You may or may not be familiar with the social news website reddit. For the uninitiated, I’ll provide a brief rundown before going any further. Reddit is a website where users submit news stories, pictures, or links of interest and then vote on them based on both whether or not they think the content is worthwhile, or whether or not the story is legit or reliable. Topics are divided into what are called subreddits and a user can subscribe to whichever subreddits he or she chooses. For example, I’m subscribed to both /r/politics and /r/worldnews. There is another such section of interest to me and it is called /r/IAmA. Short for “I Am A”, the subreddit allows users to ask questions of people who hold interesting jobs, have been in unique situations, celebrities, and even political figures. Posts to the subreddit are referred to as AMAs, or “Ask Me Anything”s. Lastly, in order to make everything legit, proof is always provided to the moderators for verification of the person’s identity. That’s the basic gist of it. I hope that makes sense.
Yesterday, a former FOX News employee did an AMA and there was a lot of insight to be gained from the discussion. The man identifies himself as someone who worked off camera, and during the daytime shows. Interestingly enough, he is also an Obama supporter. The topics of the AMA were varied, but centered around the former employee’s experiences and the people he interacted with. Unlike what some may expect, there wasn’t a whole lot of personal political discussion to be had. Instead, the political conversations were about the strange balance between FOX’s obvious right-wing bias being presented by people in a very left-leaning city, New York. I’ll provide you with some of the more insightful questions and their answers.
Q: “How do FNC folks react to john stewart (sic)and the daily show? Do folks watch the show? Ignore it? Laugh at it? Take any of the commentary to heart?”
A: “FNC people love it, at least everybody I know did. When the anchors we wrote for made the show, we’d play it in the newsroom with the speakers blasting.”
It’s good to see that the people at FOX have a sense of humor, even if they’re oftentimes the butt of the joke.
Q: “Shepard Smith, how does he roll?”
A: “Shep is a very cool guy – and exactly how you see him on air. He’s also very nice to his employees, but has a pretty short temper.”
I’ve always liked Shepard Smith. He seems like a genuinely good guy, just trying to do the best and most honest job he can. He’s a stark contrast to the heavy-handed goliaths of FOX News primetime like Hannity and O’Reilly. Shep being a hot-head doesn’t surprise me, as from all accounts, he takes his work very seriously.
Q: “As someone who voted for Obama, how difficult was it to work at Fox during the 2008 elections and listening to how they referred to the President in the derogatory terms they used. (btw, thanks for doing this).”
A: “I definitely heard some negative stuff from the opinion folks, but believe it or not a lot of the people who work in the newsroom – A LOT – are democrats or independent. Think about it. FNC is in New York City. The employees are all from NY, NJ and CT, mostly. All heavily blue states. That said, wasn’t that difficult. I was so busy and focused on my own work, it’s pretty easy to ‘tune out’ all the stuff going on the channel.”
This is probably the most interesting tidbit out of the whole conversation. The idea that there are people behind the scenes – writers and the like – whose ideologies don’t actually line up with the on-air personality of FOX News somehow makes the whole thing seem like even more of a joke than I’d originally thought.
There’s so much more insight to be gained by reading through the entire AMA than I’m able to fit here, so I’d encourage you to do some heavy reading. And if you haven’t already done so, check out President Obama’s AMA from 2 months ago. It’s very cute in its curated-ness.