Fox News Apparently Ordered Staffers To Win Internet Commenter Flame Wars

NPR media reporter David Folkenflik's book exposes dirty secrets of the conservative news organization's obsession with having the last word.

(Illustrated by Lauren Wade)

Oct 22, 2013· 0 MIN READ
Shaya Tayefe Mohajer is TakePart's News Editor.

There's no shortage of nonsense found in the comments sections of the Internet, that dark ether of nameless people with a seemingly endless stock of time for flame wars, petty diatribes and opinions stated as fact—often in ALL CAPS.

Because bigger letters equals being more correct, right?

If you've ever wondered who has time to write all those comments on all those stories as if it's their job, here's an answer: David Folkenflik's book on Rupert Murdoch's media empire reveals that staffers were paid to comment on Fox News stories.

In Murdoch’s World: The Last of the Great Media Empires, the National Public Radio media reporter says he spoke to four former Fox News public relations staffers who told him it was part of their job to post "pro-Fox rants" in the comments sections of their site.

"Fox PR staffers were expected to counter not just negative and even neutral blog postings but the anti-Fox comments beneath them," the book says.

Wonder if any of these gems were penned by Fox employees.

The company went to lengths to hide its electronic footprint online, so as to prevent the comments from being tied to Fox staffers. Tactics included distributing old laptops and using Internet connections that can't be traced back to the news organization, according to the book...