Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Roots of Fox News Channel

How many people know that one of the owners of Fox, before Rupert Murdoch, was Marc Rich?

How many people know that the idea for a fourth television network was the brainchild of a wealthy studio executive, who just happens to be a lifelong liberal Democrat?

What irony there is that Twentieth Century Fox Studios was partially owned by one of the biggest tax cheats in American history. A man who was a staunch Democrat, who was pardoned by President Bill Clinton (tax cheats and Democrats seem to go together like horse and carriage).

Murdoch bought out Marc Rich's share of the studio. He later acquired the other half from Marvin Davis.

As sole owner, he hired Barry Diller from Paramount. He was an executive there. He is a liberal Democrat. Diller had an idea about creating another network. Fox was rolled out in 1986.
So, the idea for the fourth television network that became Fox Broadcasting Company, which includes Fox News Channel, was the brainchild of a liberal Democrat. So there you are. The roots of the television network that conservatives across America turn to for their news was originated by a liberal Democrat from a media empire that was once partially owned by a Democrat Party contributor who was pardoned for income tax evasion.

Not that there is anything terribly wrong with this. It is a business. The owners really do not have any ideological objectives other than to make profits.

It just confirms my point that what is offered as "expert opinion" by Fox is merely what will get viewers to look at the television because it is a business. Generally this means on Fox, blondes in short skirts, Kimberly Guilfoyle's ample cleavage or those who are famous for being famous regardless of their expertise.

For example, I read Ann Coulter's column all the time. It's funny and informative. I would not read her column for her opinion of the burning issues of military strategy etc.

Why would anyone turn to her as an authority about families and religion? Coulter's real attraction is her long blonde hair and even longer legs. Like many Fox News shills, Coulter really hasn't experienced life much.

So outside of politics, the political culture, legal issues and some other things, I really don't want to hear what she has to say about the economy, military strategy, social welfare (in the generic sense), marriage etc.

Same thing with Dick Morris. What does he know about anything other than the Clinton administration, polling data and electoral politics?

Yet, he's called on by Fox News as an expert in military, foreign policy, the news media, welfare, guns, civil rights, etc. Why?

It is one thing for the host of a show to pontificate. (Glenn Beck is an idiot, yet, he admits he is.) They are hired to pontificate all they want. It is their opinion.

Their conclusions are based on information most do not have. They tell people news they are not aware of (unfortunately they often take it from other sources without attribution). They sometimes are entertaining.

However, when Fox News Channel brings in Margaret Hoover, Monica Crowley, Steve Ducey, Dick Morris, Mary Catherine Ham Amanda Carpenter, Fred Barnes, Dana Perino and the worst of all, Dennis Miller, as expert commentators - I change the channel.

Lately, it has been occurring more and more. In fact, Fox News is no longer the first channel I turn on in the evening. It was since 2001.

When Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity ask the opinion of Monica Crowley, Ann Coulter or Dick Morris about foreign policy in Afghanistan - well, that is the blind leading the blind. That is when I reach for the tv remote.

As I have said repeatedly, the establishment conservative media is bureaucratized. It is no longer a meritocracy. The first few that hit the beach and were successful. Now they are merely bringing their friends along - regardless of qualifications or value.

Always remember, this is the same conservative establishment media that has given us Peggy Noonan, David Brooks, David Brock, Michael Smerconish, Andrew Sullivan and Chris Buckley among many others.

The moral is that before one gives complete loyalty to Fox News remember its roots. It can easily return to them.

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