Column Recommendation: Fox and the Elites

I am a sucker for a good People's Front of Judea riff.

Bret Stephens has a column worth a read in the NYT:  What Have the Elites Ever Done for Fox?

TUCKER: All right, Sean, don’t labor the point! And what have the elites ever given us in return?


PRODUCER 7: Immigrants.

TUCKER: Immigrants?!

PRODUCER 7: William Lewis, the C.E.O. of Dow Jones, is English. Also Gerry Baker, the former editor of The Wall Street Journal. And Peter Rice, the 21st Century Fox president, now going to Disney. Robert Thomson, the C.E.O. of News Corp., is from Australia, along with Col Allan, the former editor of The New York Post. Rupert, too, obviously.

TUCKER: Yeah, well, it’s not like they’re Hondurans or something. Australians aren’t a bunch of criminals.

Embarrassed silence.


Read the whole thing.  And if you have never seen Life of Brian, go rectify ASAP.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Slugger says:

    That is genuinely funny. Why yes, Mr. Tucker, Australia was settled by people selected for entrepreneurial skills.

  2. Scott says:

    And what have the elites ever given us in return?

    And who are the elites of which Tucker speaks? He grew up wealthy in La Jolla, CA as part of the Swanson food dynasty. He went to elite boarding schools and an elite private college. So I guess the question is: what has he ever given in return?

    One cannot make this up.

  3. Hal_10000 says:

    Fox News pundits railing about “elites” are, in the words of PJ O’Rourke, standing in the Rose Garden whacking themselves in the head with their own Gucci loafers. The ARE the elites.

  4. @Scott: Indeed.

    PRODUCER 1: Well, there’s also Manhattan itself. It’s not like any of us would actually want to work in, you know, Dayton or Detroit or any of the neglected corners of America you speak about so touchingly, Tucker. New York’s murder rate hit yet another record low last year. And frankly, we prefer eating at Oceana than, you know, the Olive Garden.

    PRODUCER 2: And education. I mean, most of us here graduated from elite schools. You went to St. George’s and Trinity College. Laura went to Dartmouth. Let’s be honest: Except for Sean, it’s not like the people who produce the shows at Fox have that much in common, socially or economically speaking, with much of the target audience.

  5. Kylopod says:

    He obviously hasn’t watched The Princess Bride lately, or else he’d have come across Vizzini’s pearl of wisdom: “As everyone knows Australia is entirely peopled by criminals.”

    (Speaking of which…when the hell is TPB supposed to take place? I thought the setting looked sort of medieval-ish, but Australia wasn’t discovered by Europeans until the 1600s and didn’t become a penal colony until the late 1700s. I guess we should ask Miracle Max.)

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What have the Romans ever done for us?

    REG: All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

    XERXES: Brought peace.

    REG: Oh. Peace? Shut up!

  7. gVOR08 says:

    I too love a good People’s Front of Judea riff. But Bret Stephens? Bret , incidentally, had a pretty elite upbringing himself.

    What you have to understand @Hal_10000: is that for FOX hosts “elite” doesn’t mean themselves. or the Koch Bros, or Trump, or McConnell. Neatest messaging sleight-of-hand I’ve ever seen is redefining “elite” from meaning the wealthy and powerful people who run the country to meaning liberals and people who write blogs and anonymous gay people and Political Science professors. People who have little or no power. People who the common clay of the new west have never met or read, but who surely look down on them.

  8. Kylopod says:


    “Take the way the right has narrowed the meaning of elite, so that it’s more likely to be used to describe ‘liberal’ sectors like the entertainment industry, the media, and the academy than leaders of business or the military. It isn’t surprising that on Fox News, references to the business elite are outnumbered by almost 50-to-1. Yet when you look at British papers, whether the left-wing Guardian or the right-wing Telegraph, those proportions are reversed. British papers refer to the business elite about three times as often as to the media elite, which is pretty much the same thing you saw in American papers in the 1970s and 1980s, before the right’s campaign against the ‘elite liberal media’ went into high gear.” — Geoffrey Nunberg, Talking Right (2006).

  9. Monala says:

    @Kylopod: the movie is supposed to be anachronistic. The opening to the book says it takes place “before Greenland, but after America.”

  10. DrDaveT says:


    when the hell is TPB supposed to take place?

    As @Monala notes, it’s deliberately anachronistic, for comic effect. The book, even moreso. The story within the story is also a parody of Ruritanian fiction, with Florin and Guilder standing in for Ruritania and Graustark. Fencing was an (anachronistic) feature of Ruritanian fiction, as seen in other parodies of the genre like the Carpathian scenes in the movie The Great Race.