When someone has an absolute monopoly on something, they take a dim view of the person who pierces their fiefdom. Thus explains the predictable liberal reaction today over the death of Fox News Founder Roger Ailes.
Those of us who are middle-aged farts remember the options for news consumption when we were coming of age. It was limited to the three nightly newscasts and the local newspaper. And that local newspaper got the lion’s share of their content from the Associated Press, or some paper-based wire services. That meant you, too, could read stories from the Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune and other media leviathans. Their common trait? They all leaned to the political left.
For at least three generations of Americans, 100% of the media they were able to consume came from these mostly-liberal sources. I would dare say most of us were blissfully unaware. If you spend your life in a pot of boiling water, you have no way of knowing that you are constantly hot.
Ailes, who spent decades assisting Republican politicians with their presence on television, saw an opportunity in 1996. The once-fledgling Fox Network was no longer fledgling. Backed by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, they had scored a major coup in beating out NBC for rights to broadcast NFL games. That gave them instant credibility. It also provided a platform that Ailes saw as an opportunity to crack holes in the left’s long-standing monopoly on the broadcast news industry.
Ailes’ first stroke of genius was to give Fox News the positioning statement “Fair and Balanced.” This absolutely *infuriated* the mainstream media. It still does. With those three words, Ailes was able to uniquely position Fox while simultaneously taking a well-aimed shot at the competition. Rush Limbaugh had already given conservatives a national stage with his radio show. Ailes saw a chance to market to that audience on the television side. The results speak for themselves.
To their credit, Fox News has never pretended they were anything other than a check to the Mainstream Media. It was and is their market niche. They ran stories that the Mainstream Media either ignored or downplayed. I wrote a tongue-in-cheek list about a year ago.
If not for Fox News and alt-right media:
***We would be vaguely aware of some questions about Hillary Clinton’s e-mail system during her tenure as Secretary of State.
***We would somewhat recollect a few years ago that the IRS was targeting certain group for extra scrutiny, before we remembered that nothing ever really came of it.
***We would remember that time a few years ago, during the Benghazi attacks, that the administration said something very curious about what caused it. We may recall some subsequent CNN reports about hearings some South Carolina Congressman chaired looking into it. Those same reports would have told us of the incredible performance of the former Secretary of State in standing up to those nasty Congressmen.
***We would be somewhat taken aback upon hearing phrases like “Muslim Terrorist” or “Islamic Terrorist” since they are rarely used in news reports.
***We would be mystified as to why the NRA could *continue* to oppose efforts to implement gun control measures.
***We would be COMPLETELY unaware that there was a marauding band of Muslim thugs who went through Germany on New Year’s Eve 2016, sexually harassing hundreds of women. Any renegade reports of such that managed to slip in across the pond would be dismissed because we didn’t see anything on the network’s nightly newscasts.
***We would likely view the Tea Party as a short-lived sect of older white people who formed for no other purpose than to forcibly remove the Nation’s first Black President from office. Any stances they possessed on limited governmental authority would be foreign, since the New York Times told us they were racists.
***We would be KEENLY aware of Climate Change and the imminent danger it portends. We would know next to nothing about those who have honest questions about the facts and methodologies of said theory.
***The struggle for Marriage Equality would be at the forefront of our national dialogue. We would be blissfully unaware that there are people whose businesses and careers have been ruined because they thought differently.
***We would work under the assumption that college boys are holding entire sorority houses hostage, raping and pillaging wantonly. Any suggestion that charges to this effect are often proven to be bogus would be dismissed—because if they were, surely the Washington Post would have reported that by now.
***We would chuckle about those times when President Obama told us that if we liked our health care plan, we could keep it. That if we liked our doctor, we could keep them. Oh sure, we remembered some followup reports about it on ABC, but the President explained the apparent disparity away with a smile and the reporter interviewing him didn’t ask any followups. The misunderstanding was probably OUR fault.
***”Hands up, Don’t Shoot” would be the catchphrase of the century; since we had never heard any news reports about it never happening.
***We would wonder how in the world Palestine could NOT respond to the repeated bombings by Israel.
***We would collectively be conditioned to have the same emotional reaction viewing the Confederate Flag as 1940’s newsreel viewers had when they saw a swastika.
The most deliciously ironic part about those liberals who are today dancing on Ailes’ grave is that they are the same people who made Fox News possible. More precisely, the yawning vacuum left over from the mainstream media’s willingness to ignore stories damaging to their narrative created it. If the Media had not gleefully abandoned their role as the Fourth Estate, trading it in for a de facto position as a Public Relations firm for the Democratic National Committee; Fox News may never have existed. There would not have been a market available for Ailes to tap into.
To quote from “Airplane,” I guess irony can be…pretty ironic.