Fox News. Remember when their slogan was:
“Fair and Balanced” ?
Seems like yesterday. But when Fox News founder Roger Ailes was fired in 2016, that slogan was fired also (or, shelved as a marketing tool). In its place, a new slogan emerged:
“Most Watched, Most Trusted.”
Well, at least the newer slogan is true — halfway true, that is.
While Fox may still be hanging on as the “most watched” TV news right now, others like MSNBC are not far behind. However, Fox is not the most trusted news source. In fact, as of April 2018, Fox News was less trusted than CNN and MSNBC. I guess if you slant Fox’s new slogan so that it reads, Most Watched, Most Trusted (By Those Who Watch It), then it would reflect a more completely accurate statement. Personally, I’d prefer a slogan like “Fox News: The Republican & Trump Propaganda Network.” I mean, let’s call a spade a spade… Well, a girl can wish.
Trump loves to say that CNN, MSNBC, and other mainstream news outlets are all “fake news.” If Sean Hannity didn’t say it (or anyone on Fox News for that matter), it doesn’t seem to count.
I don’t get it.
Anyone can look at the most up-to-date Media Bias Chart. Of all the TV sources that are considered “news,” the networks that rank in the bottom-most red rectangle (meaning: propaganda, misleading info, or contains inaccurate/fabricated material, and/or is considered “nonsense that’s damaging to public discourse”) are listed below. They are ordered from worst, to not quite as bad as “worst,” but close to it. Remember, these are all sources that report the most nonsense, the most not news out of all “news media.” Some are conservative, some are liberal, I’m not trying to claim otherwise.
In other words: If you’re getting your “news” from any of these sources, you’re receiving the actual fake news:
- InfoWars (most extreme conservative)
- Natural News
- Palmer Report
- The Blaze
- Occupy Democrats
- Bipartisan Report
- The Daily Caller
- Conserative Tribune
- Daily Wire
- Forward Progressives
- Fox News (hyper-partisan conservative)
And there it is. Fox News. On that list. The list of “news media” outlets that contain not news, but nonsense that’s damaging to public discourse. That’s the channel our current President gets all his news from.
Conversely, within the middle-of-the-line, “neutral” parameter, there are plenty of news media outlets. Neutral here means “minimal partisan bias OR using a balance of biases). These are also classified as news sources that are credible, can be trusted, and have original fact reporting. Among those listed, here are a few:
- Associated Press (AP)
- USA Today
- The New York Times
- The Washington Post
- The Wall Street Journal
News sources that are located further down the middle (meaning they’re classified as news with some opinion, but they are of fair persuasion and fair interpretation of the news) are CNN and MSNBC, among others.
Simply put, as the second sentence of this *MarketWatch story reads:
If you look at this chart and are convinced your “extreme” source belongs in the middle, you just might be part of the problem plaguing America today.
*MarketWatch is considered a least biased source, containing very few loaded (or emotionally persuasive) words, and the reporting is factual and typically sourced.
what does all this mean? Well, with the reported viewership numbers, you are likely to know someone who’s a Fox News loyalist. Here’s some information that’s good to know.
This story was covered on Rachel Maddow on July 5, 2018 (w/Joy Reid filling in), but I’m placing an even older segment from The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (Chris Hayes filling in) from 2011 that covers the first part of the story here:
In his day (and until he died in 1994), Richard Nixon longed for his views & words to go “directly to the people” rather than be “filtered” through news anchors or press writers. So much so, that a plan was drafted during the time he was in the White House for a partisan “GOP News” channel, to be paid for and run out of the White House.
Fast forward a few decades, and in 2011 the (now defunct) website Gawker unearthed a 15-page, unsigned 1970 memo titled “A Plan for Putting the GOP on TV News.” Gawker published its content in the article “Roger Ailes’ Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for FOX News.” The memo was buried deep within the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, and it was just one portion of a larger, 318-page cache of documents detailing Ailes’ work for both the Nixon and George H.W. Bush administrations.
Among my generation, Roger Ailes was most well-known for his role as the founding, permanent CEO of Fox News, a position which founder Rupert Murdoch appointed him. But decades before molding Fox News to what it is today, Ailes worked as a paid, political media consultant to President Nixon in the ’70s, and President Bush in the ’90s.
By the time he became chief at Fox News in 1996, he’d had plenty of opportunities to hone the craft of creating a narrative. He’d served two Presidents, and though the Nixon-era blueprint for GOP TV News never came to fruition, Ailes did manage to work on the short-lived right wing news outlet, Television News Incorporated. TVN was launched in the early 1970s, after Ailes was fired from the White House. It was here where, in an attempt to cloak the “news” outlet’s far-right slant, Ailes first coined the phrase “fair and balanced.”
When Gawker uncovered the 15 page blueprint for the GOP TV News, Ailes’ handwritten notes were found scrawled all over the margins of the memo, indicating he was extremely eager to launch the project. That memo was prefaced with a thought process that Ailes seems to have carried over to Fox News:
“Today television news is watched more often than people read newspapers, than people listen to the radio, than people read or gather any other form of communication. The reason: People are lazy. With television you just sit—watch—listen. The thinking is done for you.”
By the time 1996 arrived, the far-reaching impact of cable television gave Ailes the missing piece he needed to further craft the original 1970s plan. Ailes handpicked all of his hosts and anchors, and like the Presidents he’d advised years before, he dictated what they would wear, how they would move, and what they would say on air.
