Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fox News: Left Turn For Circus Maximus

There was an interesting article yesterday by Howard Kurtz about an interview given by Roger Ailes, the Grand Pooh-Bah of Fox News. It’s interesting on several levels. First, Fox is apparently moving left in its coverage. Secondly, it really highlights why conservatives should not trust Fox.

One of the most striking things Ailes said was that Fox is undergoing a “course correction” toward the left. Apparently, Fox executives think the entire network took a hard right turn after Obama’s election and “as the Tea Party’s popularity fades” they are shifting back to the center. Oh, where to begin.

First, there was no hard right turn. The types of stories Fox covers and the slant they put on them was no different in 2009 than it was in 2006 or 2002. Sure, they hired Glenn Beck, but he didn't dictate what the network would cover. He simply provided one opinion show. By that token, MSNBC is right wing because they hired Joe Scarborough.

Secondly, the presumption that the Tea Party is fading sits exactly at the core of why conservatives should be leery of Fox. Fox only cares about drama. . . not truth, not politics. To achieve that, it tries to shoehorn every issue into an easy storyline with clear winners and losers, so it can hire attractive women to represent each side and slap it out on television. The only thing missing is the Jello.

The Tea Party is an idea, not an organization. It is twenty million Americans all doing their own thing with the same goal in mind: change our government. It has no leaders, it does not engage in political theater. In many ways, it is akin to communist cells. And that cannot be squeezed into Fox’s format. But Fox tried. Rather than reporting what was really going on and helping people understand the Tea Party, it instead appointed fake leaders, like Michelle Bachmann, Dick Armey, and Glenn Beck to make its storylines work. Not surprisingly, those people failed to catch on. So now Fox is declaring the Tea Party finished because Fox's storylines didn't work and are played out. . . without ever considering that it has completely misrepresented what the Tea Party is.

This is why you should not trust Fox, because it does not care about presenting conservatives fairly, it cares about using conservatives to sell its drama, and it will twist conservatives to fit its needs.

Third, if Fox is to be a legitimate news source (as it pretends) then it should not be setting any sort of course. It should take the news as it comes without comment and bias. Indeed, Ailes himself complains about the bias of the other networks and the AP: “the AP is so far over the hill, they’ve become left wing, antiwar. Gotta watch their copy.” That’s certainly true. But let me ask, why then does FOX do nothing more than repeat AP stories? Why doesn't it gather its own news? And if bias is bad, why does Ailes admit in the article that he's advised so many of these candidates, including Romney, Perry and others?

Moreover, listen to what happened prior to the debate. Hours before the last debate, Ailes’s team sat in the auditorium plotting how to trap the candidates. And yes, “trap” is the right word. Listen to what Chris Wallace planned to do to trap Perry to generate “fireworks”:

“[I'll ask] 'How do you feel about being criticized by some of your rivals as being too soft on illegal immigration?' Then I go to Rick Santorum: 'is Perry too soft?'”
This is inappropriate. There is nothing wrong with planning an interview question. In fact, a well-prepared journalist needs to think of things they will ask in advance. BUT, this goes beyond preparing a question. This adds the element of using Rick Santorum to sneak attack Perry. This is akin Jerry Springer bringing out a surprise guest. This is trying to make the news, not report it.

Rush rightly criticized this: “Fox wants these people to tear each other up.” And what did Ailes say in response? “Because [people] see conservative thinking on our channel and don’t see it on any other channel, they think we’re in someone’s pocket.” Well, no. Because you call yourself “news,” we figure you would act like journalists, not game show hosts. Apparently, we were mistaken.

Frankly, none of this is new.

Fox has been a fraud since its inception. The way Fox works is simple. They buy stories off the wire from the Associated Press and ask their anchors to spin those stories to the right. That's all they do. To add excitement, they hire telegenic guests to slug it out. That’s not journalism. . . it’s a game show.

And it's not conservative either. Fox's conservatism is the conservatism of big, crony corporate socialists. It is the voice of K Street. And now it wants to turn our primary into reality television. Enough!


