The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine

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Overview

Based on the meticulous research of the news watchdog organization Media Matters for America, David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt show how Fox News, under its president Roger Ailes, changed from a right-leaning news network into a partisan advocate for the Republican Party.

The Fox Effect follows the career of Ailes from his early work as a television producer and media consultant for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. Consequently, when he was hired in 1996 as the ...

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The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine

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Overview

Based on the meticulous research of the news watchdog organization Media Matters for America, David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt show how Fox News, under its president Roger Ailes, changed from a right-leaning news network into a partisan advocate for the Republican Party.

The Fox Effect follows the career of Ailes from his early work as a television producer and media consultant for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. Consequently, when he was hired in 1996 as the president of Rupert Murdoch’s flagship conservative cable news network, Ailes had little journalism experience, but brought to the job the mindset of a political operative. As Brock and Rabin-Havt demonstrate through numerous examples, Ailes used his extraordinary power and influence to spread a partisan political agenda that is at odds with long-established, widely held standards of fairness and objectivity in news reporting.

Featuring transcripts of leaked audio and memos from Fox News reporters and executives, The Fox Effect is a damning indictment of how the network’s news coverage and commentators have biased reporting, drummed up marginal stories, and even consciously manipulated established facts in their efforts to attack the Obama administration.

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    May11_3/FoxEffect9780307279583_BB_1f7a4bdc5bcd1fe4d22aabc2410a09fff930d3ab  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fox News gets subjected to a strong dose of investigative journalism in this book by the leaders of "news watchdog organization" Media Matters for America; the resulting portrait is at best unflattering and at worst sinister. Brock (The Republican Noise Machine) and Rabin-Havt present their evidence, beginning with the "Rise of Roger" Ailes, Fox president and, according to the authors, the driving force behind the network's transformation from conservative news source to mouthpiece for the Republican Party. The instances of fear-mongering are so absurd they would be funny if they weren't so pernicious: Glenn Beck saying to Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the House of Representatives, "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies;" comparisons of liberals to Hitler and Nazis; the spread of the claim that President Obama's health care reform included "death panels;" Beck saying on air that Obama has a "deep-seated hatred for white people; and so on. In this diligently documented book, Brock and Rabin-Havt leave us with the warning that "the single most important player" in the upcoming election will be none other than Fox News. Photos.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
"It's the truth, stupid. That's Brock, Rabin-Havt and Media Matters' message and it's a pretty darn good one."
—James Carville
 
“Media Matters tells the truth–and then spreads the truth far and wide. They are a leading and effective voice in combating misinformation. This latest book, by founder David Brock, makes clear the threat that incendiary journalism poses to our democracy.”
—Nancy Pelosi
 
“This pointed study of modern politics is both a must-read and a cautionary tale."
—Senator John F. Kerry  

“Think of any conservative-media scandal of the past few years. . . and it’s a good bet that a Media Matters researcher flagged the offending clip, uploaded it to the group’s website, and got the party started.”
New York Magazine 

“Fox News has created a generation of woefully (and objectively) misinformed ideological sycophants to pursue its radical agenda. It's no accident. Now David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt show that no matter how unethical and dishonest you think Fox News is, the reality is that they're much, much worse.”
—Markos Moulitsas, publisher, Daily Kos  

