I was watching an interview on Fox News, trying to figure out why it was a big deal for a woman to access a woman’s locker room. After a few minutes I realized that they were actually discussing a cross-dressing guy who wants to be able to change in a woman’s locker room. My confusion stemmed from Fox consistently using the pronoun “she” to describe the cross-dresser. “Oh,” I finally realized, “so it’s a dude.” When you give up the language like that the battle is already lost.
Many conservatives see Fox as a great blessing that provides equal time to conservative thought. I see it more as a purveyor of establishment Republicanism– crusading Wilsonian foreign policy, tepid domestic restraint, and opposition to Democrat personalities with an interest to electing Republicans (there are endless ways to substantively oppose Democrats, but indulging that will point the finger at the Republicans too on most issues).
I sometimes watch “The Five,” and I’m always struck by how little the opinionated people on there deviate from what Tom Woods calls the “3×5 index card of allowable opinion.” I suspect someone upstairs is setting restrictive boundaries. On Fox you’ll hear from “safe” beltway “social libertarians” of the CATO stripe, but paleoconservatives and anarchocapitalists are nearly invisible. You’ll get Near Beer but no liquor.
Fox News is going to keep its troops safely away from the real battle lines on issues like “transgenderism.” You won’t hear someone bluntly say “look, I’m not calling a guy ‘she’.” They’ll fuss around the edges and give you a wink here and there that they get it. They’ll use the minimum level of PC terminology, but they’ll use it all the same, and by doing so confirm and act as a seal on the cultural drift. The boundaries of conservatism will then reset accordingly. Fox News is an example of Dabney’s comment:
Its history is that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at least in the innovation. It is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward to perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader.