Righty fury at Fox News is just conservative fratricide
For some inexplicable reason, conservatives rush towards fratricide with the same kind of urgency that drives lemmings over the cliff. It’s what they do, even when it’s counterproductive and costly.
Conservatism wasn’t made better off by the four-year campaign waged against Speaker Newt Gingrich by some House conservatives who considered him ideologically unreliable. It wasn’t helped by John Boehner’s premature departure from Congress, brought about by political headaches caused by House Republicans on his right flank.
A small group of so-called purists on the right even crossed swords with President Ronald Reagan, without whom modern conservatism would have emerged stillborn after the Barry Goldwater’s 1964 thumping at Lyndon Johnson’s hands. Yes, the purists even scourged Reagan, who launched a revolution the left is still trying to roll back.
In the light of what appears to be President Trump’s defeat in his re-election bid, conservatives are now turning on Fox News, a channel where I once appeared with some frequency back in the 1990s, over its supposed ideological apostasy.
What nonsense. Fox was never an explicitly conservative organization, but, as conceived by Rupert Murdoch and brought to life by Roger Ailes, it was successfully positioned as the counterpunch to the overtly liberal networks that dominated the media: CBS, ABC, NBC and CNN.
It was a necessary addition to the nation’s information stream. The opinion side of the network leans heavily to the right, but the news-gathering operation plays it mostly down the middle, remembering the need for balance, because every story has at least two sides.
As a programming strategy, it works. The network is a financial and ratings juggernaut embraced by conservatives, because Fox News gave their agenda and personalities a fair hearing. Now, because the network’s decision desk called Arizona — a state critical to Trump’s re-election prospects — for Joe Biden on Election Night, some so-called true believers are encouraging those of like mind to turn to other channels.
This is fratricidal and foolish. With Biden probably coming into the White House with a progressive to-do list that includes wiping out the gains made since the Reagan years, the plan to isolate Fox — one of the few places in the major media where conservative ideas can be discussed openly and without the anchors sniping at them — is silly. What other news outlet covers the deeds and misdeeds of national Democrats with the same enthusiasm that MSNBC, The New York Times and the rest of the mainstream media go after the Republicans?
The liberal narrative has always been that Fox is the voice of the right. They’re still saying it, as David Brock’s Media Matters for America made clear in a recent e-mail, saying: “As President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral-vote margin and popular-vote margin grew last weekend, President Donald Trump tweeted clips and quotes from Fox programs that were laced with misinformation and conspiracy theories about the election. Since that time Fox News propagandists have promoted a variety of conspiracy theories and baseless claims of voter fraud. Once again, Trump is amplifying the work of Fox to falsely claim that he won the election.”
If the right turns its back against Fox, it would be an act of rank stupidity. The decision to put Arizona in the Biden camp didn’t, as some have claimed, affect the voting in Nevada. It didn’t happen until the polls were closed and, anyway, it looks to have been the correct call, a potential recount and allegations of irregularity notwithstanding.
As far as the alleged betrayal of conservative interests goes, has any other news channel given the kind of attention to the still-unfolding Hunter Biden scandal it has? Tucker Carlson’s hour-long interview with Tony Bobulinski, the whistleblower providing the goods on Hunter Biden and the Biden family’s alleged international corruption, was seen by more people than any other interview in recent memory.
The Bobulinski revelations wouldn’t be covered by “60 Minutes” or Rachel Maddow or Anderson Cooper. If anything, they’d be covered up, just as the debilitating consequences of the Democratic lockdowns and the real objectives of Black Lives Matter and antifa have been. The Big Tech progressives who got Biden elected don’t want conservative opinions appearing anywhere any more than they want the truth about the left to be aired. That’s what the cancel culture is about.
In a battle for all the marbles, conservatives can ill afford to limit their reach. Cutting off Fox in favor of small outlets — some of which I do appear on — is like cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. The right needs to build its network, not cut it back. The perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of the good. If anything, conservatives should be looking to expand their reach and finding ways to defeat the progressives. Energy spent on fighting the movement’s allies is energy wasted.
Adapted from RealClearPolitics
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