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Corporate Woody
Fox Goes Silicone

Corporate whoring tumescent

There’s a myth in the air, every day and on every cable- and satellite-ready television set: that there’s no porn on free American TV. Of course there is. 24/7, and on several channels. It’s business porn, brought to you by CNBC and CNN primarily, but also by the other networks periodically, through what they still insistently call the evening news, when a more apt description, like Katie Knows Best or Lives of Brian or Debbie Gibson’s World News would give accuracy a better name. The television networks report on business the way CBS News once covered the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, or the way Entertainment Tonight “covers” the lives of the ripped and famous—as a lavish, submissive show whose lingua franca is lap-dog deference. That’s not to say that great business reporting doesn’t exist. It does, in small if significant doses: the Wall Street Journal may have reactionary nut cases putting out its editorial pages, but it’s the unquestionable king of critical, often uncompromising business and finance reporting in the United States, and lacking that there’s always The Economist, which doesn’t suffer muck in its palaces. Otherwise, good luck. Most local papers cover business the way CNBC and CNN do, as extensions of advertising or entertainment. As favors. As admiring vassals. Not as reporting. That’s why labor is no longer covered in the United States, why business from the perspective of the worker, of families, of minimum wage earners, of the employees getting it up the rear at Big-Box stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot aren’t covered—or if they’re ever mentioned, are portrayed as sniveling idiots who should be thankful for what the corporation grants them. Business is America’s untouchable caste. So it was quite surprising to hear of Rupert Murdoch last week announce that he was launching a Fox business channel that will distinguish itself from other such networks by being more “corporate friendly.” How could a network possibly become more corporate friendly than CNN and CNBC already are? Well, the question might have been asked this way, if it’s Fox you had in mind: How could a news network possibly become more of a propagandist than, say, Centcom or the White House communications office? Fox News readily answers the question every day. How could a business network become more craven than CNN and CNBC? Fox is about to oblige. From the Times:

The new service, currently named Fox Business Channel, will be developed and overseen by Roger Ailes, the chairman and chief executive of Fox News, with Neil Cavuto, the managing editor for business news for Fox, anchoring and overseeing the channel’s content. […] At a media conference in New York yesterday, Mr. Murdoch said the Fox Business Channel would be “more business friendly than CNBC,” which he said was quick to “leap on every scandal,” according to a report on his remarks by BusinessWeek.com, whose parent, McGraw-Hill, sponsored the conference. In a separate interview, Mr. Ailes elaborated. “Many times I’ve seen things on CNBC where they are not as friendly to corporations and profits as they should be.” He added: “We don’t get up every morning thinking business is bad.”

So at a time when corporations like Exxon rake in $39 billion profits in a single year when the rest of the world was reeling from skyrocketing gas prices, at a time when corporations like Wal-Mart find ways to swindle state governments of their due corporate taxes by paying rent to itself and writing off the expense, at a time when corporations are whining because corporate profits in 2007 may not grow between 10 and 30 percent as they have every single quarter since January 2003—at a time like this, yes, we really do need to go easy on corporations and wake up every morning thinking: How the hell can we make it even easier on corporations than they’ve had it. And Fox, of course, will have the answer. But don’t just blame Fox. This is a lavishly, ridiculously, irresponsibly pro-business climate created and abetted by the mainstream media day in and day out. Fox is just joining the laird.

 

 

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