Capitalism And The News

I wonder whether it will matter.

“It” of course, refers to the revelations that Fox “News” knowingly and intentionally lied to its audience, in order to keep the sheep from abandoning Fox for outlets willing to feed them their desired conspiracy theories.

The Dominion lawsuit has done America a huge service. Lawyers for the company have amassed an absolutely astounding amount of evidence supporting Dominion’s allegations of willful prevarication by a company pretending to be engaged in journalism. I titled this post “Capitalism and the News” because Rupert Murdoch admitted that the decision to promote what everyone at Fox knew to be a Big Lie wasn’t  prompted by “red or blue. It was about the green.”

Fox was protecting its bottom line. If facts threatened that bottom line, then facts had to go. (Cozying up to the Trumps was part of that effort: Murdoch also admitted giving Jared Kushner access to Biden campaign ads before they aired.)

Sane folks have long known that Fox was a propaganda arm of the GOP,  not a legitimate news organization, and real journalists and pundits have pounced on the evidence.. One of the more thoughtful responses came from David French. 

To understand the Fox News phenomenon, one has to understand the place it occupies in Red America. It’s no mere source of news. It’s the place where Red America goes to feel seen and heard. If there’s an important good news story in Red America, the first call is to Fox. If conservative Christians face a threat to their civil liberties, the first call is to Fox. If you’re a conservative celebrity and you need to sell a book, the first call is to Fox.

And Fox takes those calls. In the time before Donald Trump, I spent my share of moments in Fox green rooms and pitching stories to Fox producers. I knew they were more interested in stories about, say, religious liberty than most mainstream media outlets were. I knew they loved human-interest stories about virtuous veterans and cops. Sometimes this was good — we need more coverage of religion in America, for example — but over time Fox morphed into something well beyond a news network.

As French noted, the Fox propaganda-as-business model has made it immensely popular on the Right, where it commands significant loyalty.

But that kind of loyalty is built around a social compact, the profound and powerful sense in Red America that Fox is for us. It’s our megaphone to the culture. Yet when Fox created this compact, it placed the audience in charge of its content…

As the Trump years wore on, the prime-time messaging became more blatant. Supporting Trump became a marker not just of patriotism but also of courage. And what of conservatives, like me, who opposed Trump? We were “cowards” or “grifters” who sold our souls for 30 pieces of silver and airtime on MSNBC.

Our disagreement was cast as an act of outright betrayal. People like me had allegedly turned our backs on our own community. We had failed in our obligation to be their voice…

In the emails and texts highlighted in the Dominion filing, you see Fox News figures, including Sean Hannity and Suzanne Scott and Lachlan Murdoch, referring to the need to “respect” the audience. To be clear, by “respect” they didn’t mean “tell the truth” — an act of genuine respect. Instead they meant “represent.”

That sort of “representation,” of course, is not journalism. (Although French doesn’t use the term, the word “prostitution” comes to mind…)

French says that Fox embodies the “possibly apocryphal remark of the French revolutionary Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin: ‘There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.'”

In a recent podcast, John Stewart made a different comparison: Fox is the “old dope peddler,” and it knows that failure to supply its addicts’ need will cause the loss of its customers.

Conservatives like French have already dissociated themselves from today’s GOP, so the question really is whether any intellectually honest people remain. How will the crazies spin the internal communications and testimonies of Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and even Rupert Murdoch, proving beyond a doubt that they all knowingly promoted a lie because they knew their audience wanted that lie–and that failure to provide it would hurt their ratings and bottom line.

As Talking Points Memo put it,

The American descent towards authoritarianism, minority rule, and insurrection doesn’t happen without Fox News. It doesn’t happen only because of Fox News, but it’s been a critical ingredient in the toxic stew of misinformation, grievance, and division.

These stunning revelations ought to spell the end of Fox. But I wouldn’t bet on it. Addicts need their fix, and Fox is a willing supplier….

Truth can be so uncomfortable.


  1. All this and more has been know for a while and STILL Corporate America continues to fund the crazy. If the funding stopped, so would the crazy. but …not yet.

  2. It occurs to me that calling a conservative a RINO is not nearly the insult those using the term think it is. Thanks, largely, to FOX ( And Limbaugh, etc) and what it has helped to to “conservatism”.

  3. I have just AGAIN deleted my lengthy comments; too disgusted and sick at heart about what has been done and is being done to my country and my life and the life of my family and friends in the name of the Republican MAGA party, aided and abetted by Fox News and our current Catholic run Supreme Court system.

  4. Where are the disinformation police from Homeland Security, FBI, etc.? Stacked up in my email are stories of journalists (not from Fox) who are being arrested because they’re at the scene with video – some even behind the “buffer” zone.

    Joe Biden is POTUS — NOT Trump or DeSantis.

    Don’t look now, but Fascism is creeping into the country.

  5. Todd, “creeping”? Fascism is in full gallop. The “conservative” media keep folks riled up about the horrors of socialism being inflicted by the Dems, whilst kowtowing to communism (Russia/Putin) and strengthening their agenda to usher in fascism and authoritarianism, to give those policies a seat at the head of the table. I’m like JoAnn, sick at heart.

