Fox Populism offers fresh insights into why the Fox News Channel has been both commercially successful and politically effective. Where existing explanations of Fox's appeal have stressed the network's conservative editorial slant, Reece Peck sheds light on the importance of style as a generative mode of ideology. The book traces the historical development of Fox's counter-elite news brand and reveals how its iconoclastic news style was crafted by fusing two class-based traditions of American public culture: one native to the politics in populism and one native to the news field in tabloid journalism. Using the network's coverage of the late-2000s economic crisis as the book's principal case study, Peck then shows how style is deployed as a political tool to frame news events. A close analysis of top-rated programs reveals how Fox hails its audience as 'the real Americans' and successfully represents narrow, conservative political demands as popular and universal.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Fox populism in the Great Recession; 1. Channeling America's tabloid soul: how Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly remade television news; 2. Populism on cable news: a theoretical framework; 3. 'I'm a blue-collar guy': how Fox News hosts imagine themselves and their audience as working class; 4. 'The makers and the takers': how Fox News forges a working class/business class political alliance; 5. The populist-intellectual tactic: how Fox News incorporates expert knowledge within its populist framework; Conclusion. Trumpian populism: Fox News' respectable future clashes with its tabloid past; Postscript. Fox News and the alt-right: populism and nationalism; Endnotes; Bibliography; Index.