Library Journal
This exposé of Fox News comes out just in time for the 2012 presidential election campaign. Both high-level officers of the progressive watchdog group Media Matters, Brock (founder and CEO) and Rabin-Havt (vice president, research and communication) trace Roger Ailes's career from his work as a political media consultant to President Nixon to his shaping of Fox News into a conservative political force. His influence and the slant of the network are clearly demonstrated with a detailed analysis of the content of news programs, along with transcripts of leaked memoranda from network executives. For example, in Brock and Rabin-Havt's examination of Fox's coverage of the Tea Party movement, it becomes evident that the network played a major role in the party's creation. The authors' message is that objectivity can no longer be assumed to be a value held by news media organizations, and consumers should be on the alert for slanted coverage. VERDICT Liberals and media scholars already suspicious of Fox will appreciate this exposure of conservative bias. Fans of Fox will dismiss it as propaganda. General readers may be overwhelmed by the detail.—Judy Solberg, Seattle Univ. Lib.
Kirkus Reviews
A thorough catalogue of Fox News president Roger Ailes' misdeeds as head of the controversial network. Brock, the founder and CEO of Media Matters, and Rabin-Havt, the organization's executive vice president, have reason to despise the man at the center of their new book. In the epilogue, they detail the well-publicized and vicious personal smears Ailes authorized in retaliation for their organization's critical coverage of Fox. According to a psychiatrist brought onto a Fox News talk show to assess his mental health, Brock is a "very dangerous man." Brock and Rabin-Havt paint Ailes as a petty, vindictive right-wing ideologue whose ruthlessness is untempered by any sense of obligation to truth, fairness or basic human decency. Given that their book draws on years of research and includes comprehensive footnotes, unlike Fox News' widely debunked on-air reporting, the authors' damning portrait of Ailes is quite a bit more credible than the assertions of various Fox News personalities that Brock is "full of self-hatred" and President Obama attended a radical madrassa and may not have been born in the United States. While the majority of the book is well-documented enough to be convincing, Brock and Rabin-Havt occasionally draw on sources of questionable merit--e.g., Gawker. Their most devastating source is Fox News itself, a network that makes little secret of its own bias. Worth reading for anyone who suspects Fox News of distorting the truth and is eager to spend hours sifting through the evidence. For those observant and literate enough to have seen through Fox from the beginning, this book feels like an exhaustively researched exercise in stating the obvious.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307279583
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/21/2012
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 419,638
  • Product dimensions: 5.22 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

David Brock, the founder and CEO of Media Matters, is the author of five books, including The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy, and his bestselling memoir Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative.

Ari Rabin-Havt is Media Matters's vice president of research and communication.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction:
Not Necessarily the News

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

—a former Fox employee

On August 2, 2009, on board the “Six-Star Luxury Liner” Crystal Serenity, somewhere in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Fox News’s Washington, D.C., managing editor, Bill Sammon, rose to address supporters of Hillsdale College, a conservative institution located just over one hundred miles west of Detroit. His audience had paid between $11,800 and $37,600 per couple to listen to an all-star lineup of conservative journalists and scholars as they traveled from Venice to Athens, via Istanbul. Sammon was the featured speaker. He began with some joking remarks, speculating that conservative political consultant Mary Matalin, who was on board the ship simply on vacation, might have “mischievously arranged” to have her husband, liberal James Carville, along to “save his ideological soul.” Then Sammon made a startling admission:
 
You know, speaking of mischief, last year, candidate Barack
Obama stood on a sidewalk in Toledo, Ohio, and first let it slip to Joe the Plumber that he wanted to, quote, “spread the wealth around.” At that time, I have to admit that I went on
TV, on Fox News, and publicly engaged in what I guess was some rather mischievous speculation about whether Barack
Obama really advocated socialism, a premise that privately I
found rather far-fetched.(1)
 
At the time Sammon made these “mischievous speculations,” he was Fox News’s Washington deputy managing editor, and it was his job to oversee the reporting of the news on one of our country’s major cable networks. Yet here, in front of a friendly audience, on a luxury cruise an ocean away from the United States, he was candidly, nonchalantly admitting to consciously misrepresenting the ideology of a presidential candidate to Fox’s audience days before an election.
 
E-mails we obtained from that time, written by Sammon and a Fox producer, show that this calculated smear against Obama was not an on-air slip but part of a coordinated campaign of deception. Not only had Sammon personally appeared on the network to make these charges against Barack Obama, but he had also sent an e-mail to journalists who worked for him, encouraging them to cover the Democratic candidate’s “racial obsessions” and supposed connections to Marxism.
 
