The FOX News Network is the flagship media outlet for all things T-Party and right wing. They self righteously have God in their corner with preacher-politician-pundit Mike Huckabee; everyone on staff is committed to Constitutional Amendment Number 2 – the Gun totting thing; and they seem to support all other 21st Century conservative by-laws such as anti-choice on women’s health issues and decidedly not in favor of gay rights, etc.
Meanwhile on FOX’s entertainment side of the business; they are going all out pro-Gay with their featuring of a very positive take on the gay agenda in their big hit show “Glee”. One of the leads in this musical/comedy series is a gay young man who has talent and integrity about his gender preference. The “Kurt” character can sing, dance and tell you all the good, bad and ugly things about how gay men are treated by family and friends. The character’s father is absolutely supportive, albeit not knowing much about gay. The Glee Club’s coach and members are likewise accepting and caring. There is a school bully, who is a closet gay and being brought around to enlightenment on a very real and often difficult issue for real-life children and adults alike. In short the FOX show “Glee” is presenting and handling being gay in contemporary life in a positive and supportive way.
The way in which Glee deals with gay issues has created a noticeable amount of criticism from the usual suspects on the political right. Some of the show’s detractors claim the show “glamorizes”, “pushes”, “legitimizes” and in other ways promotes the gay style; and that is a very bad thing according to some standard bearers of right wing orthodoxy.
So what is a corporate multi-national media conglomerate to do when faced with such an obvious conflict of interests? Some might cave to the forces of the most unenlightened members of the right wing and insist on a change in the entertainment show’s story line or dump the show entirely. That would certainly ensure the loyalty of some of the ultra conservative FOX News viewership. Some might say there is a difference between the News and Entertainment sides of the media empire and neither one can influence the other. But that would anger some among the FOX News devotees and perhaps lose them as viewers.
FOX has established themselves as the bastion outlet of right wing media and taken on the role of guardian of the issues held dear by their ultra conservative viewers. They have become the FOX who watches over the television henhouse of family values. And concerning one the most avidly held right wing’s so called “family values”; one of their own shows is creating the most negative critical talk of any show currently on the air.
So what has the FOX guarding the henhouse decided to do? Nothing! FOX has let Glee go as “Gay is Good” as it wants and at FOX News; mum’s the word. Now some might say this is a matter of money; and they would be right. In TV it’s always a matter of money. One must always remember that beyond championing a specific political agenda, or providing some entertainment, the bottom line on all media is; it is an advertising vehicle. Its real purpose is to provide as many eyeballs of a specific type as it can, to a platform that is all about selling stuff. FOX has had a great deal of success in providing advertisers with an older, richer, more committed in their buying habits, demographic as the base of its News network audience, than any other cable station. FOX News shows deliver the numbers and demographics certain advertisers want. A classic example was Glenn Beck, with superior numbers for cable in his time slot, until Beck went off the deep end. Then despite his unique political conspiracy slant’s appeal to his core audience, once his overall numbers slumped; he got the boot. Making dollars trumps pushing political ideology every time in the media world.
“Glee” also provides good audience numbers, but they are quite different from that of FOX News. The “Glee” audience is younger, much more liberal, but also has significant disposable income; and so attracts a different group of advertisers. And a media group can never have too diverse an audience to offer to different advertisers. So one can understand the lamb like silence of FOX News when it comes to bad mouthing Glee; although everyone knows that FOX News would beat on the Glee/Gay issue unmercifully if it was on any other network. Making dollars trumps attacking a disliked political ideology every time in the media world.
In the end political “principals”, no matter how important they supposedly are, takes a back seat (way back) to making a buck in TV, radio, newspapers or sandwich boards. So expect FOX News to continue with its agenda, but remain mute about “Glee”, and expect “Glee” to continue to be pro-Gay because its audience is in tune with that song. The FOX isn’t guarding the henhouse of right wing family values; it’s guarding the money in the bank vault.