officers went unanswered. And given the dishonesty, unprofessionalism, ignorance, and immaturity of the tone and substance on the site, perhaps it is their intention to remain anonymous in order to avoid the shame that would come with an association to such puerile trash.
This first volume of Fox Nation vs. Reality is a collection of some of the blatant falsehoods found on Fox Nation. These are not mere differences of opinion or discussions that might have varying degrees of perspective. They are obvious, provable, out and out lies. They are manifestations of a disconnect with the real world. But they are not the result of psychosis or mistake. They are deliberate and purposeful. They are aimed at an ill-informed audience that is only interested in having their prejudices affirmed. And Fox News is only too happy to accommodate them.
As an example from the book of one of the blatant departures from reality employed by Fox, take a look at this article where Fox Nation published an item with the headline “Obama More Unpopular Than Tea Party.” However, the New York Times poll cited in the article actually reported Obama’s favorability at 48% and the Tea Party at 20% – a complete reversal of the declaration in the headline.