From: Sammon, Bill
Sent: Monday, October 27, 2008 1:02 PM
To: 069 -Politics; 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com)
Subject: fyi: Obama’s references to socialism, liberalism,
Marxism and Marxists in his autobiography, “Dreams from
My Father.” Plus a couple of his many self-described “racial obsessions” . . .

• “To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors
and structural feminists.” (Obama writing about his time at Occidental College in “Dreams.”)
• After his sophomore year, Obama transferred to Columbia
University. He lived on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, ven-
turing to the East Village for “the socialist conferences
I sometimes attended
at Cooper Union,” he recalled,
adding: “Much of what I absorbed from the sixties was filtered through my mother, who to the end of her life would proudly proclaim herself an unreconstructed liberal.”
• After graduating from Columbia in 1983, Obama spent a year working for a consulting fi rm and then went to work for “a Ralph Nader offshoot” in Harlem. “In search of some inspiration, I went to hear Kwame Toure, formerly Stokely
Carmichael of SNCC and Black Panther fame, speak at
Columbia. At the entrance to the auditorium, two women,
one black, one Asian, were selling Marxist literature.”
During this period, according to Obama, he began a serious romantic relationship.
“There was a woman in New York that I loved. She was white,” Obama wrote in “Dreams.” “We saw each other for almost a year. On the weekends, mostly. Sometimes in her apartment, sometimes in mine. You know how you can fall into your own private world? Just two people, hidden and warm. Your own language. Your own customs.” But
Obama said their relationship was doomed by the racial difference. “I pushed her away,” he recalled. “The emotion between the races could never be pure; even love was tarnished by the desire to fi nd in the other some element that was missing from ourselves. Whether we sought out our demons or salvation, the other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart.”
• In June 1985, Obama was interviewed in New York by Marty
Kaufman, a community organizer from Chicago. Obama recalled:
“There was something about him that made me wary. A little too sure of himself, maybe. And white.”(2)
 
Less than ninety minutes later, Sammon was on Fox engaging in “mischievous speculation” claiming Barack Obama “was drawn to Marxists, and he was drawn to liberals, and he was drawn to socialists by his own admission as a young man.”(3)
 
The next morning, Sammon appeared on the network’s morning show, Fox & Friends, to reiterate his “far-fetched” theory about Obama’s Marxism and racial obsessions. Memos from the show’s producers reveal that the entire third segment was built around his e-mail.
 
From: Cunningham, Jennifer
To: 044—Web Show Producers; 064—Desk Assignment;
069—Politics; 081-Radio; 085—DC Booking;
100—Media Relations; 162—Promos; Brown, David;
Glick, Alexis; Magee, Kevin; Moody, John; Scott,
Suzanne; Shine, Bill; Tammero, Michael; Wallace, Jay
Sent: Mon Oct 27 18:17:41 2008
Subject: FOX & FRIENDS GUESTS FOR TUESDAY OCTOBER. 28—
EXACTLY 1 WEEK BEFORE ELECTION DAY
FOX & FRIENDS GUESTS FOR TUESDAY OCTOBER. 28—
EXACTLY 1 WEEK BEFORE ELECTION DAY
5:59 (A-BLOCK) COLD OPEN // QUICK TEASE// News
HEADLINES // TALKING POINTS WX BUMP OUT TO
TEASE———————————
6:15 (B-BLOCK)—2 STORIES AMANDA CARPENTER—
DEMS PLAYBOOK SHOWS DIRTY TACTICS
((DC BUREAU))———————————
6:22 (C-BLOCK)—2 STORIES ((ANCHOR)) & BILL
SAMMON—FYI: OBAMA’S REFERENCES TO SOCIALISM,
LIBERALISM, MARXISM AND MARXISTS IN HIS
AUTOBIOGRAPHY, “DREAMS FROM MY FATHER.”

