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Tilting at Windmills

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February 10, 2011

'STUFF IS JUST MADE UP'.... We generally don't hear much in the way of criticism of Fox News from the Republican network's own employees. That's largely due to the non-disclosure agreements staffers are forced to sign, and I've long assumed it has something to do with a self-selected sample: Republicans go to work for Fox News for a reason, so they don't feel the need to criticize its partisanship later, since they're not surprised.

But once in a great while, someone from the network walks away and has the courage to give the rest of us a peek behind the curtain. Eric Boehlert has this report this morning.

Asked what most viewers and observers of Fox News would be surprised to learn about the controversial cable channel, a former insider from the world of Rupert Murdoch was quick with a response: "I don't think people would believe it's as concocted as it is; that stuff is just made up."

Indeed, a former Fox News employee who recently agreed to talk with Media Matters confirmed what critics have been saying for years about Murdoch's cable channel. Namely, that Fox News is run as a purely partisan operation, virtually every news story is actively spun by the staff, its primary goal is to prop up Republicans and knock down Democrats, and that staffers at Fox News routinely operate without the slightest regard for fairness or fact checking.

"It is their M.O. to undermine the administration and to undermine Democrats," says the source. "They're a propaganda outfit but they call themselves news."

And that's the word from inside Fox News.

We don't know who the network insider is -- he or she, not surprisingly, spoke on the condition of anonymity -- but the former Fox News staffer seems to have been with the network for several years, and offers a very valuable perspective.

The source notes, for example, that staffers are expected to figure out how to spin news stories the "right" way or they wouldn't last at the network. "My internal compass was to think like an intolerant meathead," he/she explained. "You could never error on the side of not being intolerant enough."

The source added that during the Bush/Cheney era, Fox News became a "Stalin-esque mouthpiece" for the administration, to the point of becoming "dangerous."

The insider was asked whether Fox News should be considered a legitimate news outlet. After laughing, the person explained, "I don't think people understand that it's an organization that's built and functions by intimidation and bullying, and its goal is to prop up and support Republicans and the GOP and to knock down Democrats. People tend think that stuff that's on TV is real, especially under the guise of news. You'd think that people would wise up, but they don't."

No, none of this is surprising. Watching the Republican network made much of this pretty obvious a long time ago.

But hearing it directly from a Fox News insider seems to add additional weight to the larger indictment against the ridiculous cable news outlet.

Steve Benen 10:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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Comments

Major Garrett?

Posted by: Breezeblock on February 10, 2011 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

I tried to post this on facebook but got a link to another story instead. Can someone fix this?

Posted by: frazer on February 10, 2011 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Everyone knows that Republican laundering includes a Spin Cycle. . .

Posted by: DAY on February 10, 2011 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

We HAVE to know this is accurate, because it's an anonymous Fox news source...

Posted by: artsmith on February 10, 2011 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

I think "Duh" is the appropriate response.

As if educated adults didn't already know this.

Posted by: Rochester on February 10, 2011 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

shocked! shocked I say!

Posted by: ant on February 10, 2011 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

This is, of course, not news.
It merely helps to confirm what any sentient hominid already knew.

And it would be better if someone actaully came out and said what needs to be said without any anonymity.

I understand why the person did that, though.
Still...

Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 10, 2011 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

The source notes, for example, that staffers are expected to figure out how to spin news stories the "right" way or they wouldn't last at the network.

Isn't this what Chomsky, et al have been saying about the MSM for 30 years?

As for the people who work at Fox and who the source may be, many people at the lower levels just getting into the business will take a job anywhere. When i lived in DC I had several reporter friends who worked at the Washington Times because it was the job they could get. They didn't stay any longer than they had to, but they were part of the operation.

Posted by: martin on February 10, 2011 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps we should pass a law preventing media ownership by non-us citizens. The Tea Party should certainly like it.

Meanwhile, The AZ Capital Times reports that Kyl will retire at the end of his term.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on February 10, 2011 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

This is, of course, not news.
It merely helps to confirm what any sentient hominid already knew.


Scathing indictment of a whole Party . . .well deserved, but nonetheless...

Posted by: Michael on February 10, 2011 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

In FoxToxicity, this will be deemed just a made up fiction by Soros-funded propaganda outlet Media Matters. But even if you could prove it wasn't it, wouldn't matter. Rupert Murdoch or Roger Aisles themselves could say exactly the same thing on live television broadcast 24/7 for a week across every single one of th 756 stations on our cable boxes and it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference to the people who watch Fox.

Fox is like a tobacco company. Its business is selling toxic poison to people who they've addicted to the toxins and, like all addicts, there is no limit to the amount of irrationality the addicts are prepared to muster in defense of their addiction. You can no more reason with people addicted to the steady stream of paranoia and hate that Fox spews out than you can convince a chain-smoking grandma that her second-hand smoke is bad for the baby.

