I don’t watch cable news, except when I see a particularly interesting clip from it on the internet that I feel merits writing about. But this Politico article by Keach Hagey indicates that apparently there has been something of a shift in the coverage style of the Fox News channel, a shift that might not be apparent in one clip, but in the general tone of its coverage.
It seems, according the article, that Fox has shifted “to the left”. Of course, as we know, the left-right dichotomy is pretty simplistic, but we know what they mean. As the Politico article describes:
Last week, [Bill] O’Reilly invited onto his show a gay-rights activist to weigh in on Roland Martin’s controversial tweets during the Super Bowl. O’Reilly and Martin may be old foes, but the spectacle of watching O’Reilly, who once compared gay marriage to interspecies marriage, attacking a CNN anchor for being insufficiently sensitive to the feelings of gay people was quite a switch from the tone of two years ago.
Obviously, there’s a bit of opportunism here–it’s a chance to tarnish someone from another network, and that is opportunity that is hard to pass up. But still-quite remarkable. As the article shows, Fox has shifted away from the Tea Party crowd of “two years ago”.
The article goes on to quote a “Cliff Kincaid, president of America’s Survival”, who says things like “‘what happened is they buckled under pressure from George Soros and his operatives to get rid of Glenn Beck.'” in order to explain this development.
This is quite amusing. The Soros conspiracy never fails to provide a handy explanation for things in the minds of some. The general assessment of the situation is something much more mundane: that Fox has made this shift for the sake of broadening its appeal.
I have a somewhat different take on this situation. The obvious point is that, two years ago, the Republicans were basically powerless. They could do nothing except be furious at the Democratic Congress and Executive. And this they did. And it won them the House of Representatives.
Now, because of that victory, they have some share in how the country is run. So, things can’t be quite so apocalyptic as they were when Democrats had all the majorities. Obviously, that would make the Republicans in the House look stupid. Fox has to paint things as somewhat less dire now, for their sake. The Politico article ends by mentioning a Tea Partier who “feels like she hears more apologies for the status quo on Fox these days.”
Maybe this is just a crazy conspiracy theory, as far-out as Cliff Kincaid’s idea. But it does fit the facts. And recall Megan McArdle’s observation, known as “Jane’s Law”, that “the devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.” Now that the Republicans have gained back a share of power, they must become more “sane”.