PLUS A COUPLE OF HIS MANY SELF-DESCRIBED
“RACIAL OBSESSIONS” . . . (( FOX DC )) >>
BDAY IN TEASE———————————
(4)
 
As Sammon spoke, the chyron, the graphic appearing on the lower section of the screen, read: “The Real Barack Obama; Aligned W/ Marxists, Socialists”; “Obama’s Radical Past; Close Friends W/ Marxist”; “Obama’s Chosen Friends; Marxist Profs & Structural Feminists”; and “Obama’s Racial Divide; ‘Emotion B/W Races Never Be Pure.’ ”(5)
 
That same day Sammon published a piece claiming that “Obama laughs off charges of socialism . . . [but] Obama himself acknowledges that he was drawn to socialists and even Marxists as a college student.”(6)
 
It was a peculiar amount of attention to give to a story Sammon didn’t really believe, particularly since the information involved was neither new nor particularly newsworthy—the contemporary political relevance of Obama’s candid account of his early years as described in Dreams from My Father (which had been published in 1995) had already been thoroughly covered by the press, including by Sammon himself in a book published earlier that year. Why, a week before Election Day, were years-old, out-of-context quotes suddenly being treated as a major, breaking story on “fair and balanced” Fox News?
 
 
When criticized for such on-air behavior, Fox News and its defenders will often assert that the network maintains a firewall between its news and opinion programming similar to that between a newspaper’s front page and its opinion section. But as a “news” executive, Bill Sammon clearly crossed this line, as veteran journalist Marc Sandalow, a former bureau chief at the San Francisco Chronicle’s Washington office, points out. “[Sammon] is overseeing the news operation,” he said in an interview with Media Matters. “For news gatherers, credibility is everything. You should never deceive viewers or readers.”(7)
 
After his e-mails were revealed in 2011, Sammon defended his actions to The Daily Beast ’s Howard Kurtz, who wrote of the affair:
 
Sammon says his reference to “mischievous speculation” was
“my probably inartful way of saying, ‘Can you believe how far this thing has come?’ ” The socialism question indeed “struck me as a far-fetched idea” in 2008. “I considered it kind of a remarkable notion that we would even be having the conversation.”
He doesn’t regret repeatedly raising it on the air because,
Sammon says, “it was a main point of discussion on all the channels, in all the media”—and by 2009 he was “astonished by how the needle had moved.”(8)
 
But a review of the media coverage at the time shows that Fox and Sammon, far from responding to a media narrative, were the driving force behind the reporting of Barack Obama’s supposed attraction to socialism. Two weeks before sending his memo to producers, Sammon appeared on Fox’s afternoon news program The Live Desk to discuss how Barack Obama’s comment to Joe the Plumber, an Ohio man, who became a conservative movement fixture after confronting the future president at a campaign stop—that “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody”(9)—was “tantamount to socialism.”(10) A few days later Sammon was on Greta Van Susteren’s show discussing the same topic, and later that week on Fox & Friends, he again reported on the political ramifications of Obama’s supposed links to socialism.
 
Other journalists are not so willing to accept Sammon’s explanation to Kurtz. “I don’t think deception is ever acceptable in journalism,” John Walcott, McClatchy’s Washington bureau chief during the 2008 election, remarked of the Fox executive’s conduct. “I think there are times when we don’t say everything we’ve learned for reasons of personal security and national security. But outright deception, saying something that you know to be untrue or have no basis for believing is true, is not journalism, it is propaganda.”(11)
 
Sammon’s transgressions at the tail end of the 2008 election only marked the beginning of a larger transition at the network, one that would see Fox News change from a network that provided a conservative outlook on the news to an active and unapologetic mouthpiece for the Republican Party.
 
Media Matters for America, our organization, produces thousands of pieces of research a year focused on correcting conservative misinformation in the media. Our efforts to squelch such lies and distortions initially were distributed over a wide range of news sources—various conservative websites, radio programs, and television shows. But in early 2009, we noticed a marked increase in politically motivated misinformation coming from Fox News. Our attention was thus drawn increasingly to that channel—not only because they were serial violators of responsible journalism, but because their influence and reach within the media and with the public at large as the most-watched cable news network made it even more important to counteract their distortions of the truth. In early 2009, for instance, approximately 33 percent of our work focused on Fox News and its affiliates; in 2010, that number rose to 44 percent. By the beginning of 2011 we were spending more than 54 percent of our time focused on the network. This was not intentional; it was a matter of responding to this growing trend: the vast majority of the lies, smears, and distortions from conservative media flowed from or through Fox News.
 
