You’re Being Lied To
Fox News has torn our nation apart; mending fences won’t come easily
What’s the line from “The Godfather, Part II” about keeping one’s friends close but one’s enemies closer? I know that newly minted mob boss Michael Corleone says it to Frank “Frankie Five Angels” Pentangeli. Essentially, those who follow this creed know to keep their eyes open, so trouble won’t come banging on their door. Michael learned this advice from his Pops, Don Vito Corleone. Frank was one of Don Corleone’s most trusted capos. I guess Michael just wanted to remind his friend that he knew Frank was an enemy masquerading as a friend.
This quote, originally credited to Chinese general Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War, has been interpreted in a zillion ways throughout the centuries. Francis Ford Coppola’s take is one of the most recent, and most popular in pop culture interpretations. But I thought of it — and my friends and colleagues who trend toward Cheeto Jesus — in the wake of the U.S. Capitol Insurrection last week.
One example. We’ve been friends for more than 40 years. But about 20 years after the time our friendship was forged, she and her husband became Fox News addicts. You know — that noisy, bright, fake, cynical take on broadcast “journalism”, established in 1996 by Australian Rupert Murdoch as, I suppose, a way to capture America and bend it to his way of thinking. Oh, and make gobs of money. He hired noted American wing-nut and conservative media consultant Roger Ailes to run the network, which leans more to the right of the Republican Party than Attila the Hun to the Roman Empire. Murdoch and Ailes had an agenda — to employ biased, alarmist news “reporting” to brainwash their viewers.
Just a few minutes with the cable news box turned on demonstrates Murdoch’s mission. MSNBC, with its more liberal bent, features commentary from the likes of Rachel Maddow, the brilliant but clearly left-leaning 9 p.m. weekly host of “The Rachel Maddow Show”. CNN, the original cable news franchise, which has called itself the “most trusted name in news,” tilts toward the center, but has not been below breaking out the cheesy electronic bling that keeps some hard-core cable enthusiasts occupied and enthralled throughout each news cycle.
Fox is a whole ’nother can of worms. The once-favorite of the current occupant of the White House achieves its goals with biased, right-wing-leaning content — let’s just call them “lies”, which is what they are — and with its clearly sexist on-air packaging.
Anchors who once worked for respected networks tend to become bimbos — the men as well as the women — when they abdicate to Fox News. There definitely must be a dress code at Fox — the men attired in dark suits and repp ties (the neckwear that originated within the preppy wardrobe, those diagonally striped ties popular in 19th-Century England as part of school uniforms. They landed on American soil in the 1920s in the halls of Ivy League institutions. While I always thought the “repp” stood for “represent,” a deeper dive into preppy fashion divulges it refers to the repetitive woven pattern in the silk ties), the women slicked out in what I can only term “jellybean sheaths” — often sleeveless, sometimes designer outfits — produced in wild tangerines and vivid vermilions designed for that special on-air “pop.” The women — especially those trending in the younger age brackets — apparently are required to possess legs that go on for miles, and practice what can only be called the “Ailes Anchor Intersection” — where the skirt’s a little short, the legs are crossed tastefully at the knee or ankles, and the woman sometimes dangles one of her impossible-to-navigate-the-real-world-in stilettos off one demure foot, which is, of course, moving ever so sexily.
True story — during a weekend FOX broadcast a few years back, Ailes (who died in 2017) was watching from the control booth. A man and a woman sat in the studio, “presenting” the news (remember — most of the FOX bimbos aren’t journalists). Pretty soon, a booming voice echoed from the booth: “Move that damn laptop — I can’t see her legs!” Ailes at his “finest”.
Hey, it’s not just me. Others have certainly noticed that Ailes — who probably tilted the scales at 300 pounds+, just like his chief fan, Mango Mussolini — preferred blondes. And legs. And, well, boobs. Have you ever wondered why FLOTUS is, well, oddly proportioned, with those bright blond streaks in her obviously auburn hair? I hear those locks — and that bod — were originally mousy. But she’s had a little “work” done over the years, I guess.
And if you spend any time at all watching FOX, you’ll notice that as the female “personalities” age, the effort at evoking sex appeal does not. Take a look at Laura Ingraham, the former Reagan speechwriter who at 57 has been around the block a few times. She’s just packaged a tad less overtly, the sleeveless sheaths switched out for cap sleeves, then short sleeves, then three-quarter length, and eventually long sleeves — accented, from time to time, with designer jackets, also in brilliant hues.
Ailes, of course, wanted to “sell” the news — and he didn’t give a damn about Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson’s gams. He wanted to showcase the women he was beaming into America’s living rooms 24/7. “Sex sells,” could have been this former ad man’s mantra. And it sure hooked some of the males I know, those already trending toward being sold on conspiracy theories and fake fulmination. Their wives, I guess, went along for the ride. Or to keep peace in the family. Or because, deep down inside, they really wanted to be Gretchen Carlson (who ended up successfully suing Ailes for sexual harassment, forcing his resignation) instead of Robin Roberts — who, BTW, often wears slacks on ABC’s “Good Morning America”.
I’ve always thought of FOX, which I call “Faux”, as a conspiracy to propagandize the defenseless. Not to be a know-it-all, but the average American has no idea the way unbiased journalism is supposed to work. Nor can they, I suppose, tell the difference between what passes for “news” on FOX and the shrill shrieking of Carlson (Tucker, not Gretchen), Hannity and Ingraham, the so-called evening “opinion” hosts. No, that trio does not contain a single journalist — the three are more like Harpies in drag bent on the destruction of reasonable norms — who are featured during prime time on the network.
