I read this in about two sittings. I think it basically delivers on its premise - showing what it is like to work at Fox news and the O'Reilly show. II read this in about two sittings. I think it basically delivers on its premise - showing what it is like to work at Fox news and the O'Reilly show. It's one thing to hear about FOX's flaws from the outside, but Muto is privy to many of the conversations and attitudes on the inside, and the way they're incorporated. And - as Muto points out - not all the people at Fox are conservative. Many people who work there are either apolitical or liberal.
For instance, many people criticize or make of fun of the "Fair and Balanced" slogan. (Muto wonders - as I've heard others question - why FOX ever TRIED to appeal impartial - as if that would initially stave off criticism rather than encourage it. He thinks he should have just said they were a conservative news station from the start.) Muto had a supervisor bring him into his office and ask him about it, with Muto suspecting that his answer had an effect on whether he was there long term. And Muto had to come up with an answer that satisfied the supervisor.
And Muto says, yes, Fox likes to hire young, blonde female newscasters - as if they were actresses hired from a casting agency. Megan Kelly is intelligent, articulate, and a good interviewer - but Fox has hired other women with a similar appearance who simply are not.
Muto says he generally likes O'Reilly and liked working for him, but he shows that O'Reilly is just as arrogant, dismissive, and hotheaded with a sense of entitlement off the air as he is on it (Muto recalls out one instance when O'Reilly yelled at his assistant when he didn't have the right mustard on his sandwich). I can't imagine being around a person like this, much less devoting so much energy into working for him, but Muto says people look past his ego and obnoxiousness.
Interestingly, Muto says O'Reilly does not like Hannity or Limbaugh and the feeling is mutual. Muto surmises it is competition, and mentions O'Reilly thinks of himself as an independent thinker who happens to be conservative. (My guess is O'Reilly thinks Hannity and Limbaugh tow the party line even when there are moments when they should consider speaking against it - so he considers them inauthentic.)
My main problem whenever I've watched O'Reilly's show is that yes, you get his opinion, but he often just has some sort of axe to grind - he's not all that insightful or really good at analysis on topics, and neither are many of the guest commentators he brings on. I don't feel I have any greater understanding of the subjects he covers than before I watched his program.
This may be in part to something Muto observed: that O'Reilly - even more than Fox - seems obsessed with ratings - to keep his place as the highest rated cable news show. Yes, this is the game that everybody plays. But it's like O'Reilly is upset he wasn't voted "most popular" in high school, and has been clamoring for it ever since. A lot of his segments are designed to just get high ratings. This makes O'Reilly's show often seem like fluff in comparison - like a political version of the Inside Edition show he used to be on. (I'll turn off his show and listen to NPR or the BBC world news, or look at archive videos from the authors on CSPAN books - for information that is more substantial or insightful.)
And I get more from comedians like John Oliver, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert or Seth Myers - because in order to make fun of a topic, they really have to understand it. By contrast, A liberal commentator like Rachel Maddow has a similar format to O'Reilly, but she really appears to examine issues and viewpoints, even ones she opposes. ...more