Before his 2017 death, Ailes stood accused of sexually harassing more than two dozen women at the network. Gretchen Carlson, former co-host of Fox & Friends, bravely went public with these allegations, and shortly after, even more allegations came flooding in. Roger Ailes was ultimately made to step down from the network he created. But during his last year of life, amidst the growing scandals, he saw the election of Donald Trump — a candidate his network had promoted, and whom Ailes had personally advised.
We all know that today’s Fox News and the Trump White House are in step on everything. Sean Hannity, a mainstay on Fox News has been dubbed Trump’s “shadow” chief of staff, Fox is the only TV network that trump routinely grants interviews to, and Fox has become a veritable pipeline for White House hires.
And now, Trump is essentially merging the two operations (Fox News & the White House) with the recent announcement that he has hired former Fox News executive, Bill Shine, to run White House communications. Shine will be officially known as Trump’s “Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications” – much like the role that was created for Roger Ailes to fill in the Nixon White House.
Bill Shine was shaped, molded, and tutored by Roger Ailes. There’s no doubt he will bring everything he learned about setting a narrative, and will push extremist right wing talking points even harder.
It’s also important to know that Bill Shine resigned from Fox News last year amid accusations that he “enabled a culture of sexual harassment at the network.”
Several women working at Fox alleged in court documents that Shine was “aware of deeply inappropriate behavior against them, and that he deflected, ignored or sought to suppress their concerns rather than take actions to address them constructively.” It eventually became well-known that Roger Ailes had a long, sexually abusive relationship with Laurie Luhn (among others) at Fox, and Bill Shine was the man in charge of preventing her from going public.
Shine was instructed to read her emails, to cover up her communications, and he even found a psychiatrist to send her to when she suffered a nervous break down, because Roger Ailes was worried about her going public with the allegations…
This guy, Bill Shine, will now be one of the highest ranking members of the federal government.
Also worth noting: Bill Shine is a close ally, the former producer of, and personal friend to Sean Hannity. Sean Hannity has always wanted Bill Shine to be the Chief of Staff at trump’s White House. With John Kelly leaving, will that happen? Is this communications position for Shine just a foot in the door?
Bill Shine’s role at Fox was to basically be Roger Ailes’ “enabler.” Shine was reportedly “not someone who pushed back; he was the quintessential yes-man,” and obviously those type of people are who Trump likes: those who pledge loyalty to Trump and Trump alone (forget America and everything we stand for, our ideals, values, and norms).
Trump surrounds himself with people who will indulge his instincts. Bill Shine, protégé of Roger Ailes, in this new position will not serve as any sort of “checks & balances” on Trump, either. In all likelihood, he’s going to be an accelerant on pushing trump’s rhetoric, propaganda, and most divisive messages out to the public.
Bill Shine will now be working to set the narrative from inside the Trump White House, backed by his years of experience at Fox News, under the tireless, propagandist eye of Roger Ailes.
Shine will be Trump’s 4th White House communications director, a position originally created by… Richard Nixon.
P.S. WHITE WOMEN (us, especially) need to come together, collect our people, and mobilize. Get the vote out. Call your representatives, your senators.
Most importantly, vote in your local elections, because that is where real change has to begin. Vote Democrat across the board (or progressives, like Maryland’s Ben Jealous, or New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) unless you want to continue seeing history reverse itself. And I mean that literally, not the nonexistent, fabricated past that Trump & Co. speaks of and romanticizes.
Vote Democrat or Progressive. Stop waiting for someone with “a better message,” or someone who you personally find charismatic or “capable of change.” Literally any Democrat would be a vast improvement over this current nightmare we have parading around like circus clowns underneath the White House Big Tent.
Michael Moore, appearing last week on The Late Show with Steven Colbert, was asked, where does this go? Colbert said, “we’ve got a gerrymandered congress because the electoral college essentially gerrymandered the presidency, and therefore you end up with a gerrymandered Supreme Court… what is the end game for this?”
Michael Moore told it like it is:
When are people going to get off the couch? When are we gonna rise up? Sadly, Trump isn’t going away… he loves the term “President for Life.” The only way we’re going to stop this is eventually, we’re all going to have to put our bodies on the line. You’re gonna have to be willing to do this…
He’s exactly right. Everyone needs to rise up in whatever way they can. When asked about his “hope” for the future, Moore stated:
The majority of Americans are very liberal. They take the liberal position on most issues. They believe women should be paid the same as men, they believe that there’s climate change, go down the list. They don’t believe people should be thrown in jail for smoking marijuana. Go down the list. The majority of our fellow Americans are liberal, and we – the Democrats – have won the presidency, the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections. The Republicans have only won once since 1988 (in 2004, with Bush). That’s the only time they’ve won the popular vote. The country we live in doesn’t want the Republicans in the White House! They don’t want them running the country! We’re the majority.”
And ladies (again, especially you), if you need further motivation, please find the nearest computer and google Trump’s “July 5, 2018 Montana campaign rally.” Watch it in its entirety. He openly mocked the Me Too movement (in addition to other garbled word salad nonsense). Hear it with your own ears, and do some deep reflection as to whether this is who you want as your representative, as a role model for your children.
Ladies, gentlemen, folx, humans… our work was not finished with the #WomensMarch, the #KeepFamiliesTogether campaign, or the #MeToo movement. It was just beginning.