Fox So-Called “News” Is “GOP TV” in the 21st Century

30 October, 2010: A demonstrator holds a sign at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on the National Mall on October 30, 2010 in Washington. (Photo via Shutterstock)A demonstrator holds a sign at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on the National Mall in Washington, October 30, 2010. (Photo: Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com)

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It’s time to stop calling the Fox cable TV network a “news” network and start calling it what it is: a propaganda network for billionaires like Rupert Murdoch who own the Republican Party.

And, it’s Roger Ailes’ dream of “GOP TV” come to life.

Even though the network has long called itself a source of “Fair and Balanced News,” the reality is that the network produces content that is anything but fair or balanced. And it’s certainly not news.

See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

Because much of the content that Fox puts out is propaganda for the Republican party and the billionaires that own the party.

Fox spends an inordinate amount of time, according to Media Matters for America, spreading fear and half-truths that promote the agenda of the billionaires.

You don’t have to search very hard for examples of Fox promoting the GOP’s agenda that’s simply based on fear, hatred and Reaganomics for the rich.

And it really doesn’t matter what they’re talking about. Many Fox reports try to pack as much of the billionaires’ agenda in as possible. They don’t even need the points to make sense.

Just take a look at how Eric Bolling and the rest of the Republican parrots on “The Five” discussed lone-wolf terrorism in the US earlier this week.

In one fell swoop the panel manages to dismiss any conversation about over-medication or the state of mental health treatment in the US – because that conversation might be harmful to the Republican’s sponsors in the pharmaceutical industry.

And they somehow even managed to take a swipe at climate change, rejecting the consensus of all credible climate scientists as nothing more than conjecture and a hokey liberal explanation for everything.

And that was all before Bolling’s actual point: that he’s proud to be Islamophobic and that we should assume that one out of every five Muslims are guilty of possibly being radicalized.

In other words, the US still needs to be terrified of the Muslim world.

And the real point at the end of the Fox rabbit hole is simply that we need to be prepared to continue our wars in the Middle East, because the invasion of Iraq didn’t make quite enough money for the oil barons and arms dealers who own so many Republicans in Congress.

It isn’t a wild conspiracy theory to say that Fox is a propaganda machine for the GOP, according to Media Matters, it’s a matter of historical record.

Back in 1970, when he was working in the Nixon White House, Roger Ailes had a dream.

He called his dream “GOP TV,” and his vision was to run a so-called “news” operation that could rapidly push the Republican issues and messages of the day.

He marked up a memo called “A Plan for Putting the GOP News on TV News” arguing that more and more Americans were getting their news from TV in 1970.

And he envisioned the GOP taking advantage of the fact that, in the words of the memo: “44 percent [of Americans] say TV is more believable than any other medium.”

The memo also detailed exactly how a Republican politician would record a message for their constituents about a hot-button issue, and then how that message would be rapidly edited and distributed so that the message could be in the hands of local stations in less than a day.

The Nixon White House rejected Ailes’ vision because Nixon couldn’t raise the funding needed, but Ailes didn’t give up on the idea and apparently managed to share his idea with billionaire Rupert Murdoch.

And now the Fox network, owned by billionaire Murdoch and chaired by Roger Ailes, is one of the most watched cable networks in the country. It surpasses even ESPN in viewership on some nights.

And it’s paying off with Republican electoral wins that would have been unimaginable before Fox.

Here’s how they do it: Watch as Sean Hannity sets up Republican presidential candidate John Kasich to walk back his claim that the GOP is waging a “War on the Poor.”

That’s not journalism. That was a leading question that set Kasich up to give the response that made the Republican party look good.

Because Fox isn’t news. It’s a place for Republicans to pander to their base and to tell their viewers what to believe.

And if a Republican strays from the party line? The network swoops in and sets them up to clarify themselves for the base.

And if that politician doesn’t take the opportunity to return to the party line? Fox will be there to discredit and disown the traitor to the party.

Just look at the coverage that Donald Trump has gotten. After he called immigrants “rapists” and “drug dealers” the network flung open its doors to let the Trump on so that he can appeal directly to the base.

But Fox didn’t press Trump on his statements. Instead, they gave him a safe space to reiterate them.

Which is exactly what Fox does best. It provides a safe space for the Republican message to be repeated and folded into every news story of the day. No matter how outrageous or dishonest that message is.

Sure, they talk about current events.

But they only use those events as a frame to push their agenda 24-hours-a-day and seven-days-a-week.

Because Fox isn’t a news channel. It’s a propaganda network.

It’s “GOP TV” – alive and well in the 21st century – and it’s time we start calling it what it is.