Oct. 7, 1996 is, as they say, a date that will live infamy. That is the day Fox News launched into 17 million homes and forever changed the landscape of not just television, but our entire system of governance.
For Daily Kos readers, the obvious has been clear from the start: Fox News exists to tear down Democrats and build up Republicans, especially the ones pushing racial and gender division packaged as “culture wars” and “wokeness.”
Fox’s ideological mission has long been on display, but Dominion Voting System’s lawsuit against Fox News makes it crystal clear in a whole new way. Take Rupert Murdoch’s email about Newsmax, an aspiring Fox competitor, to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott:
These people should be watched, if skeptically. Trump will concede eventually and we should concentrate on Georgia, helping any way we can. We don't want to antagonize Trump further, but Giuliani taken with a large grain of salt. Everything at stake here.
“Helping any way we can,” he said. “Everything at stake here.”
Can you even for a moment imagine if the owner of NBC News directed the CEO to ensure the network was helping in any way it could to help a party win an election?If Ted Koppel or Walter Cronkite openly campaigned for a candidate on their airwaves night after night?
Sure, Fox News skates the line by claiming its primetime superstars like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson are entertainment and not actual news and therefore don’t have to follow journalistic standards. But does their audience really get that? And does supposed distinction matter when the network’s goal is to rile up its viewers to help the Republican Party win?
It’s not just building up Republicans, though. Damaging Democrats and their agenda has been part of Fox’s core daily mission, too. Hillary Clinton was a near-daily focus for 25 years. Why? Because she was capable of becoming president. Because she was an adept messenger of Democratic ideals and progressive goals. And because it is financially lucrative to feed the hate of millions of mostly older, mostly white curmudgeons who tune in for the performative outrage.
It’s precisely the reason Fox now regularly targets the brilliant and likable Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She has “it”—and Fox News knows it. It’s the reason the network focuses on damaging Pete Buttigieg in his current role as secretary of transportation. It isn’t so much about what Ocasio-Cortez and Buttigieg are doing now; it’s about where they are going next. It’s about laying the groundwork now to make them a little more unstable in the future. The amount of negative coverage a Democrat gets on Fox News is often directly proportionate to their ceiling. In both of these cases, the ceilings are high.
Republican candidates and electeds no longer have to show up to explain complicated policy issues and legislative initiatives. Republicans even tailor their congressional floor speeches to get those coveted nightly guest slots on Fox News. In the ecosystem Fox has created, nothing is more important than simply showing up to own the libs. The meaner, the better.
Quite frankly, it goes against every American ideal imaginable. One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all? We are going on 30 years of intentional division.
At Daily Kos, we do work to bring you the news through a progressive lens and to help elect more and better Democrats. But we wear that on our sleeve. It’s right there in our mission statement. We aren’t being piped into your dentist’s waiting room under the guise of being a regular ol’ news network. In fact, countering the force that is Fox News has been a central part of this website and other progressive outlets like Media Matters (hat tip to this crew!).
Fox News has spent 27 years diligently dividing this nation and even dividing families: night after night of hearing that their neighbors, coworkers, friends, and even their own families are socialists trying to ruin this great nation. It has promoted a series of poisonous personalities whose entire job seems to be fear-mongering with racist dog whistles and mean-girl rants to stick it to the libs. The damage they have done is incalculable, and it’s not hyperbole to say this nation cannot heal unless and until Fox News changes course—something they have no interest in doing.
It’s hard work countering narratives and the barrage of misinformation and disinformation from a network that reaches 91% of American homes, but with your help, we keep at it. Because we have to! What alternative is there? Just let Murdoch, Carlson, and Hannity win? In the words of Rupert Murdoch himself, everything is at stake here. And so we keep going.