By Ernest Kearney

Mister Murdoch,

First of all, I don’t expect you to read this letter. Truthfully, I don’t expect you’ll ever be aware it was written. After all, this isn’t Yahoo! News or Huffington Post or CNN. It isn’t even Cracked.com. But I’m going to ignore that fact and proceed with this rather lengthy tirade as if you’re actually going to read every last word of it.

First there’s something you need to know about me, whenever pressed for my opinion of this nation my straightforward answer is: “The United States is the most important country in the world.”

Please note, I do not say “greatest,” which, sadly I don’t believe it is.

Nor do I say “most powerful,” which I think there’s no debate over.

I say it is the “most important country in the world.”

Some folks assume this must indicate chauvinism or jingoistic sentiment on my part, but actually it arises from an appreciation of what I regard as this country’s significance for the rest of the world.

You see, as a society we are not a race, nor a volk, and certainly not an indigenous people. Even our native Americans are not “indigenous.”

What Americans are is the world. We are a “people of all peoples, a nation of every nation.” America is essentially a jigsaw puzzle composed of haphazardly assembled mismatched pieces that we struggle to fit together. What ethnicity or nationality, what creed, philosophy, political ideology or culture does not have representation in the USA; we are the “ark” for the world’s humanity.

We do have those long-rooted hyphenated traditional nationalities: German-Americans, Irish-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans and others. We tend to think that most of our population derived from European roots, like the Swedish-Americans, which are the fifteenth largest block of our traditional “hyphenated” citizens.

That was never in fact the reality, we just tended to be Eurocentric: The first Muslim-Americans arrived in 1586 with Sir Francis Drake, there have been Jewish Americans since the 1600s, Syrian-Americans date back to the 1800s, there were Samoan-Americans in Utah from the 1880s (a Mormon colony), Azerbaijani-Americans have been around since the 1900s.

In our present era, the diversity of lands that have supplied this country with “new” Americans has expanded to all corners of the world. We have fellow citizens among us from places most of us don’t even know are places: Montenegrin-Americans, Sami-Americans, Palauan-Americans, Karen-Americans, Faroese-Americans and there’s about a 190 more I could name.

Emblematic of this phenomenon are Nigerian-Americans, who began arriving here as part of the global Nigerian Diaspora fleeing political and social unrest in Africa’s largest country. This grouping now ranks as the 27th largest ethnic pool of new U.S. citizens and are viewed as the most successful of the new immigrant communities.

It helps that 60 percent of the Nigerians arriving in this country have bachelor’s degrees and once established, the Nigerian-Americans’ median income typically exceeds that of the average U.S. household.

Then there’s the Asian group, an outdated categorization coined by government bureaucrats for their own convenience that lumps together twenty-five different countries of origin – Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Korean as well as Bhutanese, Ryukyuan and Laotians. Collectively 19 million Asian-Americans account for about 5.6 percent of our overall population, while undocumented Asians make up about 13 percent of the 12 million unauthorized immigrants currently estimated to reside within our borders.

The highest level of academic achievement of any immigrant group goes to Asian-Americans which collectively also accounts for the largest increase in population. However, the fastest growth in population displayed by a single nationality goes to Cameroonian-Americans who since 2010 have doubled their numbers to 80,000.
In total, the United States has some 44 million immigrants living within its borders, more than any other nation. Germany has the next largest immigrant community numbering about 12 million. Roughly, 45 percent of those who come to this country as immigrants eventually become U.S. citizens.

According to a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center between 1965 and 2015, immigrants who became citizens and their children and grandchildren accounted for 72 million new Americans or 55 percent of the nation’s population growth.

Today those coming to this land include students seeking education, and skilled and unskilled laborers needed to supplement the nation’s workforce.
But there are those who like the very first Americans, come to this land as refugees, exiles and the dispossessed.

The persecuted, the indentured and enslaved, the downtrodden and discarded; the American tapestry was woven from the thread spun from the desperation and hope they brought to these shores.

That was true 200 years ago, and it is still true today. Since 1980 the United States has granted asylum status to nearly 3 million refugees. Of that number, 50 percent were children.

On average this nation has annually extended asylum status to between 60,000 and 85,000 individuals unable to return to their home country due to the “well-founded fear of persecution based on his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

The Trump administration has placed an annual cap on the number of refugees who can be granted asylum at 15,000. The policies of the Trump White House not only fly in the face of everything the United States stands for, it also deprives us of the very source of our strength.

We are the world’s most multicultural society, and we have benefited greatly from those who seek to be one of us.

Of the forty-one enterprises joining the ranks of the Fortune 500 companies since 1985, eight were founded by former immigrants.