Posted by: Another Steve on February 10, 2011 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps we should pass a law preventing media ownership by non-us citizens. The Tea Party should certainly like it.

Hahahah that's true, an Australian has caused this all to happen.

Posted by: Michael on February 10, 2011 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, this post is a waste of time.

An anonymous former staffer says, "Fox blah...blah...blah fake."

Does it occur to anyone to question credibility, that am anonymous former staffer might have and agenda or an axe to grind.

Posted by: Winkandanod on February 10, 2011 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps we should pass a law preventing media ownership by non-us citizens. The Tea Party should certainly like it.

Hahahah that's true, an Australian has caused this all to happen.

Posted by: Michael on February 10, 2011 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

This just in... it will get dark tonight.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on February 10, 2011 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

"Foxic"--Fox + toxic

Posted by: jjm on February 10, 2011 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Original "Nattering Nabobs of Negativism" will likely chafe , due in part to their purity (or thin skin ,I can never remember which) at the idea of Bush/Cheeny being sorted out ahead of Nixon/Agnew as regards of danger to mice under five feet tall (they won't grow anymore) . This ease with which the brush paints over a scene to propose a 'more betterer' picture does have its limits .
Will no one rid me , or , At long last sir have you no decency moments only seem to be occurring 'more fasterer' , if only because when I hit pause or reflect now I lose track of decades instead of coffee breaks , albeit , just for a moment .

The source added that during the Bush/Cheney era, Fox News became a "Stalin-esque mouthpiece" for the administration, to the point of becoming "dangerous."

Posted by: FRP on February 10, 2011 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

and this story will get absolutely no coverage by the lamestream media today.

Posted by: just bill on February 10, 2011 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry guys, Rupert became a US citizen in 1985 just so he could buy American TV stations, and thus lost his Australian citizenship. Sadly, one of the people who helped him convert was Ted Kennedy.

Posted by: martin on February 10, 2011 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps we should pass a law preventing media ownership by non-us citizens.

Murdoch is, unfortunately, a US citizen. He became one in 1985 precisely to avoid legislation preventing non-citizens from owning US television stations.

Posted by: doubtful on February 10, 2011 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Great minds, martin.

Curse your fast fingers, though. Yours must not be as cold as mine are today!

Posted by: doubtful on February 10, 2011 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Since jurors apparently believe all the forensic stuff on tv is real and normal for all crime scenes while knowing that the shows are entertainment, not documentaries, why would anyone expect viewers of Fox not to believe the lies they want to hear?

Posted by: mlm on February 10, 2011 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Forgot to mention Prince Alwaleed's desire to promote anti clean energy legislation.

Isn't there a law against this kind of thing? There at least should be a congressional hearing or something.

Just saying.

Posted by: Tom on February 10, 2011 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Do any of fox News' fans really care? They hear want they want to hear. that's all that's important to them.

Posted by: SaintZak on February 10, 2011 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

The double standards of the mighty Australian's coterie of cutie pies , must be laughable even for those odd souls who find the contrived sustaining anger is no longer a free choice but an addiction .
The ambush interviews by O'Reilly , Hannity , are only truly pathetic when viewed by their hurt and frightened responses to in kind attacks .

Michelle Malkin's response when her personal information was posted was of a dreamy character , in that it disposed of her own recent activities involved in exposing the geographical Bona Fides of natural born but altogether defenseless American citizens against the height , width , and breadth of the mighty Australian's Wurlitzer , by the tried and true method of omission (the Donald Henry Rumsfeld auto dream sequences of 2000 - 2007 , committed to the eternal comedy 2011) .

Posted by: FRP on February 10, 2011 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

To quote a Jimmy Kimmel segment, “HOW IS THIS NEWS ?

You could print “FOX NEWS IS PROPAGANDA” on our money and some people still wouldn’t get it.


Posted by: Joe Friday on February 10, 2011 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Until the source identifies him/herself, this story has no legs. Anyone with two nuerons to rub together has already figured it out.

Until someone has the guts to come out into the light and purge her/himself of the filthy, rotting taint of doing Rupert Murdoch's bidding, there is nothing more that can be said.

Posted by: bdop4 on February 10, 2011 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

I often wonder, why do we as thinking citizens stand for the 24/7 formalized hate speech that is Fox News? What can be done about it. There must be some legal recourse to address this non-stop national malignancy.

Posted by: June on February 10, 2011 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

My brother is a Fox watcher. To some extent, he knows the score, and he thinks that is just fine. My mother, on the other hand drinks their Koolade because it is her favorite flavor - Republican patriots good; everyone else not so much (politically anyway).

