Murdoch: Fox News “saved” GOP

The creator of Fox News, conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is now claiming that Fox News “saved” the Republican party.

Murdoch, who created Fox News in 1996, still pretends that Fox is an objective counterpart, or something, to “liberal CNN.”

“I think it has absolutely saved it,” Murdoch told Fortune, referring to Fox News’ impact on the GOP. “It has certainly given voice and hope to people who didn’t like all that liberal championing thrown at them on CNN.”

Let’s take a visit back to October of 1996, when Fox News launched for the first time. Who did Murdoch make Fox’s new CEO? None other than longtime GOP political strategic Roger Ailes.  Ailes is still the president of Fox News.

Just to give  you a sense of who Ailes is, he worked for Nixon and Reagan, among others, but this quote from Ailes, via Wikipedia, is particularly telling:

Ailes is credited with the “Orchestra Pit Theory” regarding sensationalist political coverage in the news media, which originated with his quip:

“If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?”

And Ailes was the man who sent Bush a confidential memo after 9/11 giving him PR advice:

Rupert Murdoch via Shutterstock

Rupert Murdoch via Shutterstock

Days after the 9/11 attacks, Ailes gave President George W. Bush political advice indicating that the American public would be patient as long as they were convinced that Bush was using the harshest measures possible.

The correspondence was revealed in Bob Woodward’s book Bush At War. Ailes lashed out against Woodward, saying “Woodward got it all screwed up, as usual,” and “The reason he’s not as rich as Tom Clancy is that while he and Clancy both make stuff up, Clancy does his research first.” Ailes refused to release a copy of the memo he sent to Bush.

At the time of Fox’s launch, Ailes hired John Moody to be Fox’s new vice president for news, and to ensure that the network stayed “fair and balanced.” Moody reportedly impressed Ailes with his observation that Time, Newsweek and USNews always, he claimed, featured articles on their covers at Easter-time “beating up on Jesus.”

“They call him a cult figure of his time, some kind of crazy fool, and it’s as if they go out and try to find evidence to trash him,” Moody told the NYT at the time.

I’ll give Murdoch credit, he really gave the media a song and dance about “fairness,” even back at the beginning:

”I’ve told my staff, ‘I don’t expect you not to be biased in your lives; you’ll be too damn boring at the dinner table if you don’t have opinions,’ ” Mr. Ailes said. ”But when you walk into this newsroom, recognize your position or your bias and be fair to people who don’t share that position.”

There’s really almost a beauty to Murdoch’s perverted logic. If CNN is “liberal,” then of course Fox is in the middle.  You simply redefine the middle as left, so then the right becomes middle.  Which leaves open the question of what Murdoch considers “right.”

At the time of Fox News’ creation, then CNN-head Ted Turner was outspoken in his criticism of Murdoch – and much of Turner’s criticism wasn’t far off the mark. From the LA Times in 1996:

Asked to explain what he meant recently by comparing Murdoch to Hitler, Turner said, “The late Fuhrer, the first thing he did, like all dictators, was take over the press and use it to further his agenda. Basically, that is what Rupert Murdoch does with his media. . . .”

Turner also accused Murdoch of buying off politicians like New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, whose wife, Donna Hanover Giuliani, works for Fox Channel 5; Newt Gingrich, to whom he offered a $7-million book deal; and Britain’s “Maggie” Thatcher, whom he backed politically.

“I have no respect for him. I think he is a very dangerous person,” Turner said in reference to what he views as Murdoch’s “improper” acts in “buying political favors for his company by making contributions.”

Putting aside whether Murdoch is Hitler, Fox doesn’t just have a conservative bias, it’s a Republican TV network.  And for all of CNN’s flaws, the network’s only bias is having hosts and anchors that sometimes come across as bland or light as compared to Fox (and Fox is big on having pretty blondes in brightly-colored one-piece dresses).  But at least CNN, like most real American media, tries to get the story right.  Fox’s only goal is to skew the story to the right.

And for all the complaints on Fox about how “left-wing” MSNBC is, MSNBC admits it’s a progressive network, and it only moved to the left in response to Fox, some 15 years after Fox moved to the right.