As an aside, according to a Zogby poll, Herman Cain is now the leader at 28% with Republican voters.

Cain: 28%
Perry: 18%
Romney: 17%


DUQ said...

Go Herm!!!!

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I do enjoy watching Fox on a moderate basis, as it often manages to come across as a red-state network and not as faux sophisticates like MSNBC. However, I don't watch it religiously, and after reading that article, I will be extremely suspicious of what I see on that channel from now on.

On the Zogby poll, while I was thrilled to see those numbers, I would take them with a grain of salt. For one thing, this was apparently conducted online, making it considerably less reliable, and for another, I think Zogby has a history of being several points off. That said, I do think Cain has gotten a bump of several points, although I fear it's not as much as this poll has it. I'd like to see whether others (Rasmussen, etc.) can corroborate this.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I agree with you in large part. But if Fox had simply said it was a video news magazine from the Republican Establishment point of view instead of that "fair and balanced nonsense," they would have won points with me for being more conservative than all the other stations, and more honest about it.

I can't get too exercised about Fox using AP dispatches then giving them a rightward spin if only because all the others do the same thing with a left wing spin. It's refreshing to have one propaganda machine on our side, considering the dozens on the other side. But news it ain't.

That said, if Ailes really means to move Fox to the left, including trashing the Tea Party, I guess I'll have to get my news-editorial opinion from my pastor. And I'm not sure I trust him. LOL

But I must demur on joining in an attack on Fox, at least for now. Though I agree with you on nearly every point, I'm not going to assist the Obama administration in attacking the one cable station that actually has a bad word for The One.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I'm glad you're happy! LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I think there are two things to remember:

1. Fox merely adds a veneer of conservatism to the news. It reports the exact same things as MSNBC and CNN, it just has its anchor spin their outrage toward the right -- whereas the others spin their outrage to the left.

There is some shading of facts choosing which portions to play up at each network, but not enough to really call any of them independent.

2. Fox's primary goal is ratings. And rating come from on-screen sparks. So they are not actually concerned with educating you and delivering the news, they are trying to get people to watch the drama.

On Cain, that's all true. Plus, Cain probably got a boost from Romney people who want to sink Perry. But still, to go from 5% to 28% is significant and should give him momentum. In politics, momentum creates more momentum.

Tennessee Jed said...

I saw this article and found it interesting to say the least. I enjoy Brett Baer's show, with two conservatives and a moderate Democrata as the panel. However, they are all reasonably intelligent and soft spoken. O'Reilly is a narcissist who won't get anybody else get a sentence out before he interrupts. Hannity is a solid conservative radio talk show. Greta is not bad. It's t.v. news, so I don't watch it much accept for Brett. Still, it has been so biased towards the left that Fox was a welcome change.

I think there is more going on here than meets the eye, however. I don't know exactly what (Rupert Murdoch, fairness doctrine, etc.)

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I agree that it's good to have at least one network spin to the right. But as you point out, it ain't news.

My concern now is that Ailes has decided to move the spin toward the left under the guise of going to the center. That will be bad for the country.

Personally, I still think an unbiased network would clean everyone's clocks, but no one seems willing to genuinely try that. CNN claims they do, but they really haven't.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree that Fox has been a welcome change from all the other left-biased networks, but I do think it's ultimately been a disappointment. They had the chance to really change the industry, but they didn't.

I like Baier as well, just as I liked Hume before him. I don't really like most of the rest of their personalities.

I agree with you that there's more going on here. I'm betting this is a response to the News of the World scandal and the fact the Democrats keep trying to turn that into an excuse for the government to come after Fox. I would bet this is a PR attempt to tell the Democrats that Fox will now "get in line."

But we'll see.

DUQ said...

Andrew, I have to say I've never been a fan of FOX. They're too ADD for me. It's like they think the audience is an unruly gang of 12 year olds. I know they're biased, but I prefer PBS.

(Andrew, my comment vanished.)

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I've always liked the News Hour as well, though the bias slowly drove me away over time. Too bad.