Posted by: TuiMel on February 10, 2011 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

I have to agree that in general, this does not matter. Certainly it does not matter to those that tune in to Fox. Like the readers of the WJ editorial page, they tune in to receive reinforcement of their firmly held beliefs.

What might make a difference would be a Fox insider willing to break the non-disclosure agreement. If it was a big enough personality, it might force the rest of the media to stop treating Fox like a real news organization. But, probably not.

Posted by: AK Liberal on February 10, 2011 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't think people understand that it's an organization that's built and functions by intimidation and bullying, and its goal is to prop up and support Republicans and the GOP and to knock down Democrats. People tend think that stuff that's on TV is real."

And too many on the left invoke "Godwin's Law" when those of us who do see what's going on, who do realize that a full-blown fascist movement is being created before our eyes with the goal of seizing state power and overthrowing the constitutional government. How long does it take for people to realize these scum are The Enemy, and calling them out has nothing to do with "civility"? I'll be civil to them when they start being civil to everyone outside their (bowel)movement. Too many of these people are already talking about re-fighting the Civil War. You didn't used to find books at Borders in the political section that advocated for nullification and claimed the south was right to secede, but they are there now and are even selling well enough to be carried in stock here in southern California (and I'm not talking about Orangatang County, San Diego County, Riverside or Kern but the west side of the San Fernando Valley, the "Republican part" of LA).

These people may act like "clowns" but those who think they aren't dangerous are likely to end up like the good Germans who thought Hitler was a "clown."

Posted by: TCinLA on February 10, 2011 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see example of "concoctions" and "made up" from the sources to add credibility to their story.

Posted by: garithkart on February 10, 2011 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Seconded. Unfortunately, without specifics, the story's value is extremely limited/constrained.

Posted by: jTh on February 10, 2011 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

In other news, Ricky Martin says he's gay.

Where's the Fake News wikileak?!?! There needs to be a public relations disaster for this communications company/lobbying organization before the 2012 elections. Its only a matter of time. There's always a day of reckoning for bald-faced liars.

Posted by: John Henry on February 10, 2011 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

What we have, based upon this story, is that somebody at media matters has an imaginary friend who told him/her exactly what the staffer at media matters already believed to be the case.

Posted by: Rhymes With Right on February 10, 2011 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

"People tend think that stuff that's on TV is real, especially under the guise of news"

Especially older people - like Walter Cronkite's generation. Fox is particularly good at spinning up the Geezer Generation, who will have it on all day, and because it's tv "news", will believe every word.

Worse yet, they're the people who vote.

Posted by: zandru on February 10, 2011 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Trolls again. "What specifically did they make up?" Umm Yeah. Fox distorts and makes up facts on every story. Even the weather is blamed on Gore or Obama. What specifically did they make up? You could start with the 2000 election and end with the 2010 election, punctuated by such winning stories as the New Black Panthers, Acorn, and secret Muslim presidents. These folks are dangerous--belief in lies have consequences. And they imperil the country.

Posted by: Sparko on February 10, 2011 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Asked what most viewers and observers of Fox News would be surprised to learn"

Loyal viewers, sure. But everyone else? Hardly. My response to this is, "tell us something we didn't know."

Posted by: digitusmedius on February 10, 2011 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

"People tend to think that stuff that's on TV is real, especially under the guise of news." un-named source cited by Eric Boehlert.

This is news? TV may be more emotionally involving, but the exact same things were being done over a century ago in the newspapers thanks to Hearst and Pulitzer. Does no-one remember the phrase "It MUST be true, I read it the newspaper/heard it on the radio"?
I would have no problem with Fox if it operated as an opinion/information channel, sort of a video version of Buckley's National Review, and limited its' "news" programs to reading headlines provided by a reputable news agency. Unfortunately THAT would neither soothe Murdoch's massive ego nor feed his lust for power.
Thanks Australia. First you give us Crocodile Dundee, then Foster's, and now Rupert...

Posted by: Doug on February 10, 2011 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

After listening to FOX news I could only respond in one way--I wrote a song and made a music video. I sent it to Glenn Beck--haven't heard back--"Turn Off Fox TV" --Enjoy

http://www.turnofffoxnews.com/Turn_Off_Fox_TV_Song.html

Robert C Reynolds

Posted by: Robert Reynolds on February 11, 2011 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK


“Stuff is just made up”
Everyone is aware of the spin……I hope the suggestion is not that MSNBC or CNN or the network news is somehow balanced and fair. Our entire media including print and the internet are corporate owned by the corporate wealthy-- including the Washington Monthly. No one considers Charlie Peters to be a small business owner.

Posted by: independentthinker on February 11, 2011 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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