Friday, February 11, 2011

Iowa Stubborn

I know for a fact that the mindset depicted in this video from Frank Luntz’s right-winger focus group is not a representative sample of the people of Iowa, but it doesn’t really do the state a lot of credit to have these ignoramuses out there in front of the world proclaiming that President Obama is a Muslim. Or if he’s not, he’s not a real Christian.

It’s not a coincidence that these people were rounded up by Fox News. As a former staffer at the cable channel told Media Matters, spinning facts and making up stuff to champion the GOP is all in a day’s work.

“It is their M.O. to undermine the administration and to undermine Democrats,” says the source. “They’re a propaganda outfit but they call themselves news.”

And that’s the word from inside Fox News.

Note the story here isn’t that Fox News leans right. Everyone knows the channel pushes a conservative-friendly version of the news. Everyone who’s been paying attention has known that since the channel’s inception more than a decade ago. The real story, and the real danger posed by the cable outlet, is that over time Fox News stopped simply leaning to the right and instead became an open and active political player, sort of one-part character assassin and one-part propagandist, depending on which party was in power. And that the operation thrives on fabrications and falsehoods.

“They say one thing and do another. They insist on maintaining this charade, this façade, that they’re balanced or that they’re not right-wing extreme propagandist,” says the source. But it’s all a well-orchestrated lie, according this former insider. It’s a lie that permeates the entire Fox News culture and one that staffers and producers have to learn quickly in order to survive professionally.

The thing I don’t get about Fox is why they constantly try to pretend that they’re anything but a right-wing propaganda organ. There’s nothing wrong with that. MSNBC doesn’t shy away from pronouncing themselves as progressive, even though they give a conservative former Congressman a three-hour time slot in the morning. But Fox still tries to keep up this charade, and for what it’s worth, it undermines whatever credibility they ever had by acting like they’re just the piano player in the whorehouse.