FOX Phobia

Delighted as I am by the relentlessly cascading developments surrounding Rupert Murdoch’s beleaguered empire, I don’t share the optimism of worthies such as Eliot Spitzer who think  Foxworld ought to now be investigated by the DOJ under FCPA, the pretty straightforward Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that News Corp has evidently repeatedly violated.  For a lot of reasons, that sort of obviously reasonable thing could never bear fruit here, in the unlikely event that it even happened in the first place.  You see, despite the paranoid rantings of water carriers like Tucker Carlson who blame the Liberal Media for Rupert’s woes, News Corp, with FOX as its ruthless enforcer, has effectively cowed that same Liberal Media into acquiescence, if not outright emulation, of both its shoddy journalism and corrupt relationships with politicians.  Just as in the UK, politicians from both sides of the aisle are well accustomed to the ritual ring-kissing of Master Rupert, the Clintons being just one especially egregious example, and with few exceptions, the purportedly legitimate media supinely and routinely embrace FOX as one of their own; a self-destructive and aberrant choice that redounds only to the benefit of FOX at considerable expense to their already tattered credibility.

Like it or not, America is now invested in FOX, and though the investment is thoroughly underwater, we’re still unwilling to just turn it over to the bank.  For years, utter BS sold mercilessly on FOX, about everything from Clinton’s many murders to weapons of mass destruction and the climate change “hoax” have been soberly presented as “one side” of a supposedly insoluble political argument, never mind the facts.  Proven falsehoods about matters great and small are now “out there” in the bloodstream of American politics, and the dumb and shameless media stars who promoted them, despite their counterfactuality, fear the wrath of FOX far more than they fear the wrath of their deceived audiences.  After all, if nothing else FOX serves as an employer of last resort for the journalistically disgraced, a fact of which, say, Fred Hiatt couldn’t possibly be unaware.

All this creates a serious conundrum for anyone who might deign to go up against Murdoch’s empire…..  First, one can expect a ferocious onslaught of contemptuous smears from FOX itself as a matter of course; then, a tut-tutting, insidery dismissal from Howie Kurtz et al; this followed by synthesized roars out of the Professional Right from Limbaugh on down; and finally capped by the Obama DOJ or FCC giving Rupert everything he wants anyway.  Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel, they used to say, and ol’ Rupert has figured out a way to once again prove this truism well into the digital era.  Amazing what money by the bucketload can buy, isn’t it?

So, despite the lurid revelations and widespread public disgust with News Corp and its erstwhile acolytes across the pond, it would be foolish to hope such a mass awakening could ever happen here; it would simply embarrass too many Serious people in the media who have, out of either cravenness or stupidity, swallowed the FOX ethos hook, line, and sinker, and aren’t about to admit their mistakes because of some petty whining about bribery and whatnot.  Those few in the position to meaningfully challenge what News Corp has wrought through its lies and slipshod hackery have, by and large, embraced or at least not forthrightly countered its post-reality notions about the world, from President Obama on down, and therefore are and will continue to take the Fifth.

Rupert may have lost a few billion here and there, but as long as he has FOX, he still has America.

More’s the pity.


  1. dirigo says:

    I must say, with some admiration, that Rebekah’s locks look more full and luxuriant, even after the strain of the last several weeks. A hack’s hair should be proud at such a time.

    Say, has anyone noticed that Italy, under the fawning, final sway of its homegrown Murdochian doppleganger bastaman, is going under? A minor point, but Silvio will soon depart, and go back to the humdrum of daytime television in his bailiwick – and bunga bunga on the isle.

  2. cocktailhag says:

    As Oscar Wilde once described a merry widow, “her hair’s gone quite gold with grief.” When the going gets tough, a smart tart heads for the beauty salon.
    Would that Rupert would go the way of Silvio, but he’s stateless now, and saddled with a demanding trophy wife to boot. Must soldier on.

  3. dirigo says:

    Oh dear. Rebekah is stepping down, to be replaced by News Corpse’s ops chief in Italy. Hmmmm …

    As for Silvio, the question this morning is: Will he step down before the Polish and Hungarian currencies (the estimable zloty and florint) both collapse?

  4. avelna says:

    Speaking of “journalistically disgraced”:

    Fox’s Eric Bolling: “I Don’t Remember Any Terrorist Attacks On American Soil” Between 2000 And 2008
    And no one contradicted him! He’s supposedly being considered as a replacement for Glenn Beck. I think it’s a perfect fit.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I saw that. The reason no one corrected him is because the idea that Bush “kept us safe” is a developing meme on the right. Bolling wasn’t the first to say it, and he won’t be the last. Repetition, you know….

  5. Ché Pasa says:

    Wasn’t it Hearst and Pulitzer and all the rest of the early media moguls who were corrupting politicians right and left and ordering up wars and what have you back in the day? And weren’t their operations — in fact, weren’t most news operations back in those days — basically the same sort of criminal conspiracy La Rupert has been operating globally for nigh onto three decades?

    There’s this persistent myth that the Media was ever not like this. Like most myths, there may be some substance to it, but at the same time, news media in this country, in most countries, has always been the servant — and sometimes the master — of power and money.

    Rupert et al may get some kind of comeuppance — these types occasionally do — but still… their poison will continue to course through the civic bloodstream.

    And in times to come, there will be many journalists who will insist, “Those were the days!”

    • cocktailhag says:

      The difference, and it’s a crucial one, between Rupert and the press barons of old is one of scale. Hearst and Pulitzer were really only powerful in a couple of places in the US. Never globally, and none of them were as competition-free as Rupert.

      • Ché Pasa says:

        Difference of scale, yes. Hearst and Pulitzer set journalistic standards for the United States and ultimately, no matter the periodic unpleasantness they were responsible for, they’re hailed as titans and heroes.

        Murdoch and his flunkies are almost everywhere injecting their poison, befouling everything they touch, deliberately and with much malice aforethought. And in the end, after he’s passed, I won’t be a bit surprised to see all the revisionist hagiographies about what a damned Hero — fighting for Right and Truth and Justice and the Aussie-American Way! — Old Rupert the Wizened was.

        It’s just kind of how those things tend to go.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Oh, I don’t know… Most people remember Hearst from “Citizen Kane,” and the profile wasn’t all that flattering. Now, of course, Rupert even has enough of the entertainment media to prevent such a thing from happening to him, but if a hagiography emerges, people often find it boring. (Did you see the numbers for Sarah Palin’s blockbuster?)

          • Ché Pasa says:

            Ah, but I remember Hearst from Hearst’s Castle where I was taken as a child (soon after it was opened as a State Park) to experience for myself how Our Betters indulged and entertained themselves. I remember being shocked (shocked!) at how ornate and overwrought it all was — well, all but the unfinished servants quarters, still in rough concrete and plywood — and how little the tour guide appreciated my constant yapping about “Marion Davies!” (“Hush you little blabbermouth, we’re not allowed to talk about her!“)

            I hadn’t seen “Citizen Kane” at that time, it was still kind of a Forbidden Movie. But damn, even at 10 years old, I knew who Marion Davies was.

            The Hearst Corporation was in bad straits by the late thirties. Marion’s selfless act of selling some of her jewelry enabled her to give Hearst a check for a million dollars to bail his ailing company out of debt. — from Marion Davies’ researcher and collector, Robert Board (it’s a long story).

            I had heard about that and much else regarding Hearst-and-Hollywood and so forth long before I set foot upon La Cuesta Encantada. Stories handed down in the family and from friend to friend.

            And when I saw “Citizen Kane” eventually, I thought it was actually a very sympathetic biography of a tragic figure. “Rosebud,” indeed.