Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Master brewers in America’s hate culture


By PAT MURPHY
Express Staff Writer

Simple-minded rabble promoting revolution with their inane chant, "Take back our country," nearly saw the first blood spilled by even simpler-minded militia thugs who were arrested before they could carry out mass ambushes of police as a way of revolting against the U.S. government they hate.

"Take back our country" from whom, and "return" it to whom? "Tea Party" riffraff whose neurotic view of America is through prisms of hate bolstered by menacing gun metaphors?

Unsettling to most Americans, this is made-to-order stuff, however, for master brewers of hate, Fox Television founder Rupert Murdoch and the bête noire of cable TV, Roger Ailes, whose gross girth creates something of a Laurel and Hardy comparison with Murdoch.

Murdoch has no higher cause than personal wealth and power. Although Ailes was paid some $23 million in 2009 in compensation, his obsession as a onetime Republican strategist and now as Fox's wizard is less about riches than smearing Democrats and spreading fear across the land.

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While Murdoch concentrates on the business of his sprawling international News Corp.—nine film studios, 16 television networks, 17 cable operations, seven broadcast satellites, 21 Internet sites, four magazines, 48 newspapers, two book publishing houses and assorted non-media investments, including a rugby team and an airline—Ailes acts as puppeteer of the Republican Party.

As George W. Bush speech writer David Frum laments, "Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox."

Fox News has been the source of the most sordid ideas and language. Fox gave prominence to bizarre claims that health care reform includes "death panels" for seniors and that FEMA is building concentration camps for dissidents. Fox claimed the "fist bump" is Islamic terrorism code.

Fox's vilest figure, Glenn Beck, insists President Obama detests white people. "Social justice" promoted by the world's major religions is pure Nazism and communism, he says. He mentioned "revolution" 130 times in 200 broadcasts, which oddly is also the magic word in the "Take-back-our-country" crowd. Beck, of the "fair and balanced" news network, also emcees protest rallies to whip up anger against Obama.

Hate speech is profitable. Ailes generates nearly $1 billion annually in profits at Fox News for Murdoch, whose complex global operations pay minimal taxes.

Is there a lesson for Ailes in his former Ronald Reagan campaign partner, Lee Atwater, the grand master of smears who has been characterized by other Republicans as "ruthless"? Atwater spent his death-bed days with a brain tumor apologizing to targets of his political slanders.




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