comments_image Comments

Are Conservatives Rethinking Fox News' Endless Outrage Model?

The perpetual outrage approach is now entering its second four-year cycle with Obama.

Continued from previous page


As for Obama's hopeful inauguration address, Media Research Center's Brent Bozell went on Fox and compared it to the Civil War, claiming it was designed to rip the nation apart. Online, the address was angrily denounced as Orwellian "dreck."

Most of the overwrought claims stem from the fact that Obama disagrees with Republicans and has said so publicly. The hysterical cry of partisan bullying just represents phony outrage being ginned up for feel-good attention among Obama critics.  

Of course, it was Rush Limbaugh who built a radio empire by mastering the we're-all-under-siege-by-liberals shtick that conservatives love to wallow in. But whereas Limbaugh's plaintive, defenseless wail of the oppressed once represented one note in the right-wing media chorus, in recent years as it's been adopted ad nauseaum online, on the AM dial and on Fox News, it's to the point where that whiny, abrasive howl has become the only note in the conservative chorus.

The utter sameness of the fake outrage programming (i.e. We can't believe Obama did/said that) now defines most of the conservative media message in America. Concocting things to be  outraged about and oppressed by ( Hitler!) is no longer a by-product of the conservative press, it's become the entire purpose of the conservative press.

But it's exhausting. And it doesn't work. (Note the Republican Party's  26 percent approval rating.) That, plus the fact that the perpetual outrage approach is now entering its second four-year cycle with Obama. If politically, the tactic didn't work the first time, why is it being adopted again and reprised for the second term?

The bad news for Erickson is not only is the conservative movement purposefully trapped inside the phony Outrage Machine, but the machine's stuck on a replay loop.

Eric Boehlert is a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, and a former senior writer for Salon. Boehlert's first book, "Lapdogs: How The Press Rolled Over for Bush," was published in May. He can be reached at

See more stories tagged with: