Given the state of the economy, President Obama should be a goner—yet he's comfortably ahead in most polls. Why? Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian has "one compellingly simple, two-word answer: Fox News." Obama's ahead only because of "the dire quality of a Republican field almost comically packed with the scandal-plagued, gaffe-prone and downright flaky." And you can blame that field squarely on Fox, which seemingly has absolute sway over the GOP base; the candidates it favors with airtime invariably shoot up in the polls.
As Fox commentator Dick Morris recently observed, "You don't win Iowa in Iowa … you win it on Fox News." But Fox's outrage machine "favors bluster over policy coherence. Its ideal contributor is a motormouth not a wonk, someone who makes good TV rather than good policy." It also forces candidates into rigid ideological parameters, damaging their ability to compete in a general election. "It turns out it is not liberals who should fear the Fox—it's conservatives."