Saturday, August 13, 2011

What Ailes Us

Many of us find ourselves wondering how U.S. politics got into such a sorry state—sorry enough to produce the Tea Party downgrade and the radical extremism rampant in the Republican party. Certainly one answer to our puzzlement can be found in the 24/7 propaganda machine that calls itself Fox News. The paranoia, fearmongering, manipulation, and distortion that beleaguer us all emanate from the twisted vision of one man: Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News. He peddles his influence on a staggering scale. His "dear friend" Rush Limbaugh "is a reflection of him." And Ailes is not content that Fox News and the Republican Party should be made in his image. He is determined to remake the United States in his image as well, and he is doing a damned good job of it.

As nauseating as it is, it's worthwhile to bone up on the Ailes juggernaut. Tim Dickinson has a thorough piece that first appeared in Rolling Stone as "How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory." I don't even know how to begin to fight such extraordinary power, but I do know that fight we must. And one of the first steps is knowing the enemy.

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