Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
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Sunday, May 3, 2015

On the origin of Fox News

Jay Rosen at PressThink
"...Roger Ailes exploited a weakness in establishment journalism that in 1996 was dimly understood by its practitioners—or not understood at all. There was a submerged ideology in American newsrooms, populated as they were by people who were more cosmopolitan than 'country,' more secular than religious. Journalists in the U.S. were vaguely progressive in the sense of welcoming social change (up to a point) and identifying (up to a point) with those who had grievances against traditional authority. Certainly there weren’t many denizens of the American newsroom eager to 'stand athwart history, yelling Stop,' or who had supported the Vietnam War, or who saw Ronald Reagan as a cultural hero. And there weren’t many alert to the ideological undertow in a mission statement still popular among journalists: comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

"Critics on the left are correct to say that if this is liberalism it is very weak tea. But critics on the right are correct to say that it sure isn’t neutral professionalism. Roger Ailes understood that the 'mainstream' journalists his network was built to attack had an ideology that they were unwilling to defend, because they had never recognized it as an ideology. Instead they used terms like 'news values.' They talked about standards and credibility and objectivity and being a good professional. They still do this."

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