Sorry about your comment.

ScyFyterry said...

I get all my news from the net now. I don't need a pretty face to read the story to me.

AndrewPrice said...

ScyFyTerry, I hear that a lot lately.

I'll tell you one thing that is driving me nuts on the web though is the movement toward video. I can read a story in a tenth of the time it takes to have someone read it to me. And some site, especially sports sites, are really going wild with video.

Ed said...

I'm more positive than T-Rav and his sockpuppets that Cain got a bigger bounce that a few points. Even with Zogby's problems, I think he could well be in the lead. :D

On Fox, I don't know why they keep picking journalists as moderators? Why not just pick somebody neutral?

Ed said...

I also saw an article today that says that Christie is indeed thinking about running and Obama's Wall Street supporters are now funding Romney. It's enough to make your head spin.

CrispyRice said...

I'll just add that I wish we had more thoughtful news shows. Shows which actually gave time to people from different views to, oh I don't know, DISCUSS the issues like adults and not just scream at each other for 30 seconds before -- whoops! Out of time! Ugh.

And ditto on the Go Herm!! How do we keep his momentum up?!! :)

BevfromNYC said...

So Fox News has decided that they aren't "fair and balanced" and all those on HuffPo'ers are right - they ARE "Faux News". And why does everyone keep sounding the death knell for the Tea Party? Someone forgot to tell us we were terminal. BTW - we are still very much alive and well.

The truth is NO news organization can be trusted to report the straight up "who, what, when, where, why, and how" of a story anymore. So therefore, I am now sounding the death knell for journalism. There are no real journalists left in the world - not in print, not on radio, and not on tv.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I don't think T-Rav is being negative about the poll, I think he's just pointing out that Zogby's polls are unreliable so there's a good chance Cain's support is overstated.

T-Rav said...

Ed, I hope Cain is in the lead. I got really excited when I saw the headline this morning; it was only after that I read people picking it apart.

Whatever the accuracy of the poll, I do believe Cain has had a big bounce, of whatever margin. And even with those caveats I mentioned, the next closest candidate was ten points behind; you have to think he's either in the lead or very close to being there.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, Tell me about it. Before I figure out what Fox is all about, I used to get suckered in with "coming up an interview with ____." Then you'd wait for an hour before they finally had the interview. The anchor would barely get their sentence finished and suddenly they would say "that's all the time we have." Grrrr.

On Cain, if he's lucky, what will happen is that by surging into the lead, people may begin to believe that he can win. If that happens, then his support could continue to grow.

Everything I've read says that many conservatives want him to win, but don't think he can -- so they supported other candidates. But in Florida, people decided to go with him. I guess we'll see how it all plays out?

T-Rav said...

Oh, and also, as far as Christie's concerned, he's probably not running. I saw a WSJ piece where his aides were reiterating that no means no, he's given no hints personally that he's reconsidering, and his own brother said he will be more surprised than anyone if Christie announced a run. Of course, after that, ABC quoted a source who said you shouldn't trust his brother, you should trust former NJ Gov. Tom Kean, who said Christie is seriously considering it. Ummm....okay.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I love the irony of sounding the deathknell for journalism while decrying them sounding the deathknell for the Tea Party! LOL!

In any event, I agree completely.

First, I have seen no evidence the Tea Party has shrunk or peeked or anything. It seems as strong and determined as ever. And the fact Fox can't find its leaders just tells us that Fox doesn't get it, not that the Tea Party is failing.

Secondly, you're 100% right about the death of journalism. It's all become so biased that you literally can't trust any of them anymore. I think true journalism is dead and the next phase will be openly slanted news catering to people who have already made up their minds.

I think that's horrible for the country, because it will only reinforce prejudices and make it harder for people to talk to each other, but that's where we're headed (if we aren't already there).

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I would think a 5-10% error is probably the maximum, even with this poll's limitations. So I would think Cain is somewhere above 18%. That puts him in the lead.

