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“What Can We Expect From Fox News Over The Next Four Years?”

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Fox News Election Headquarters is outfitted for tomorrow’s election.

The New Republic’s Isaac Chotiner watched “an insane amount” of Fox News Channel last week so as to try and answer this question: “What Can We Expect From Fox News Over The Next Four Years?”

As the right’s main television outlet, Fox News’s role in this debate – which is certain to become more heated after Tuesday – will heavily influence conservatism’s next four years. And if my marathon watching session is any indication, Fox has chosen its side in the conservative civil war. Not so much partisan as simply angry, Fox looks to be cocooning itself: Boosting McCain’s policies and character has taken a backseat to chronicling the obsessions of right-wing talk radio and blogs.

Chotiner also describes the phenomenon that is Joe the Plumber:

Shepherd Smith, the relatively straight-shooting host of two news programs, conducted a down-the-middle discussion with Fox reporters Major Garrett and Carl Cameron about each candidate’s tax plan. But then, a few minutes into a conversation, Smith reported on Joe the Plumber’s campaigning in Florida. It was almost as if the race now had a legitimate third-party candidate. The tax discussion reconvened, but was then interrupted again by Joe the Plumber talk. Smith had gotten word that Joe would be appearing within the hour on the program. You could sense the excitement in the studio; Smith would mention the upcoming event a few more times before it actually occurred.

And it was that interview that would garner Smith an atta boy from The New York Times this weekend.

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