Sunday, July 24, 2016

Fox in Media Henhouse
Whatever you think about  Fox News and Roger Ailes,  who just resigned over sexual harassment issues, you have to conclude,    this man and his network were a  media phenomena.
Over the course of 20 years,  Fox came out of nowhere to dominate TV news. On  July 23-24,  the Wall Street Journal ran a full-page ad with these primetime ratings during the Republican National Convention, among TV viewers
Fox News, 7.2 million

NBC, 4.6 million

CNN, 4.1 million

ABC, 3.1 million

CBS, 3.0 million

MSNBC, 2.1 million

Pulling It Off
How was Ailes and Fox able to pull this off?
According to Dam Abrams,  chief legal analyst and former news manager for MSNBC,  here reasons why Fox has come to dominate TV news.
·         Its sparkling patriotic and bright graphics

·         Its “Fair, Balanced, and Unafraid” mantra, which everyone knew  to be a wink at straight-laced competitors

·         Its role as the only conservative alternative  against divided moderates, independents, and liberals 

·         Its emphasis on one or two “hot stories” compared to other networks’  diverse, dispassionate, and objective coverage of multiple subjects

·         Its reporters  use personal pronouns,  “I”, “We”, and “Us”

·         Its stress on controversial  entertaining personalities,  like Bill O’Reilly. who stressed patriotism,  nationalism,  and political controversy

·         Its hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute   late breaking news segments

·          And last by not least,  its openness and alacrity  in promoting Donald Trump and other Republican candidates.

How these innovations will play out in influencing the 2016 election  I have no idea.   How they will influence  outcome of the health reform debate eludes me.   But it is apparent Fox News feeds on controversy and in slaying chickens in the liberal  chicken coop.    Its news presentation  may not be fair and balanced, but it is unafraid of controversy.   It  went where others feared to tread “where there no objective norms,  no establishment rules, no journalistic sanctity.”  It was good for what ailed Republicans but not for what troubled Democrats.
Source: Dan Abrams,  “Trying to Meat Roger Ailes at His Own Game,”  July 23-24, WSJ

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