Between 1901 and 2019, of the 302 Nobel Prizes won by Americans in Chemistry, Medicine and Physics, 105 were awarded to naturalized citizens.

America has shown to the world what can be achieved within the “forge of union” when democracy and capitalism is able to merge and essentially function as a rudimentary meritocracy.

But it is also true that, at times, this nation has exposed to the world the difficulties and perils diversity can hold. As a people we have burnt Americans from fearing they were in league with the devil, persecuted others for worshipping a different God or worshipping the same “God” differently, or worshipping no God at all.

We have engaged in a brutal genocide against Americans because we felt endangered by their perceived savagery. We’ve spied on, prosecuted, imprisoned and deported other Americans because we felt threatened by a political philosophy.

We’ve barred entry, and denied citizenship to many. We have imposed exorbitant taxes to spare Boston from the Irish. We’ve interned Americans in concentration camps because we feared their separateness, and we’ve lynched Americans because we feared their equality.

These are our country’s failures, but America fails as all mankind fails and regardless of these self-inflicted wounds we strive to shed our dark history, and acknowledge our faults in the hope that doing so makes us stronger. You look around this world and you see lands where the people inhabiting them still engage in ancient struggles. Americans know if you wage a war of history it’s the future that is defeated. This is why we continue to stand as a testament of what is possible when divergent peoples are able to realize an alliance of community.

E Pluribus Unum, “Out of many, one,” is not merely our nation’s motto, but a challenge we as a people must meet, and an ideal we must be worthy of obtaining.
And this is why I contend America is the “most important country in the world.”

Now the reason for this lengthy dissertation is I felt it imperative — in this age of a doltish revitalized nativism— to reaffirm the vital importance of immigrants to America.

You are an immigrant yourself, Mister Murdoch, a native of Melbourne, Australia. It was there you inherited the two modest regional papers upon which you built your media empire prior to becoming a naturalized citizen of America in 1985.

I must tell you, I have long been fascinated by the contribution foreign-born Americans have made to this country thru journalism.

When still a British colony, John Peter Zenger (1697–1746), a German newspaper printer, was prosecuted by the royal governor of New York for libel, and it was from his trial that the concept of freedom of the press arose.

Joseph Pulitzer (1847–1911) was only 17 when he arrived in the U.S. He was fluent in Hungarian, German and French, but not English, so Pulitzer spent hours in libraries reading and mastering the language till eventually he found work as a newspaperman. Later he published a successful paper of his own which enabled him to fund the country’s first school of journalism at Columbia University. After his death the school introduced the Pulitzer Prize to honor achievements in the fields of journalism, drama, history and literature.

Samuel Sidney McClure (1857–1949) fled the poverty of Ireland. He would go on to establish McClure’s Magazine whose investigative journalism exposed the corruption of robber baron capitalism and championed the rise of the reform movement.

Indeed, there is a long tradition of foreign-born journalists who have contributed to this country’s greatness while bestowing honor on the land of their birth.
But you, Mister Murdoch are not a part of that tradition. On the contrary, you are the antithesis of it. You have brought nothing but grief and disorder to this country, your organ for inflicting this is, of course, your company Fox News Channel.

Now there are those who will maintain that Fox News, the organization you founded, does not cause harm, but simply presents a conservative viewpoint that upsets liberals like me.

“Does television run America? 
There is an implicated conflict of interest between that which is highly viewable and that which is highly illuminating.”

William F. Buckley Jr;

I am sure you know that this is not true.

Watching any news broadcast it matters little if the slant is either “conservative” or “liberal” because at the core of both they share the same recognizable “news.”
Watching Fox News however is a different experience, where “news” is not dispensed at a “slant” or with “spin” but distorted like reflections from the mirrors of a carnival funhouse.

In the reality as Fox constructs it, Saddam Hussein was allied with al Qaeda for the 9-11 attacks, and there were so many weapons of mass destruction scattered about Iraq that the primary cause of causalities during Operation Iraqi Freedom were coalition troops constantly tripping over them.

In the Fox reality threats of “death panels” and “plots” of the “deep state” are rife, there is a “war on Christmas,” Barack Obama’s birth certificate was a fake and his tan suit that confirmation of his Marxist ideology.

In the realm of Fox Trayvon Martin’s hoodie bears more responsibility for his death than George Zimmerman’s Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm, hordes of illegal immigrants are flooding over our borders, clandestine covert socialist agendas allow criminals to run amok on our streets, and Democrats are scheming to subvert the constitution in order to take guns and God away from “real” Americans.

