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.
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.