Eric Boehlert On AM Joy: Ailes And Murdoch Created A “Race-Baiting” And “Vindictive” Culture At Fox News “Over Decades”

From the April 30 edition of MSNBC's AM Joy:

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JOY REID (HOST): Gabe, isn't it the case, though, that part of what Fox News doing is constituent service to an audience that actually wants to be in a sort of 1950s environment, where they're free to say things in terms of race and in terms of gender, and women are wearing short shirts and tight blouses, and it is a culture that is actually desired by the audience. How do you change the culture without losing the audience?

GABE SHERMAN: Well, that's a great question, Joy, and I think one of the ironies is, throughout all of these scandals, if you even rewind back to the Roger Ailes scandal last summer, the ratings held steady. And in the case of Bill O'Reilly, after The New York Times report reporting on all of these sexual harassment settlements, his ratings, in fact, went up slightly. So this is a case where the audience really does not care about the sordid environment that takes place behind the cameras, and the challenge for the Murdochs will be, how do they appeal to the wider culture, which finds this behavior really repellent, without losing the core audience that forms. And let's remember, Fox News is the single most profitable division in Rupert Murdoch's global media empire. This is not a small matter, this is sort of an existential question for the corporation. 

REID: Yeah, because if, Eric, this isn't a company, and this is a product that they're producing on Fox News. It's very similar to talk radio. The audience, it's an older white male audience, to be very blunt about it, who wants a certain product, and so that culture inside is actually reflective of the product. How do you change that and not just lose the audience? Fox New would be a completely different thing. 

ERIC BOEHLERT: It would be almost impossible to produce the programming they do, the race-baiting, the xenophobia, the hatred, the division, and not have that culture in the newsroom. They would have to be the world's greatest acting cast to be sensitive, interesting, insightful people off camera, and then they go in front of the camera they become these monsters and they whip up this anger against their viewers? No, it's synonymous. Ailes created that, Murdoch created that over decades.Over decades. This hateful, vindictive rhetoric and language. So, of course it's synonymous with the workplace. You can't do both. You can't do both.


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