In the Fox realm, health care kills you, science is untrustworthy, grieving parents are actors and a quarter million dead Americans from COVID-19 a “hoax” by the Democrats: everywhere enemies, everywhere conspiracies.

In the Fox reality “news” is not reported on but scoffed at, reviled, maligned, distorted.

There has always been the lunatic fringe in American politics: Father Coughlin, Gerald L.K. Smith of the America First Party, the KKK, the John Birch Society, the Black Panther Party, Lyndon LaRouche, Lincoln Rockwell and the American Nazi Party, Bob Avakian and his Revolutionary Communist Party.

They briefly created great clamors of noise, briefly amassed large numbers of followers, briefly had fleeting political success, but they never breached the fortress’ walls into “mainstream.”

That is until the advent of Fox News.

Fox has functioned as what is known to addiction counselors as an “entry level drug.” These are readily available, potentially habit-forming substances such as alcohol, valium, Xanax and marijuana. These “soft drugs” condition one to depend on “self medicating,” while diminishing the guilt and misgivings society has affixed to “hard drugs,” increasing an individual’s susceptibility to cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin.

Fox News has treated “facts” as inconsequential, truth as malleable and presented rigidity as opinion’s only value.

Fox News has cloaked “slander-spins,” “trifle-points” and extremist propaganda in the sheep-clothing of “verifiable fact,” then peddled them to its viewers. “Entry level drugs” serving to render all who believe in them defenseless to the “harder drugs:”

  • Fake News
  • Clickbait
  • Junknews
  • Bubble filters
  • Deepfakes
  • Junk Science
  • Alternative Facts

Eric Alterman who writes for The Nation observes, “Fox has never been an honest news network, and the inability and/or unwillingness of so many to recognize this obvious fact is what has allowed it to poison our discourse for so long.”

Rolling Stone magazine denounced Fox as “the most formidable propaganda machine ever seen outside the Communist bloc.

But criticism of Fox is not isolated to liberal spheres.

Fox Newsman Shepard Smith, who had been with the network from its beginnings in 1996, abruptly quit last year cryptically accounting for his departure with the statement, truth will always matter.

Conor Powell was Fox’s foreign correspondent for nearly a decade. In 2018 leaving that position he gave his motivation as, “It was hard for me to be on the same payroll as Sean Hannity.”

And disapproval has been voiced from much closer sources.

The difficult relationship between your two sons, Lachlan and James, with Roger Ailes the long serving chairman of Fox News is a matter of public record, as are their concerns about the content and tone of Fox News.

James, your youngest son and former CEO of 21st Century Fox has seen the damage your creation has done and continues to do to this country. He’s distanced himself from the family company. In doing so he stated the problem with Fox News with admirable clarity: I think at great news organizations, the mission really should be to introduce fact to disperse doubt — not to sow doubt, to obscure fact….”

That took courage.

The attitude of the American public towards the news media has undergone an unfortunate decline. For four decades the General Social Survey (GSS) has been collecting data on all aspects of American society. In 1973 they surveyed the American public’s attitudes towards the national press. In their polling 13 percent of Democrats admitted to having “hardly any” confidence in the Fourth Estate or in the verity of the news they reported. The same poll revealed 16 percent of Republicans surveyed also expressed a distrust of news programs and reporters.

In 2018 the GSS repeated the survey. The percentage of Democrats who viewed the press media unfavorably had increased to 28 percent and the percentage of Republicans had jumped to 65 percent
Of course, Fox News is not fully to be blamed for the country’s waning faith in the national press anymore than Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was responsible for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Still “the Windy City” did end up in smoldering ashes, and a large number of Americans now regard the acronym “MSM” with a loathing that rightfully should be reserved for the likes of the “AKIA,” “ZOG,” and “DJT.”

For a democracy to function, an informed electorate is essential. For Americans to lose confidence in traditional news sources as well as the information those sources provide is a cause for serious concern.

For it to be occurring at this point in our history, in conjunction with a global pandemic and the political chaos spawned by the Trump administration, effectively plunges this nation into the sociological equivalent of a “Perfect Storm.”

Now I have yet to determine if Trump was a creature made for Fox News or Fox News for Trump, but perhaps it’s like debating which came first, the Auto-da-fe or Tomás de Torquemada.

Author and Critic Michiko Kakutani, writing on Fox News’ practice of distorting minor political debates, touched on the inevitability of the union:

FOX News and the planetary system of right-wing news sites that would orbit it and, later, Breitbart, were particularly adept at weaponizing such arguments and exploiting the increasingly partisan fervor animating the Republican base: They accused the media establishment of “liberal bias,” and substituted their own right-wing views as “fair and balanced”—a redefinition of terms that was a harbinger of Trump’s hijacking of “fake news” to refer not to alt-right conspiracy theories and Russian troll posts, but to real news that he perceived as inconvenient or a threat to himself.”