We live in a cynical time, when words like “fair” and “balanced” are used as slogans to sell content that is anything but. When the words of lobbyists and the politicians they support are given equal weight with the consensus of scientific experts, by journalists who think a news story is a competition between opposing narratives rather than a judicious search for truth. Reporters often ask why they should trust Media Matters any more than Fox, given that both are ideological institutions. But this is precisely our point: Media Matters makes no claim of being neutral; we proudly wear our progressive ideology on our sleeve. We make decisions about the issues we focus on and the lies we debunk, just as newspapers choose what stories to cover. But our research and reporting stick to the facts and are painstakingly documented. Fox, on the other hand, claims to be a “fair and balanced” news network while brazenly broadcasting demonstrable lies and distortions, always with a conservative spin.
 
It is critical that the media, Democrats, opinion makers of all stripes, and the public at large understand what Fox News is. Too many reporters and commentators have continued to treat Fox as a news organization. By doing so, they enable the network to conduct a political campaign under the guise of a media outlet, influencing the outcome of legislative debates and elections.
 
It is all the more important to keep an eye on Fox because the rhetoric the network wields as a political weapon is filled with violent imagery and demonization. This is never a good practice, particularly at a time of economic instability, when social unrest and passions are high. Fox News personalities, unfortunately, have a habit of portraying their ideological opponents in outrageously negative ways. In the past few years its hosts have, among other things, compared President Obama, members of Congress, and progressive leaders to Nazis and genocidal dictators such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong, and have referred to the president as a racist. Glenn Beck, one of Fox News’s most popular personalities from 2009 to 2011, even simulated the assassination of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on air by miming giving her a glass of poisoned wine, without any repercussions from network management. It’s all harmless amusement until an unbalanced individual is riled up to perform an unspeakable act against a public official who has been reduced by media images into a two-dimensional, cardboard-cutout villain. The history of the United States—both early and recent—includes many examples of the unintended horrors that can result from this type of relentless and careless demonization.
 
Then there is the deliberate spread of misinformation. Polls consistently find Fox News viewers among the most ignorant on a variety of issues. For example, NBC News’s online publication First Read reported in April 2009 that “72% of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants, 79% of them say it will lead to a government takeover, 69% think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and 75% believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly.” (12) As First Read pointed out, this was “rampant misinformation” that large numbers of Fox News viewers believed.
 
Following the 2010 election, the University of Maryland released a study fi nding that Fox News viewers were the most misinformed audience of any major news network. Compared with those who never watch Fox, frequent viewers of the network were:
 
• Thirty-one percentage points more likely to agree that “most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit.” In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said just the opposite: that health care reform would actually decrease the deficit.
• Thirty-one points more likely to agree that “it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States.” In fact, the birther claims had been repeatedly debunked during the 2008 election by numerous nonpartisan and even Republican sources, including former Hawaii governor Linda Lingle.
• Thirty points more likely to agree that “most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring.” In fact, there is broad scientific consensus that not only is climate change occurring but human activity is the cause.
• Fourteen points more likely to agree that “the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts.” The nonpartisan PolitiFact.com noted that the stimulus bill provided tax cuts to 95 percent of workers.
• Fourteen points more likely to agree that “their own income taxes have gone up.” Most Fox viewers could have confirmed this to be false by looking at their own tax return.
• Thirteen points more likely to agree that “the auto bailout only occurred under Obama.” In fact, it had begun under George W. Bush.
• Twelve points more likely to agree that “most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses.”(13) USA Today reported with a banner headline in August 2010, “Economists Agree: Stimulus Created Nearly 3 Million Jobs.”(14)
 
