From the alt-Right to Kanye West, Fox News plays a dangerous game
Sanitising guests through selective editing will come back to bite the network
Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, became the most recent celebrity to make the pilgrimage to Fox News when he participated last week in a two-part interview with Tucker Carlson. As is usual with these interviews, Ye was able to articulate a number of contrarian positions with which he was already well-associated, expressing disdain for the Clintons, Covid safetyism, and the extended family of ex-wife Kim Kardashian. He also discussed the “White Lives Matter” shirt he wore during Paris Fashion Week alongside Right-wing political commentator Candace Owens, as well as concern about singer Lizzo’s “clinically unhealthy” weight.
The interview was wide-ranging, but Carlson’s production team didn’t include everything. In footage obtained by VICE Motherboard, Ye can be heard making a number of remarks about Jewish people that echo some of his controversial recent Instagram and Twitter posts. These posts led to the locking of his accounts mere hours after Elon Musk, who appears to be going through with his purchase of Twitter, welcomed him back to the platform. Having already made the posts before talking to Carlson, Ye proceeded to repeat various conspiracies and anti-Semitic tropes, explaining how black people are the “real” Jews and extrapolating from Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s well-known racist and eugenicist beliefs that the organisation was created to kill black infants in the womb. He also mocked Jews for their dancing ability, adding hastily, “I probably want to edit that out” (it was). Perhaps the most notable edit, and one that speaks to how vaccination is becoming a dividing line in Republican politics, was the decision to cut West saying he had been vaccinated.
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Ye is not the only guest receiving judicious edits from the Carlson team. The Raw Egg Nationalist, along with a number of related Right-wing fitness and aesthetics influencers, figured prominently in Carlson’s The End of Men streaming documentary, and the “REN” also spoke to Carlson during a call-in segment on his show. Both of these appearances highlighted the relatively salutary aspects of raw egg nationalism, noting how the REN and his kind have re-popularised various ideas about the consumption of raw meat, raw milk, and raw eggs. Other ideas from the movement include regenerative cattle farming, red-light therapy to increase testosterone through testicle tanning, and walking around shirtless or naked to increase intake of vitamin D from direct sunlight.
These are claims upon which those inclined to dislike all Fox News content hurried to heap scorn. But what is more interesting is what is being left out of the discussion. These Right-wing anons form a community that revolves in large part around conventionally racist, misogynistic and “extremely online” intellectuals such as the Bronze Age Pervert and Zero HP Lovecraft. The latter of these two has even recorded a podcast episode in which he argues through a voice-disguising device that the different races are different species. The material Carlson is presenting arose in part from their influential work on aesthetics and masculinity, but he also fails to present the full story, which prevents viewers from learning about the provenance of the ideas to which they are being exposed.
In the cases of Ye and the REN, it is clear that Fox News and Carlson are presenting only a sanitised and partial story of some of the people they are using to attract attention. They are trying to be edgy, but that edge isn’t particularly sharp. It is the unserious but lucrative work of marketing and, while it might drive ratings or streaming subscriptions, it is deceptive, because people may end up attracted or repelled by ideas about which they lack all necessary information. Carlson’s team wants viewers to perceive Ye and the REN as one-eyed jacks amidst the show’s “based” deck of jokers, but those of us who have seen the other sides of their faces know better.
Absurd article – another attempt to paint conservatives as fascists (or fascist “adjacent”). Kanye is Kanye and there’s no hiding that or changing it – if Fox had permitted Kanye to discuss his looney ideas about “the real Jews” etc, people like the author would have STILL been all over them like a cheap suit.
Só, the author paints Candice Owens as “Right-wing political commentator Candace Owens.” She is a conservative black woman – should we refer to Thomas Sowell as “right-wing PhD economist (u of Chicago- studied with Milton Friedman and could do all that math) as “right-wing author”? Clarence Thomas as “right-wing Jurist”?
“Left-wing” authors like this want to close the debate – argumentam ad hominem- conservatives on TV shoes who put on controversial personalities are all closet fascists. Let the viewing public decide (which is why “left-wing fascist” MSNBC et al are headed for the toilet).
Matthew 7:3 Context
1Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. 6Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
HaHA, Unherd, on this topic of bias in reporting is moderating my post – I just quoted Matthew 7:3 from the King James Bible – not one word but that – and it is
‘Awaiting for approval’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
here it is in it’s entirety – the mote in the brother’s eye lines – how absolutely perfect – banning the word of God in a discussion of the Right Wing censoring… haha. wild stuff….
Perhaps they were scrambing around looking for their dog-eared bible to factcheck. I’ve got one somewhere but I can’t remember if it’s next to the Koran or the New English Bible.
It’s right over there, next to the worn copy of the US Constitution (KJV).
Not only that, but it is not even in English.
It should be either;
Waiting for approval.
