As the Obama years have progressed, Fox News' attempts to describe itself as "fair and balanced" went from being Orwellian to downright laughable. There's no crossing-the-Rubicon moment that we can point to and say, "This is when Fox News stopped wasting everyone's time" (though this comes close).
Instead it's been a slow, gradual process, one defined not so much by Fox's admitting it has biases, like every other news source on Earth, but more by Fox's not bothering to argue otherwise. In other words, Fox News no longer doth protest too much.
That's what makes recent comments from Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of the Fox News-owning 21st Century Fox, to Fortune magazine so interesting. According to Poynter, Murdoch truly drops all pretense of Fox News being unbiased and even goes so far as to claim that the channel "saved" the GOP from electoral oblivion.
Responding to a question over whether he believes Fox News' radicalizing effect on the GOP has ultimately harmed America's leading right-wing political party, Murdoch pushed back, saying, "I think it has absolutely saved it."
"It has certainly given voice and hope to people who didn’t like all that liberal championing thrown at them on CNN," Murdoch continued.
Yet old habits die hard. In the very same answer, Murdoch contests the interviewer's implication that Fox News has been a champion of the Tea Party movement. "By the way, we don’t promote the Tea Party," Murdoch said. "That’s bullshit. We recognize their existence."
As Media Matters notes, the idea that Fox News doesn't carry water for the Tea Party stretches all credulity; besides the Koch Brothers, it's arguable that no two people have been more responsible for the right-wing movement's success than Murdoch and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.
Still, at least Murdoch is (perhaps unintentionally) no longer kidding himself or the rest of us about Fox News' ultimate political sympathies. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.