Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Seedy Underbelly

Gawker has a mole in the Fox house.

The final straw for me came last year. Oddly, it wasn’t anything on TV that turned me rogue, though plenty of things on our air had pushed me in that direction over the years. But what finally broke me was a story on The Fox Nation. If you’re not a frequenter of Fox Nation (and if you’re reading Gawker, it’s a pretty safe bet you’re not) I can describe it for you — it’s like an unholy mashup of the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post and a Klan meeting. Word around the office is that the site was actually the brainchild of Bill O’Reilly’s chief stalker (and Gawker pal) Jesse Watters.

The [Fox] Nation aggregates news stories, gives them provocative headlines, and invites commenters to weigh in. The comments are fascinating actually, if you can detach yourself enough to view them as sort of the id of the conservative movement. Of course, if you can’t detach yourself, then you’re going to come away with a diminished view of human decency, because HOLY MOLY THESE PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE THE BLACK PRESIDENT. I’m not saying they dislike him BECAUSE he’s black, but a lot of the comments, unprompted, mention the fact that he is black, so what would you say, Dr. Freud?….

The post that broke the camel’s back might be familiar to some of you, because it garnered a lot of attention and (well-deserved) ridicule when it hit last August. The item was aggregating several news sources that were reporting innocuously on President Obama’s 50th birthday party, which was attended by the usual mix of White House staffers, DC politicos and Dem-friendly celebs. The Fox Nation, naturally, chose to illustrate the story with a photo montage of Obama, Charles Barkley, Chris Rock, and Jay Z, and the headline “Obama’s Hip Hop BBQ Didn’t Create Jobs.”

The post neatly summed up everything that had been troubling me about my employer: Non sequitur, ad hominem attacks on the president; gleeful race baiting; a willful disregard for facts; and so on.

While I think it’s funny that someone from within the Fox lair is giving us the inside scoop on what goes on behind the scenes at the network and their Fox Nation website, it’s not particularly shocking that the good folks there are liars and borderline racists (borderline in the sense that they don’t come out and use the n-word, but skate right up to the edge). All you have to do is watch the network for a few minutes, once you get past the boner pill and gold-bullion commercials. It’s pretty clear they will use any excuse to blame anything on Barack Obama: “A bird crapped on my car on the way to the studio today, and it’s all because he won’t build the Keystone pipeline.”

This may boost the paranoid quotient at the network as everyone furtively checks out everyone else to see if they might be showing signs of liberalism (“Hey, she put soy milk in her coffee and ordered a salad at lunch. What’s up with that?”) or rat them out for paraphrasing Gabby Johnson: “The president is a N-CLANG!”

Or not.

HT to Ed Kilgore.