When confronted with this study, Michael Clemente, Fox’s senior vice president for news, reacted in a telling way. Instead of expressing concern about Fox’s apparent failure to inform their viewers, or arguing with the substance or methodology of the study, Clemente attacked the messenger, sarcastically impugning the reputation of the University of Maryland. Acting more like a political attack dog than a major media executive, Clemente told The New York Times, “The latest Princeton Review ranked the University of Maryland among the top schools for having ‘Students Who Study the Least’ and being the ‘Best Party School,’ ” adding, “Given these fi ne academic distinctions, we’ll regard the study with the same level of veracity it was ‘researched’ with.”(15)
 
But this was hardly the first time Fox’s viewers had been revealed to be conspicuously misinformed. In 2003, the Program on International Policy Attitudes conducted “a series of national polls between January and September.” The results, as reported by The San Diego Union Tribune, found:
 
• “A majority of Americans (52 percent) believed evidence was found linking Iraq to September 11.”
• “A large minority (35 percent) believed weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.”
• “A majority (56 percent) believed most world opinion supported the war.”
• “Fox led the list for those with at least one misperception (80 percent). It also led for those holding all three—45 percent, compared with 12 percent to 15 percent for the other networks.” (16)
 
Misinformation has consequences, especially in a democracy. “In general, you end up with citizens who are acting on bad information when they carry out their civic duties,” says Kelly McBride, an expert on media ethics at the Poynter Institute, speaking about the media in general. “It affects the governing of a nation. It inspires people to make their voting decisions on fear or lies.”(17)
 
And the network’s partisan misinformation has not been limited to the dry facts of reporting on political or legislative issues—some of the consequences of its poorly vetted and politically motivated investigations have unjustly and seriously damaged lives and careers. In the past few years Fox News has been involved in several high-profile attacks on progressive leaders, such as White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Van Jones; Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education Kevin Jennings; and Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod; as well as progressive organizations such as ACORN and Planned Parenthood. While it is completely appropriate for a news organization to investigate malfeasance by political appointees and major groups, instead of seeking to get to the bottom of these stories, Fox based its work on distortions, smears, and heavily edited video, often used out of context. These “news” stories had little to no journalistic value and were aired simply to harm progressives. Too often, these efforts were successful.
 
 
When discussing the problems of Fox, media watchers often get into conversations about bias. However, bias is not Fox News’s core defect; nor is it what separates the network from CNN, MSNBC, or any other major news source. Nor is its main problem that it promotes tabloid journalism. Fox, rather, is something unprecedented in the United States: a news business that is willing to put politics above all else. While Rupert Murdoch, CEO of Fox’s parent company, News Corp, is driven mostly by his bottom line, the management of Fox News, led by Roger Ailes, takes an active role in shaping the politics of the country and is willing to use Fox News’s enormous platform to do so. Murdoch’s discomfort with Fox News, while denied in on-the-record settings, has been widely reported. In his biography of the mogul, Michael Wolff describes a Murdoch who despises some of his most popular on-air talent, such as Bill O’Reilly, and whose politics, tough to pin down, can occasionally flirt with liberalism. “In steady, constantly discomfiting ways,” Wolff writes, “Murdoch shares the feelings about Fox News regularly reflected in the general liberal apoplexy.”(18)
 
Fox News began with a simple concept: build a network based on the triumph of conservative talk radio. This model was successful at the tail end of the Clinton administration and was even better suited to cheerlead for George W. Bush. In less than a decade, Fox News president Roger Ailes created for Rupert Murdoch a network with a built-in audience driven by its conservative ideology.
 