In theory the relationship between the Fourth Estate and politicians should be an adversarial one. In practice, however, it has often shown aspects of partisanship, but between Fox News and Donald Trump that relationship was incestuous.

Trump drew on contributors from Fox News for appointments to the White House; he made frequent phone appearances on Fox and Friends where they allowed him to rant unabated and unchallenged.

According to a study conducted by Media Matters, while in office, Trump tweeted specifically about Fox programming or on-air personalities 1,146 times.

Fox News supported him in his denouncement of the impeachment hearings as a “witch hunt,” they parroted his slanders of those who testified about his inappropriate demands on the Ukrainian president for political coin to employ against the Democratic front runner.

But there was worst to come. Fox supported Trump in downplaying the threat posed by the Covid-19 virus.

While campaigning in South Carolina early in 2020 Trump derided the coronavirus as a tactic used by the Democrats against him, referring to the respiratory illness as “their new hoax.

Shortly after returning to the White House, when speaking of the rise in hospitalizations of Covid cases he assured the American public, We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time.”

The following day he doubled down, assuring America “It’s going to disappear.

It did nott. But Fox News stood by the claims coming out of the White House: trivializing the virus, minimizing the danger, jeering at those who disagreed with Trump’s assessment of Covid as a “fake crisis.”

Jeanine Pirro, Geraldo Rivera, Neil Cavuto and Sean Hannity were especially guilty.

Neil Cavuto in defending Trump as the Covid deaths rose quipped, “Not all of us are dying.”

Hannity called the pandemic a “hoax.”

Fox News assisted the White House in defining wearing of a protective mask to guard against the virus as an espousal of Godless left-leaning socialism.

But while Fox’s “reporting” of the pandemic endangered the health of America, Mr. Murdoch, its reporting of Trump’s fallacious, self-serving claims of massive election fraud has threatened the nation’s soul.

You had Lou Dobbs demanding that GOP lawmakers “Do the right thing and stop this corruption at the ballot on the part of the Democrats.”

You had Hannity gushing like a backed-up loo, Americans will never be able to believe in the integrity and legitimacy of these results.”

Predictably Trump filed cases in the courts of multiple states challenging the procedures and legality of mail-in ballots, the number of election observers, extensions or simply repeating “generalized allegations of voter fraud” from third parties; better known in legal circles as “hearsay.”

At the writing of this, nearly 60 of those lawsuits have been denied, withdrawn, dismissed or simply laughed out of court, including two by the U.S. Supreme Court.
This claim,” one judge remarked in derision, like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together.

Another judge chastened the lawyers presenting Trump’s case, “calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges requires specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”

Like nearly everything coming out of Trump’s mouth, his claims of election fraud were lies, but sadly, perhaps that does not matter.

Eric Hoffer wrote that in mass movements the truth has little value:

The quality of ideas seems to play a minor role in mass movement leadership. What counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world.”

The “arrogant gesture” is a strategy that has served Trump well. I’m sure it will continue to do so, and the hardcore Trump supporter will simply see in his repeated judicial defeats the sinister “deep state” at work and disregard all reports of his post election duplicity as “fake news.”

Even as the courts dismiss his lying allegations, Fox News was loyal to the Trump party line. Loyal to a fault one might say.

One day I decided to check on the “MSM’s” coverage of Trump’s accusations, and so compiled a selection of 46 different news outlets — covering internet, print and broadcast media — and representing both sides of the political spectrum.

  • CNN
  • New York Times
  • New York Post *
  • NY Daily News
  • The New Yorker
  • PBS
  • BBC
  • The National Review *
  • Daily Wire *
  • New York Magazine
  • Quartz
  • The Washington Times *
  • Washington Post
  • Huffington Post
  • Slate
  • Zerohedge
  • NPR
  • Breitbart
  • Reuters.com
  • USA Today
  • Politico.com
  • ABC News
  • CBS News
  • NBC News
  • Chron.com
  • The Wall Street Journal *
  • Newsmax *
  • Mic
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Salon
  • Daily KOS
  • Independent Journal Review
  • Drudge Report
  • Vox
  • SF Gate
  • US News and World Report
  • The Atlantic
  • The Daily Beast
  • AP
  • TheBlaze *
  • Vice
  • Upworthy
  • Newsweek
  • Time
  • The Los Angeles Times

Next, I visited each site to determine what coverage, if any, they were giving to Trump’s assertions of widespread voter fraud.

