To begin with, Outfoxed is a documentary film that came into being as a result of the progressive and continuous work of the Filmmakerright, that is, the wing views. It clearly documents the fact that Fox News has continually engaged in what amounts to consumer fraud by extensively airing bias ideas of the conservatives. This contravenes the right of the people to be informed in a balanced perspective. Importantly, the film gives detailed review and examination of the growth and expansion of Murdoch’s media empire; it does this by looking at the pros and cons of having media ownership in the hands of few individuals like Murdoch. Critically, the film argues that putting media ownership in the hands of an individual is disastrous as it is likely to conglomerate press freedom.
The film analysis criticizes Fox News on five different fronts. First, it criticizes the extent to which Fox News covered media stories during the lead-up, and after Iraq invasion by America in 2003; which it says was poorly balanced. Secondly, the film accuses Fox News commentators of their tendency to intimidate and to some extent frustrate guests with different view point from theirs; this was particularly directed towards commentators Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. Thirdly, it criticized Fox News for giving more airtime and coverage to Republican politicians, more so those forming part of Bush administration than democrats. Fourthly, the film depicts Fox News management comprising of Murdoch and President Roger Ailes as a having a hand in controlling news content. Interestingly, the two are conservatives who will try at their best to promote conservative ideas. Such content control is further enhanced by editorial control which starts from Murdoch downwards; this ensures that stories aired have strong conservative background. Lastly, it asserts the fact that producers and reporters who don’t propel the channel’s political view point find themselves suspended or dismissed.
It’s true and real that Outfoxed documentary has considerable relevance as regards Marxist media theory and political economy. To begin with, Marx’ interpretation of the capitalist states had elements of power and class as its core points. This, he extended to his view of the media which he clearly documented as being a function of power in the society. In the outfoxed documentary, although Fox news is not a public entity, it is seen to lean towards the powerful in the society headed by the White House. It can therefore be said that, Marx views of the media being a tool of the powerful in society holds are true for Fox News.
On the other hand, Marx theoretical ground that there is a correlation between the capitalist ownership and the kind of information disseminated to audience doesn’t hold water in current media trends. This is because, close to almost all economies of the world are capitalistic in nature, there is therefore no need to continue disseminating capitalistic ideas to people who are already capitalists.
Marxist media theory championed by the Revisionist versions has a lot of resemblance to what is happening in Fox News, especially the idea of Ideological apparatus. It is important to note that a lot of ideological wars have been happening in every corner of the world. Political parties, presidential candidates, presidents, churches, schools among others always want their ideologies to prevail in order to maintain power and survive. The modal tool for dissemination of such ideologies is the media. Fox News really practiced this style by providing wider conservative of conservative ideas than for democrats.
Political Economy which is the heir of Marxist media theory seems to hold a lot more. This is because, it links three critical segments or salient features of the modern media industry; the link between economic structures, media dynamics and ideological excerpts. This is the whole summary of Murdoch and his media empire. Murdoch has built a whole economic media empire of Fox News while at the same time having concrete ties to political ideologies of the time, led by President Bush. This relationship is maintained through a number of ways such as increasing coverage for friendly ideas, intimidating guests with opposing views, suspending uncooperative reporters among other repressive methods.
The economic aspect of the media industry has been on sharp focus as the media has been found to be a viable business opportunity. This is evidenced in the large wealth accumulated over years by media entrepreneurs such as Murdoch. Fox News has continued to invest in those areas where there is higher prospect for return and avoiding areas where prospects look dim, for instance in investigative reporting which it ought to have done about Iraq. More important is the fact that political economy has not only considered the economic aspect of media industry, but has embraced the political-economic approach which gives reverence to media audience. But as regards media audience, Fox News is off the hook. Management led by Murdoch seems to be unaware that there are many audiences not conservatives, but still rely on Fox News for purposes of conducting product advertising. These people could easily shift to other favorable sites and media for the same service.
In conclusion, Outfoxed documentary has confirmed and refuted with equal measure assumptions of Marxist Media theory. Punitive actions of Fox News management to suspend and even engage in other forms of employee reprisals puts a lot of question mark on the hidden agendas of such media houses; something that attests to ideals of Marx. On the same note, there is considerable relevance of political economy in the actions of Fox News in the documentary. Seeking to propel the views of conservatives in power might have salient dubious economic benefits not known to the outside world.