Fox News no longer conservative enough for conservatives
Fox News made its name, and won millions of viewers, by pandering to America’s most conservative voters. Together, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and former host Glenn Beck helped coalesce and build a right wing movement, one most famously and vocally embodied in the Tea Party movement.
But times changed, and the cable channel’s extremist politics began to rankle some viewers, opening it up to accusations that it was intentionally inflaming partisan tensions and violence.
That’s why Fox News bigwig Roger Ailes last year told his on-air celebrities to start toning it down and even move a bit closer to the political middle, rather than remaining so firmly and staunchly on the right. And they have.
As Keach Hagey at Politico points out, Fox News and its stars have made great strides in that mission. Bill O’Reilly, for example, blasted anti-gay activists for boycotting JC Penney after the department store hired Ellen DeGeneres as a spokeswoman. That’s quite a shift for O’Reilly, who in the past used his television show to spread the right wing’s traditional brand of homophobia. And the network recently hired Sally Kohn and Jehmu Greene, both of whom are more liberal commentators than their Fox News peers.
While this shift is good news for those who viewed Fox News as the televisual embodiment of conservative ire, the cable channel’s most loyal viewers are less than thrilled. Some view Fox News as nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Republican National Committee. Others gripe the channel has kowtowed to liberal billionaire George Soros.
“What happened is they buckled under pressure from George Soros and his operatives to get rid of Glenn Beck,” said conservative activist Cliff Kincaid, who wants Fox to rehire Beck.
Though Kincaid and his ideological peers may be stressing out over Fox News’ subtle shift, the rest of the nation realizes not much has changed: Fox News is still populated by super conservatives who continue to deny climate change exists, skew news to fit their agenda and, in the case of Liz Trotta, say female soldiers should expect to get raped. So, really, the channel’s still a right wing megaphone. It’s simply no longer as loud.