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Watching Them Squirm: Is Fox News Abandoning the Mob It Created?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Dankdude, Nov 10, 2008.


    Dankdude Well-Known Member

    The first polls had just closed when the Republican Right's "Agony of Defeat" moment arrived. It was just after 8 p.m. -- right as Fox's "America's Election HQ" show returned from a commercial break, and Brit Hume welcomed viewers back to his "Fair and Balanced" network.

    But something wasn't right: There was a strange lack of background banter, none of the golf-buddy joshing that comes with overconfidence. There was just Bergman-esque silence between every one of Brit Hume's dramatic pauses. The Fox cameras wandered over an incredible scene: the cream of right-wing/neocon punditry -- William Kristol, Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke -- were caught slumped in their chairs during the commercial break, deep in a state of hopelessness and depression. They didn't see the camera train on them, or maybe they were incapable of faking it, as if they'd been on a three-day Ecstasy roll at Burning Man, and now they were paying the horrible serotonin-deprived price. Kristol looked like he was suffering the worst: He was slouched over the table, his grotesque Stewie-shaped head sulking down to his navel, his glazed eyes staring down at the floor. He strained to lift his head when Hume called on him to comment -- and when Kristol spoke, it was in a raspy, slow voice, not his usual smirking, energetic arrogance. To quote a sympathetic right-wing blogger, "Will Collier e-mails to tell me that he hasn't seen Bill Kristol look this bad since his man McCain get stomped in S.C. by Bush in 2000."

    I started my Fox News Election Day Agony Watch at 6:30 a.m. I was expecting a lot of last-minute shrieking about voter fraud, ACORN and Barack Hussein Osama terrorist-mongering, the climax to a vicious campaign that Fox had been promoting over the previous month or two, but what was so strange that day was the relatively subdued, quasi-civil tone that Fox was taking. They pushed those buttons on Election Day, but only halfheartedly. You'd have to have watched a lot of Fox News -- which I have, out of morbid curiosity -- to detect the tonal shift on Nov. 4. It was as if they had decided to pull their punches. Before the polls opened, Ann Coulter appeared for a few minutes to riff against the liberals, but the 47-year-old MILF-wannabe looked oddly desperate in her mini-miniskirt and knee-high boots, as if she stole her imaginary teenage daughter's clubbing outfit and wanted to show it off. The effect was wrong, a desperate eccentricity, like a neocon Michael Jackson.

    What was going on? It was as if the Fox News execs were nervous, so they came up with a Plan B approach. Gone was the usual mob-incitement chest-beating that has made Fox News such a hit in Middle America. It seems that the craftier vanguard of the Republican right-wing mob got together and decided that this was the craftiest position to adopt. Just before the elections, Kristol published a New York Times column that threw his entire 20-year divide-and-quagmire playbook out the window in favor of a new pseudo-gracious "hey, we're all friends, liberals and conservatives, and isn't it a wonderful country we live in?" mantra.

    The Fox execs also did their best to affect a civil, gracious tone. That's why watching the Fox News agony-of-defeat spectacle was more subtle than I'd expected: The mob leaders had decided to abandon the mob -- meaning if I wanted to get a glimpse into the raw screeching agony that the right wing really feels when the camera is turned off, I would have to head into the blog world, where they could squeal their lungs out in safe anonymity. The "patriots" at Freerepublic.com, which boasts millions of visitors, went through at least four rapid stages of decline on Election Day: first, hope; then utter shock at the realization of defeat; then outrage and a sense of betrayal; and finally a retreat into Christian prayer and empty threats of Red Dawn armed insurrection. The Freepers aren't just outraged at Obama and the communist-Islamo-terrorists taking over the White House; they are also outraged at the Republican Party that "betrayed" them, outraged at the American population that proved to be nothing but brainwashed "sheeple" (someone named kimchilover wrote, "For the first time, in my adult life, I am ashamed of my country … my little take on Michelle's sentiments"), and even outraged at, yes, Fox News, which they quickly sensed was abandoning them. Many couldn't make sense of being abandoned by Fox. As one commenter wrote, "Watch Fox with the sound off and you will be LESS aggravated."

    I lapped up every squeal and screech on Freerepublic.com that I could. Gloating is a healthy human activity, nothing to be ashamed of. How could you not gloat when you
    Watch a thread that goes from this:

    My friend, wait until 11 or 12 Eastern time before drawing any conclusions, by then you will see the Palin landslide!! (by word_warrior_bob)​

    To this:

    Turn out the lights. Party is over. Go to bed. ... Election is lost. I'm gonna get drunk. (by GerardKempf)​

    And the most desperate, toothless woofing stance of all, so popular among the harmless nerds in Freeperland:

    All over but the shooting. Stock up on guns and ammo. Use them whenever necessary. (PermaRag)​

    Next I checked a B-list neocon blogzine, Pajamas Media. You can get a sense of where the Republican elite and their mob followers are at Pajamas, which appeals to a more coastal, secular neocon demographic than the Freepers. Here again you could see what was only hinted at on Fox News.

    On Pajamas, the savvier right-wing bloggers and columnists, the ones with their real names attached, have also adopted a grotesquely insincere "let's be civil and dignified" tone. One
    Election Day blog article was headlined "Let's Take Some Pride in Obama's Election -- No Matter Who We Voted For," repeating a mantra seen by the craftiest right-wingers. No one on Pajamas exemplified this cynical shift more than Rick Moran, a venomous neocon nerd, the missing link between homo sapiens and the Fleck's box jellyfish. In August, pushing the Bill Ayers smear, Moran wrote "we can say for certain that Obama is a liar of the first magnitude." Just two weeks ago, he posted an article titled 'Adolf Hitler' Donates to Obama Campaign" -- and he didn't mean it ironically, but rather, to highlight just how far Obama was willing to go to raise campaign money. But then, on the eve of the vote, when it was clear to everyone in America except to the loyal Freeper mob that Obama was going to sweep, Moran published a blog entry titled "Embrace the Future," in which he tried positioning himself as the leader of the Right-Wing Reconciliation Committee, denouncing the Obama hysteria that he promoted, distancing himself from himself.

    Many of us are fearful of the future if Barack Obama wins the presidency and the liberals dominate the Congress. All manner of evils are imagined. "America won't be the same," is the cry most often heard on the right. Some even go so far as to say the America we live in now will be no more and a new America will supplant the old one.

    I have rejected that notion as totally unrealistic. But there is absolutely no doubt that change is coming.​

    They're already congratulating themselves for their own cynical new civility, as in the posting titled "How the Rightosphere Copes With Defeat."

    Moran is a moron, but he's keeping up with the Kristols rather than sticking with the mob. That's the new official line for all the Republicans angling to remain relevant in the new Obama era. But over in the comments section, the cheap seats for the right-wing mob, it was all squealing and rebellion against this new official dignified Republican line.

    Rachel Peepers:

    Something tells me this is not the time to be polite. Thus, my congratulations will go unsaid. I think not because I'm a poor sport; it's not a case of sour grapes because I've always been one of the first to congratulate my opponents be they in the political field or on the sports field. But not this time. Because this time my opponent was, as I see it, evil. Did they congratulate Stalin the day after the election. Or Lenin. Or Hitler. Some did. My great-grandfather didn't.​


    I absolutely refuse to give up my guns. I love to hunt but now with Obambam in office, I have to hone in on my skills because he will destroy us from the inside. Khalidi and all Arabs call our government the belly of the beast. The beast meaning America. Obama is great friends with Khalidi and Ayers whom both are terrorists and will be part of Obama's appointed officials. So therefore, we will have bombings and racial riots again. We will be fighting a civil war again soon. Not this year or next but Obambam is going to DESENSITIZE us first then go for the jugglar. Therefore, I will have to learn anti-terrorism and urban warfare. I am to old to join the marines but I can still learn how they protect us. You should learn too.​

    Like the much more numerous Freepers, the mob at Pajamas Media is outraged because they have been betrayed. It's not just that the liberals betrayed them, but that the leaders they'd followed -- Fox News, right-wing bloggers, and the Republican elite who have been mobilizing their pitchfork fury -- now find their savagery a liability, and they're abandoning them. It's the fury of having been played for a sucker -- and the "real American" mob has been played for the biggest sucker in American history, as is clear from their sense of abandonment.

    It is an incredible spectacle to behold: the Republican elite abandoning a 20-year narrative at the snap of a finger just to make sure that it is positioned well in the new Obama dynamic. The Republican elite has clearly decided that the "Real America" mob it had exploited had become a liability, but still it's amazing how seamlessly and quickly it can throw its own audience overboard. Witness the smear campaign against the right-wing mob's heroine, Sarah Palin, who is now being taken down by
    none other than Bill O'Reilly.

