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John Cook reports: "According to a remarkable document buried deep within the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, the intellectual forerunner for Fox News was a nakedly partisan 1970 plot by Ailes and other Nixon aides to circumvent the 'prejudices of network news' and deliver 'pro-administration' stories to heartland television viewers."

Roger E. Ailes, chairman of Fox News. (photo: Fox News)
Roger E. Ailes, chairman of Fox News. (photo: Fox News)

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A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+7 # propsguy 2011-07-01 23:22
read Jerry Manders Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, written in the 70's but predicted it all. then take the advice of the great Wendell Berry- drag your tv set outside and shoot it. it's amazing how you regain your ability to think when someone else isn't controlling what gets into your head!
+13 # Ken Hall 2011-07-02 00:21
One sentence in the article jumped out at me: "...television had emerged as the most powerful news source in large part because "people are lazy" and want their thinking done for them...". Precisely! I stopped watching TV when I was in high school, deeming it an insult to my intelligence. I can't believe the amount of drivel the US populace watches! "Reality" shows in which the camera is always running, "Dancing with the Stars", the artifice is astounding! And while the electorate was watching TV, the US democracy has been spirited away by corporations. Here we are, near the endgame, much of the populace falling into poverty and hunger. Turn off your TVs, the revolution will not be televised!
+5 # billy bob 2011-07-02 01:03
Nixon was the first modern Teapublican - unless you count joe mccarthy.
+13 # SouthBrun 2011-07-02 05:08
FOX NEWS! Not good for what Ailes ya.
+5 # in deo veritas 2011-07-02 06:04
I would like to see a revelation about this old SOB's involvement in Watergate-not in exposing it but covering it up. He should be in jail regardless as an accomplice in the chump's crimes against us.
+6 # Sully747 2011-07-02 08:51
So,… That’s how they do it. Liberals and progressives always knew there was a connection between FOX and the GOP… That was obvious. But,… How do they do it? Now we know. It’s so simple and very , very , very effective. When Ailes says people are lazy, he sure hit the nail on the head. People really are sheep. Or worse,… they are human. Humans are worse than sheep when it comes to the fooling of their puny brain. Sheep have to be herded into the slaughter house (or gas camber)to be killed but the human brain will fall prey to cunning deception and commit suicide.
+1 # billy bob 2011-07-02 11:16
I agree that it's usually best to turn off the TV. The remarks made about that are really just preaching to the choir on these threads. However, TV wasn't always this bad. I can remember that at one time, TV could even be relied on for news. It still wasn't the only source a person should have paid attention to, but it was a valuable one.

The idea of turning of the TV is the same as puting your head in the sand. It won't make the problem go away. It just means that there won't be anything left but the least common denominator to watch. Instead, I'd think that speaking up and demanding more representative programming would be the answer.

+2 # billy bob 2011-07-02 11:17

I watch MSNBC and Current. I also watch Democracy Now on World Link TV. Some useful information is still available on TV. The question is, how many people don't have World Link TV, Current TV, or MSNBC available as an option? In other words how many people rely on Comcast or DishTV for their programming and are only being allowed to watch programming that isn't liberal?

Also, how many liberals or otherwise intelligent, potentially thoughtful people are unwilling to watch WorldLink because it's too boring, or Amy Goodman because of her early '70s hippy hair-do?

What I'm trying to say is that propaganda is bad. The only way to deal with is not to run away, but to fight back with information delivered in an entertaining way.
+2 # tomo 2011-07-03 12:55
There's emerging data and theory about "brain plasticity." The changes in the brain of one addicted to TV are I suspect far reaching. Much-talked-of has been shortened attention span. I believe it's quite palpable. Less talked of: there's a kind of anesthetization that has to take place for the brain to habituate itself to new, non-related, messages occurring every 30 seconds. The brain (and the brain's agent) have to stop looking for COHERENCE. This, too, has happened. It needed to happen for survival. Thirdly, the brain has had to develop a very hardy cynicism regarding things heard and seen. The filters of cynicism have needed to become very strong. As a consequence, unfortunately when something true, significant, urgently informative comes along, the brain (and it's agent) are heavily conditioned not to accept it.

In the case of these three, we are speaking I would hazard, of changes of behavior rooted in physiological reconfiguration of viewers' brains. They mark, I suspect, just a few of the costs of addictive TV watching. I could suggest many more.
0 # mkarenina63 2011-07-04 10:55
We, humans are not immune to patterning of neural pathways in our brains, and the dominance of certain portions of our brains over others. I agree with "tomo." Education about what our brains do with the various stimuli from our mass mediated culture is lacking. And those with political agendas intended to support ignorance and superstition within our educational systems will continue to work to dumb down our populace. We seem to be sliding into a dark age. I have been alive long enough to have observed our human follies and deceits, including my own. The young play video games, spend too much time texting, twittering, and using media with immediate gratification and fantasy. Most spend much less time thinking or even being told that reading and thinking are important concepts. Too many in this country work like dogs to support their families and are exhausted. Sleep deprivation makes brainwashing easier. What kind of world will my grandchildren have? A world left to the ravages of global warming, huge economic disparity, the tyranny of the corporate run state with it's own ideas of "education." The tyranny of capitalism blended with hollow patriotism and religious symbolism, i.e. fascism. The global degradation of societies by the IMF and the World Bank, which support the global spread of economic central control by transnational oligarchs? What hope is there?
+2 # rm 2011-07-04 15:14
This is without doubt the dirtiest of Nixon's many dirty tricks. Fox News is an adjunct of the Republican party. It is quite amazing that a political party would have all of these "stealth" campaign affiliates. The NRA is also a republican campaign tool. It raises tons of money and supports republican candidates and issues. So is Focus on the Family and the National Right to Life Council. Fallwell's Moral Majority lost its tax exemption when it was exposed as a Repubican Front organization.

But what else can a party committed only to one thing -- enhancing the wealth of American Oligarchs -- do? How else could it get votes. If it campaigned on its real and only platform -- more money for billionaires -- it might not do so well in elections.
0 # TurboKitty 2011-07-19 20:43
Sounds like Operation Mockingbird

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