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To understand the subtleties of the FOX News propaganda machine, which is so good that even some of its “journalists” think they’re working at a real news agency, you have to understand the history of FOX News creator Roger Ailes. FOX News’ sappling was rooted not its 1996 debut, but in the fertile ground of RIchard Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign, when Ailes used the comfy talk-show/town-hall format to create an infomercial designed to redefine Nixon, from perpetual loser to predestined leader.
Ailes’ brilliant idea for this fake town hall is indistinguishable from the real deal, to the untrained eye. Put yourself in the shoes of the 1968 everyman/woman/child, without FactCheck.org, without the diverse view of a hundred pundits and a million bloggers to hear after the airing, and consider whether you would have been able to tell the difference. With this propaganda machine blurring the line between fact and fiction TV, there is no doubt it helped convince voters to anoint one of the more disturbed persons to ever hold the office (though admittedly, there are many candidates in that race).
Here’s the full broadcast. Fittingly, Mitt Romney’s dad makes an appearance at 2:15.
Relying on this program and a barrage of TV ads, Nixon was able to stay in the public eye, even while his campaign kept him away from the press; the only reporters to whom he gave two-minute interviews were already drunk on unlimited food and alcohol provided by the campaign, assuring they “fell into a state of what one can only call astounded torpor.” In modern times, many pundits would questions whether this would assure the public received fair and balanced reporting, so instead, the Republican Party media wing that is FOX News simply provides millions of dollars in salary and perks a year to the only reporters Republican candidates will grant access.*
Get deeper into the technique of psychological manipulation by reading – but for democracy’s sake, not buying – Ailes’s book, You Are The Message: Secrets of Master Communicators
To know more about the policies Nixon was able to pass, and how he did so, see The Shock Doctrine on our Primer List of essential information on understanding the root problems of our system.
*OccupyEducated.org was unable to confirm reports that FOX News green rooms contain abundant Twinkies and other Monsanto-based products.