Wednesday, November 30, 2011


From my last post on the brainwashing of Fox News viewers, I received some criticism for condescending to a certain group of people. Please think with me for a moment about this.

I proposed that Fox News is brainwashing its audience. I used as one example (although there is a forest of full of low hanging fruit from which to pluck) the fact that Greta Van Sustereen was "confused" as to why Barack Obama would spend all of his campaign money attacking Romney and not Gingrich. I backed up my example by laying out a summary of the mammoth-sized assortment of empirical data that shows that Gingrich would be a terrible candidate and Romney would not. I proposed that data wasn't even necessary to understand a Gingrich candidacy. There is a general understanding of how moderates and independents think that should come into play. A person who is "confused" about Obama's campaign attacks vis-a-vis Gingrich is a person who doesn't understand the outside world. It is a person who dwells all day in an echo chamber and never gets out long enough to view the world like everybody else.

Now there are two possibilities. Either Greta is dumb in that she doesn't reads polls and doesn't understand the outside world or she is deliberately trying to misinform/gratify her audience. I don't think that Greta is dumb. The latter option we call brainwashing.

Now if this were an isolated incidence, then it would not justify me making broad generalizations about an entire news network. However, it is not an isolated incidence. I do not have the time or energy to link all of the research that shows that Fox News misinforms its audience. The evidence is breathtaking in both scope and detail. However, here is the latest poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind Poll (with links to some of that other research) that shows that Fox News viewers are more misinformed than people who watch no news at all.

This is not a surprise to me. Every time I watch Fox News I feel condescended to myself. It's like they really believe their audience is stupid and they can just say whatever they want to say. Fox News has managed to portray Barack Obama as some naive nobody who can't speak without the aid of a teleprompter. Their audience genuinely believes that Newt Gingrich would wipe the floor with Obama in a debate. What Fox's audience will see in those debates will be something completely different than what the rest of America will see. Fox News has managed to create an alternative reality, not based upon data and reason (or polls), but based upon the cultural resentment of its target audience. Within the conservative movement, Fox News is the ruling class, where media pundits define the parameters of conservatism and seek to destroy the deviant.

So do I condescend? Not sure, but I am going to be blunt when I am describing the conservative media establishment. Conservatives existed long before there was a Fox and Friends in the morning. We will exist long after. But America needs a credible conservative movement now. Government is just not working. Unfortunately, if responsible Republicans are to lead our country toward necessary reform, they will have to do so despite the significant obstacle of Fox News.


Right Wingnut has posted a Rasmussen poll (with an emphasis on the Rasmussen) that shows Gingrich with a two point lead over Obama. Rasmussen has a proven record of skewing to the right, but regardless. I will be more than happy to delete this entire post if I can see a credible trend. And which one poll out of the past 100 do you think that Fox News is going to use to bolster their claim that Obama should be more worried about Newt?

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Ohio JOE said...

"Rasmussen has a proven record of skewing to the right, but regardless." OH My! Where do you come up with some of this stuff?

Teemu said...

Well, at the Rasmussen presidential approval disapproval poll taken around same time Obama got net net approval -13, which is lowest of the Rasmussen polls ever visible in realclearpolitics. Also that 45% in itself isn't that high, McCain got closer to 46%.

Anonymous said...

I think you meant to say "attacking Romney and not Gingrich" in the first paragraph, but maybe I just didn't understand it.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, second paragraph, not first.


Anonymous said...

Obama is just HOPING newt is his opponent, talk about an easy reelection. The DNC spending so much to attack romney can only mean romney is who they are afraid of.

Terrye said...

Ohio Joe...he is right Rasmussen was way off in the last election.

In fact, Gingrich will have a difficult if not impossible time beating Obama..too many Americans dislike Gingrich..his negatives are very high, especially among Independents.

I can't stand Obama and to be honest I am not sure I could vote for Gingrich. I think it would be irresponsible to nominate him, he does not belong in the Oval Office.

Ohio JOE said...

