Summary: We have become a new people, and need new ways to become informed. In the America-that-once-was we got news from boring newspapers like the New York Times and boring old guys like Walter Cronkite. Today we have high-tech news. Quants like Nate Silver distill news coverage of elections into pure horse races, stripping away the pretense of issues. Fox gives us what we really want from TV News. Journalism for a people who value Freedom from responsibility = Entertainment. Free markets are efficient, as our wants reveal our true selves.
The date 7 October 1996 deserves a place in our history books: the launch date of Fox News, the child of media geniuses Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes. A people changes; entrepreneurs earn fortunes for tweaking society’s machinery to accommodate those changes. As we devolved from active citizens of the Republic into passive subjects of New America, news became entertainment. Ailes saw that, and success followed.
Pretty women in tight outfits with short skirts and high heels on tall stools chatting about the news. Colorful graphics with simple messages. A news ticket of factoids streaming on the bottom of the screen. High intensity stories geared to the audience’s biases, sparking their emotions. None of this is news, but Fox News combined and intensified these elements to provide a high-bandwidth stream of data, giving watchers high involvement in the drama of today’s events. It’s like watching “Phineas and Ferb“, or Taylor Swift doing “Shake it Off” — but providing the feeling of time well-spent (becoming informed) while being politically indoctrinated.
Seldom have the medium and the message been so well combined. In 1984 George Orwell described Oceana’s broadcasts on the telescreen as if run by the BBC (1984). Fox shows us show what people watch in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932). It’s as if Leni Riefenstahl hired consultants from Madison Avenue for a TV news network follow-up to “Triumph of the Will“. People having fun discussing weighty issues in terms of white hats and black hats, plus sex appeal. Genius.
Fox even provides comedy. Watch liberals fact-check Fox. As if it matters; they might as well fact-check Saturday Night Live. Conservatives laugh as Fox destroys its more liberal competition in the ratings. Young people laugh at the oldsters burning their last years watching the boob tube (average age of viewers: CNN is 59, MSNBC 61, Fox News 68). Oldsters laugh at youngsters getting news in meaningless bursts (without social security who has time for more while struggling to survive?).
To learn about Benghazi we turn to Fox News, who brings us a tag team to interview former NFL star Terry Bradshaw (part of “13 Hours at Benghazi”, which got big ratings):
Think of this as the remorseless logic of history. If we choose not to act on the news — if we decide to be subjects instead of citizens — why not enjoy the news as spectacle? Because Freedom.
To understand the dynamics of modern propaganda we turn to a sage, who explains how to make it easy to watch (unlike the socialist realism so popular on the Left): “a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down”.
For More Information.
About the news in America:
- The media – a broken component of America’s machinery to observe and understand the world, 2 June 2009.
- We’re ignorant about the world because we rely on our media for information, 3 June 2009.
- Are we blind, or just incurious about important news?, 6 July 2009.
- Examples of America’s broken vision. Here’s why we cannot clearly see our world., 21 October 2012.
- A nation lit only by propaganda, 3 June 2013.
- Events in Ferguson show why we read the news: for entertainment, 23 August 2014.
- The news as a series of hysteric fits by America. Why? How can we get a grip on ourselves?, 12 December 2014.
- See how the news shapes our beliefs about the North Korea hack, 23 December 2014.
Tips for finding useful news with minimal time:
- A time-saving tip when reading the daily news.
- Suggestions for your daily info diet. You are what you read!
- Economics can help understand events in America and the world. Here’s where to find those answers., 16 February 2010.
- Are you reading the new journalism, or do you still wear the blinders of the old?, 7 July 2013.
- Finding insights in the seas of information & misinformation, 24 June 2014.
- Events in Ferguson reveal a better way to read the news, giving you more free time!, 26 November 2014.
Appendix: One of these is not like the others
20 thoughts on “Fox News gives us what we want: journalism for a New America”
And we dropped 14 places in one year in the Transparency International Freedom of the Press Index; http://rsf.org/index2014/en-index2014.php Also, check the new One America News which gives Fox competition.
Thanks for the links! I had not known about that index.
Interesting age demos.
What I want to know is who the heck reads FM?
I’ve wondered that, also. I know the source of the traffic. Of the 100,000 hits this month, ~60% are from the US, and another ~15% are from other English-speaking nations. Other than that, who knows?
I’ve seen more leggy anchorwomen on this post than I remember ever seeing on TV. I’ve got to get back to TV News.
Other than watching some TV shows on disk (the classics, like “Miami Vice” for fashion tips and docudrama like “UFO”), and streaming a few for fun (“NCIS-LA”, “Forever”), I haven’t watched TV since 1973. These girls are pretty, but the internet provides higher-quality soft porn without commercials.
Try this: “Balkanizing the News: Separation of People and State“, Fred Reed, 12 December 2014.
I used to regularly read Fred Reed, but imo he’s not what he was. This one is silly.
All sources of information are biased (except the FM website, which disparages all viewpoints except the true American perspective). The news has had tiers since the first mass media in the 17th Century, from the mass-market tabloids to the intellectual, from Left-wing rags to the Right-wing rags. News at 11.
“Journalism for a people who value Freedom from responsibility = Entertainment. Free markets are efficient, as our wants reveal our true selves.”
Since when has the American ‘news’ consumer ever been responsible for anything? That Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch successfully launched the Fow News Network is something to be commended, more choice is always better even if it is not your tilt politically.
Blonde hair and short skirts aside, Fox has probably provided more opportunity for women’s voices in TV news than any other network, that Ailes has not been recognized for this is long overdue.
Ultimately we have a choice, watch or not, change the channel or read a book, surf the Web or go to your local tavern and chat about the news, that’s what is great about “Freedom”.
“Since when has the American ‘news’ consumer ever been responsible for anything?”
Are you kidding? Each adult “consumer” is a citizen and has the responsibilities of such — from the small ones like voting to the large ones such as collective responsibility for the Republic.
That people no longer feel that responsibility is the driving factor for the Republic’s death.
And speaking of Fox, check out this book; http://www.theloudestvoiceintheroom.com/
How about proof reading your article? In a hurry?
For the Day after Christmas my computer emitted a burning smell while writing this post. I hit send just before the computer went dark. I’m writing this on my son’s, while my wife proofs the post. Revised text will be up in a minute or so.
I’ve seen the decline with Fred also.
What I meant to Point To was his list of Internet discussion blogs and his comments on each.
Some were new to me and perhaps others.
No TV since 1973?
It certainly is hard to tune in now even for basic Off Air regular shows and the horrendous commercials interrupting the Shows.
Once or twice a year while stranded in a motel, may click the TV on as a respite from whatever.
Otherwise the TV just gets older and is used for Movies periodically.
What is there I can say about American TV?
….a major indicator of the serious decline in almost everything in our social milieu.
People do watch these things.
Fascinating to me.
Megan Kelly = Woof!
Do you really think that the handsome Mr. Cronkite was more objective and balanced and better at reading the news than the more recent attractive readers of the news?
I remember back in the 70’s seeing Garrick Utley on TV and thinking – “Wow, a non-drop dead gorgeous person like myself could be a news anchor!” Then realizing why he only showed up occasionally.
A gorgeous woman in a short skirt may have less gravitas than a gorgeous man in a suit, but I’m not seeing much difference.
“gorgeous man in a suit”
(1) There are thousands of book and article reference to Cronkite . Many refer to him as handsome. I’d like some cites saying anything stronger than that, or that much of his female audience watch him due to his physical form — let alone that much of his male audience did so.
My guess it’s something you made up for ideological reasons. I doubt even you believe it.
(2) “don’t see the difference”
Yep, even you do not believe that. Show it to anyone older than 12 for an explanation.
What horse shit— you’re a crypto fascist fool!
Wikipedia: “Crypto-fascism is a pejorative term for the secret support for, or admiration of, fascism.” “Fascist movements shared certain common features, including the veneration of the state, a devotion to a strong leader, and an emphasis on ultranationalism and militarism. Fascism views political violence, war, and imperialism as a means to achieve national rejuvenation.”
There are 2,914 posts on the FM website. At least 2/3 of these oppose “emphasis on a strong leader”, “veneration of the state”, militarism, political violence or imperialism. Zero are in favor of these things. So who is the fool?
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