"The Power of Style and the Limits of Technology: Comparing Populist Media, From Fox News to The Young Turks, From Right to Left."
Dr. Peck will present his ongoing work on populist styles in partisan media. Lunch will be provided for those who RSVP. RSVP Here.
Since the early 2000s, Fox News has dominated the cable news arena in ratings, but its true impact far outreaches its primary partisan audience, as it often shapes the national political debate and sets the agenda for other outlets with its coverage. So what makes it so much more influential than just a cable news network?
This presentation offers insights into why the Fox News Channel has been both commercially successful and politically effective. Where existing explanations of Fox's appeal have stressed the network's conservative editorial slant, Professor Reece Peck sheds light on the importance of its style as a generative mode of ideology. In addition to tracing Fox’s historical ascendancy, this talk compares the conservative cable giant with the progressive YouTube-based network the Young Turks (TYT). TYT stands as one of YouTube’s longest running and most successful “news and politics” channels on the platform and it played a crucial role in creating the Justice Democrats, the progressive PAC that recruited Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other “Squad” members. This progressive digital network has long embraced a populist anchoring style that resembles Fox News and the style of its conservative YouTube competitors. This talk stresses the importance of style as an analytical category for studying modern news branding and political movements and argues that there is no inherent connection between media populism and political conservatism — even though today, thanks to Fox News, many conflate the two.
Dr. Peck is an Associate Professor at CUNY Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island and is the author of Fox Populism: Branding Conservatism as Working Class (Cambridge, 2019). Dr. Peck has published academic articles in Television & New Media, Journalism, and Media, Culture & Society, and provides commentary for outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. He was among a select group of media scholars asked to provide written testimony to the Congressional Investigatory Committee on the January 6 Capitol riot.
Columbia Journalism School Ph.D. in Communications