Thursday July 07, 2016
Fox & Former Friends
Fox News has long seemed like a Golden Age Hollywood movie studio to me. Behind the scenes you have moguls: Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes. And on the screen you have:
- hardened, flinty old guys: Bill O'Reilly, etc.
- pretty young women in secondary roles, mostly blonde
- villains: often liberal guests
- white hat/black hat absolutism
The point of the network is for the flinty old guys, sometimes paired with the pretty blondes, to take on the villains, defeat them, and ride off into the sunset before the end of the show. It's a formula that plays into how its oldster demographic digested entertainment in movie theaters in the 1930s and '40s. It's comforting for them and profitable for Murdoch. It also bends reality—inevitably. It remakes our world to fit inside its (I imagine stultifying) studio.
It's also in line with Karl Rove's thoughts to Ron Suskind in 2004 about “the reality-based community,” and how stooges likes Suskind thought they were still in it. “We create our own reality,” Rove said, “And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out.”
That's Fox News.
Did Ailes see himself as a mogul? Did he think he could get away with what you could get away with in the '30s and '40s, and even into the '70s and '80s? Did he think the world he was creating protected him from, I don't know, rule of law?
That's assuming the accusations in Gretchen Carlson's sexual harassment suit are correct. Either way, it's interesting seeing a little 2016 reality intrude upon that old-time fantasy world.
Exit, stage left.