The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Elite Pundit, Belatedly Catching Up With Me, Recognizes the ‘Fox Trap’

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.


20 Responses to “Elite Pundit, Belatedly Catching Up With Me, Recognizes the ‘Fox Trap’”

  1. G Joubert
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

    FOX needs competition.

  2. AnonymousDrivel
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

    I admit to being in the “FOX Trap” (nice coinage of phrase) though I’m less so today than I was a year ago. The thing is I cannot stomach to watch the MFM to realize the extent of my bubble except to say that pretty much anything I see in the MFM (including non-news media) causes my blood pressure to rise which precludes me to remain within it. I’d been living with the embarrassingly overt bias since Clinton, but the MFM is so discredited as to be unwatchable since to watch is to be either misinformed or uninformed. So I’ll have to be content to remain in the bubble and seek information elsewhere within it since to follow that which is outside the bubble is pretty much to follow disingenuous lies.

    And that’s the way it is.

  3. jsn2
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

    It’s a bitch being ahead of your time. I feel your pain.

  4. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 1:16 pm Linked. The Fox Trap is real. And what we need is another media outlet that rather than just splits Fox market share, can compete alongside Fox against CBS, NBC, and ABC (and CNN).

  5. Becca Lower
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

    “But the kid glove treatment for Corzine, Menendez, and Hagel by Democrats and the liberal media is just especially shameful and disgraceful.” Well said, EBL.

  6. JeffS
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

    Isn’t it, though? Been there, way too many times.

  7. Becca Lower
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

    I think I get why you’re angry, Stacy. It’s not enough for folks like Wehner to “get a clue”, as you say. Your larger point about the Fox Trap is lost on the elite, whether they’re on the right or the left. That’s frustrating. Looking forward to more of your indignation at the myopic nature of the GOP and its messaging “professionals”.

  8. Adjoran
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

    Darn that Wehner! It’s almost as if he were too cheap to pony up the fee and just hung around in the bar all day.

  9. robertstacymccain
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

    I’ll disagree, EBL. What we need, really, is a Republican Party apparatus that is not staffed by arrogant dimwits, timid weaklings and sundry incompetents whose professional “qualifications” consist entirely of a succession of job titles they’ve leveraged through friends they made as College Republicans back in the day.

    So long as Republicans consider “former Bill Bennett speechwriter” or “former Dole campaign operative” as experience that qualifies people for lifetime tenure as Senior Fellows, we’re doomed beyond all hope of redemption. You’ve never going to beat Democrats with a team staffed by such second-rate hacks as Peter Wehner and Michael Gerson.

  10. robertstacymccain
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

    Most weekdays, the TV in my workspace is tuned to MSNBC, up until Martin Bashir comes on. I simply can’t stand the sound of Bashir’s voice. The man is near the top of my list of Assholes Who Need to Be Punched in the Face, Repeatedly.

  11. robertstacymccain
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

    David Kuo once described Peter Wehner as “my old Empower America friend.” So far as I was ever able to tell, Empower America was a fundraising operation disguised as a think-tank, created in the 1990s to employ out-of-work Republican speechwriters to ghost-write books by Famous Former Cabinet Secretaries.
    The essential phoniness of that kind of “Jobs for the Boys” operation has been replicated throughout the 501(c)-funded conservative apparatus in D.C., Such organizations employ legions of these Wehner/Gerson types who came to Washington as part of some previous Republican administration and have managed to parlay that experience into lifetime tenure — like barnacles attached to the hull of a ship — despite the fact that they have no actual aptitude for politics or journalism, or for anything else outside the D.C. “policy” bubble. They’re a dime a dozen in Washington and yet think of themselves as infinitely superior to anyone who isn’t a member of their wonkish clique.
    This was why the legendary Hindenburg-at-Lakehurst implosion of in 2008-09 was so predictable: As soon as you knew that David Kuo was in charge, you knew it could not possibly succeed. Kuo, Wehner, Gerson — birds of a feather, all perfectly useless.

  12. AnonymousDrivel
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 3:58 pm

    RSM: “They’re a dime a dozen in Washington and yet think of themselves as infinitely superior to anyone who isn’t a member of their wonkish clique.”

    You might consider incorporating some of Ace’s content in today’s “A Military Psychistrist’s Diagnosis of the Left” post where he comments on “intellectualism”. I think both of you are singing the same song.

  13. Bob Belvedere
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

    Ain’t Pete Wehner the guy you took to task for ‘herewith, a brief primer…’?

  14. Bob Belvedere
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 5:10 pm

    Hey, I live there, amigos.

  15. Bob Belvedere
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 5:10 pm

    The GOP will never change.

  16. Quartermaster
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 9:06 pm

    More like beaten with a tire tool. There’s a few others on that channel that could use a few blows with clue bats.

    I must say, however, that you are certainly a masochist to keep your TV tuned to that wasteland. I don’t even bother with cable or an antenna anymore.

  17. DaveO
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 9:16 pm

    Fox doesn’t need competition on cable and satellite and at the local news level. All politics is local. WTOP here in DC is so liberal that they don’t even try to present an opposing view – but they are damned good with traffic and weather during rush hour, which WMAL, which has a better show and includes liberal points of view, can’t match because its traffic and weather is not as thorough.

    At the national level, Fox could use some competition. Of course, they could use some Mike Wallace/Dan Rather Ambush-Interviews of ABC/CBS/NBC newsies at Dem/Progressive events and go through social media to get the news out. Make the public faces of news unwilling to to face accountability.

  18. Thane_Eichenauer
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 9:16 pm
  19. Rich Vail
    February 4th, 2013 @ 7:18 am

    There is a relatively simple way for FoxNews to break out into broadcast TV…if the Fox Network required it’s affiliates to broadcast the 6 pm (eastern time) news hour with Brett Biaer, they’d would soon overtake the alphabet soup news shows.
    Alas, that won’t ever happen…

  20. Bob Belvedere
    February 5th, 2013 @ 10:33 am