"he is right Rasmussen was way off in the last election." Over the years they have been among the best polling company.

Alan said...

Every polling company is off once in a while, but Ohio Joe is correct, Rasmussen has a reputation of being more accurate than other polling companies. If Rasmussen was way off last election, it was a single data point, and as such does not make a theory.

Right Wingnut said...

Rasmussen was at the top in 2008.

Other sources confirm this.

Pablo said...


Rasmussen was the worst in 2010. Google Nate Silver and Rasmussen and I am sure it will come up.

Anonymous said...

Pablo, the thesis of your last post was that Fox News was brainwashing their moronic viewers because they treat Gingrich more fair than they treat Romney. According to you, and your empirical data, they shouldn't mention Gingrich in the same sentence as President Obama because there is no evidence that he could beat the sitting President.

In your biased and over zealous post, you fail to mention that, or even consider that Gingrich is still fairly new to the 1st tier and he has barely had the exposure for an Obama/Gingrich comparison to register with the general electorate.

Also, at this late stage in the primaries, it is fair to conclude that Gingrich will be the man for Romney to beat in the primaries. It is also fair to say that the base is not, and has never been, warm to the idea of a Romney nomination but they can accept a Gingrich why wouldn't the political pundits at Fox acknowledge and contemplate how the Obama campaign might address a Gingrinch nomination?


Ohio JOE said...

Haha, you complain about Ras, yet you post non-sense from FDU. Ya gotta love the entertainment if nothing else.

Anonymous said...

OJ - I know - doesn't FDU Poll stand for Fairly riDiculous University Poll?


Anonymous said...

Pablo, to add to my, already over-involved, participation in this post, you are guilty of the same things you accuse Fox News of doing.

You are peddling at least two conspiracy theories in your previous post:

- You are pushing a theory that Fox News, a subsidiary of News Corp., is actively pushing for the nomination of Newt Gingrich because he used to be an analyst at Fox News. Since Fox News is fully aware that Gingrich cannot possibly beat President Obama, in a general election, then you are claiming that they want Obama to be reelected and are intentionally skewing the opinions of their viewers by backing Gingrich? Or are they just simply pushing for Gingrich because he used to be an analyst for Fox News? Is there a memo or an email from the board of News Corp that proves this...theory?

The first point is not even a well thought out conspiracy theory.

- You are also claiming that Fox News and Talk Radio is the Republican Establishment which is just an outright lie but it helps build credibility to your weak conspiracy theory that Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch and Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin are trying to steal the intelligence form your part...

I mean, in your own thesis statement you claim, "you are amazed talking to the ABR voter ... the kind of person that only consumes Fox News and therefore is uninformed."

Read that statement aloud a couple of is condescending to the MILLIONS of viewers of Fox News and the opinion is born from a thin conspiracy theory that was created by Romney supporters to explain why the Republican base has never warmed up to the notion of a Romney nomination.


Anonymous said...

My last comment was supposed to read...

...from your party...

I wish we could edit on this blog.


Pablo said...


As usual, I enjoy your responses. I do not believe that Fox News necessarily wants Newt to win. Fox News wants ratings. And they have a discovered a business model that works. They could care less who wins and who loses. They mostly just want to please and outrage their intended market.

And yes, it would be better for them if Obama is reelected. People respond to fear much more than the boring governance of a winning Republican.

The word establishment means a hundred different things to a hundred different people. My point is that Rush and Fox News largely control who wins and who loses in Republican politics. In this sense, they are the establishment. They certainly drive the policy debates. I would also throw in Grover Nordquist as well.

The condescending remark was probably too much of a generalization. I certainly do not question your intelligence and you are probably an ABR voter. However, generalizations quite often are generally true even if there are many exceptions.

Anonymous said...

"The condescending remark was probably too much of a generalization. I certainly do not question your intelligence and you are probably an ABR voter. However, generalizations quite often are generally true even if there are many exceptions."

I think you should work on this type of gibberish, Pablo.