Excerpts from “Assholes: A Theory” by Aaron James in  How Fox News Created a New Culture of Idiots.

Aaron James dissects the new kinds of "assholes", self-aggrandizing bullies with a sense of entitlement and moral superiority, shaping our media.

Assholes largely share a thick sense of moral entitlement. ... the asshole in more recent modern life often requires little or no pretext of larger cause for the special privileges he feels entitled to enjoy.

This newer, purer style of asshole often just presumes he should enjoy special privileges in social life as a matter of course and so requires little by way of reason for taking them as the opportunity arises.

Earlier assholes presented examples of self-aggrandizement in the name of a larger moral cause. The newer style of self-aggrandizing asshole needs little or no such pretext.

... Fox News — is our gold standard. It pioneered the genre; it dominates in viewers, ratings, and profits; and it leads the way in innovation of the new asshole styles.

It is not just Fox News commentators but Fox News itself...

Fox News chairman Roger Ailes...

He meant of course to gloat but also to show his contempt. He meant to broadcast his contempt and to have a laugh about his being in a position to advertise it.

Ailes ... main victory was ... to redefine news.

... his “orchestra pit theory,” which he puts as follows: “If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?” The implication of course being that TV can and should cover the sensation rather than the substance, that it should move still further away from professional journalism and toward infotainment in a pure ratings contest. Fox News has changed the game and won,...

Ailes ... fundamental contempt. It suggests contempt not just for his competitors but for a society of people who have always counted on news with a lot of information shaped by a good-faith attempt at impartial presentation. Our fundamental need in a democratic society, for each of us to make up our own mind, now goes unmet by the whole media environment. [emphasis mine]

Tags: Aaron James, Fox News, Roger Ailes, assholes

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Took the very words right out of my mouth.

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