Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I have a group of facebook friends who bring new meaning to the phrase 'left coast'. No more than Fred Wallin, a california based political and sports radio commentator. To say that Fred is opinionated is an understatement. If you get in his 'crosshairs' watch out--he is a spirited polemicist. In his latest ramblings he makes a broadside against News Group Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his, as he sees it, right ward tilt with the Fox News Channel (FNC). It seems a cause celebre for the left to scapegoat Fox News for what they see is a biased right wing recitation of news. As a long time conservative, I've always appreciated the breath of fresh air provided by Fox News after decades of liberal bias in the newsrooms. It is lunacy that the left 'falls apart' over FNC when the hostitity and derision shown to conservatives is a time honored tradition in media and academia (e.g., washington post, ny times, cbs news, cnn, et al). Just ask former CBS correspondent Bernard Goldberg about the prevailing liberal bias and downright, as he characterizes it, 'hubris' in america's newsrooms towards the right. So with that, it is amusing that a humble cable channel, FNC (and talk radio) is a 'whipping boy' for the left's myopic vision of 'free speech'. Ergo: free speech for us and nobody else! Now, enter Rupert Murdoch and his 'complicated' relationship with his own company. You see, he also presides over the Fox Television Network which has aired, over the years, such edifying productions as 'family guy' and 'married with children'. I'm not saying that conservatives don't also enjoy viewing this fare, but liberals and independents do--in the millions! By and large. Fox News is puny compared to the colossus of Fox Television. And this I mean where it matters most--ratings and revenue. Comparing the two is like the steelers taking on the altoona knights--its just not fair. What then is the seemingly two-faced Murdoch in all this to the left and right? Hero or Scapegoat? Sinner or Saint? Probably both. My take--he is, at the core, a capitalist driven by a positive balance sheet and delivering value to his shareholders. However, from a conservative perspective, time spent watching primetime Fox TV is, occassionally, like spending time in a dumpster. It's funny how liberals can get apoplectic about environmental degradation but care little about the pollution and filth of our culture. Well, guess what? 'Ol Rupert has done an 'end run' on the right as well! By creating a 'oasis' for conservatives in Fox News, we are consequently, loathe to criticize his vile TV network. By this, he has effectively headed us 'off at the pass' and has muted any criticism of the 'stain' of Fox TV on News Corp. What makes me chuckle is that liberals, who are so wound up about Murdoch and his purported right wing bias, only have to turn to his other 'enterprises' and see that he is motivated--not by noble impulses--but by the hated profit margin itself. As for the ongoing saw that Fox News is a biased bastion of right wing zealotry, I would point to the fact that geraldo riviera, greta van susteren, juan williams, susan estrich, bob beckel, geraldine ferraro--not merely 'garden variety' liberals-- are seen regularly on FNC. Nonetheless, I was inspired to write this--not about Fox News 'fair and balanced' sobriquet--but rather, the misguided notion that Rupert Murdoch is obsessed with conservative ideas and policies. Liberals believe that, through FNC, Murdoch will be able to force his agenda on us, the great 'unwashed' if you will--since we can't possibly function on our own without his marching orders. Well then, what about Rupert? I have a feeling he doesn't give a whit about our passions--Fox Corporate rakes it in-- either way! Bottom Line--Mr. Murdoch was not motivated by altruism in creating Fox News anymore than in the vision he fulfilled in creating a 4th network in Fox Television. Conservatives, in being gleeful over the success of FNC can be, on the other side of the ledger, equally morose over the his mammoth TV network and its continual slide over the cultural precipice. We must weigh, in the balance, the benefit derived between these two entities residing under one corporate chieftain. Conservatives must then realize that in order to partake of the 'rarefied air' of Fox News we all pay, culturally, with the destructive 'ozone layer' created by Fox TV. My college philosophy class comes back to me with the haunting refrain, "...the greater good" Mmmmm.