But the bigger thing will be that victory feeds on itself in politics. If he is seen as a winner, then all those people who didn't want to support him because "he can't win" will take a second look. Plus, you will suddenly see more articles on him, etc. All of that changes the public mood.

I suspect he may have leaped into second place. It's probably still "soft" and could be reversed or he could be replaced by someone better. But for right now, I think he has his chance to claim the spot.

BevfromNYC said...

As far as Christie is concerned, he needs to make a decision. I won't vote for a vaccilator. If he is not going to run, he needs to shut up those who say he may run. If he is, then RUN ALREADY!!! This has been going on since November.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav and Ed, I think I read the same article -- at Politico I think -- where they quoted Kean as saying he's seriously considering it.

I honestly don't know which way he's leaning. BUT I will say this. People don't talk about possibly running if they don't want it deep down. So I'm sure he "wants" to run, what I think this comes down to is whether he thinks he has a better chance now than later.

If he jumps in now, then he immediately becomes the front runner based on name recognition and a desire for "someone new." But he has to perform at a high level fast, or he will flame out too. So he may think it's safer to run next time.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I don't watch Baier much, but he strikes me as the most solidly objective of all the main anchors. I like Greta quite a bit; Shep Smith and--again--O'Reilly, yeah not so much. But anything's better than Geraldo, or the nuts on MSNBC.

And I agree, the network does have a habit of hiring lots of pretty female commentators, who probably are not selected solely for their intellect. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I think it's a huge red flag when a candidate vacillates. We don't want a President who can't make up his mind -- like Obama. And if somebody doesn't know if they want to run for President, then that should be a huge warning sign.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Bev, Just a thought. I really do think the analogy between the Tea Party and communist cells is a good one because of the leadership structure and the willingness to work outside the normal channels of authority.

What I'm wondering is that cells normally had a handbook to train them because there was no central authority to handle training. Does the Tea Party have anything like that that you know of -- a handbook to show people the "how toos" of politics?

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I just can't imagine that Christie will get in. Even if he might want to be President deep down at some point, the guy has been so consistent in denying any plans to run--ever notice how none of this speculation is ever based on things he personally has said?--I think he's being sincere.

Oh well. Assuming that's the case, HotAir summed up the situation perfectly: "The good news? Our long national nightmare of baseless Christie speculation is almost over. The bad news? Our new national nightmare of baseless Jeb Bush speculation is soon to begin."

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Get this....

Those talking heads are an industry unto themselves. They don't actually represent anyone and they aren't part of either side. In other words, when you see "Republican consultant," that's not someone who actually works for the Republicans. That's just someone who has some theoretical link they can claim to some Republican somewhere and is now selling themselves as an available guest.

And these people know each other and work together to make each other look good.

It's like a scam. They are like actors.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Thanks for ruining my day. Yeah, the Jeb Bush speculation will begin next. I have said before and I repeat here: I will NOT vote for another Bush... ever. And I'm not kidding.

By the way, I hear that Chelsea Clinton just got herself appointed to something. I guarantee you that she will run for President in a decade or two.

Ed said...

T-Rav, I agree with you. I think polls are only good to give a general sense anyway, so this just tells us that he's surged.

I hope other polls confirm this?

StanH said...

FOX News is a television show, not the news, with the exception of Brett Bauer’s “Special Report,” I think he reads the news fairly straight. However he’s a mere shadow of Brit Hume in my opinion. As far as Roger Ailes, I’ve watched him work, since he was in the Reagan Administration, he’s a sharp guy, his interview with Kurtz could be a clever marketing ploy on his part…just a thought.

You want the news? …read the Drudge Report three times a day. Through that is a conduit to whatever is happening anywhere in the world.

As far as Herman Cain, win, lose or draw, he’s good for the field, as would Palin’s entry I believe. His winning the straw poll in Florida is directly related to his participation with the Tea Party. I’ve seen him speak at three Tea Party gatherings, in the Atlanta area, and I know he spoke in Florida as well. The Tea Party is fine, you can’t stay pissed off and in the streets 24/7, we actually take care of ourselves. As 2012 rolls around they are going to feel the fury of the Tea Party, wishful thinking by the Ruling Class, or the establishment, is just that. I know I’m going to participate like I’ve never done before, usually I just vote, no more conservative apathy, leaving politics to politicians.

