Muto, Joe. An Atheist in the FOXhole: A Liberal’s Eight-Year Odyssey Inside the Heart of the Right-Wing Media. Dutton. May 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780525953951. $26.95. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. JOURNALISM
Muto calls himself a godless, bleeding-heart liberal, but, hey, he needed a job, so he signed on at Fox, the biggest cable news channel in America and the Tea Partiers’ delight, eventually becoming associate producer for The O’Reilly Factor. Then he cheerfully agreed to be Gawker’s Fox Mole, releasing information and not-nice Romney footage that Fox wanted deep-sixed, and got himself 2.5 million hits in one week—and the ax from Fox. Never mind, he still has lots of material to share, revealing behind-the-scenes mistakes, intentional bias, and nutty stories. Clearly not for red-state types, but beyond the gleeful skewering there are serious questions about how news is reported in America.
Sherman, Gabriel. The Loudest Voice in the Room: Fox News and the Making of America. Random. May 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780812992854. $27. JOURNALISM
Since its 1996 launch, the conservative cable news network Fox News has powerfully influenced American media and politics. So maybe its prophetic powers got upended in the past week or two, but regardless of political persuasion we all need to understand how it became “the loudest voice in the room.” It’s not just a media outlet; it’s big (and very lucrative) business. A contributing editor at New York magazine and a special correspondent covering media, politics, and Wall Street at the New Republic, Sherman is primed to deliver the kind of well-researched story that represents news reporting at its best.