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August 10, 2015

Trump to Appear on Fox & Friends?

Either he's going to appear in primetime -- I assume with someone other than Megyn Kelly -- or now, Allah updates, just on Fox & Friends, which has been his friendly home base on Fox for a while now.

This Vox piece by Ezra Klein is, and I can't believe I'm saying this, actually useful. Though wordy. And of course dripping with little slights all over the place for conservatives (and Trump, and Trump supporters).

Klein seems to have a least gotten the beginnings of his piece from this New York Magazine piece about the internal struggle at Fox between Ailes and Murdoch.

Let me digest Klein's claims.

The piece is about Fox's relationship with Trump, and basically posits that there's a definite, obvious split at Fox over Trump (just as there is a definite, obvious split in the conservative-tilting populous, I might add).

I'd say it's pretty much that Class War I wrote about a couple of weeks back, but Ezra Klein doesn't use that terminology.

Basically, the pro-Trump people at Fox are Ailes (who either supports Trump politically, or simply because he's great for ratings) and the "hackier" quarters of Fox, like Hannity or the Fox & Friends team.

Whether you agree with the "hackier" line or not, you will probably agree that these people are different in a material way from Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace, and Bret Baier, and Klein identifies that way:

The latter three want respect as journalists, and while Klein doesn't make this connection, "Respect as journalists" means, necessarily, respect from journalists, and ergo, these three value what I'd call liberal approval more than what Klein terms the "hackier" quarters at Fox.

By the way, I do not think that last bit is disqualifying for these three. I happen to like all three people. And yeah, I kind of do like Megyn Kelly more than Sean Hannity exactly because Kelly attempts (attempts, mind you) a veneer of objectivity and detachment. She'll ask questions Hannity won't of people Hannity won't -- yes, Sean Hannity will ask tough questions, but he'll ask those of his clear opponents. When it comes to allies and semi-allies, he tends to be a lot friendlier.

I don't even knock Hannity for that; I'm trying to get Carly Fiorina on the podcast, for example, and I have no idea how to handle that, if she says yes. Our typical attitude on the podcast is to be very friendly and soft with our guests; but is that proper with a presidential candidate? Should we suddenly get all Perry Mason and start asking Fioriina tough questions we never ask of anyone else?

As I don't know how to handle that, I can't blame Hannity for also employing the friendly and welcoming tactic with guests.

But there is plainly a distinction here.

Now, add into that that Rupert Murdoch himself hates Trump, and has blasted Trump repeatedly on Twitter, and you have a very big cleave at Fox: Ailes v. Murdoch, the "respectable" journalists against those outside any kind of conventional liberal institutional respectability.

Interesting, but it's kind of exactly the same thing we see right here, or anywhere on social media. Trump supporters claim that Trump critics are "buying into the liberal (Upper Middle Class) value system" and "seeking approval from that cohort," and of course they're kind of right (though I depart with the people who claim that some of these values are "liberal," as opposed to the values that any self-respecting, educated (whether institutionally or self educated) person ought to have).

Meanwhile, the anti-Trump people all call the pro-Trump people hacky true believers who are (if they're radio personalities, for example) "just obsessed with ratings."

Basically we're all having a gigantic argument about populism and elitism.

The populists demand to be heard; the elitists agree they should be heard, from a distance, and that vox populi must be properly educated and guided before they are truly considered part of the legitimate debate about the Good of society.

I think that's a very useful argument to have, but it's only useful if we can all keep it on the actual ideas in play, rather than on each other's persons. That is, we can usefully debate this clash (which goes back to... ancient Rome, ancient Greece, anywhere where popular opinion counted for anything at all) if we are cognizant that ideas can be discussed with some level of dispassion, but someone's worth as an individual can never be discussed. It can only be screamed about.


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posted by Ace at 03:26 PM

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