  6. When it comes to the American Air Ways that are FCC controlled I believe all information broadcast over them to the citizens must be fact and truth based to be called NEWS, and that all other commentary broadcasts should be labeled ENTERTAINMENT
    Lies travel around the world before the truth gets it’s boots on and broadcasting over the airways is that conveyance. And internet news should be included.

  7. “Fascism will come to America wrapped in the flag and clutching a Bible.” – Sinclair Lewis, circa 1935.

  8. Todd, Fascism is more than “creeping” into our country: it is flooding into sectors of the country, carried blatantly on the shoulders of insurrectionists.
    Robert Hubbell’s Weekend Newsletter describes how Trump has managed to induce a “national gag reflex” by performing at CPAC a musical mashup of the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem (called “Justice For All”) accompanied by the “J6 Prison Choir” comprised of felons convicted of assaulting the Capitol on January 6th. As Hubbell notes, this “musical abomination” is both an “affront to democracy and…a crass insult to the flag that hundreds of thousands have fought and died to defend.”
    The Republican Party is beyond redemption. As Hubbell concludes:
    “The moral and popular leader of the Republican Party is in league with insurrectionists and he is using the infrastructure of the GOP to advance his second coup attempt. No person of good faith can remain in the Republican Party. The cause is lost, and everyone trying to save the GOP must repudiate it immediately to help hasten its demise. It does not deserve saving.”

  9. OK…. We have sworn court testimony that Fox is not a news organization. How many MAGA Republicans are going to even hear that? How many will believe it? How many will even care?

    If it’s not spoken in the echo chamber (and it’s not), you won’t even reach these people. Fox has had no coverage because “they won’t comment on an ongoing lawsuit”, but I suspect that when they loose and are on the hook for billions of dollars and that kind of news does eventually penetrate the echo chamber, the message there will be that Fox is the martyr being silenced by the liberal deep state.

  10. Those on Fox made illusory comments about Dominion with “we don’t know”. Blatant comments like Dominion did flip votes were never made to my knowledge, but their reporting of others claims were news worthy. Even if they were contrived.

    There are multiple claims of vote flipping on video as vote counts were made according to some.
    Some even recorded on CNN. Ballot harvesting and movies like “2000 Mules” gives supposed technical data showing the same mules or drop off personnel gathered ballots and dropped them off in swing states.

    On the flip side before the election the Hunter Biden laptop story was handled as being patently false as well as what was Joe Bidens response to it being reported but not actually asking him if he was involved. News agencies for or against parties or ideologies aren’t being journalistic. With 95% of journalists voting Democrat and persuing activism, it makes it apparent the demise of our Democracy is being hidden in plain sight.

  11. Once again, I expect FAUX News to invoke the “reasonable man” defense. It has worked well for them in past lawsuits (especially involving Tucker). The fact remains that their targeted audience hasn’t even one “reasonable man” within it.

  12. How many of your family’s members stopped speaking to each other because of that poisonous traitorous carnival barkers broadcasting lies to the world? Raise your hand.

    We have to end that network that is pitting neighbor against neighbor, brother to brother, sister to sister. Our civilization depends on it. Truth matters.

  13. The Left Media understands the agenda well. While the fingers point at Rupert, what is Biden doing behind closed doors?

    He and Blinken condemn other countries for what we’re doing – hypocrites!

    The truth is this already stricken-down law was reinstated shortly after Snowden landed in Russia. The spying is on “dangerous gun-yielding Patriots” or from any other country; our government is spying on activists, journalists, and those wanting to assemble to share their grievances.

  14. Advertisers pay for eyeballs that they can catch paying attention to the entertainment presented in order to secure sales of products and services in the marketplace.

    About 2/3 of the time is spent by each media station itself advertising for itself to get people to turn their devices on as much as possible and go to a particular channel or station with the intent of paying attention. The other third of the time is sold to advertisers to pitch their wares. 100% of the time is spent investing in growing businesses synergistically.

    The Murdoch Empire is among the media that is branded, that is focused on a particular demographic rather than the population in general. Different brands could be for auto enthusiasts or old ladies or whatever audience the business of media management thinks is the most lucrative combination of cheap to entertain, and easily talked out of money spent on a given class of products. It’s all a money machine.

    The Fox empire’s brand is authoritarians who feel entitled to be overly represented in influencing society. They are people not satisfied with their share, they always want more influence, power, a bigger share of the pie. That’s why they are attracted to the entertainment and that’s why they buy the products advertised.

    All of that can be somewhat obscured by calling entertainment news. That really has little to do with the machinery of it, but it’s a respectable label that the Murdochs use to maintain permission to use a portion of our broadcast energy frequency bands.

    Branded entertainment may contain news but at its core, is entertainment like clowns and trapeze artists and football players and strippers are.

  15. Fox is largely responsible for the current absurd argument that one has a constitutional right under the aegis of “free speech” to destroy the, uh, constitution. At one time there was a practiced understanding that “free speech” had some inherent limitations, Lindbergh, Viereck and other Nazi sympathizers notwithstanding, but current seditionists wish to define all speech when called to explain as mere opinion and thus within the protective cover of the First Amendment.

