Quote of the Day: Fred Vultee on the Fox Agenda

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Quote of the Day (Month?). Here’s Wayne State journalism prof Fred Vultee riffing on a partisan jab from the Baltimore Sun‘s TV writer:

Fox might or might not think its viewers are stupid, but it certainly doesn’t seem to mind when they’re happily misinformed about the world at large. Rational viewers aren’t good for Fox, because they might turn into rational voters: able to make autonomous, evidence-based decisions that reflect their own interests about stuff like terrorism, immigration, the climate, and the threats posed by infectious diseases, apology tours and Muslim baby names. That, in turn, makes it harder to enforce a sense of national panic in which you hand your civil liberties over to friends of Roger Ailes for the duration. (If that’s starting to sound like a seminar in Copenhagen School securitization theory, there’s a reason for that.)

Fox isn’t the first media outlet to dominate its market through paranoia, jingoism and tabloid fascination with celebrity culture, or the first to take a histrionic dive when the ref was watching. You could call it a living tribute to the McCormick-Patterson axis, putting it rather squarely in the mainstream of Industrial Age journalism. To borrow from another Baltimore media critic, Fox has figured out what The People want and gives it to them good and hard. Fox viewers don’t have to be stupid as long as they continue to get the drama of inconvenient truth mixed up with the thrill of convenient fiction. Benghazigate, Grubergate and those friendly games of chance at the county fair were made for such an audience.

— “Another Day on Planet Fox“, Heads Up: The Blog, 2014-11-22

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