As we speak, Richard Trumka, shows up on Brett Baer, hmmm…

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I didn't WANT to post that little tidbit. I HAD to post it. ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Sure you did. Seriously though, that's an excellent quote that really does put a fine point on how silly our political commentary can be in this country.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I agree.

I like Baier, but Hume was much, much better. He's one of the few journalists I have respected for decades.

I also think (like you) that the Tea Party is there waiting. Unlike other political movements, this one is made up of real people with real lives and real jobs -- like Bev and you. When they aren't voting, they are working. So of course you won't hear much from them except when elections near. I don't think the establishment knows how to deal with that because they're used to these professional interest groups who spend their time doing political theater.

I think you're right that Cain's connection to the Tea Party is the key. I can't wait to see what happens when election results start coming in. That will be an interesting test and could provide some major surprises?!

(I'm glad you're planning to be involved in this election!)

AndrewPrice said...

Here's something interesting. Huntsman is doing so badly in national polls that he may be kept out of the next debate.

BevfromNYC said...

Everyone thinks that the TP'ers are getting bored and moving on. That, of course, is so not true. We are maturing and moving within the system. "They" can't pin a tail on the leader/leaders, so "they" assume that we are fading away. Again, wrong, we are maturing, reading, watching, studying, sharing information, and working from within. Not everything is about taking to streets and carrying signs. We are and independent. Yes, there are group leaders and blogs and fundraisers. But like I said right before the 2010 elections - the Republicans were about to get a rude awakening if they think the Tea Party movement was about Democrat leadership and to just wait until we turn our sites on Republican leadership too.

Is that about right, Stan?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That sounds about right. It's interesting that the Tea Party people I know get e-mails from their groups, actively recommend things to each other, go to hear candidates, and still go to meetings every so often. This is long past the point where such movements normally die out. Yet, they remain active.

It's not the big public showing the MSM is used to with liberal groups, but it's evidence of being much more determined. In particular, it follows the old maxim that the guy you need to worry about least is the loudmouth... the guy you need to worry about most is the quiet one who has been paying attention.

On your point about the Republicans, I'm not sure they realize that. I think the ones in Washington are too stuck in the system they grew up in to realize something has changed.

It reminds me of a lot of revolutionary moments like the French Revolution, where the average people knew what was coming because they saw it every day in the people they knew, but the establishment had no idea because they lived in a bubble. And even as things were going wrong all around them, they still thought they could do as they always did and the people would be satisfied.

I see a parallel here where the establishment thinks a few gimmicks, some fake hand-wringing that the public really raked them over the coals this time, and a few pork bones tossed our way should calm people down. I don't buy that. I think the average voter has changed and will no longer accept business as usual.

StanH said...

That covers things nicely Bev. I know with my own family, business associates, etc. people are angry. And the liberals always miss the point, it’s all of Washington, left and right. Statist Washington has our country so screwed it’s breathtaking in it’s enormity. The fix is going to take several election cycles, we must stay cool and do our thing at election time, and fire these jerks until they get the point, “THEY WORK FOR US!” Herman Cain, and all of the elections from Scott Brown forward are the direct result of the Tea Party, we’re here, we’re focused, and getting ready to fix the mistake of ’08!

DCAlleyKat said...

Tea Party fading, eh? Funny that. Six weeks ago so such group existed in my town, the nearest one was thirty miles away. Then came two, announced a meeting night and time, and there were eight. The next week twenty. The next week thirty-five...and so on and so on! Yep, that's my kind of fading, I look forward to counting the heads at tomorrow nights meeting!

