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What is the role of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and is it fair and balanced?

by on December 1, 2013

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Since Fox News’ inception, its intention and methods have been innately unfair and imbalanced as Fox News’ undermines journalistic standards to pursue Rupert Murdoch’s and Roger Ailes’ far right conservative political agenda, whilst successfully exploiting and profiting from its niche target audience via consistent disinformation to get them to vote against their economic interest, at the same time supplying their demand of fear, prejudices and having their values reaffirmed. Fox News’ role as a powerful 24/7 political machine provides platform to influence voting, political fundraising and outlines and advances the conservative talking points and agenda of the far right.

Fox News undermines journalistic standards to pursue Rupert Murdoch’s and Roger Ailes’ far right conservative political agenda of deregulation to allow Murdoch to expand further into the American market and push further anti-tax and anti-trade union propaganda. Driven by money and power, Murdoch and Ailes shared their disregard for the rules of professional journalism as it was a hindrance to their agenda. Ailes replaced experienced journalists with inexperienced journalists with the goal to “embed his own political biases into the network’s DNA… One of the problems we have to work on here together when we start this network is that most journalists are liberals and we’ve got to fight that.” said Roger Ailes (Tim Dickenson) News reporters knew from the start that the only way to progress professionally at the network would be to comply with the right-wing bias which would be ingrained into every aspect of their work. Murdoch saw his new network as the right-wing bias counterweight to CNN’s left-wing bias, therefore it’s clear from the start that Fox News would not be fair and balanced.

Fox News’ is the most profitable cable news network with an audience of 100 million, a 50% profit margin earning $816 million in profits in 2010, therefore is the least accountable cable news organisation in the United States. Fox News’ successfully exploits and profits from its niche target audience via consistent disinformation to get them to vote against their economic interest at the same time as supplying their demand of fear, prejudices and have their values reaffirmed. Fox News’ niche target audience is “exclusively white with 1.38 percent of African American viewers. pro-business (86 percent), Christian conservative (78 percent), Tea Party-backer (75 percent) with no college degree (66 percent), who is over age 50 (65 percent), supports the NRA (73 percent), doesn’t back gay rights (78 percent) and thinks government “does too much” (84 percent).  Fox News outlines, shapes and advances the conservative talking points and agenda of the far right. Fox News viewers are the most misinformed of all news consumers. . .12 percentage points more likely to believe the stimulus package caused job losses, 17 points more likely to believe Muslims want to establish Shariah law in America, 30 points more likely to say that scientists dispute global warming, and 31 points more likely to doubt President Obama’s citizenship.” (Tim Dickenson) Fox news is unfair and imbalanced as supplying fair and balanced news is not profitable with the Fox audience. The target audience result in being made more ignorant to current and global affairs due to consistent disinformation. Since Fox News’ inception, its intention and methods have been innately unfair and imbalanced to the maximum extent.

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This should be the tag line of Fox News. 

“I Roger Ailes plan to undermine the role of an independent press by constantly whining that any reportage that deviates from a staunch conservative narrative is biased, while at the same time filling the editorial vacuum that that creates by building a conservative propaganda juggernaut in the guise of a news organisation. I’m going to call the organisation ‘Fox News’, at its tag line will be, a fanatically organised media fiefdom where my own far right agenda and personal sense of victimhood drive every aspect of the operation and balanced.” (Jon Stewart) Due to the economic and political success of Fox News, Roger Ailes has free reign to shape Fox news as a mirror-image of his own vision as a an immensely powerful 24/7 political machine which is a platform for the Republican party to influence voting and political fundraising.

Fox News’ is a platform for the conservative movement. GOP candidates have direct access to their Republican base nationally via Fox News, whilst avoiding critique of professional journalists, who they argue intend to destroy “social order with their liberal elitist social­ist thinking. Ironically, Ailes has built the most formidable propaganda machine ever seen outside of the Communist bloc, pioneering a business model that effectively monetizes conservative politics through its relentless focus in the bottom line.” (Tim Dickenson)

Fox News has had a significant impact on voting in American politics. For example, the 2000 American election where 200,000 votes approximately went to Bush in areas where there was significant access to Fox News (University of California study). Fox News distorted the electoral balance and declared George. W. Bush as president, which pushed every other network to copy. Fox News is the home of Anti-Obama rhetoric and helped create and legitimise the Tea Party alongside the Koch Bros, which is an extreme right-wing faction of the Republican Party, enabling it to elect U.S. senators, which had a significant role in the 2010 and 2012 Republican takeover of the House of Representatives.

