Kevin Drum lowers the boom on Fox!

FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2024

With a great deal more to be said: The headline on the Kevin Drum post is surely overstated:

Fox News has destroyed American confidence in itself

Kevin's post contains a startling graphic concerning the loss of faith in American institutions.

Surely, it can't all be the doing of Fox! That said, we agree with the general thrust of Kevin's remarks, as offered in these excerpts:

DRUM (4/19/24): Collapse of trust in government is a purely American phenomenon. Why? Because we have Fox News and the others don't. Oh, they have tabloids and conservative newspapers and so forth, but nothing like Fox News, which makes its living by spreading outrage over the way the country is run.

The power of Fox News is truly spectacular. Outrage sells, and the fact that one of the two major parties amplifies Fox uncritically means it has a surprisingly large influence in setting the agenda for the mainstream media too.

The truth is that US institutions mostly operate about as well as they ever have. But Fox pushes outrage over Dr. Fauci and trust in the CDC plummets. They push outrage over Donald Trump's loss in 2020 and trust in elections plummets. They go all in on CRT and DEI and trust in schools plummets. They push climate denialism and trust in science plummets. They insist that the rest of the news media are liberal pawns and trust in the very institution that explains reality plummets.

We agree with the general thrust of those remarks, though a great deal remains to be said.

As we've noted in recent months, we began watching Fox a lot more when we finally came to feel that MSNBC had become unwatchable. 

We've been stunned by the way the basic culture at Fox has changed. Other orgs say little or nothing about this remarkable change, and they say little or nothing about the monstrous stupidity which is so routine at Fox.

If nothing else, Fox News is a major anthropology lesson. In part, it's a lesson in what you can persuade people to do if you pay them enough, and if you group them in clans. 

(In "tribal affinity groups.")

Also, Fox News is a lesson in how ridiculous some such "cable news" culture can become if everyone at other major news orgs agrees that they should avert their gaze and pretend that nothing is happening. Judging from the sounds of silence, no one wants to fight with Fox.

(At the end of Kevin's post, he says this about Fox: "And we all just let it happen." That strikes us as a perfectly sensible summary of the way Blue America's overpaid journalistic stars just let Fox News go.)

A few months back, we quoted the poem Robert Frost read at President Kennedy's inauguration. It concerned the years leading up to the American Revolution (such as it was). 

Below, you see the chunk we had and have in mind:

The Gift Outright


Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)...

Something they were withholding made the colonials weak! In Frost's view, they finally realized that they were withholding themselves--that they'd been withholding themselves from a fight.

In Frost's formulation, they found out that they'd been withholding themselves! That has been the story of our own lazy, unintelligent modern-day tribe, dating back to the very first mainstream press war against Clinton, Clinton and Gore.

(We refer to the undeclared war which eventually brought us President Bush 43 and President Trump. Our feckless journalistic elites were the principal authors of that very long, very stupid war.)

Our pampered palominos are still withholding themselves from our land of living. In large part, that's how Fox News can engage in the ugliness and the sheer stupidity that it mass-produces each night.

That said, something else is very true, and this too needs to be said:

Our contemporary Blue elites are a sorry joke too. In large part for that reason, it's very hard to be totally wrong if you work for the Fox News Channel.

It's hard to be totally wrong at Fox! That's because of the sheer stupidity and the self-involved, indolent lifestyles maintained by "our favorite reporters and friends"—maintained by our own tribe's treasured though thoroughly useless elites.

It's hard because of how faux we are. Because of the fact that we can't see this fact about ourselves.

In our view, the DrumCat has it right in his post, with a great deal more to be said.

Tomorrow: More notes from the clan


  1. The United States should never have developed nuclear weapons. When it was clear that Nazi Germany would not develop the bomb, the Manhattan project should have been cancelled.


  2. "...but nothing like Fox News, which makes its living by spreading outrage over the way the country is run."

    What nonsense. Most countries have organizations that make their living by spreading outrage over the way the country is run.

    Perhaps none of them are as popular as Fox? I have no idea, but it might be true. But then, perhaps the reason is that their countries are run better?

  3. The post by Drum is too reductive to take seriously.

    1. Funnier how polling shows conservatives are much more sour on the US Government than liberals. They have been conditioned to think that way. Constantly crying how did this country get so fucked up? With full employment (more jobs created than any other President) and low violent crime rates in decades, etc. Yea, everything has gone to shit the past three years, only if you watch the right wing noise machine.

    2. It just much more complicated to blame it one one single thing. Conservatives are much more sour on the US Government than liberals but the same polls show a substantial majority of Democrats also hold a negative view of both the current state and future of the U.S. political system.

      So what is their excuse?

  4. And by “we” of course, Bob thinks Drum means MSNBC and possibly anyone else he hates. During the period Bob had stopped watching
    Fox, they attempted to help Trump put over the lie that he won the election. This cost them
    88 million dollars, with quite possible more
    to come. Bob fully ignored this betrayal of
    the public trust. MSNBC did NOT ignore
    the story of this lawsuit and that many who
    chose to lie still broadcast from Fox.
    Bob is the one who looked away from
    this, not MSNBC. Bob looked away from
    the and Jan 6th, and the Jan 6th report.
    Bob’s defenders here have never been
    able to explain this away.
    What a strange, sad man Bob Somerby

    1. More than 3/4 Billion, not 88 million. "Fox News’s agreement to pay $787.5 million to settle a voting machine maker’s defamation lawsuit over the network’s 2020 election broadcasts." Cost of doing Australian Oligarch fascist business. I blame Rush Limbaugh too. Nasty fucks all.

  5. Quaker in a BasementApril 19, 2024 at 8:31 PM

    "In our view, the DrumCat has it right in his post, with a great deal more to be said."

    Even when Our Host agrees, he disagrees.

  6. If I found MSNBC unwatchable, I wouldn’t switch to FOX. So, why did Somerby?

    1. I find all TV news unwatchable

    2. That doesn’t answer the question.

  7. Good news:

  8. In the 2022 elections, the Australians notably stopped buying what Rupert Murdoch was selling, electing a labor party candidate as prime minister. There, politicians are much more likely to call out Murdoch' s media outlet for their propaganda.

  9. The internet is big. Joe Rogan has more followers than Fox News. Instapundit is big. These independent sources point out corruption in institutions so people are more aware of the corruption than in the past.

    Government is bigger and more powerful today. Even if there’s the same percentage of corruption, that makes the amount greater.

    Finally our institutions ARE more corrupt IMO. Colleges obviously. Media is substantially controlled by the government. Media is politically biased.

    1. I should have started by explicitly saying that the reduction in confidence in our institutions is justified. Institutions are more corrupt. If Fox News contributes to the loss of confidence, they should be congratulated rather than blamed

    2. The police, the police and the police are the first three corrupt institutions which come to mind.
      Make sure you fully fund them.

    3. Given machines and bosses and graft, I don’t think govt is more corrupt now. There aren’t as many scandals now. Look at the White Socks. Look at Gotti.