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, Everything I've seen says your right. I've never seen so many average people paying such close attention to politics. And I think the massive dissatisfaction shown in the polls is evidence of that. I think the establishment thinks that just grousing, but people will fall into the same patterns as always once the election arrives. I don't think so and I think there will be some shocks in the primaries and at the House and Senate level this time. I think the public has made a seismic shift and Washington doesn't realize that yet.

AndrewPrice said...

DCAlleykat, That can't be! That doesn't fit the narrative! LOL!

Actually, the fact that new groups are forming is HUGE. The history of "movements" tells us that these things peak fast and then vanish because people can't maintain the intensity.

The fact that new groups are still forming even after the movement should have peaked is a pretty strong indication that this isn't like other movements and, therefore, the old rules don't apply.

I think a lot of people will be in for a shock in 2012 once the voting starts.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, speaking of bottom-tier people, I read that a lot of Bachmann's Iowa volunteers (though none of her paid staffers as of yet) are reaching out to Santorum's campaign. I know, I know, between that and the Jeb Bush reference, I'm just asking for it tonight; but it makes sense. They both appeal to the same voter base (social conservatives), and for whatever reasons, he did significantly better in the Florida poll than she did. Also, there are a lot of rumors that her campaign is almost out of money. I'd much rather see Huntsman out just now, but who knows.

T-Rav said...

Also, I think your comparison to the French Revolution is dead-on. Hopefully we won't turn out the same way, but it does seem like this is one of those periods where there's a sea change in our political values. Take Social Security. Even five or six years ago, no Republican could mention so much as a privatization plan, even with control of the White House and Congress. And while Paul Ryan's plan is highly controversial, and Rick Perry has taken heat for calling SS a Ponzi scheme, the fact is, they're still politically viable. So hopefully a lot of assumptions about our political system are starting to change.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Arg.

Bachmann really has fallen off a cliff. Since the day she won that Iowa straw poll, it's just been a free fall -- crashing poll numbers, bad debate performances, repeated slip ups, and various staff people saying bad things about her (Politico's had some interesting interviews with her current and former people). I won't be surprised if she's gone even before Iowa votes.

Santorum should hang in there a while -- certainly past Iowa -- unless he learns there are gays in Iowa, then he may abandon the state. ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I don't see any potential for violence, because that's not the mindset of Tea Party people. But I do think our political class does not grasp how widespread and strong this revolution is.

They see polls that tell them only 20% of the public supports the Tea Party and they think that means this is a small group. And they see that no third party sprung up to replace either of the current two, so they assume the danger is past. And they are putting on a ton of political theater, doing things like lamenting the "austerity" plans which don't actually cut a penny, and they hear their PR parroted back to them in the MSM, so think the public has been placated.

But out in flyover country, I hear people left right and center all upset at the establishment and wanting a wholesale change. People are indeed talking about completely remaking everything about our system... and they're serious.

Moreover, what the establishment doesn't get is that these people can't be tracked by polls or through the MSM because they aren't acting that way. Many of these are people who were never political, who are now determined to infiltrate the existing structure and upend it. They don't want to join it or share its power, they want to destroy it. And the establishment doesn't know they are there because these people are doers, not talkers.

That's something new in this country. Most movements in the past were all about talk. This one is about action. And it's about action against a system that they know is stacked. So they aren't going to appeal to the system, they will simply do what they do. And one day, the establishment will wake up and wonder how all the barbarians got inside the gate.

tryanmax said...

YES! I never watched cable news much. In fact, I lately cut the cable. But for a brief while about a year ago, I decided to give it a fair shake.

Of course I'd heard great things about Fox News. Boy, was I disappointed. I angered more than a few of my conservative friends by pointing out that they just report the exact same news in the exact same way that all the other stations do.

They didn't get it. "But the news is the news. They have to cover the important stuff if they want to compete." YEEEAAAHHH! Just because everybody is talking about something doesn't make it important!

What happened to the days when news organizations all tried to scoop one another? Oh, that's right. It moved on line.

Vive la liberté, Vive la vérité, Vive l'Internet!

(I don't know why I chose French. It just felt like a French moment, I guess.)

AndrewPrice said...


