Potential 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says his Fox News platform is helping him in the crucial primary state of Iowa.
A Huckabee profile from Real Clear Politics (RCP) documents the Fox host’s recent trip to Iowa to support Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst. According to reporter Scott Conroy, Huckabee was approached by several “Iowa Republican activists and volunteers” who told the Fox News host that they regularly watch his show.
Huckabee reportedly cited his platform at the network with helping put him in a “very good place to be” as he decides whether to throw his hat in the ring for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, explaining that it has helped increase his visibility and name recognition in Iowa because he has “been in these people’s homes every week”:
As a driver shuttled him between events, Huckabee told RealClearPolitics that his work on Fox has put him in a “very good place to be” politically as a self-imposed decision date looms in the early spring of next year.
When I came up here eight years ago, nobody knew who I was, he said. I had to spell my name. They didn’t recognize me, and that was true all over the country. And now I come back, and I’ve been in these people’s homes every week.
Huckabee isn’t the first Fox employee/politician to credit their role at the network with helping their political aspirations. In July, former Fox News contributor turned Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown told Fox News Radio that being on the network “really charged me up” to run for office. When he was running for president in 2012, former Fox News contributor Rick Santorum pointed to his Fox role as having “been big” because it “helped folks remember who I am.”
Fox continues to allow its employees to publicly weigh runs for office while remaining on the network payroll. As Conroy points out, Huckabee’s Fox News show gives him “hundreds of hours of free advertising that hits some of the most reliable Republican voters,” which is “the kind of media exposure that any of the more frequently talked about GOP contenders can only dream of.”
During the run-up to the 2012 Republican primary in 2010, Media Matters calculated that Fox News had essentially gifted its five employees that were considering running with roughly $55 million in free advertising. Huckabee was by far the biggest beneficiary, with about $31 million worth of free airtime.
Though Huckabee declined to run in 2012, Conroy reports that “the consensus among many plugged-in conservatives in his orbit is that he is already determined” to enter the 2016 race.
As then-Daily Beast reporter and current Fox News host Howard Kurtz noted during the ethical mess that was the 2012 Fox News Primary, “The longer candidates stay in the Fox camp, the longer they can utilize the platform of the country’s top-rated cable news channel–and pad their bank accounts to boot.”
Even if he has already decided to run, Huckabee seems well-aware of the tightrope he needs to walk between teasing a run and actually formally declaring one if he wants to keep his Fox News show:
Asked about his decision-making process this time around, Huckabee sounded conflicted.
I’ve got four grandkids, and I really care what’s going to happen to them, he said. If I were to create an exploratory committee or tell people that I’m going to run, obviously, I’ve just crossed a threshold, and I’m done [at Fox]. So I’ve got to be very thoughtful about this. I can’t do it lightheartedly. I can’t put my toe in the water. I jump in the deep end from Day One or I don’t do it.
Meanwhile, the network is happy to help him build buzz about a possible run on-air.
Huckabee isn’t the only Fox News contributor benefiting from the prominent platform while he ponders a 2016 presidential run. As he continues to make frequent appearances on the network, Fox News contributor Ben Carson has indicated the “likelihood is strong” he plans to run. Fox employee John Bolton is also reportedly considering entering the race.
Credit: Media Matters
Fox News is a cult for the conservative misinformed and the radical christian viewer on that channel. The right-wing love this place.
With that in mind, consider the results of the new Pew Research study on “Political Polarization & Media Habits.” The year-long research surveyed American news consumers and categorized their relationships to thirty-six sources for news and information about government and politics by political ideology. The differences in the levels of trust exhibited by consistent conservatives and liberals are profound.
The study reveals that conservatives have drastically constrained their access to news to a very few, hard-right outlets. They behave as if any exposure to a conflicting viewpoint would be tantamount to fraternizing with Satan. Consequently, they rely almost solely on Fox News for their information intake. That is how Fox maintains their ratings position, by herding all of the conservative cattle into one corral.
Nearly half (47%) of conservatives identify Fox News as their “main source” for news. Nothing else even comes close. Compare that to liberals who cite CNN as a main source only 15% of the time with a half-dozen other sources closely competing for their attention. What’s more, conservatives obediently trust Fox News by a larger margin (88%) than any other group of viewers. And the only other sources they trust more than 50% of the time are similarly far-right partisans: Sean Hannity (62%), Rush Limbaugh (58%), and Glenn Beck (51%). Of course, none of those sources are objective news providers, or even journalists.
While Conservatives have only four sources that they trust more than 50% of the time, liberals express trust for nine different sources at that rate: NPR (72%), PBS (71%), BBC (69%), New York Times (62%), CNN (56%), NBC (56%), MSNBC (52%), ABC (52%), and CBS (51%). Note that they are all (with the exception of MSNBC) generally regarded as legitimate journalistic enterprises. Except, that is, by conservatives who trust none of them. In fact, conservatives only have greater trust than distrust for twelve of the thirty-six sources in the study. So consistent with the cult maxim, conservatives actively distrust twenty-four (two-thirds) of the sources. Liberals flip that stat, having greater trust for twenty-eight of the sources and distrust for only eight.
The mission of Fox News from the beginning was to divide the nation by ideology. It is why they came up with their “fair and balanced” slogan with the implicit accusation that the other news providers were neither. They deliberately sectioned off their audience and told them that everyone else was lying to them. Subsequently, when they lied to their viewers (which they do constantly), there is no place for them to turn for the actual truth. The Fox version of events becomes the unqualified gospel for their audience/disciples despite being riddled with falsehoods and rancid partisanship. And additional proof of that is seen in the studies that show that Fox viewers are less informed than those who watch other media, or even those who watch nothing at all. And the more you watch Fox, the less you know.
The correlations to cult status are unmistakable: Proselytize relentlessly (Fox is #1); repeat/preach the cult’s doctrine (anti-Obama, anti-government, Benghazi); reinforce obedience with fear (tyranny, terrorism, Ebola); glorification of idols (Ronald Reagan, Ted Cruz, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin); demonization of competing views (Democrats, the rest of the media); and fabricating a comforting home for faithful followers by casting experienced propagandists and appealing, mostly blonde, presenters as reporters. It’s a closed loop society that succeeds by keeping the flock secluded, ignorant, and artificially happy. I just hope they don’t start serving Kool-Aide.