I’m sorry, but the Mizzou School of Journalism, of which I’m a proud grad, doesn’t teach wardrobe and makeup in its news-editorial sequence. Nor how to showcase one’s lower limbs. Nor how to parrot the misguided postulations of the Orange Oaf about to slide on out of D.C. Nine days, people.
I guess certain friends of ours can be called “average Americans,” in that they watch a whole heckuva lot of Faux, and who for some reason are occasionally eager to tell me via social media that Kamala Harris’s folks were “slave-traders” in Jamaica, or that the Affordable Care Act — which is a wildly popular health care plan that’s been the law of the land since 2010 — is “socialized” medicine designed to kill Grammy and Gramps. I’ve been called a “liberal” (OMG, can you imagine?); a “commie,” and even a “lemming” by these folks, who seem to me to be the ones marching en masse to the sea. They misquote George Orwell, mistaking who was trying to control whom in his classic, 1984. And whenever I’ve visited their humble abodes, Faux News is often blaring from not one, but at least two downstairs TVs and also from the one in the master bedroom upstairs. Getting their marching orders, I suppose.
And it’s a “great balls of fire!” alt-right list that these folks have digested over the last 24 years. Birtherism — you know Obama was born in Kenya, don’t you? Benghazi — Hillary killed those four people in Libya, even though the ambassador involved was a close personal friend. The “Deep State”? My Chicas, who as college kids had Obama bumper stickers on their Japanese-manufactured cars? Yeah, they’re certainly lefties in good standing.
And there are the lies paraded about the presidential election. I’d say Faux has blood on its hands.
I can’t — and I won’t — get into the lies Faux currently is spreading about last week’s U.S. Capitol Insurrection. But one of the latest Faux News abominations — co-opting the pro-choice creed, “My body, my choice” to work for the anti-maskers among us — is one of the most egregious and irresponsible credos pushed by the network to date.
I don’t know about you, but I’d like to be alive when it’s my turn to receive the Covid-19 vaccine; so explain to me again why wearing a mask in public is political? And I don’t know how much my friends and family who are Faux devotees can safely follow the faulty advice the network promulgates — since most of these folks have what is known as “preexisting conditions” — cancer in remission, full-blown diabetes, high blood pressure and, in addition, a lot of them are more than “full-figured,” — in some cases morbidly obese. So they shouldn’t be going out in public, maskless or not. Faux News is out to kill you. Stop watching!
I’ve tried to have reasonable conversations with those who are familiar with Faux, to no avail. And of course we always end up talking in acerbic circles. Like the time we were hanging out with one of our FOX friends, watching the evening news — no, not Faux — and our guest just wouldn’t STFU. Every time a “package” — a TeeVee news biz term for a group of stories in a broadcast — came on, she had something derogatory, and sometimes downright mean, to say.
“Obama. You know, Obama’s behind this.” Even after he’d been out of office for some time.
“I heard the other day that George Soros was funding it.” The octogenarian investment banker — a Holocaust survivor and Democratic Party donor.
“He wasn’t born in Hawaii, you know. He was born in Africa, then he moved to Hawaii. His middle name is Hussein.” Because the current occupant of the White House insists on using the 44th President’s middle name when ranting at those KKK rallies he holds for the MAGA masses.
“Illicit.” “Indecent.” “Immoral.” “Impossible to believe.”
Moker, who is usually a guy of few words, had finally had enough. He turned to our “friend” and shut her right up.
“Don’t you ever have anything nice to say about anybody?” Game. Set. Match.
My kids have even gotten into it with these crazies. On Facebook, the site we should learn to live without but for some reason can’t seem to. Every time one of the True FOX Believers posts an unfounded statement, Ella Numera Una — she of the law degree and eight years of professional courtroom experience — shoots it down. Or, the most deathly response of all — when one of these loons posts anything at all, even if she’s “tagged” in it — Ella Numera Dos most often fails to respond because she “unfollowed” the culprit long ago because of some past political transgressions, so doesn’t see the post. You wondered why she doesn’t interact with you much on FB? Take it from me — I know what it’s like to be iced out by this child.
You know where this is going, don’t you? The current occupant of the White House urged his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol. They followed orders, and it’s been downhill for the mob ever since. They’ve been condemned from all corners. Their Great Leader has been removed from social media. He’s got nine days left in office, and he’s hanging on by his fingernails as members of both parties call for Clown Face Caligula’s resignation. Or for the vice president to enact the 25th Amendment. Or for Congress to impeach this incendiary national embarrassment once again.
But meanwhile — yes, on Faux News — some Republicans are preaching “unity,” mostly because they don’t want to face the fact that they, too, are traitors who implicitly condoned the trashing of The People’s House.
And what about Rupert Murdoch’s cable network? It’s sending mixed messages at best — but also giving cover to some of the Inciter-in-Chief’s well-known supporters. But we know how Pastor Robert Jeffress rolls. And it’s not the way his Mama taught him.
The moral of this story doesn’t really have much to do with The Godfather, nor Faux News. It’s always been about a small group of ignorant, racist, sexist, power-hungry gadflies who want to advance their own agendas in the pursuit of autocratic ambitions.
The bottom line? Faux viewers should watch at their own peril. The network certainly isn’t interested in their well-being. It’s merely an enemy — masquerading as a friend.