Beyond Fox News: The GOP is realizing it needs to talk to the rest of the media too

Interesting piece in Buzzfeed about the Republicans starting to wake up to the fact that they need to start appearing on other news outlets – real news outlets – than just Fox News.

The thing is, going before real journalists can be hazardous to your health.  Not often.  But it’s certainly more risky than having Hannity brown-nose you for ten minutes.

The argument some conservatives are giving is that they’re only preaching to the choir when they go on Fox.  Yes, but.

It’s a complicated question as to when its useful to go on a show that might as you tough questions.  For the left, there really isn’t an alternative kind of show.  Only lately MSNBC has been trying to fill Fox’s shoes – and MSNBC does it with fewer lies and less party loyalty.  But before then it was either go on CNN and the other networks, and face tough questions, or go on Fox and be treated like a subhuman.

FOX admitted its mistake in Jennings reporting. Will Sean Hannity?

Real journalism doesn’t look like this.

The interesting thing is that on gay rights issues, it was useful going on the Fox in the past.  I went on the O’Reilly Factor a lot in the late 90s and early 2000s.  He liked me.  And it got us a better spin on the story.  To wit: After a series appearances on O’Reilly’s shows in 2000, about our boycott of Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s new TV show, O’Reilly ended up agreeing with me that Schlessinger brought all the trouble on to herself because of her inappropriate language.

We couldn’t have asked for anything more than the left and Bill O’Reilly saying Dr. Laura had crossed the line.

But there came a time when Fox became just so hateful, just so anti-gay – not that they were ever neutral – that I stopped going on.  It’s a trade off.  At some point, you’re validating bad people, fake journalism, by continuing to go on their shows.  But still, that’s not to say that it can’t help your cause.  I think it helps gay people to have respectable representatives go on Fox and show the world that we’re “normal” even if they disagree with us.  Same with transgender people.  There’s always a risk.

Of course, for Republicans going on CNN, it’s an entirely other matter.  When I went on Fox, I was already used to answering questions about whether gays were pedophiles, posed to me on other networks (usually by the religious right pig debating me).  But Republicans who are have been in exile on Fox, aren’t used to actually having to defend their lies in the light of day.  It’s why CNN’s Soledad O’Brien is such a breath of fresh air, and so confounds Republicans who simply can’t believe someone who calls herself a journalist would ask a hard question, and then ask it again when you refuse to answer.

Finally, there’s the question of the value of “preaching the choir.”  Buzzfeed argues that you don’t get much mileage by preaching to the choir.  And sometimes that’s true.  But not always, and I’d argue not often.  One of the strengths of the liberal blogosphere has been our ability to find stories and help them go mainstream.  Now, it’s certainly possible that the right has had less success doing the same.  Mostly because they’re a little nuttier than we are.  Not all of them.  But on par, far too many of the top folks, yeah.  Republicans are learning the hard way that it’s harder to sell BS than it is the truth, at least when you’re not on Fox.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Houndentenor

    The difference is simple. I know dozens of people who refuse to watch any news channel other than Fox because all the others are “biased”. I know of not one single person who only watches msnbc.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Going on a channel where you get a skeptical reaction can be a real opportunity to showcase an idea. Having the interviewer fawn all over you does you very little good, having them ask hard questions can be very good if you know your stuff and have an answer.

    The problem with Fox is that they ceased to be hard questions and they have just become gotcha questions and false assertions of fact followed by talking over any attempt to answer. If someone is demanding a yes or no question on a GOP wedge talking point they are playing gotcha, not seeking a real answer.

  • ezpz

    Good point. Yes, “nutspeak” and dog whistles.

  • A reader in Colorado

    And Republicans aren’t balance anyway. They’re there to make nutspeak in order to make the great leader seem reasonable by comparison.

  • A reader in Colorado

    Oh, when do they criticize Obama? When in recent memory has any of the show’s evening hosts every issue a free standing critique of President Obama’s behavior, without a “but he’s great for y”? If they do, it’s so rarely I’ve not seen it in a year.

    And I’m subjected to MSNBC non-stop.

  • A reader in Colorado

    Truth is important. Balance is not.

  • ezpz

    No, they don’t offer balance. The token republicans they have on do not balance out the 24/7 (minus the prison shows) infomercial they have going on for obama.

  • ezpz

    That may be true that Fox invents news, but MSNBC OMITS news that may be unflattering to Obama. As has been said, lies of omission are still lies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Fitzgerald/648265083 Chris Fitzgerald

    Fox news is the voice of hate speech. How can you use Fox to reach the people they are hating on? Is that too complicated to figure out. Wow, stupid Repub is stupid.

