THE COMING DEATH OF FOX – Andrew Klavan reminds us today that Fox News might just be on its last legs right now, sex scandals and prominent departures or not:
The way I hear it, the young Murdochs don’t like getting razzed for the O’Reilly-Of-It-All when they go to fancy cocktail parties in New York, London and L.A. They want to be part of the cool crowd and you can’t do that with the smell of conservative cordite on you. They care less about profits than about making Fox presentable to the liberal set.So only Papa Rupert is keeping Fox News alive as a conservative outlet. And — this may come as a surprise to pops — nobody lives forever. This means that the one and only conservative voice on television — to be clearer, the one and only news source that is not an absolute cesspit of leftist lies — may be about to vanish, one unpresentable loud-mouth at a time.
None of the Murdoch children have a particular reputation for being ideological the way Rupert is. You would hope that the sheer profitability of the Fox format would be enough to guarantee its long-term survival no matter what private political beliefs Lachlan and his siblings might hold. But Klavan is right; the desire to fit in and belong with the establishment is so powerful it over-rides business considerations – just see what it’s done to Hollywood, which keeps producing left-wing schmaltz regardless of how much money it loses the studios.
If so, it will reveal once again the short-sighted philistinism of the conservative movement, a movement that can’t be bothered to engage in culture creation, that is too busy screaming about the latest faux crisis to take the long view that might ultimately save the nation we love.
How is it possible that an enterprise as successful as Fox News has spurred no imitators? How is it no billionaires have been inspired to build a Fox for millennials or for comedy or for drama? If I’m right, and the end of The O’Reilly Factor presages the end of Fox as we know it, conservatives are soon going to find themselves facing elections with no cultural voice at all.
Klavan, a bestselling crime and thriller writer, has been consistently for years now castigating the right for its failure to seize the means of cultural production in order to more effectively compete with the left for the hearts, minds, and souls of the population. The Koch brothers might be too old now to engage in such a long-term project. They might be the wealthiest and the most prominent of the right-wing money men, but there are many others. The question is, do any – Thiel? – have the imagination and the interest to make it happen? It’s a case of “if you build it, they will come”; there are many creative non-leftists out there who can’t find outlets in our polarised culture. You can’t complain about losing if you don’t try to fight.