Posted on | February 3, 2013 | 20 Comments
How long have I been talking about the “Fox Trap”? Forever, it seems, but for example, here’s a description from February 2009:
Media-wise, the GOP made the mistake of putting all its eggs in one basket. I enjoy Fox News, but it has created a syndrome where Republicans watch Fox all the time and delude themselves into thinking, “Hey, our message is getting out! We’re winning!” Fact: The evening news broadcasts of ABC, NBC and CBS reach a combined audience of about 22 million; the top rated Fox News show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” reaches 4 million viewers. So if the three broadcast networks are viciously biased against Republicans — and they are — then that anti-GOP message is reaching more than 5 times as many TV viewers as Fox.
Fox News becomes an excuse for liberal journalists to engage in partisan cheerleading, as I explained in April 2012 at The American Spectator:
The very existence of a conservative-friendly TV news alternative, however, relieves liberals at other networks of any twinge of conscience about bias in their programming. They may well reckon, “If conservatives don’t like it, let ‘em go watch Fox.” And given how liberals have demonized Fox — portraying it as an all-powerful evil force in media — some reporters may even feel the need to slant their coverage more stridently leftward, so as to counteract the exaggerated right-wing news menace.
Many conservatives, however, do not fully grasp how this phenomenon (which I’ve come to think of as “The Fox Trap”) may actually result in mainstream media coverage that shows a shameless disregard for political fairness. Even if the audience for the major network news broadcasts slowly shrinks, that audience — like the readership of liberal “mainstream” newspapers — is still much larger than the audience reached by conservative alternative media. Yet too many conservatives have been lulled into complacency. Self-selecting their media choices (Fox News, talk-radio, conservative websites, etc.) many conservatives may believe that their viewpoint is adequately represented in the overall media ecology, when in fact the larger news industry is as liberal as it ever was, if not more so.
Having repeatedly discussed this subject over the years, I should probably be pleased that Peter Wehner at Commentary finally got a clue:
To say that the elite media has a liberal bias is similar to declaring that the sun rises in the east. But it’s never been this transparent, the infatuation never this deep, the advocacy this passionate. . . .
What explains this?
A combination of factors, I think. One is the rise of Fox News. For decades progressives had a monopoly on news, which meant they were content to slant the news but not routinely cross the line into advocacy. But now that Fox News has offered not only a different perspective, but a popular one, journalists may feel they must, in order to compensate for their loss of influence, increase their liberal advocacy.
Not even a fucking hat-tip, you useless neurasthenic dweeb?
Like I said, I probably should be pleased, but instead I’m angry, and maybe later I’ll write a rant about why I’m angrty.