Fox’s Greasy Spoon

Gawker has published an amusing column by someone claiming to be a gen-u-wine mole at Fox News. Well, that should keep the paranoia level nicely high in Fair-and-Balanced Land, eh?

I can pretty much take or leave the mole’s revelations, such as Sean Hannity’s practice of changing ties mid-interview when the network is going to run a piece on two separate days.

But there was one interesting passage in the column, when the mole disclosed what had pushed him or her over the edge into moledom:

The final straw for me came last year. Oddly, it wasn’t anything on TV that turned me rogue, though plenty of things on our air had pushed me in that direction over the years. But what finally broke me was a story on The Fox Nation. If you’re not a frequenter of Fox Nation (and if you’re reading Gawker, it’s a pretty safe bet you’re not) I can describe it for you — it’s like an unholy mashup of the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post and a Klan meeting. Word around the office is that the site was actually the brainchild of Bill O’Reilly’s chief stalker (and Gawker pal) Jesse Watters.

The [Fox] Nation aggregates news stories, gives them provocative headlines, and invites commenters to weigh in. The comments are fascinating actually, if you can detach yourself enough to view them as sort of the id of the conservative movement. Of course, if you can’t detach yourself, then you’re going to come away with a diminished view of human decency, because HOLY MOLY THESE PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE THE BLACK PRESIDENT. I’m not saying they dislike him BECAUSE he’s black, but a lot of the comments, unprompted, mention the fact that he is black, so what would you say, Dr. Freud?….

The post that broke the camel’s back might be familiar to some of you, because it garnered a lot of attention and (well-deserved) ridicule when it hit last August. The item was aggregating several news sources that were reporting innocuously on President Obama’s 50th birthday party, which was attended by the usual mix of White House staffers, DC politicos and Dem-friendly celebs. The Fox Nation, naturally, chose to illustrate the story with a photo montage of Obama, Charles Barkley, Chris Rock, and Jay Z, and the headline “Obama’s Hip Hop BBQ Didn’t Create Jobs.”

The post neatly summed up everything that had been troubling me about my employer: Non sequitur, ad hominem attacks on the president; gleeful race baiting; a willful disregard for facts; and so on.

The mole goes on to describe the Fox Nation site as “the seedy underbelly of the Fox news online empire.” That’s interesting, since you’d think Fox’s main meals would be sufficiently red-meaty to avoid the necessity of a separate greasy spoon for downscale tastes. But then I don’t know how much they fear competition from NewsMax.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.