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Monday, August 03, 2015

Review: The Fox Effect

By now, it's not a controversy that viewing Fox news will actually have a detrimental effect on your knowledge. But there was a time when this wasn't common knowledge, and people had to take Fox News seriously instead of being the propaganda machine that they are.

The Fox Effect is an effective documentary book about that period of time. It covers the founding of Fox News, its rise in its media, and its strategy towards coverage:

  1. One or more Fox hosts will launch a series of lies.
  2. Fox will provide wall-to-wall repeated coverage, with the Fox hosts repeating each other.
  3. Fox will then attack other media outlets for not covering "the controversy".
  4. This would lead to political ramifications, either from people being fired by administrations afraid of controversy, or someone losing an election.
The book is very effective, though very painful for me to read. The series of lies propagated by Fox and the blatant leverage of their platform as a campaign platform for the GOP was of course played out in 2010, almost killing the Affordable Care Act, and not relenting on it.

Furthermore, it's clear that the authors of the book bent over backwards to try be as sympathetic to Rupert Murdoch as possible, often repeating his statements about how regretful he was about the damage Fox has done, while at the same time noting that Murdoch not only endorsed Fox strategy in many cases, but also gave money to the causes it actively campaigned for on its behest.

The book ends on a hopeful note that today's media now recognizes Fox's M.O., and that Fox's attempt to go after the authors' organization did not bear fruit because Media Matters itself saw it coming and managed to stop the process before it got to step 4.

In any case, a worthwhile, if depressing read. Recommended.

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