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Fox Populism
Branding Conservatism as Working Class

$99.99 (P)

Part of Communication, Society and Politics

  • Date Published: February 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108496766

$ 99.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Fox Populism offers fresh insights into why the Fox News Channel has been both commercially successful and politically effective. Where existing explanations of Fox's appeal have stressed the network's conservative editorial slant, Reece Peck sheds light on the importance of style as a generative mode of ideology. The book traces the historical development of Fox's counter-elite news brand and reveals how its iconoclastic news style was crafted by fusing two class-based traditions of American public culture: one native to the politics in populism and one native to the news field in tabloid journalism. Using the network's coverage of the late-2000s economic crisis as the book's principal case study, Peck then shows how style is deployed as a political tool to frame news events. A close analysis of top-rated programs reveals how Fox hails its audience as 'the real Americans' and successfully represents narrow, conservative political demands as popular and universal.

    • Traces the historical development of Fox's counter-elite news brand, contextualizing it within broader political and journalistic trends
    • Proposes a new conceptualization of media partisanship
    • Offers new insight into the popularity of Fox's free market interpretation of the Great Recession
    • Offers a multi-modal framework for understanding media populism
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The election of a populist, tabloid-friendly, norm-smashing reality television host might have shocked most American intellectuals - but it seems safe to say it would not have shocked Reece Peck. This brilliant, lucid, and wide-ranging book shines a light on Fox News and the larger media taste culture that helped propel Donald Trump to the Presidency. Essential.' C. W. Anderson, University of Leeds

    'Reece Peck’s Fox Populism is a deeply insightful study of the way Fox news has transformed media and politics in America. It is crucial reading for anyone interested in understanding the role of media and the nature of political hegemony in the new age of populist politics.' Daniel C. Hallin, University of California, San Diego

    'Fox's style is its politics', writes Reece Peck. Drawing on substantial research, Peck develops this important insight into a convincing demonstration that Fox News draws its power from a percussive, battering-ram style, promoting the notion that a he-man performs conservatism with his fists.' Todd Gitlin, Chair, Ph. D. Program in Communications, Columbia University, New York

    'Fox Populism establishes Peck as a nuanced authority on Fox News.' Beejay Silcox, The Times Literary Supplement

    'The most important examination of Fox News published to date … a far-reaching illumination of the role Fox has played in rewriting the terms of American conservatism and in reshaping the nature of news itself … Peck argues compellingly that Fox emerges directly from the tabloid sphere - Rupert Murdoch’s global print empire being only one piece of that equation - and as such amplifies the tabloid emphasis on working-class taste cultures.' Geoffrey Baym, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly

    'Fox Populism gives us an admirably clear and much-needed blueprint for future studies of the intimate, yet volatile relationship between mass media, populist movements, and American conservatism in the 21st century.' L. Benjamin Rolsky, Los Angeles Review of Books

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108496766
    • length: 308 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Fox populism in the Great Recession
    1. Channeling America's tabloid soul: how Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly remade television news
    2. Populism on cable news: a theoretical framework
    3. 'I'm a blue-collar guy': how Fox News hosts imagine themselves and their audience as working class
    4. 'The makers and the takers': how Fox News forges a working class/business class political alliance
    5. The populist-intellectual tactic: how Fox News incorporates expert knowledge within its populist framework
    Conclusion. Trumpian populism: Fox News' respectable future clashes with its tabloid past
    Postscript. Fox News and the alt-right: populism and nationalism

  • Author

    Reece Peck, College of Staten Island
    Reece Peck is Assistant Professor of Media Culture at College of Staten Island, City University of New York (CUNY). He provides commentary on media and politics to news organizations, including New York magazine and the AFP.

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