Fox News’ is a political fundraising instrument with its own political candidates who have been successful in winning significant elections. For example, former Fox News host John Kasich became the Governor of Ohio. Murdoch publically stated his support for Kasich was out of friendship and a donation of $1.26 million from News.Corp assisted his campaign. Kasich has pushed the right-wing Republican agenda in Ohio by repealing “collective-­bargaining rights for 350,000 state workers and killed a stimulus-­funded project to develop high-speed rail for the state. . . The question is no longer whether Fox News is an arm of the GOP, but whether it’s becoming the torso instead.” (Tim Dickenson). Cutting trade unions and federally funded projects, fits in with the far right conservative agenda of Murdoch and Ailes. The Republican Party now works for Fox News, GOP candidates have been put on the Fox News payroll such as Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum. The Republican party have been forced to move further to the right on the political spectrum

Overall to a large extent, Fox News is innately unfair and imbalanced as Fox News’ undermines journalistic standards to pursue Rupert Murdoch’s and Roger Ailes’ far right conservative political agenda, whilst successfully exploiting and profiting from its niche target audience via consistent disinformation to get them to vote against their economic interest at the same time supplying their demand of fear, prejudices and have their values reaffirmed. Fox News’ role as a powerful 24/7 political machine provides platform to influence voting, political fundraising and outlines, shapes and advances the conservative talking points and agenda of the far right.

 

 

Bibliography:

Journals/PDFs:

1: The Fox News Effect, Media Bias and Voting, By Stefano Della Vigna and Ethan Kaplan. President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, August 2007. http://emlab.berkeley.edu/~sdellavi/wp/FoxVoteQJEAug07.pdf

 2: The Reinforcing Effects of Fox News, By Daniel J. Hopkins† Jonathan M. Ladd, Harvard University, February 2012. http://people.iq.harvard.edu/~dhopkins/FoxPersuasion021212.pdf

3: The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, By Vanessa Williamson, Theda Skocpol, and John Coggin, Harvard University, March 2011.  http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/williamson/files/tea_party_pop.pdf

Articles:

4: How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory, The onetime Nixon operative has created the most profitable propaganda machine in history. Inside America’s Unfair and Imbalanced Network. By Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone Magazine, May 2011. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-roger-ailes-built-the-fox-news-fear-factory-20110525

 5: Distort, Attack, Repeat: The Fox Propaganda Machine in Action, By Tim Dickenson, Rolling Stone Magazine, May 2011. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/distort-attack-repeat-20110524

 6: Roger Ailes and the rise of Fox News, Even Rupert Murdoch is afraid of Roger Ailes, the paranoid boss of Fox News. But ‘the Chairman’ is using his power to make Americans more rightwing, more ignorant and ever more terrified. By Tim Dickinson, The Guardian, August 2011 http://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/aug/10/roger-ailes-fox-news-murdoch

Video:

7: Fox News, Jon Stewart & Roger Ailes, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, May 2012.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaSYIJn2VUE

8: Jon Stewart Election Coverage, There was an Avalance on Bullsh**t Mountain. http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/jon-stewart-foxs-election-coverage-there-w

Images: 

9: The Simpsons Vs. Fox News. http://perezhilton.com/2010-11-22-the-simpsons-puts-fox-news-in-their-place

10:  Latest Megyn Kelly Poll: Jon Stewart 100, Karl Rove’s Republican Math 0, http://www.thewire.com/politics/2012/11/latest-megyn-kelly-poll-jon-stewart-100-karl-roves-republican-math-0/58821/

 

 

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2 Comments
  1. This post presents a spirited critique of Fox News and includes some interesting data about its viewers. It also has a couple of nice illustrations (I love the Simpsons’ picture in particular). However, there are some areas for improvement, which you should address when revising your entries for inclusion in your portfolio at the end of the year:

    1. You tend to assert your claims without sufficiently demonstrating or proving them. Could you perhaps include some examples of bias?

    2. What evidence is there that Fox News influences viewers? Could it not be the case that people already holding such views get their news from Fox? The direction of causations isn’t entirely clear. But what is clear is that a commitment to balanced and neutral reporting has gone out of the window and diverse cable and satellite news stations allow viewers to pick the sort of news and commentary they want to see, rather than being subjected to views which challenge their prejudices and presuppositions.

    3. You tend to rely a little too heavily on Dickinson’s articles, with no citations to some of the other texts listed. Moreover, you fail to distinguish between the three Dickinson articles (as they are all from 2011, use letters to make clear which text you are referring to in each instance, viz. 2011a, 2011b and 2011c).

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