I think as we digest what happened yesterday, we should keep in mind this important analysis from Media Matters.
I quote from Ben Dimiro:
However, in endeavoring to explain how the GOP has seemingly managed to reverse its political fortunes in such a short amount of time, media outlets would be remiss not to mention one of the most important factors. In fact, we don’t need to wait for Tuesday’s results to pinpoint perhaps the most significant development in the country’s political landscape over the past two years.
One of the two major political parties in the country is run by a “news” network.
Since President Obama’s inauguration, Fox News has transformed from simply the mouthpiece and oppo research shop of the Republican Party into its headquarters. For the GOP, Fox fundraises, campaigns, gives strategic advice, picks candidates (and then provides them a comfortable platform to reach millions of voters, free of charge), throws and promotes rallies, gets out the vote, and, perhaps most importantly, sets the narrative.
They do all of this while continuing their time-honored tradition of tearing down liberal initiatives and politicians with shameless smears, lies, misrepresentations, and fabricated stories. But before we get to Fox’s massive influence over the coming elections, some back-story is necessary.
Less than two months after Obama’s inauguration, Fox News senior vice president Bill Shine gave an interview with NPR about how the network’s ratings were soaring at the time. During the interview, Shine noted that some people were “rooting for [Fox] to go away” after the election, but “[w]ith this particular group of people in power right now and the honeymoon they’ve had from other members of the media, does it make it a little bit easier for us to be the voice of opposition on some issues?”
Fox’s programming has effectively answered Shine’s rhetorical question with a forceful “yes.”
Right out of the gate, Fox led the charge against the stimulus, eschewing the views of economists to attack deficit spending and rewriting history to attack FDR and the New Deal.
The network was certainly “the voice of the opposition” on health care reform, spewing countless falsehoods about both our broken health care system and the proposals to fix it while promoting disruptions of health care town halls and GOP initiatives to kill reform…
But Fox has done far more this cycle than foster an environment conducive to a GOP electoral victory, having assumed a more hands-on role in Republican electioneering. In addition to Fox’s parent company donating $1.25 million to the Republican Governors Association and another million to the GOP-aligned Chamber of Commerce, more than thirty Fox Newsers have supported GOP candidates or organizations in more than 600 instances in at least 47 states, as we detailed in a report this week.
While it would be nearly impossible to run through Fox’s influence in all of the individual races this year, their “coverage” of a select few races is indicative of the network’s complete transformation into GOP headquarters.
The network tipped its hand for how it would handle covering elections in the “voice of the opposition” era during the run-up to January’s senate election in Massachusetts. Not only did Fox portray Scott Brown as a heroic Founding Father-like figure while smearing his opponent, it also actively aided Brown’s campaign by hosting him repeatedly in the days leading up the election and allowing him to direct viewers to his website so they could find out how to “help with donating and volunteering.” After Brown’s victory, the network was jubilant.
With the successful trial run out of the way, Fox copied the Brown blueprint in several other races around the country.
In the Nevada Senate race, Fox has spent months promoting Sharron Angle and attacking Harry Reid. While Angle has mostly refused to grant interviews to news outlets, she has made an exception for Fox. In fact, their welcoming atmosphere led Angle to brag about how “friendly” outlets like Fox help her with fundraising.
Fox personalities have also worked overtime to aid her race. Fox contributor Sarah Palin endorsed Angle and her PAC gave $2,500 to the campaign. Fox contributor Karl Rove’s GOP slush fund (aka American Crossroads) has indicated it will invest in GOTV efforts to aid Angle. It is also aired an ad targeting Reid. Fox’s Dennis Miller appeared at an October fundraiser for Angle….
Read the whole thing here.