Fox News took an abrupt about-face today when Fox News Sunday chose as its “Power Player of the Week” Donald Graham for his work in helping DREAMers get college scholarships. Given Fox's coziness with Republicans, you have to consider whether this signals the start of a new GOP strategy for appealing to Latinos in 2014 and 2016.
As Media Matters reported, Graham’s “TheDream.Us program stands in stark contrast to how Fox News has covered access to an affordable college education for undocumented students in the past several years. …Fox has exhaustively attacked laws that allow undocumented immigrants who meet certain conditions to pay in-state tuition at state colleges.”
A few examples, via Media Matters:
In November 2010, the network attacked a court ruling upholding a California law permitting this, asking whether “illegal immigrants” should get what it called an “[i]llegal discount.”
An O’Reilly Factor segment that same month falsely claimed that these students were getting “free tuition” and stated that 35 percent of students paying in-state tuition in California were undocumented, when in fact undocumented students made up only 0.34 percent of the population.
In March 2011, Fox’s Steve Doocy made up a story to argue against a New Jersey college allowing undocumented immigrants to attend classes and pay in-county tuition rates.
Earlier this month, I suspected that Megyn Kelly’s on-air dressing down of Republican Congressman Darrell Issa over his behavior toward Democrat Elijah Cummings was no stab at political neutrality but a message from Fox News/GOP Command Center. My theory was at least somewhat validated by Issa’s subsequent apology to Cummings. I similarly doubt that today’s Power Player of the Week choice was made without the consent and approval of Fox News higher ups.
Whether this was really a one-off or the beginning of a Republican course change remains to be seen.
I’ll take option C- The new propaganda format.
The GOP hasn’t changed a damn thing. They’re still as openly racist, sexist, xenophobic and homophobic as ever. But their communications arms are playing a new version of their game, where instead of denying or downplaying everything… They just omit every detail but the good that came/might come out of it, present that as the whole story, and dare us to point out the rest. The “Libruls are monsters!” retort to any hard questions write themselves in real time.
In a way, it’s pretty clever- I have a whole list of celebrities that only have a career because of humanitarian cred, and this tactic has been keeping people from realizing that these famous people see compassion as a prop. Or that their idea is kinda not gonna end well for anyone. Why wouldn’t it work for a politician- Especially when bias already has people willing to expend all their energy on political cherry pickers?