But in their ignorance thet put; “Awaiting for approval”
Awful lot of text to say that Fox News is bad journalism, which it is, but it’s hardly unique in that regard. It has plenty of company on both sides of the political aisle including but not limited to, the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN, and really I could keep going until I’d listed just about every major news network and nationally circulating magazine or newspaper, and most news websites before I was finished. All of these sources selectively edit and choose their guests based on fairly transparent political agendas and all do a disservice to journalism and to society in general. All of it is done for the sake of getting maximum viewership or readership and satisfying those readers/viewers by pandering to their particular views, or put more bluntly, they care more about profits than ethics or ‘truth’.
Is Tucker a journalist or a political commentator. There is a difference you know, which the Progressive Left has yet to figure out. It’s either stupidity, or willful ignorance.
Virtually every TV personality or political commentator are entertainers only.
As a Carpenter, I would label tucker as one of those 19 oz. Hammer jockeys ,always in search of drama and moral outrage. But he hammers very consistently and on rare occasions hits the nail squarely on the head..
The only response that this article deserves is “Oh, Please” – what drivel. What broadcaster ever airs an entire interview? Cutting & pasting is used throughout the industry. Exhibit A – the theatre production that is now being billed as the ‘January 6th Hearings’. These so-called ‘hearings’ are being scripted by a former ABC executive. There are myriad examples of crafting narratives. I wish Unherd would do better in posting such rot.
Baaahaaahaaa. Practically choking on my laughter at one media outlet accusing another media outlet of selective reporting. Is this guy serious?
The only halfway decent American journalism is to be found online, Rogan, Rising, Megyn Kelly etc. The Wall Street outlets seem to exist purely to promote the bogus ideologies of the elite.
The left never has anything to say about the antisemitism within their own ranks (Mehdi Hasan, Rashida Tlaib or Ilan Omar, etc) so it is hard to take their criticism of Kanye West and Tucker Carlson seriously. They don’t care about this issue, but they will weaponise it for political purposes.
I was involved in a perfectly civil discussion in this thread yesterday. Why has the whole thing been deleted?
In addressing FOX, the article is devoted to one presenter – Carlson and ignores the rest. Carlson does his schtick to attract ratings and it works. I suspect he is the only one allowed to thumb his nose at routine. Some of his material is offensive even to conservatives. But we watch and Fox collects ad dollars as do all the other venues. Straight news in the day seems well covered with decent reporting and CNN may be reclaiming credibility under their new management. All media now is unbalanced some fairer than others. Fox at the moment dominates and is making money. Whether that survives the younger Murdock who is ardently liberal remains to be seen. He may really enjoy the money if he isn’t cancelled for that.
The thing is, I’m not an idiot. If I’m drawn to check someone out because of a carefully edited interview, only to find out on further examination that the subject of that interview is a fringe crackpot, I can actually make that determination for myself. This article has the unpleasant smell of paternalism.
This just reminds me how, as much as I detest the left, the right as currently constructed doesn’t make a home for me, either.
The answer to the left’s social corrosiveness is not to give up on the (classical, Enlightenment) liberal project, but to double, triple our efforts to revive it. Rage at the machine is not an excuse for nihilism. Trump and the other nitwits which Fox is playing with described here represent pure nihilism.
Please, UnHerd, send us notifications when we get comments. It is impractical to seek out every comment we’ve made to see if there have been responses.
Kanye is anti-semitic. The attempt by the right to distance themselves from the smear of being already anti-Jew while holding up a black beacon to show how ‘inclusive’ we are is panty-waisted pandering that illustrates the difference between progressives and the GOP. The left wants to wield the levers of power and radically alter the US. The GOP want to be liked.
Kudos to Unherd for occasionally publishing drivel. (No sarcasm is intended). The comments are sharp enough to sort it all out.
Are you all finally waking up to how dangerous this is? Left leaning people have screamed about this for years. Good thing you’re getting there but why so long? What are you going to do about it? How do you plan to address these issues going forward?
Bring back intellectuals. Bring back serious people with real ideas. We need them. I believe the left has allowed some of its zealous members to grow more and more prominent because there is no serious challenge from the right intellectually in the US.
Are we finally waking up!! Fox News, and GB news in the U.K., are a direct response to the grotesque leftward warping of the news by nearly all the MSM, from the BBC to CNN, since roughly 2000.
Academic lunatics ranting about critical theory aren’t intellectuals but they, or the nonsense they spout, is an acceptable world view to virtually the whole of academia, the arts world and the media.
There are serious conservative thinkers – Sowell, Peterson, Thiel come immediately to mind. All people who are routinely misrepresented and rubbished by the bulk of the MSM.
I accept “you started it” might not be a particularly useful argument. Consider it an initial gasp of outrage. If you have any suggestions about how you might reel “your” side in I’d be happier to pick holes in “my” side.
Well sure—the left went insane over immigration (open borders!) and historical injustice (a Pulitzer for the 1619 project? Seriously?) but the US left has done a far better job moderating its positions and debating topics than the right has. I’ll even throw abortion in there with New York and the latest failure to codify it based off no mental health provision. This wasn’t the time to die on that hill but the left chose to go all out with no moderation. It was dumb and callous.
Dems elected Joe Biden, not Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Both of those factions no longer feature as prominently as they did 2 years ago. Republicans tossed out Liz Cheney, someone who voted with Trump 93% of the time. Vermont and Massachusetts have Republican governors. Do you see Texas or Alabama electing a Democrat?Who is more tolerant here? The left that has Joe Manchin and AOC or the right who threw out one of its most ardent supporters? The left that can function with moderate Republican governors or the right that votes against federal aid after a disaster and then demands aid when they need it?
As an aside, the UK should never import American social theories. Cultures are too different. BIPOC in the UK is a ridiculous term.
Thanks for making the effort. I just don’t know enough about US politics to argue with you. Certainly the way Cheney was treated seemed odd to me and the ongoing support for Trump is incomprehensible.
To return to the original article, which is primarily about media manipulation, I see nothing in anything I read in WaPo or NYT, or anything I see on CNN, that indicates “the left has done a better job of moderating its positions.”
As a matter of interest, is there a left equivalent of a Sowell that you would recommend reading? The thinking left here seems to have been subsumed by the progressive left, which mainly spouts unreadable nonsense. I genuinely don’t know what the left stands for now, other than the destruction of old moral codes. It certainly doesn’t stand for the indigenous working class.
You are right we should definitely not import your social theories but the constituencies I mentioned above have swallowed them whole and are hugely influential.
Uh huh, and the Left on discussing topics is an echo chamber on CNN, MSNBC, etc. There is no opposing point of view.
I can understand why this appears to be the case from a British point of view. The key to understanding all the points you mentioned is this. From its inception, America has always had a fairly significant anti-government, anti-elite sentiment, which waxes and wanes over time and according to circumstances but is now at a historic high. Further, the media, the bureaucracy, and many/most politicians are heavily influenced or completely controlled by a group of entrenched lobbyists, political action committees, super-wealthy tycoons, multinational corporations, etc., whom I often refer to as “establishment” or “ruling class” for the sake of brevity. Both Democrat and Republican parties have been controlled for decades by this increasingly hated establishment through campaign donations and outright corruption. Americans have largely woken up to this, and both parties have powerful insurgent movements. Trump and his acolytes are the Republican incarnation while Bernie, Warren, and others are the Democrat version. The media, however, is backed by the establishment, who desperately want and need these populist/socialist? movements to fail because a President Sanders/Warren/Trump 2.0 might begin to cut into their neoliberal globalist agenda that keeps them wealthy and powerful. So, what you see in the media that we, as Americans, deeply mistrust is largely a fiction of a sensible and sane bunch of centrists presiding over a nation of crazies on the left and right. They glorify figures like Biden and Cheney because they, or more accurately their financiers, want to continue the dynamic where both parties are controlled by economic globalists who push free trade/open borders/NATO good/Russia bad/China good/etc. Their problem is almost nobody in America believes them anymore. As others have pointed out, the NYT and CNN are no better than Fox News, and for basically the same reason, but being older they naturally have more established credibility, especially with foreigners who can’t be expected to closely follow America’s social and political climate. Biden is, and always has been, far more popular in Europe than he is in his own country. Most Americans by this point have their own sources of news, but sensible Americans don’t completely trust even these. We treat our own media with a high degree of skepticism. That’s a large part of the reason I pay to subscribe to a British news site. There’s almost nobody on this side of the Atlantic I trust enough to give money to. Agree btw on not importing American social theories. America is a different animal from Europe entirely. The closest European dynamic is France with its history of popular revolutions and anti-elite sentiment, and I’m guessing no sane British person wants to imitate the French.
This is an excellent sentiment, but only if applied to all sides and viewpoints. You say there’s no serious intellectual challenge from the right, but how do you determine what constitutes a “serious” challenge? According to most liberal sources, there’s no such thing as intelligence on the right anyway and all the science and every person who isn’t a knuckle dragging troglodyte is sensibly liberal, hence the problems you mention. I’d call Rand Paul a serious conservative and Bernie Sanders a “serious” liberal. I think both have some excellent things to say and make a good case for their viewpoint, but both get regularly ignored and/or dumped on by media of both sides because they don’t play to the “Red vs. Blue, good vs. evil, us vs. them” narrative that the media is selling. As long as people buy that narrative, take the easy way out, and blame the other guy rather than seriously listening to each other’s ideas and respecting those ideas regardless of personal feelings, the current dynamic won’t change at all.
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