Days of Change

Day 1252 – The Fox Effect

April 9, 2012

When CNN created the concept of all-day news, it had an effect on the way news was covered by others. It even affected news makers. By the 1990s, CNN was becoming known for a tilt toward globalism and environmentalism. The competition came in by 1996. NBC got around agreements CNN had with cable companies to not carry other news channels by hollowing out their America’s Talking channel and turning it into MSNBC. NewsCorp hired Roger Ailes when America’s Talking ended to head Fox News.

Now, gun-toting maniac David Brock has written a book about what he calls the Fox Effect. This is the conspiracy that conservative blogs make up stories, Fox broadcasts them and something happens leading to Republicans getting away with something. This would make sense if the entirety of the media didn’t regularly and actively ignore stories from Fox News and conservative media. I will grant that Brock, by his own admission, is an expert at making shit up. Still, I would suspect that he’s making things up in his own book, rather than Fox is making up news.

The real Fox Effect is more interesting. Fox may be more conservative, but its real impact is in bringing stories to light that are ignored by old media. This tends to make Fox look more conservative because its competitors are so liberally biased that they editorially kill stories that don’t fit into their worldview. For example, ACORN had been paying people in crack cocaine to gather Democratic Party registrations since 2004. Nothing was done about their government funding. It took an investigative video series to show how that organization was more interested in signing people up for their programs than any critical judgements. Fox got the exclusive to the first videos, but most other media barely mentioned the multiple videos until the day ACORN had its government funding taken away. When the producer of those videos, James O’Keefe, was stopped in an attempt to make another video, every news organization was at the ready to say he was arrested or convicted, which weren’t actually true.

The other Fox Effect is advocacy media. First there was Media Matters for America. While conservatives had organizations like the Media Research Center, their purpose was to point out bias in all media, news and entertainment. Plus, they never developed plans to take down a network. Media Matters was created for the sole purpose of taking down Fox News. First, they analyzed every single sentence on the network. When that failed, they actively worked with advertiser boycotts. Legal Insurrection has detailed their efforts to force a boycott by Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers, a tactic which is only hurting the companies foolish enough to go along.

Then there’s MSNBC. They tried to be the high-tech network with Microsoft (the MSN in MSNBC) and inadvertently launched the careers of Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. Then they tried to ape Roger Ailes old America’s Talking format with talk shows like Donahue. He basically had pervert Scott Ritter on every night about how Saddam had no WMDs and lost all his ratings. Then MSNBC tried to out-Fox Fox with nutty Michael Savage and then-conservative Joe Scarborough.

Their saddest point is now, when they’ve adopted Air America failures to get their talking points from Media Matters. Here’s the MSNBC effect. MSNBC hosts get an e-mail from Jay Carney or David Axelrod (Mika gets them during her morning show) and whatever is trending on the Media Matters website. Then their shows are filled with stories of why Obama is awesome and Fox News are traitors to America and the truth. Then dozens of people watch and sit in their basements and retweet it to no one. Repeat four times and then air 30 hours of Lockup, the only show that beats Fox News in the ratings.

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