The sex scandals and political bias revealed at Fox News in recent weeks provide proof positive that the network functions as a propaganda operation that is even worse than its competitors.
The network’s corrupt “news” values are typified by Fox failure to cover for more than a few minutes the sex scandal allegations against Fox founding leader Roger Aisles by two former Fox anchors, Gretchen Carlson (a former Miss America shown at right) and Andrea Tantaros.
Carlson and Tantaros filed separate lawsuits this summer against Ailes in a scandal that prompted his resignation as chairman/CEO of the network he founded in 1996 with Rupert Murdoch's global empire.
More than a score of other Fox employees or former employees besides those plaintiffs are reputed to have exposed Ailes on similar grounds either privately or publicly in recent weeks. That's according to New York Magazine's intrepid reporter Gabriel Sherman, author of the 2014 biography The Loudest Voice in the Room.
Tantaros claimed in her suit that the network "operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult."
But as of Aug. 14, Fox had devoted just 11 minutes of airtime to six weeks to the scandal even though it prompted the chairman's resignation, according to a Washington Post story, Fox News confronts (but just barely) a scandal in its own house.
That self-censorship fits Fox's suppression of many other legitimate news stories and its biased treatment through the years hoking up phony scandals, including its transparently bogus reports this month claiming that Hillary Clinton is medically unfit for the presidency. Associated Press reporter Lisa Lerer debunked that story in her first-person account of a supposed uncontrollable fit by Clinton: Video proves Clinton suffering seizures? Not so, I was there.
Today’s column reports these specifics in the context of the long, disgraceful pattern whereby Fox and other major U.S. media have worked through the decades to spike vitally important stories and manufacture phony crusades for political purposes, ranging from presidential politics to more narrow back-stabbing. Last week, for example, it CNN reported: Revealed: Fox News' 400-page oppo file on Gabriel Sherman.
Slanted stories on the nation's most important events have always been a major problem, as indicated by the cover-up of the true facts behind President Kennedy's 1963 assassination, which all major media continued five decades later as we reported in Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory as part of a 30-part "Readers Guide" to coverage of the murder.
Yet Fox News is especially corrupt even amidst such a grim landscape, in which public opinion polls rate the media as among the most dishonorable American organizations and occupations.
That should cause no surprise. Ailes and Murdoch are notorious in employing ruthless methods to achieve power, including brilliant strategies for combining patriotism, entertainment and sex into money-making success. Along with business and political success, Ailes is the author of the iconic best-seller You Are the Message, and worked with political hit man Lee Atwater on the Willie Horton smear campaign in the 1988 presidential election. His boss Rupert Murdoch has presided over many, many internal scandals through the decades.
Now, Ailes is also the target of particularly repulsive allegations that he used a form of mind-control to sexually and professionally subjugate a longtime staffer, Laurie Luhn, for 20 years, as described below.
Ailes, like Fox, has declined to respond in detail. But as one of the never-ending surprises of the 2016 presidential campaign, GOP nominee Donald Trump is reported to be drawing on Ailes for advice in debate and other campaign strategies.
Coverage of sex scandals provides solid evidence for serious criticism of this multi-billion-dollar new operation, strange as it might seem.
The reasons? For one, Fox and a number of its affiliates founded much of their success on sexually oriented content, including the New York Post's revelations Aug. 28 breaking up the marriage of Hillary Clinton's aide Huma Abedin and former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner. So there's nothing more apt than an apples-to-apples comparison of how the Murdoch empire treats its own scandals.
Also, media revelations of sex scandals are often linked to political goals, both the ruthless destruction of targeted opponents and blackmail intimidation of other political targets who fear exposure unless they comply with secret demands for favorable decisions on policy.
Murdoch's companies, like some competitors, are well-acquainted with the dark side of such scandal manipulation. In 2011, for example, several top executives at Fox's parent company News Corp. were arrested on charges of using illegally hacked cellphone data to blackmail high-ranking officials in Britain on government policy, as we reported here in the 2012 column PBS Report on Murdoch Shows How ‘Hacking’ Led to Political Blackmail. The scandal reached to the highest levels of the company.
More generally, two score of the leading newspapers, broadcasters, magazines and wire services in the United States worked cooperatively with the CIA to foster CIA-friendly coverage in the Operation Mockingbird program during the 1950s and 1960s to misreport, among other matters, investigation into the JFK assassination, the crime of the century. That pattern has continued in many ways, as indicated below, tainting coverage to some degree at virtually all of the remaining media organizations on their current coverage.
We begin with a brief overview of the history of the Fox Network and its parent company's blackmailing and political intrigues, before before addressing more recent revelations of longstanding sex scandals at the Fox News.
The larger context of other such propaganda by media barons shows that news outlets have always been biased to some degree. But the manipulations at Fox are especially insidious because they are crafted with largely subconscious psychological tools to enrage viewers, helping foster angry voters without the basic information to take effective action.