It sometimes seems redundant to pick on Fox News. Its function as a propaganda arm of the GOP–as the Tass of the Trump Administration–is widely recognized among Americans who aren’t part of its brainwashed audience.
The problem is, Fox is more than “merely” a partisan propaganda site. Shrugging off its bias as comparable to the liberal perspective of, say, MSNBC ignores its role in normalizing bigotry and white nationalism, a role that makes it a far more serious and dangerous influence on American life and values than other partisan media.
A recent report in the Guardian highlighted that under-appreciated aspect of the harm done by the network.
Eboni Williams, who co-hosted the show Fox News Specialists, says Roger Ailes founded network on fear of ‘devaluation of whiteness’
A former Fox Newshost said the network was founded for the sole purpose of “demonizing ‘the other’”.
Eboni Williams tore into her former network in an appearance on Thursday on The Breakfast Club, a nationally syndicated radio show out of New York.
“Fox has a reputation for being bigoted and racist – all for a very good reason,” she said.
Williams said the key to understanding Fox’s approach was to understand its founder, Roger Ailes, who laid out his strategy clearly in his book.
“This man very plainly, in plain sight, says that he is forming a network to speak to one thing and one thing only: the demonizing of the other,” Williams said.
Eboni is an attorney-turned-commenter who is quoted in the article as saying she had taken the job at Fox despite strong disagreement with what she saw as its conservative political agenda, because she believed she would be able to offer the network’s viewers a different perspective.
“I went there because I felt I was going to be a savior of sorts and talk to the people in the middle that still watch that network, because whether we like it or not, Fox is number one for a reason,” she said.
When she criticized Trump’s response to the Neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, however, she got death threats. Clearly, she wasn’t getting through to the network’s audience.
” When I said it plain like I said it on that docket that day about Trump, the audience could no longer hear me. Thus I’m no longer being able to be any kind of effective. Thus it’s time for me to move on.”
Lest we attribute Williams’ reaction to the fact that she is black–someone who might be more “sensitive” to racial attitudes– an even more recent story, this time from the Daily Beast, should disabuse us of that excuse.
A Fox News reporter on Thursday called out two of his colleagues for sounding “like a White Supremacist chat room” when they attempted to defend President Trump’s infamous “both sides” comment about white supremacists in Charlottesville, according to internal emails reviewed by The Daily Beast.
The email discussion was triggered by Joe Biden’s announcement that he was entering the Presidential race; in that announcement, he alluded to Trump’s Charlottesville remarks. A Fox reporter named McKelway responded by sending an email to dozens of the network’s employees, saying he was “fact-checking” Biden, and claiming that the marchers were simply protesting the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue.
It wasn’t his first attempt at disinformation.
Prior to the 2016 election, McKelway defended the alt-right on Fox News, claiming it was simply “using the same tactics that the left has used for generations now.” He further asserted that the alt-right is “much more than” an anti-Semitic, white-nationalist movement, citing Milo Yiannopoulos for his efforts in combating “the left’s obsession with… safe spaces.”
And a year before that, McKelway compared the removal of the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s statehouse to the Soviet practice of airbrushing purged dissidents out of official photographs.
I no longer wonder why certain people choose to get their “news” from Fox.
They are the network’s target audience: people who fear “devaluation of whiteness”– less politely but more accurately identified as racists.