Former Fox Newser Major Garrett was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe talking about NPR’s firing of Juan Williams when he said something interesting, “For a certain amount of marketing points of view, Fox actually wants to keep that polarization and say, look, we’re different.” Keeping America polarized and divided is good for Fox News’ business.
Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters
While talking about the firing of Juan Williams by NPR, Garrett said, “Because of that longstanding relationship with Fox, it was becoming increasingly, I think — and Juan and I had had some conversations about this — that NPR was increasingly unhappy with him, because it was getting blowback from some of its listeners about seeing Juan so often on Fox. That speaks to a problem that neither Fox nor NPR can solve, because neither want to solve it, which is the polarization of American media. For a certain amount of marketing points of view, Fox actually wants to keep that polarization and say, look, we’re different. We’re dramatically different; you can see how we’re different. And if you like that difference, you better come over here and you better stay here. That is an embedded part of the marketing that surrounded what happens at the news division at Fox that’s been incredibly successful.”
Later he discussed why Fox News gave Juan Williams a big new contract, “I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the day it happened he got a huge contract at Fox, and Fox planted a flag in the ground saying he’s ours, he’s going to stay ours, and if you are outraged, this is where you need to be. That is an embedded part of Roger Ailes’ DNA.” Keeping America divided through media polarization is FNC’s brand strategy.
According to analysis of BrandIndex data done by Ad Age, Fox News Channel is the top brand among Republicans. Not surprisingly, FNC does not make the Democratic top ten list. Google is tops for Democrats. Some of you may be saying to yourselves wait a minute. Major Garrett was talking about media polarization, not political division. It is a chicken and egg argument whether media polarization fuels political polarization, or political polarization is responsible for media polarization. What is clear is that Fox News is the delivery mechanism for polarization.
In 1996 Fox News was launched during the early stages of America’s great political polarization, which has since deepened into a political ice age. Fox News is the love child of cable news and political polarization. This child has demonstrated an amazing ability to make money for its parents, which is why media polarization is all the rage now. The deadly side effect from all the media polarization in our environment is reinforcing and deepening of political polarization. This is a good thing for Fox News as they need to keep the country divided in order to keep those profits rolling in.
When Barack Obama talks about unifying America, he is threatening the very business model that Fox News is based on. Polarization and division are the heartbeat and lifeblood of Fox News. If America ever became more politically unified, FNC would go out of business. A suspicious and divided nation is good for FNC’s bottom line. Fox News does push the Republican agenda, and they do try to divide the nation, because that is how they make money. It’s not just about ideology and politics at Fox News. It’s also about profits, and when polarization stops being profitable, Fox News will cease to exist.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association