"Vive la liberté, Vive la vérité, Vive l'Internet!" is right, even if it is French!

I am amazed how far journalism has fallen. It really has gone from the age of reporters roaming the country looking for scoops that would give them a lead on their competitors, to a bunch of quasi-actors reading wire reports into a camera. It's pretty sad.

I'm particularly troubled by the disappearance of investigative reporters. Today's reporters are nothing more than spokesmen for news sources.

And you're right, there is all kinds of news out there and choosing what gets reported (or not reported) is very important. But in that regard, Fox and MSNBC and CNN and the networks report exactly the same things -- none of them are reporting anything independently.

tryanmax said...

Some thought on the thread:

Andrew, amen to the web video remark. It's only useful if there is actually something to see. I don't mind a clip supplementing a written article, but let's leave it at that.

The concept of unbiased journalism is relatively new and, guess what, it was conceived as a way to make money! It arose near the Gilded Age when printers realized that politically squeamish advertisers were more apt to sponsor a paper that claimed no alliances. Of course, the drive for revenue led to the infamous circulation wars between Pulitzer and Hearst.

What we have seen lately in cable news is a recreation of the circulation wars, except on different terms. No longer squeamish about political bias, advertisers use the cable news shows to target their niches. Or they just advertise on every network.

What handbook is there for the Tea Party cells? (We should come up with a term besides cells that goes along the tea theme. Kettles, perhaps?) Ironically, I would suggest Alinsky's Rules for Radicals as the best way to counter any opposition is to know their playbook. Having read it, I feel safe to say that, in actuality, most of Alinsky's tactics just make sense. It is only in how they are applied that they become insidious. That said, he also recommends some tactics that are downright underhanded. But I would expect the average Tea Partier to know the difference.

Clearly the Tea Party movement has not peaked. But, Andrew, hopefully I am clarifying your statement to say that the Tea Party is not merely a movement in the usual sense. I don't want to be premature, but I think it may actually be the leading edge of a cultural shift. Just as a point of illustration, let me point out that the Renaissance and the Enlightenment were also "movements," but they really don't compare with the movements that are spoken of day-to-day.

Finally, I just want to echo: "Go, Herm!" And here is the bumper sticker for 2012: "Cain vs. Unable"

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, "Cain v. Unable"! That's brilliant! The Obama people would go insane! :)

Yeah, the web videos drive me crazy. I actually won't click on links if I know the story will be presented by video instead of a written article. Unfortunately, podcasts have become the rage for people (especially sports journalists) to deliver their stories without writing anything.

You're right about unbiased journalism being a new thing. But I think its also a valuable thing and I would like to see someone actually providing it. I think there is a huge market out there for a news company that actually investigates and reports upon news without trying to spin it. Unfortunately, I think those days are gone for the very reason you mention -- advertisers now want to reach specifically targeted audiences and the best way to do that is to offer biased products to separate the audience.

On the Tea Party "movement," yes, that's what I mean. This isn't a movement in the modern sense of the word where a group of people get together and march until the powers that be listen. I think this is something much deeper. I think this is one of those moments in human history where the public's belief system has changed. And in this case, what I think has happened is that the middle class has gotten fed up with being taxed to pay for welfare for rich and poor while the self-appointed elites destroy everything the middle class believes in.

I think what is happening is that the middle has decided it's time to remake the country according to "common sense" values.

On the other side, you have elitists who have been getting rich on the current system and a subclass of people who live off government largess. Those are the battle lines. And I think the elite are betting that the middle class folks will quit “once the emotion cools.” But I don't think that's likely. I think there has been a change of mindset, not just some people acting out of anger. That's why I think the Tea Party can actually continue indefinitely, because it's not an emotional response to a current crisis, it's a new mindset.

(I actually think an argument can be made that this is a world-wide phenomena).

That’s also why I think this will end poorly for the elite, because they have misunderstood the threat. They think they can wait this out or co-opt it, but they’re wrong. The Tea Party mindset really does want to break the system as the elite know it.

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