From the start, Fox had a profound effect on its viewers. In 2007, The Quarterly Journal of Economics published a study looking at differences between populations that received Fox News and those that did not. The authors found “a significant effect of exposure to Fox News on voting”:
 
Towns with Fox News have a 0.4 to 0.7 percentage point higher Republican vote share in the 2000 presidential elections,
compared to the 1996 elections. A vote shift of this magnitude is likely to have been decisive in the 2000 elections. We also find an effect on vote share in Senate elections, which
Fox News did not cover, suggesting that the Fox News impact extends to general political beliefs. Finally, we find evidence that Fox News increased turnout to the polls. Based on this evidence and on micro level audience data, we estimate that exposure to Fox News induced a substantial percentage of the non-Republican viewers to vote for the Republican party,
3 to 8 percent according to the more inclusive audience measure,
and 11 to 28 percent according to the more restrictive measure. (19)
 
While the network already was having a significant impact, Fox began a transition in 2008. With conservatives out of power, no longer would it be merely a cheerleader for the conservative movement and the Republican Party. Now the network would wag the elephant, transforming itself from a news and opinion outlet into the leading communications, fund-raising, and mobilizing arm of the Republican Party. Or, as David Frum, then a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former George W. Bush speechwriter, told ABC News’s Terry Moran, “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us and now we’re discovering we work for Fox. And that the balance here has been completely reversed.”(20)
 
The interview in which Frum made this comment followed a post on his blog, Frum Forum, in which he declared, after the passage of Barack Obama’s health care plan, “Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.”(21) Frum placed the blame for this defeat squarely at the feet of one faction of his party: “There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible.” Frum continued, “How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or—more exactly—with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?”(22)
 
 
Notes
1. Eric Hananoki, “Cruise Ship Confession: Top Fox News Executive Admits Lying On Air About Obama,” MediaMatters.org, March 29, 2011, mediamatters.org/blog/201103290006.
2. Eric Hananoki, “FoxLeaks: Bill Sammon’s October Surprise,” MediaMatters.org, February 1, 2011, mediamatters.org/blog/201102010022.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Fox & Friends, Fox News, October 28, 2008; Hananoki, “Bill Sammon’s October Surprise.”
6. Bill Sammon, “Obama Affinity to Marxists Dates Back to College Days,” FoxNews.com, October 28, 2008; Hananoki, “Bill Sammon’s October Surprise.”
7. Joe Strupp, “Veteran D.C. Bureau Chiefs Rip Sammon: ‘This Isn’t Journalism,’ ” MediaMatters.org, March 31, 2011, mediamatters.org/blog/201103310026.
8. Howard Kurtz, “Obama a Socialist? Fox News Exec Said So, but Didn’t Believe It,” Daily Beast, March 29, 2011, www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011–03–29/obama-a-socialist-fox-news-exec-said-so-but-didnt-believe-it.html.
9. Natalie Gewargis, “ ‘Spread the Wealth’?” Political Punch (blog), ABC News, October 14, 2008, blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/10/spread-the-weal.html.
10. The Live Desk, Fox News, October 14, 2008; Hananoki, “Bill Sammon’s October Surprise.”
11. Strupp, “Veteran D.C. Bureau Chiefs Rip Sammon.”
12. Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg, “First Thoughts: Obama’s Good, Bad News,” First Read (blog), NBC News, August 19, 2009, firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2009/08/19/4431138-first-thoughts-obamas-good-bad-news.
13. Mark Howard, “Study Confirms Watching Fox News Makes You Stupid,” Alternet, October 15, 2010, www.alternet.org/media/149193/study_confirms_that_fox_news_makes_you_stupid.
14. David J. Lynch, “Economists Agree: Stimulus Created Nearly 3 Million Jobs,” USA Today, August 30, 2010, www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2010–08–30-stimulus30_CV_N.htm.
15. Brian Stelter, “Study: Some Viewers Were Misinformed by TV News,” Media Decoder (blog), New York Times, December 17, 2010, mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/17/study-some-viewers-were-misinformed-by-tv-news/.
16. James O. Goldsborough, “The Media and Public Misconceptions,” San Diego Union-Tribune, October 13, 2003.
17. Interview with Media Matters for America. Conducted by Joe Strupp. May 17, 2011.
18. Michael Wolff, The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch (New York: Broadway Books, 2008), 346.
19. Stefano DellaVigna and Ethan Kaplan, “The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 122 (August 2007): 1187–234.
20. Nightline, ABC News, March 22, 2010, can be viewed at mediamatters.org/mmtv/201003230020.
21. David Frum, “Waterloo,” Frum Forum (blog), March 21, 2010, www.frumforum.com/waterloo.
22. Ibid.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 20 )
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(9)

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2012

    It'sabout time someone told the truth about the "Fake News Channel"

    Great book. Well researched and tells the reason of why and how the "Fake News Channel" ie Fox News was developed to mislead the public. Anyone who believes in real journalistic integrity should read this book and discover what can happen when little to none exists in a corporation and to the public who believe they are getting "real" news.

