Roger Ailes is the CEO of Fox News and the man responsible for turning what was once a regular cable news network is a bastion of hate- and fear-mongering that would have made Joe McCarthy turn green with pure envy. In an interview with the New Republic, Ailes declares that he is very concerned about the actions of President Obama:
“The president likes to divide people into groups,” he huffs into the phone. “He’s too busy getting the middle class to hate rich people, blacks to hate whites. He is busy trying to get everybody to hate each other.” With that off his chest, Ailes gets back on message. “We need to get along,” he says.
Since Fox has just spent four years stirring up every kind of resentment imaginable in an unsuccessful bid to deny President Obama a second term, you might be forgiven if you just spit your drink all over the monitor.
The interview was centered on the right wing’s Latino problem. Specifically, that the right, heavily egged on by Fox, has a problem with Latinos and pretty much everything about them. “America is for Americans” and “Build the dang fence” are not prevalent slogans in MSNBC’s comment section. But Ailes is convinced that the conservative movement’s future is looking very bright, or at least, more brown (emphasis mine):
“The fact is, we have a lot—Republicans have a lot more opportunity for them,” Ailes says. “If I’m going to risk my life to run over the fence to get into America, I want to win. I think Fox News will articulate that.”
Considering that there are roughly 52 million Latinos in the country only of which about 11 million “ran over the fence,” it’s easy to see where Fox’s negative stereotypes of the fastest growing segment of the population comes from. But Ailes is trying, sort of. Since the punishing defeat in 2012’s election, Fox has being trying (and mostly failing) to moderate its tone.
Via New Republic:
There have already been signs of evolution. Sean Hannity, long a staunch opponent of “amnesty,” recently came out in favor of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. And Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the GOP’s immigration Moses, has been putting in lots of face time on the network. Rubio’s fans include Bill O’Reilly, who called his immigration plan “fair.”
Old habits die hard, however, and some of the delicacies of the immigration debate are lost on these recent converts. Just after the election, O’Reilly chose as one of his show’s best moments a clip of himself saying: “I’m not committing a hate crime by saying ‘illegal aliens’ are just that.” Similarly, Hannity tells me: “I’ve used ‘illegals’ all these years I’ve been on TV….I don’t see it as an offensive term.’”
The real problem for Fox is not one of just connecting to Latino voters but of doing so without driving away their core audience: the perpetually aggrieved white male that Fox has taken great pains to pander to for years. These poor victims of the vast liberal/gay/atheist/Muslim/socialist/black/Latino conspiracy that is determined to take away their money/children/soul/money/lives/guns/money/white privilege/did I mention money? will not sit idly by while “their” news channel starts reaching out to “those” kind of people.
The first step is for Fox and Ailes to engage in a little bit (OK, a LOT) of revisionist history in which it’s all Obama’s fault that the country to rife with racial tensions. Fox’s audience will eat it up because their memory is exactly as long as the time from the last commercial break, and nothing is ever their fault anyway. However, it seems unlikely that the Latino community will magically forget the decades of abuse at the hands of intolerant right wingers and vicious Republican rhetoric. The GOP and its media machine has been trying that for years with the black community and, for some odd reason, they haven’t been able to convince black people that conservatives are actually on their side.
Good luck in white-washing history for Latinos, Mr. Ailes. We’re not as stupid and lazy as your channel paints us.