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Why does Rupert Murdoch claim that Fox News has saved the Republican Party?

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Media mogul Rupert Murdoch made a fool of himself in two separate ways when he boasted the other day that his Fox News Channel has “saved” the Republican Party.

For starters, Murdoch’s boast puts the lie to the vaunted claim that Fox News is “fair and balanced.” A news shop can hardly be balanced if it’s mission has been to shift the GOP’s ideology further to the right side of the political spectrum. And that’s exactly what Fox News has done.

But more to the point, Republican Party fortunes have not exactly improved with the advent of Fox News. Rather, they have declined.

Republicans won five of the seven presidential elections just prior to the launch of Fox News Channel, and three of those five victories were Electoral College landslides. But since the launch of Fox News, Democratic candidates have carried the popular vote in four out of five presidential elections.

Fox relentlessly smeared Barack Obama in the presidential campaigns of 2008 and 2012, baselessly calling into question his American birthright, his religion, his patriotism and his character. But despite all this mudslinging, Obama became the first president since Dwight Eisenhower to win twice with more than 51 percent of the popular vote each time.

In the 2012 election, the presidency was not the only race in which the Democratic candidate prevailed. Democrats also got more votes in total than their Republican rivals for the U.S. House and more votes in total than their Republican rivals for the U.S. House. The GOP retained control of the House only because congressional district boundaries had been gerrymandered in the wake of the 2010 census.

There’s much talk among Republicans these days about the need to “rebrand” the party to deal with its low favorability ratings in public opinion polls. Much of the blame for that situation should to go to Fox News, no matter Rupert Murdoch’s fantasies to the contrary.

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