    13 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2012

    An eyeopener

    This is an eyeopening book. A must read for anyone interested in how opinions can be shaped to reflect a single point of view from an institution that we expect to be unbiased.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 24, 2012

    If you really want to understand why so many people are falsely informed, this is the book to read!

    Very detailed, annotated and researched. I think every American who listens to Fox should read this book to understand how they are being minipulated by egotistical, power hungry liars.
    Those of us who are more liberal and open minded should also read this book to validate what we already know about media power and how you can be fooled. It is also a very disturbing, scary account of how we take what someone says and treat it as gospel without doing our own investigation.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    Fox (faux) News exposed!

    Excellent documentation of how Fox twists current events and history to present politically biased radical right wing propaganda. Most people with an ability to think critically knew what Fox was doing. This book documents how and why this perversion of "the news" takes place. Fox is a threat to democracy and the free exchange of ideas must confront the lies that eminate from Fox broadcasts daily.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

    Truth


    From beginning to end, an honest discussion of who is truly running the GOP.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    Boring. Woodward and Bernstein they are not.

    I was expecting more. The book seems more like a re-hash of other people's stuff. I struggled to finish it, expecting some revelation at the end. Waste of time. Last time I pre-order a book by writers with no track record.

    6 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 21, 2012

    Well written and researched

    The authors do an excellent job of documenting how Faux Newz uses the reich wing propaganda to bore into people's minds and brainwash them into believing Faux's version of current events. Faux does not want people to think for themselves and they have become masters at distortion. This book explains how this all came into being. An excellent read.

    Oh, and the reich wing trolls leaving their one star reviews for a book they have obviously not read is a true demonstration of the brainwashing. Freethinkers can see through the BS reviews of trolls.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I am waiting for the authors next book. An in-depth expose of a

    I am waiting for the authors next book. An in-depth expose of a Far Left organization funded by George Soros who's only goal is to push by any means including dishonest ones a very Far Left agenda. Media Matters.

    3 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 31, 2012

    Pure garbage from people that wouldn't know the truth or would d

    Pure garbage from people that wouldn't know the truth or would deny that it happened if it hit them in the face. Not even a shred of truth in this waste of paper. I'm sorry I spent my money and time. A great fan of Fox news I am not, I think Hannity is a blowhard,but I do watch it along with CNN and feel that they are far more truthful than NBC or the the rest of the media. Should have spent my $12 on lottery tickets instead, at least I would have received achance to get something for my money.

    3 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 29, 2012

    Pure Garbage

    Looking to find substantial proof of the accusations against Fox.…There is none of that, just the ususal nonsense that crazy David & sidekick Ari comes up with..
    they are so angry that Fox still clobbers all their friends at MSLSD.

    3 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    Garbage!

    A waste of money!

    3 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    Sith lord news

    Some rehash but mostly an educational read for those unfamiliar with whats happening to American news.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    Folks, this is unhealthy.

    Im confused. What proof do you have? The book has... well rubish cited as fact. Im not sorry to say that this is a heavly biased volume. In no way am i trying to tell people not to buy this book (that would be an infrimgment of my own personal character) but seek truth from the SOIRCE. Not some secondary source. Thats how we remeber history amd preserveing primary soirces. That would mean to check the credibility of this books citations. (If it has any)
    Thats the bottom line folks.

    2 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    2013

    This book was telling me about fox

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

    Far left hate book.

    Far left hate book.

    1 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    Lies

    Lies....

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    The great gaspy

    I havent read it

    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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