The always-entertaining Matt Taibbi has a new article where he says that Donald Trump is upsetting the business model that Fox News has created and forced them to consider treating the nutty Ben Carson as their candidate. The relationship between Trump and Fox, once so cozy and full of mutual admiration, began to fall apart following the angry exchange between Megyn Kelly and Trump.
“[Fox News Chairman] Roger [Ailes] was not happy,” a Fox source told New York Magazine. “Most of the Fox viewers were taking Trump’s side.”
Neither Ailes nor Murdoch are too dense to know what this means. They know they’ve spent a generation building an audience of morons. Their business model depends on morons; morons are the raw materials of their industry, the way Budweiser is in the hops business.
The problem with morons is that you can do a pretty good business asking each one for a dollar to keep them safe from the giant asteroid that is going to land in their living rooms tomorrow. But even an American starts to get suspicious after 30 or 40 years of tomorrows.
You have to keep upping the ante to make it work. Trump is doing his best, but he’s going to places now that make even Rupert Murdoch nervous. Meanwhile the “respectable” candidate is Fox’s own Ben Carson, a man who continues to be living proof that you don’t need to have a brain in order to operate on one.
Carson’s latest gem is that the Holocaust could have been prevented if only the Jews had been armed, a line so dumb that it would have been cut from a Zucker brothers movie. Six months ago Rupert Murdoch dismissed the loony neurosurgeon in an amusingly condescending tweet. “Wonderful character, up from Detroit ghetto, sadly seems political naïf,” he wrote. But now he’s clinging to Carson as his best hope to stay in the game.
I think Rupert Murdoch fired off those desperate tweets last week because he senses his beloved audience of idiots drifting away. They are beginning to suspect the truth about him, i.e. that he isn’t really one of them: They may finally sense that he’s a foreigner, that he wouldn’t be caught dead eating pork rinds, that he knows what the word “naïf” means.
Murdoch could go lower to prove his devotion, but that next step down is Trump. If he balks at that, he might lose his audience. Beautiful. Here’s to hoping that any choice he makes will end in disaster. Nobody has ever deserved it more.
The whole Fox News-Republican party dance is entertaining in a reality-show kind of way as long as you shut out of your mind the frightening thought that we are talking about the leadership of one of the two major parties in the US. Then you realize that it is not a funny dream but a nightmare.