Monday, March 3, 2014

Eric Alterman: Fox Corrupts Political Debate

Reviewing a biography of Fox News impresario Roger Ailes in The Nation, Eric Alterman gets to the heart of the Fox phenomenon in one paragraph. Alterman writes that ignorance, apathy and lies form the basis of network's profits–and that Fox has corrupted the country's political discourse by discounting facts:

The genius of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch in the creation of Fox News has two primary components. The first is financial: it doesn’t take that many disaffected, ill-informed, angry old white guys who couldn’t care less that they’re being lied to to make a cable-news network profitable, but apparently there’s enough of them to make Fox News about $1 billion a year. The second is political: by posing as a ref while actually being a player, Fox manages to corrupt the entire political playing field. What was once considered a “fact”—such as the near-airtight scientific consensus on the reality of man-made global warming, or the birthplace of the current president of the United States—becomes merely one pole in an endless “debate” in which actual evidence carries the same weight as total bullshit. You can see the results in the actions and arguments of today’s Republican Party—and, with it, America’s apparently limitless political dysfunction.

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