  • Marko

    MSNBC criticizes Obama. But not for things that were beyond his control or didn’t even happen. FOX does that all the time. They invent news.

  • Marko

    At least MSNBC offers balance. That would be a great first step for FOX. It’s their catch phrase after all.

  • Marko

    Who is the liberal on FOX who has their own 15 hours of programming? The “(fair and) balance” to Morning Joe?

  • Marko

    John I think you underestimate the problems associated with FOX. You’re very likely to turn off otherwise supportive people by pandering to those who will NEVER accept the LGBT community. NEVER. The fact that you can’t let them go and accept that there is shrinking segment (due to the fact they’re dying off) of society that will always be disgusted by LGBTs, says more about your inner conflicts. Who do they represent?

  • Naja pallida

    It doesn’t matter who the Republicans decide to lie to, until they decide to stop telling absurd lies and then getting belligerent when they’re not allowed to get away with it, they remain mired in their bubble and continue to be pathetic.

  • A reader in Colorado

    No, what I’m saying is that Joe Scarborough is the token conservative voice nominated by the MSNBC corporate heads to spout right wing garbage for “balance”.

    And that, yes, MSNBC is in the bag for Obama. Complete with right wing stables and right wing stablehands, to spout crap with a wink and a hope that most people don’t know what right wing jerks they’re really putting in place to ape “the liberal agenda”.

    You forget, Swami: MSNBC is a corporation. They’re not there to provide some kind of real opposition to Republican ideology. They’re there to make money, and that is the only reason they are there.

    Obama is not what’s on the menu. That is what MSNBC puts on the menu. That’s what you, and people like you put on the menu, and try to tell others that’s all that is possible. You are playing the apologist, and I’m having none of it.

    And less any other choice, Obama and is successor will rot on the menu, just like the Republicans did before them. He’s not “not perfect”. He’s a right wing monster only marginally less horrible than the worst Republican, who deserves to be revolted against.

    And these are NOT liberal voices on cable.

    For some of us, no alternative is better than the Obama alternative. And the constant defense of him as some kind of single choice alternative is monstrous and nauseating. And laughable, since he keeps erasing the worst Obamabot line in the sand of yesterday and doing everything the worst Republican would have done, but unlike Republicans, getting away with it.

    And to shut up about him is not about some kind of choice, even before the election. It’s collusion, it’s enabling, it’s anti-American moral treason.

    There’s the election, and there’s running over Obama from the left on a daily basis. Neither of the two is an opposite choice.

    To refuse to vociferously Obama on the grounds that there is only one SUPPOSED choice and not because one actually supports Obama is simple moral treason with no defense, not even deliberately tactically positioned right wingedness.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    So you are saying in front of God and everybody on the internet that the 3 hours of Joe Scarborough, former Republican politician with a dead girl in his office problem, being on MSNBC for year after year, repeating at night for another three hours of right wing programming, means that MSNBC is in the bag for Obama?

    I submit that what you are seeing is class loyalty among the few liberal voices on cable, who no doubt make sums of money that would make Croesus fall sated to the palace floor, attempt to prevent the nightmare we experienced under Bush: total domination of all three branches of government by one party, more so than some German, French, Spanish or Italian governments of the 20th century (wink!).

    It is not like there was some big menu put before the voters; it was Thurston Howell III or yuppie Chicago public service lawyer who paid his dues and needs some ching ching to beef up his retirement. I know people who started out their law careers working to crush bad landlords who ended up making bank working for property conglomerates kicking people out of apartments because it pays well, and law school isn’t cheap. There’s no poor people party and no poor people in Congress; no poor judges, no poor Senators, no poor presidents. You can either accept the constant fantasizing of the right who will keep promising all those right wing culture war trinkets dangled like carrots before the hick masses while picking our pockets, or accept the fact that Thurston simply was unpalatable to American voters and Obama was the only alternative.

    Obama is far from perfect and sometimes far from desirable but he is what’s on the menu.

  • A reader in Colorado

    or the left, there really isn’t an alternative kind of show. Only lately MSNBC has been trying to fill Fox’s shoes – and MSNBC does it with fewer lies and less party loyalty.

    Two letters:. B. And S.

    Lies of omission are still lies. MSNBC lies by omission so much it’s become mockworthy for it.

    And less party loyalty? I don’t know what you mean by “less”. It’s surreal, and getting worse, the party loyalty on MSNBC. I don’t watch Fox News, so I don’t know for sure. But if Fox News is more Republican than MSNBC is partisan Democratic, that’s pretty bad.

    To justify, though, on the basis of Republicans being what they are, is only to justify Democrats becoming what Republicans are, in the near future.

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