Thursday, February 6, 2014


If the intention of Roger Ailes was to create a war machine, he succeeded. Fox News has become a formidable, sophisticated conservative weapon of mass-destruction. With the armada of blond (often) good-looking vixens who repeat their stump message non-stop, he outsmarts the liberal media.  I consider myself liberal/independent but I must admit that I find Fox as biased as it can be entertaining.

I have a weakness for Bill O'Reilly who is a master tactician, trapping most of his "victims" in a labyrinth of contradictions. I often disagree with his agenda but I respect his professionalism and biting ironical wit. However, his interview with President Obama was tainted by his body language which I perceived as aggressive. Nevertheless, he is a master of rhythm, in full control of the direction he has chosen. Daily he unrolls the scroll of the American saga, but the scroll is a slab of cement. There are no cracks to be seen. Otherwise they might indicate hidden sensitive or romantic incursions which would not fit into the "macho" projection.

In comparison most liberal media look somewhat parochial and most of the time equally predictable but boring. I regret it since I consider myself an honorary (I am a foreigner after all ) member of their flock. I notice a sense of disenchantment in their reporting, which must be an uphill battle given the succession of problematic situations they have to dissect.  Like President Bush before him, President Obama has lost control of the narrative. While the liberal media ''spin'' and ''gloss,'' the conservatives are in "attack" mode.  Fox is their helicopter gunship repeating ad nauseam an anti-Obama mantra on all fronts. The President's distant, measured demeanor looks weak in comparison.  I still think that he is right on most issues but he is less a messenger than a chronicler of a path chosen but never fully explained.  So a space is being created wherein ambiguities become the targets of conservative executioners. 

The Democrats are often as unpalatable as their Republican counterparts and the President appears to be a lonely man, by choice and, unfortunately, also by lack of serious political supply lines. Better than the hapless Republican lot, Fox feels free to be on a permanent war path, obliging the liberals to play defensive.  O'Reilly & Co. freelance an agenda which is often a mix of justified criticism and, contrary to the "fair/balanced" Fox slogan, distortion. The strength also lies in a perverse form of parody and self-mockery (Ann Coulter being one of the rule-confirming exceptions) which is often lacking in the liberal wing (the Stewart/Colbert tap-dance is the exception.)

Admittedly, Fox often veers into periodic paranoia, as when O'Reilly laments the "War on Christmas" or the atheist "message" coming out of New York or Los Angeles.  On social/moral issues, Fox needs to reboot and face the times we live in and not take refuge in some Frank Capra illusion. Roger Ailes can play the part of the Wizard but he might consider revising some of the more antiquated "rural" scripts, which only benefit the bark at the expense of the bite.

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