    Trouble is, such a claim assumes that (speaking of originalism) our forefathers in adopting this First of Ten meant to provide a constitutional means to destroy the constitution and thus provide such seditionists with protected speech in their attempts to destroy the very organs of government our forefathers were setting up – a more than unlikely and illogical event.

    Fox amplifies the “rights” but not the responsibilities of seditionists for, as their CEO testifies, the “green.” As practiced by Fox and others, it appears that capitalism as practiced by the terminally greedy is at odds with democratic idealism, but perhaps the truths in boardrooms unmasked by the Dominion lawsuit will at least slow corralling the green at the cost of constitutional government. Perhaps.

  16. Gerald. A responsibility given government by the Constitution, specifically the Executive Branch, is to regulate, to ensure compliance with the law. Often regulation is at odds with businesses robbing Peter to pay Paul, an affront to all of us named Peter. That’s why defunding government is such a big part of authoritarian entertainment which disproportionately represents the brand of Pauls of the world.

  17. John S. Regarding your first paragraph: Fox disseminated stories they knew to be false as if they were true. They offered no disclaimers that the tales were “contrived”. Quite the opposite. This is about as far from journalism as it is possible to get. By their actions, they have caused enormous material harm and contributed to the loss of lives. This is the truth that their trial is revealing.

  18. Is ABC a news organization? No. What about NBC? No. Each is a broadcasting company with different departments.
    Any of them jumping on the story of 9000 permits to drill in reality being only 6600? Almost hslf of them tied up in litigation? So 9000 is only around 4000? How many are worth the drill to create an a good return on investment? How many have a quick path of permits for access?

    A Nixon memo was the beginning of the “think tank” idea of a network geared to face off against his opposition. The Senate was full of at least seemingly ethical people. Nixon was forced to resign.
    Unethical politicians today like Schiff never get forced out.

    Hope this helps jog some of our memories.

  19. Tis a Pity that part of the “penalty” – will not be all those who Openly Lying – needing to speak On the Air – noting the specific lies they have made and – the acknowledgement -that they Knowingly Lied. Absent – such an acknowledgement – they “should” be personally liable – fined – money paid in a substantial Sum – a clear either/or – such as Hannity needing to pay $50 million dollars or acknowledge the specific lies he has made – as well as the Corporate Leadership doing similar on the Air.

  20. seems little has changed in NoDak since 1/6.and foxs fallout of grce to the christian elite. fox news is still blairing the same song. newsmax gone and that spot has become a steroid induced pain in the mind with its content,called first news? direct t.v. has allowed one first news to be the same station on each side of freespeech ive watched a bit of this first news it taint nuttin like fox, its real in your face propaganda and spin. one asswipe is looking like er dons demon seed son. and his retoric is far exceeding foxs cesspool of thoughts. seems the band wagon only need ads to survive. but first news barley has ads. seems the pacs or wall street greed wagon is supporting this travisty. of course now trump is running,and support as i see it is far ahead of desatin. maybe theres a connection? if the liberal news media has any stand up for our democracy,its time for them to put up or shut up.


    Reading through these sites, really get to the crux of the matter concerning rules and regulations. There are way too many! That in itself is a deception. But it does point out, there are penalties for deception, IE lying.

    Too bad no one will pay a penalty for all of this, because if they did, a lot of it would stop.

    But no one really wants it to stop. Once that genie is out of the bottle, it’s going to cramp a whole lot of styles for a whole lot of people and entities.

  22. Was it necessary to label the behavior of Fox news as Capitalism?
    It is not synonymous with greed. Capitalism is a means of organizing resources. It a social structure not a human attitude or characteristic. The NYT and Washington Post are capitalistic organizations.
    There is no need to defile the language to make a point among the obsessed, Pavlovian respondents to this blog.

  23. Morton, thank you. Just as socialism shouldn’t be used as a hate word, neither should capitalism.

  24. John S,

    I think we have an issue with possession of the so-called Hunter Biden laptop. Some individual, claims that he had the laptop, how long did he have the laptop? He obviously had access to all digital data stored inside of that laptop!

    That’s completely itnadmissible as evidence of anything, anywhere. Emails and data including timestamps and such can be faked especially by a professed professional.

    I’m not saying that everything on that laptop, whatever it may have been, was fake. If the guy would have opened it up and saw something, then turned it over to the FBI immediately, that possession would have been legal and controlled. But since it languished, changed hands, to who knows who, it’s about as useful as a 1929 Sears catalog!


    Capitalist society not only fails to create equality of outcome but also fails to provide equality of opportunity.
    Inequality creates social division. Societies which are highly unequal create resentment and social division.,Diminishing%20marginal%20utility%20of%20wealth.

  25. “Capitalism is based on individual initiative and favors market mechanisms over government intervention, while socialism is based on government planning and limitations on private control of resources.
    Left to themselves, economies tend to combine elements of both systems.”,combine%20elements%20of%20both%20systems.

Comments are closed.