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The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine Paperback – February 21, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"It's the truth, stupid. That's Brock, Rabin-Havt and Media Matters' message and it's a pretty darn good one."
—James Carville
“Media Matters tells the truth–and then spreads the truth far and wide. They are a leading and effective voice in combating misinformation. This latest book, by founder David Brock, makes clear the threat that incendiary journalism poses to our democracy.”
—Nancy Pelosi
“This pointed study of modern politics is both a must-read and a cautionary tale."
—Senator John F. Kerry  

“Think of any conservative-media scandal of the past few years. . . and it’s a good bet that a Media Matters researcher flagged the offending clip, uploaded it to the group’s website, and got the party started.”
New York Magazine 

“Fox News has created a generation of woefully (and objectively) misinformed ideological sycophants to pursue its radical agenda. It's no accident. Now David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt show that no matter how unethical and dishonest you think Fox News is, the reality is that they're much, much worse.”
—Markos Moulitsas, publisher, Daily Kos  

About the Author

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

David Brock, the founder and CEO of Media Matters, is the author of five books, including The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy, and his bestselling memoir Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative.

Ari Rabin-Havt is Media Matters's vice president of research and communication.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Original edition (February 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307279588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307279583
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

392 of 450 people found the following review helpful By Aleksa Pavichevich on February 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
In general (not just for this book, but for any book on politics - right or left), many one star reviewers find a book that disagrees with their particular world view and they jump to call it garbage without reading it. The 1 star review for THIS book strikes me as a prime example of this: what comments does the reviewer offer about the book itself? Only that it's garbage because of some nameless, unlinked memo that 'proves' Media Matters was out to target Fox News. I would be much more apt to believe such a comment if the person, you know, read the book and cited specific examples of lies and misrepresentations contained therein.

To be honest, I do fall on the progressive side of the political spectrum and although I do not frequent Media Matters' website, when I get directed there by someone via my twitter feed it's not just some tear-down of Fox News - it's actual video footage or audio clips accompanied by real facts. Of course, for those living in any kind of reality distortion field (such as I believe Fox News supplies for its viewership) the reality of 'facts' don't matter - 'facts' can be ignored, discredited or brushed aside quite easily by oft repeated lies presented as news. And that is something that this book, quite correctly in my opinion, presents as a danger to democracy. In a period of time where unlimited sums of anonymous money can be put into distorting reality through TV, advertising and "faux news," how are average people to determine the objective truth and make good voting decisions?

Anyhow, I've started into the book and, thus far, it seems to be an accurate representation of Fox News.
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119 of 143 people found the following review helpful By Terry on February 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Regardless of your political views, you should not miss the opportunity to read The Fox Effect. In the book, they meticulously detail the inner-workings of Fox News and present numerous quotes and historical accounts of how the network covered the major stories that have shaped elections since 2000. After reading this book you cannot help but realize the overtly partisan nature of the network, beyond its editorial programs, as well as the dangerous effect its rhetoric is having on political discourse in the country today.

The heated, often-misinformed rhetoric that dominates our political discourse today is directly related to the rise of Fox News as a media entity in our culture.
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177 of 215 people found the following review helpful By Scoobie Davis on February 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is a perfect complement to the Media Matters for America web site. The web site is good because it gives daily updates on right-wing media disinformation (contrary to right-wing critics, the web site gives the full context of the right-wing misinformation then it explains the error, smear, distortion, etc.) The book is good in that it gives a good historical overview of Fox News and how it has evolved into a political propaganda operation for the reactionary right. The book devotes over 300 pages to the lies, smears, and political paranoia of Ailes' political operation.

Due to space limitations, the book didn't include some important information about Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and Bill Sammon, the man Ailes chose to be Washington deputy managing editor (who job it is to oversee the news content of the network). I was amused to read that in the 1970's, Ailes worked on a Fox News prototype: the Coors-funded Television News Incorporated which included in its ideology the belief that Martin Luther King was a communist. The book also noted that right after 9/11, Ailes gave political advice to the Bush administration. What the book didn't have the space to mention was Ailes' habit of helping the Bush administration was a stark contrast to Ailes' relationship to the Clinton administration; Ailes was a proponent of the view that the Clintons murdered Vince Foster. Ailes even lauded the reporting on Foster's death by Christopher Ruddy (whose work was so shoddy that he was fired from Murdoch's tabloid The New York Post). When independent counsel Robert Fiske determined that Foster's death was a suicide, the Foster family issued a public statement imploring Ailes and the other conspiracy theorists to stop their baseless rumor-mongering and allow them to mourn in peace.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By W. B. Mowell on December 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
I'm a 45-year-old life-long Republican, having participated strictly along party lines until the 2012 election in which I voted largely Libertarian.

Ignore the one-star reviews from other Republicans who have likely not read the book. 'The Fox Effect' is currently sitting on my window sill waiting for my wife to return it to the library on her way to work in the morning, my having completed it from cover to cover just a few moments ago. Rather than procrastinate I wanted to quickly return and provide an opinion motivated by my having visited Amazon a couple of weeks ago (when I was about halfway through the book) and had noticed all the negative reviews.

Do the authors obviously support the Democratic Party? Yes. But that doesn't mean that the book isn't full of valid information as to the machinations of FOX as a 'news' network. Personally, I was completely unaware of Roger Ailes' previous political involvement and found the biographical section dedicated to his early broadcasting career to be the most enlightening portion of the entire book. I also agreed with the authors' conclusions in the latter chapters and epilogue as to the current power FOX wields over the Republican Party, and the influence it has on likely Republican voters' attitudes toward different players and issues in our political process. That doesn't, however, mean that I agree with the authors' ideology. :-)

Is FOX guilty of propaganda? Yes. The common retort of "Uh...well, other networks are guilty, too" doesn't excuse what is well-demonstrated in the book: FOX exceeds all other cable competitors in both committed "party based" viewership and the level of propagandizing to which it routinely resorts.
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