    The right-wing mob's sense of rage and betrayal from all this is so great that over at FreeRepublic you can read, for the first time I can recall, hatred against Jews, whose electoral support for Obama poured salt on the Freepers' wounds. Read the comments to a posting the day after the election titled "Obama Receives 77% of Jewish Vote -- More Than Kerry," such as this: "I have always supported Israel and the Jewish people -- NO MORE -- if Iran throws a few missiles their way -- too bad! I don't care anymore!"

    As for me, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to gloat and twist the knife, after all the destruction they've wreaked on America and the world. So I created a Bugs Bunny character named "Josh" to dance a virtual dirty chicken all over
    Pajama Media's comment section end zone, stirring up the chimps into a frenzy of shrieking. There's nothing a Republican hates more than being called a "loser," in case you're wondering.

    All in all, Nov. 4 was a great day for us warm-blooded animals. Nov. 4 delivered not only hope, but satisfying comedy, as we could watch millions of Dean Wormers and Neidermeyers howling in right-wing rage. But Fox's sly response shows that the smarter ones are already strategizing, and that the split in the Republican Party between the crafty elite and the flesh-eating zombies who until now served as its base means that there's plenty more comic entertainment and gloating to come.
    chuckbane likes this.

    ElBarto Well-Known Member

    Good ol' AlterNet.

    HuffPo pointed out yesterday that one network did not get to ask a question at Obama's first press conference: Faux News.

    And with Bill O'Reilly regularly losing out in the ratings with Keith Olbermann, I think it's beginning to look like their day is done.

    Picasso345 Well-Known Member

    Nice piece. Let me say that I never watch Fox news - I keep meaning to tune in to see if O'Reilly's show is really as bad as the Colbert Report, but I never get around to it. BUT, election night I mostly watched Fox - gloating too mostly I suspect.

    My take is that Fox News knew three things November 3rd:

    1. Obama would win
    2. Lots of people would tune in Fox News on election night.
    3. If they want to have any credibility for the next 4-8 years they need to straighten the fuck up just in case Obama gets popular. People aren't going to watch Fox if Obama is a success and the channel keeps selling its fake nonsensical news. They can't survive on the racist "I hate Obama no matter how good he is" crowd. They need real people to tune in.

    So I think they put on their Sunday best and pretended to be a real News Channel. I think it goes without saying they were acting only "Fair and Balanced" on the 4th and they will soon slip back into the raving of morons that time is leaving behind soon enough.

    medicineman New Member

    One can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. It's up to the individual. Let us watch the republicans and libertarians on site to see where they come down. There will be those that want to make things better, and those that want to bitch about how things are. How will you be remembered?

    ViRedd New Member

    So, you "never watch Fox News," but you KNOW they present "fake news," and "rave like morons?"

    If you never watch Fox News, and yet have these negative opinions about Fox's presentation of the news, then I suspect that you get your information from the bottom of a Kool-Aid pitcher. :roll:


    ElBarto Well-Known Member

    Did you all see that study by Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland back in 2003 that showed that Faux News actually disinforms it's viewers? Another more recent study by Pew Research Study shows that viewers of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report have the highest knowledge of national and international affairs, while Fox News viewers rank close to last.

    People don't watch Faux News because they want to be informed or educated, they watch it because they want their prejudices confirmed. They are people who are deeply uncomfortable with the liberal bias they perceive in consensual reality. Where else could bloviating know-nothings like Rush Limbuagh and Sean Hannity get a national audience?

    Picasso345 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt and jumping right to calling me a misguided liar. Here is a rolly eye for you: :roll:

    The fact is I know how to read. In America we have a few independent organizations that evaluate the media. Fox is almost universally denigrated as the partisan outlet that they are. Frequently examples are given of their partisanship and their raving hosts are given.

    bradlyallen2 Well-Known Member

    That was a great article, I really enjoy the part about Ann Coulter being a wanna-be MILF and about sabotaging right wing blogs and rubbing in the fact that they lost. As an advocate for equal rights for all I see it as a duty to remind the right that they have been stomping on the freedoms of all but rural bible thumpers for a long time and now they have been summarily relegated to the powerless obscurity they deserve. To the right-wingers: Go buy your guns and learn urban combat tactics and continue to spew your conspiracy theory lies but take note of this, the only people who care about what your saying are the newly formed MINORITY of people like yourselves, the rest of us don't give a fuck about your hatemongering and biblical one-upmanship.
    ElBarto likes this.