The results were as follows: Forty-two of the agencies explicitly refuted Trump’s claims as delusional, praised the professionalism of the poll workers, and confirmed, at times ruefully, Donald Trump’s unequivocal drubbing, for the second time, at the hands of the American electorate.

Two of the more conservative outlets sought to steer a middle course through the narrow gap between rock and hard place.

On the day I conducted my research, the top story of the ultra conservative Newsmax was Ted Cruz’s appeal to SCOTUS to hear the Trump’s Pennsylvania election challenge , below this was a report of Attorney General Bill Barr’s announcement that the Department of Justice had uncovered no evidence of fraud in the election’s outcome.

The Washington Times, another staunchly conservative outlet, also reported Barr’s dismissal of large-scale fraud, while giving additional coverage to the efforts of Trump and other Republicans to overturn Biden’s victory.

But while these two publications continue in their support of Trump, neither was willing to align themselves with his accusations of “rigged” elections.

Of the 46 news sites only two outlets carried stories echoing Trump’s discredited charges that “Many ballots with the name Trump on them were thrown out” or of 80,000,000 votes being fraudulently or illegally obtained.

One was the alt-right Breitbart which in the past has denied climate change and put forth preposterous conspiracy theories such as the Clintons’ involvement with a child sex ring run from the basement of a Washington D.C. pizzeria.

It should also be remembered that, Breitbart’s executive chairman, Steve Bannon served as Trump’s chief strategist for seven months before being dismissed.

The second of the two sites reporting in support of Trump’s false claims on the legitimacy of the election was of course Fox News.

Fox News has succeeded in devaluing facts and truth substituting opinion in their place. Opinion now holds sway on the airways of Fox and from the pulpit of Donald Trump and the greater the lack of substance to those opinions, the more removed they are from reality, the more fervently they are believed by Fox’s zealots.

It is understandable that Fox News tends to be favored by those of the conservative Christian right, for Fox News is in practice remarkably similar to a religion; each one starts with a conclusion and then works in reverse fashioning or manufacturing proof in support of that conclusion.

Christians begin with the conclusion that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah of the Jews, then reverse engineer passages from the Old Testament and take statements from the later Hebrew prophets out of context and misrepresent them as prophecy directly referencing Jesus.

“You are doing theatre when you should be doing debate. 
What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery.”
Jon Stewart

(To Tucker Carlson on the CNN’s Crossfire)

Fox News begins with the premise “All Democrats hate traditional American values and are the enemy.” Then soon Tucker Carlson is on the air describing Rep. IIhan Omar (D-MN) a Somali-American and one of the first Muslim women to be elected to congress as living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country.

John Harwood, among the country’s most respected conservative journalist, described Fox’s support of Trump’s accusation of massive voter fraud as “lunacy.”

But it goes beyond that.

The great New York politician Al Smith once proclaimed, “The problems of democracy are solved with more democracy.

Paraphrasing the former governor of New York, I maintain, “The problems of America can only be resolved by our being more American.”

It is that hope for America’s salvation that you Mr. Murdoch and Fox News have crippled. Fox News has shaken our confidence that America can go on existing, or perhaps even should.

Richard Waterman of the University of Kentucky who studies the U.S. presidency wrote (underscore added):

In the past, presidents who lost were always willing to turn the
office over to the next person. They were willing to accept the
vote of the American public. What we’re seeing right now is really
an assault on the institutions of democracy. That’s a cancer

That’s what Fox News is, a cancer on the body politic of America.

I have been struck, Mr. Murdoch, over the years by your ability to deflect criticism and to avoid any public reproach or indignation for the actions of your network.

Granted for most of the quarter century Fox News Network has been on the scene, you had Roger Ailes as the face of Fox News and he served you well as the lightning rod deflecting criticism away from yourself. But Ailes is dead.

I hope now that criticism will fall on its rightful target, that the “cancer” will have its rightful face.

I understand that Fox News is expected to earn upwards of $2 billion in 2020, will that raise you higher in the ranks of the world’s 100 richest people? Will you move up to 89th or 90th up from your lowly position of 96th?

Is this your motivation behind it all? Profits?

Jamais Cascio, distinguished fellow at the Institute for the Future, has observed, “The crisis we face about ‘truth’ and reliable facts is predicated less on the ability to get people to believe the ‘wrong’ thing as it is on the ability to get people to ‘doubt’ the right thing.”

In disseminating that doubt, Mr. Murdoch, you laid the foundations of your empire and in the final analysis proved yourself unworthy of the designation “American.”
You may call that your legacy. I call it your tomb.

(Featured Image: Rupert Murdoch with Roger Ailes in 1996. Photo Courtesy of Fox News Channel)


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An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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