‘Stuff is just made up’

‘STUFF IS JUST MADE UP’…. We generally don’t hear much in the way of criticism of Fox News from the Republican network’s own employees. That’s largely due to the non-disclosure agreements staffers are forced to sign, and I’ve long assumed it has something to do with a self-selected sample: Republicans go to work for Fox News for a reason, so they don’t feel the need to criticize its partisanship later, since they’re not surprised.

But once in a great while, someone from the network walks away and has the courage to give the rest of us a peek behind the curtain. Eric Boehlert has this report this morning.

Asked what most viewers and observers of Fox News would be surprised to learn about the controversial cable channel, a former insider from the world of Rupert Murdoch was quick with a response: “I don’t think people would believe it’s as concocted as it is; that stuff is just made up.”

Indeed, a former Fox News employee who recently agreed to talk with Media Matters confirmed what critics have been saying for years about Murdoch’s cable channel. Namely, that Fox News is run as a purely partisan operation, virtually every news story is actively spun by the staff, its primary goal is to prop up Republicans and knock down Democrats, and that staffers at Fox News routinely operate without the slightest regard for fairness or fact checking.

“It is their M.O. to undermine the administration and to undermine Democrats,” says the source. “They’re a propaganda outfit but they call themselves news.”

And that’s the word from inside Fox News.

We don’t know who the network insider is — he or she, not surprisingly, spoke on the condition of anonymity — but the former Fox News staffer seems to have been with the network for several years, and offers a very valuable perspective.

The source notes, for example, that staffers are expected to figure out how to spin news stories the “right” way or they wouldn’t last at the network. “My internal compass was to think like an intolerant meathead,” he/she explained. “You could never error on the side of not being intolerant enough.”

The source added that during the Bush/Cheney era, Fox News became a “Stalin-esque mouthpiece” for the administration, to the point of becoming “dangerous.”

The insider was asked whether Fox News should be considered a legitimate news outlet. After laughing, the person explained, “I don’t think people understand that it’s an organization that’s built and functions by intimidation and bullying, and its goal is to prop up and support Republicans and the GOP and to knock down Democrats. People tend think that stuff that’s on TV is real, especially under the guise of news. You’d think that people would wise up, but they don’t.”

No, none of this is surprising. Watching the Republican network made much of this pretty obvious a long time ago.

But hearing it directly from a Fox News insider seems to add additional weight to the larger indictment against the ridiculous cable news outlet.