    ViRedd New Member

    So, rather than get first hand information by actually watching the programming presented by Fox, you'll opt for the opinions of others? And, who exactly are these "others," and from what political perspective do they come? I don't suppose you'd ever consider that these "independent organizations" you refer to are partisan in their own right? No, I'm not calling you a liar at all. All I'm saying is, unless you get first hand experience, see things through your own eyes, process it through your own brain and make your judgements based upon your own reasoning, and as long as you believe what others tell you, then you are getting your information from the bottom of a Kool-Aid pitcher.

    The facts are, the make up of Fox New's audience is almost 50/50 Republican and Democrat. The programming allows for both sides to comment. There is usually a pro and anti perspective on each program made up from conservatives and liberals.

    The reason those "independent organizations" rail against Fox News is because they present the conservative side as well as the liberal side of the issues. What these "independent organizations" really want is for the American people to be fed the pablum that's put out by CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time .... and on and on and on. All of these "news" outlets are in the tank for so called "progressive" political agendas.


    ElBarto Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's about the level of factual accuracy one expects from a regular Fox viewer.

    Opinion is in blue, incorrect "facts" are red, correct facts are in green.

    Note that it's usually not possible for the Fox viewer to distinguish between deliberately incorrect facts (aka, lies) and accidentally incorrect facts (aka, delusions). I usually try to take the generous view.

    ViRedd New Member

    What is that supposed to mean? Are you saying that my assessment of the makeup of Fox viewership is skewed? Do you have any facts to dispute it? If so ... present them.

    Here's some info for you ... Fox outraces the old dogs: in only six years the Fox News Channel has established itself as the premier cable-TV news operation with objective reporting on stories that the mainstream media are afraid to tackle and without the liberal orthodoxy that


    ZenMaster Well-Known Member

    No, Vi is right actually.

    Fox News has more opposing parties on their shows much more than any other news media. They even have liberals host shows as well, and they aren't push-over ones either. Conservatives aren't afraid to have them on there whereas the liberal stations don't even want to talk about the other party's point of view.

    chuckbane New Member

    all bark no bite... give it up Vi

    i think enough people have accidentally stumbled over some fox news presentation for a few minutes. And thats all it takes to realize it is 100% biased and bullshit

    bradlyallen2 Well-Known Member

    That article was from 2002. Fox may have been more "balanced" at that point but has since gone great lengths to pander to the conservatives who make up it's audience. I am willing to give any outlet an honest assessment but I have to tell you FOX comes off as amateurish and overly biased towards conservative points of view (note:this description does not defend other media outlets such as MSNBC). Listen the fact of the matter is you are going to go there if you like what you are hearing but to rely on it as truth is probably extending to them a courtesy they don't deserve. There have been several studies that have shown they do not run nearly as many articles or stories that are critical of Republicans or the right despite current events warranting coverage of those issues. My own personal observation of this was Wed Nov 5th when the headline article on their website was a phot of Michelle Obama and a headline declaring her dress as huge fashion disaster. Lets just say out loud FOXs audience doesn't like centrists/"liberals" and their coverage will reflect that.

    ElBarto Well-Known Member

    You'll have to show me where this article, written in 2002, supports your assertion that "the make up of Fox New's [sic] audience is almost 50/50 Republican and Democrat" because I couldn't find it. The fact that the article reads like a press release and seems to consist almost completely of quotes from Fox News employees seems to support my point rather than yours.

    Meanwhile, there are a couple of studies from Pew Research from 2004 and 2005, quite easy to find on the web, which show that the Republicans outnumbered Democrats by a margin of over 2 to 1 in the Fox News audience. I have absolutely no doubt that the proportion has become even more skewed in the last couple of years.

    joepro Well-Known Member

    My howard stern theory of ratings.
    (if you have ever seen the movie,private parts)

    NBC is shocked to see that the ratings have gone through the roof.
    The stern fan averages 1 1/2 hrs per day.
    why?: wondering what he will say next.
    The people who are against stern averages 2 1/2 hrs per day.
    why: wondering what he will say next.

    Moldy Well-Known Member

    I kept an eye on Fox News during the entire election process. They were totally right wing bias all the way until they realized their candidate lost. It was all quite entertaining!

    joepro Well-Known Member

    .....stern theory, like I was saying.

    Dankdude Well-Known Member

    Well I find it funny, I did watch the election on Fox News and it was just as the writer said. (I have 4 TVs in my house and had them all tuned to different stations)

    Try again Vi.

    chuckbane New Member

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