As the ethics crises at FOX continue to grow, reasonable viewers have an increasingly difficult time taking the network seriously as a "news" organization. Nonetheless, networks besides MSNBC have often struggled to criticize the network, some even coming to FOX's defense when the White House pushed back against their misinformation. Unrest over the rancor so many of the network's personalities have transparently shown for the president and Democrats has inspired even conservatives such as Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and David Frum to speak out against the network, Frum going so far as to say Republicans "are discovering we work for FOX." Now Andrew Sullivan, a former Bush supporter, has come forward and taken it a step further, telling a panel on Chris Matthews that "the Republican Party IS Fox News."
Sullivan's point stemmed from a discussion about Joe Klein's comments about how the statements of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin prove "close to seditious." Sullivan basically echoed Klein's sentiments, explaining that "accusing the president, a duly elected president, of being illegitimate and even treasonous with respect to what the United States is" ultimately proves tantamount to seditious activity. He also had a broader point about how Beck should not hide behind the guise of an entertainer, "as if that is an excuse for saying, substantively, what they're saying, and for controlling the Republican Party." Taking the point further, Sullivan decried the Republican Party for so rarely pushing back against the vitriol of Beck and Limbaugh, and as a consequence, Sullivan argued "because there's no resistance in the Republican party the Republican Party is Fox News. That's the head of the Republican party."
Tying Beck and Palin together takes little effort since the two spend so much time patting each other on the back. Whereas once Palin, at least, held an elected office, she left that life to become more like Beck and much of FOX in the role of a GOP political operative in the guise of a pundit. Despite Rupert Murdoch's curious admission about party support as unethical for a journalistic organization, FOX contributors have openly campaigned for Republicans in hundreds of instances and in almost every state in the nation.
Many Republicans have accepted the FOX help with open arms, such as Gov. Rick Perry (TX) appearing at a town-hall hosted by Glenn Beck in the hopes of boosting Perry's chances at reelection. In turn, Perry has publicly fawned over Beck at rallies such as one where Republican Leo Berman let his vitriol get so outrageous that he said, "I believe that Barack Obama is God's punishment on us today."
The symbiotic relationship between Republicans and FOX certainly goes beyond just the ravings and elected fans of Beck. Former Governor Huckabee also recently made an on-air push for Newt Gingrich to run as a 2012 GOP presidential candidate. When Democrats sought cloture for a financial regulatory reform bill, FOX saliently pushed the GOP agenda in ignoring the more obvious causes for the recent recession and campaigning against regulation.
FOX personalities raise funds for the GOP and push their agenda; the only reason some may argue against it being the current form of the GOP is FOX's involvement with the Tea Party. Still, Gov. Ed Rendell (D) pointed out on FOX that much of the credit for the success of Tea Party demonstrations should go to FOX rather than any of the Tea Party members. For Palin, Beck, and FOX at large, support of the Tea Party has proven a successful business venture as much, if not more than, a political one. Besides that, FOX's Tea Party support nonetheless provides primarily Republican support since the Tea Party has only endorsed a single Democrat.
Supporting the Tea Party, then, has had next to no conflict of interest in FOX's position as the GOP. The agenda and funds raised all would go toward primarily the same ends. What it means to have the GOP livelihood in the hands of people like Beck, more concerned with doing whatever makes him the most money since he admits he does not "give a flying crap about the political process" should strike fear in both Republicans and Democrats alike. Working primarily as a business venture, FOX can benefit from making the political climate too entirely toxic to accomplish any good for the nation so long as it increases ratings along the way.
For politicians on either side of the aisle with a genuine interest in the good of the country, then, and even for other members of the U.S. media, allowing FOX to continue as the head of the Republicans can too easily and obviously have terrible consequences. Now that people like Andrew Sullivan have identified FOX for its current role in politics, people should demand a more responsible media and political system -- and in the meantime, choose to Turn Off FOX.
Originally posted at Turn Off FOX.