One more thing: MSNBC admits to being progressive. Fox does not admit to being conservative. It’s one thing to be a partisan pundit and admit it.  It’s another to pretend you’re fair and balanced when you’re neither.  The former is partisan, the latter is the definition of propaganda.


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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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  • Ninong

    Reagan also violated the law by approving Iran-Contra. It’s okay because he went on TV and apologized for anything he might have approved but doesn’t remember.

  • LEFTLEANINGTX

    No because it really STUPID Republicans …lol

  • LEFTLEANINGTX

    Thank you !!!

  • LEFTLEANINGTX

    War profiteers ?
    Are you kidding?
    The ENTIRE Military industrial Complex is made up of REPUBLICANS.
    The Democrats don’t start wars but the Republicans are always looking to start on.
    That and incredible stupid thought.

  • LEFTLEANINGTX

    That is easy to say unless you are being directly affected by the policies they support where you are defending your right to exist. In that case you don’t really care about their likeability.

  • LEFTLEANINGTX

    oh and I forgot Ed Schultz he’s a real righty too !!

  • LEFTLEANINGTX

    Yes of course because Chris Matthews, Chris Hays, Rachel Maddow, Alex Wagner and Lawrence O’donald are all VERY right leaning pundits…..lol……..You kidding me that is a stupid thing to say

  • ronbo

    Giving Republican Morning Joe (who-knows-who-killed-my-staffer-gal) three hours a day isn’t exactly progressive. An evening full of Obama (drone assassination, status quo, spying, anything-but liberal) adoration is pushing moderate Republicans more than anything progressive. MSNBC still leans to the right.

  • Rocker

    Man, even if I agreed with this piece, this is incredibly weak logic and sloppy writing. The Turner Hitler quote doesn’t make any more sense now than when he first uttered it…Hitler was a politician…how does a politician influencing media compare to a private individual/media owner…owning media? And there’s no shortage of people in liberal media with spouses and significant others engaged in Democratic politics if we’re going to go there. In truth, there’s no such thing as “objectivity”, but how do you define the center? You mock Murdoch for calling CNN “liberal”, yet assert without evidence that CNN is the center? Center of what? The views of all Americans? I don’t think so. Center of your circle of elitist friends, maybe. Argue about whether or not Fox News is fair and balanced all you like, but it does bring balance to the media ecosystem if only as a counter-weight to the MSM liberal/left consensus echo-chamber. And, while it is usually (but not uniformly) clear which way the anchor leans when an issue is discussed on Fox News, they will invariably have someone on to articulate the opposite side. I think that’s what they mean by “fair and balanced”. That is something you almost NEVER see on MSNBC, where all panelists are always in violent agreement on every thing, and much more rarely on CNN.

    We all need to stop demonizing people and talking past each other. You might find Roger Ailes or Rupert Murdoch to be likable, charming human beings with sincerely held beliefs if you met them. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them.

  • Rocker

    These despicable people treat the word liberal with disdain, you weirdo Republicans!
    Irony, much?

  • charlie6

    MSNBC is not progressive, they just pretend to be progressive to control the narrative and undermine genuine liberals. MSNBC is owned, controlled and operated by war profiteers and pro Israel members of the conservative ruling power elite.

  • http://buddybest.tripod.com/index.html BuddyNovinski

    Let’s look at reality. Faux News saved the corporate state, convincing enough hicks to vote against their interest. Should a French Revolution — long overdue — arrive, Faux News will defend the privileges of the nobles, or as FDR called them, the economic royalists, to pay no taxes and to get welfare off the federal government.

  • Ninong

    Darth Cheney, or as I liked to call him at the time, the Phantom of the Naval Observatory, used his flunky Lewis Libby to leak everything to Judy Miller.

  • NMRon

    MSNBC Progressive?! Not even. Ask Ed Schultz

  • cole3244

    msnbc is progressive yes but liberal no.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I remember that. Fake evidence that Darth Cheney himself had ordered to be leaked.

  • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

    I was stunned to learn my Republican relatives have stopped watching Fox News, realizing it’s just an echo chamber of BS. I took heart in that, except their favorite potential presidential candidate is still Huckabee.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I think the worst example was when Judy Miller published leaked fake evidence of WMDs in the NY Times just in time for Dick Cheney to go on the Sunday Morning shows and quote from her articles.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    All my Republican relatives claim to watch Fox because “they tell both sides”. They seem to believe that too. #facepalm Yes, Murdoch saved the GOP by giving the a 24/7 platform where they could say whatever they wanted without facing any hard questions. Of course it’s not like CNN or any other major news outlet was asking hard questions in 2002-2003. If you wanted that you had to read British newspapers.

  • LosGatosCA

    A few other facts:

    * Nixon saved democracy in America (except for the domestic spying, political break-ins, and price controls)
    * Bush II saved us from terrorist attacks (except for that little thing that happened on 9/11)
    * Reagan saved us from out control budgets and built a strong military (except for tripling the national debt and getting 200+ Marines blown up in Beirut)

    Republicans are exceptionally skilled at lying, and most effectively to themselves.

  • apostasyusa

    “Republicans originally thought that fox worked for us and now we are discovering is that we work for fox…The thing that sustains a strong Fox Network is the thing that undermines a strong Republican Party.” – David Frum

    With Aussie and Saudi Arabia owned News Corp having their Fox News and associated networks shouting with their huge amount of power the word liberal in disdain since the networks inception in the 90′s, what would you expect people to think about liberals? The Saudi’s sell oil, why do you think Fox News is so staunchly against portraying global warming as a problem?

    Organize or hide? Fox News and the rest of the “media for sale” hope the latter.

    Money does buy anything in the USA, including truth. Money even buys opinions in the WSJ and the NYT. Don’t ever forget it. Somebody with lots of money wants Americans to be ignorant so they make ignorant electoral choices. The media is a major culprit in the numbing of Americas intelligence.

    With the truth comes the responsibility of trying to understand. Who wants a world of understanding? Not Republicans. The path of least resistance to them is ignoring the complexities of the world.

    We mustn’t burden ourselves with knowledge of our own complicity in the subverting of truth for profit. We take solace in our right to be ignorant and those that profit from deceit take solace in our desire to be so.

    You weirdo Republicans will believe anything as long as it sustains the fear and anger you need to feel alive.

    Remember, the media is only as liberal as the giant corporations that own it.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    It should’ve been obvious to anyone that CNN had already stopped being liberal and hitched their wagon to the GOP entirely when, in the autumn of 2002, they hired a herd of former U.S. generals to help whip up the country for war with Iraq.

    Hell, even before that, during the 2000 recount, their coverage of the Florida count fiasco consistently took the tone that Gore should shut up and concede. “For the good of the country.”

  • Ninong

    I think what Murdoch means is that Fox News gives free air time to Republican candidates by bringing them on for interviews any time they want, and if they lose the election, Fox will even give them their own TV show.

  • Indigo

    I see. So CNN is liberal? I don’t feel like I actually picked up on that perception based on what little I’ve watched of CNN. At the other end of that exceedingly short spectrum, Fox can be said to have advanced the T-Party, I’ll grant them that, but to have saved the Republican Party by drowning the moderate voice is a bizarre form of salvation.

  • Ninong

    I find it difficult to watch CNN even when the anchor is someone I don’t dislike. They seem to think it is their obligation to balance every positive element in a political interview or discussion with a negative one. They can’t cover anything positive about same-sex marriage without asking Tony Perkins to comment.

    Down here, where I live, the local TV news channels ALWAYS have the local archbishop, or his deputy, comment last on any report that is a little too positive for The Gays. CNN uses Tony Perkins for that.

  • Ninong

    Here’s hoping Wendi Deng takes Rupert Murdoch’s ass to the cleaners in their divorce settlement. Why else would a 30-year-old woman marry a man 38 years older.

  • bkmn

    Once upon a time I was a CNN regular reader but not anymore. CNN went too far to the right in 2008 when they refused to call out obvious lies from Republicans.

    They still don’t have a good grasp of what kind of a network they want to be. Just look at how much over the top coverage they had on MH370. No theory was too far out for them to trot out a talking head to make outrageous claims.

    Somehow CNN thinks it can pull off a ratings miracle by trying to be Fux Snooze Lite. They don’t realize that the folks on the right will never trust them.

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