Porn-Chic Puritanism on Fox News

Watch the Fox News Network long enough, and pretty soon you’ll spot the porn. Not the hardcore stuff, of course – they’d never do that – or even the soft-core. More the peripherals. But it’s there just the same.

It happens like this: one morning, you’re watching Fox & Friends, the network’s early morning news show. You’re being treated to its hosts’ usual sanctimonious banter on issues of the day, and then she appears: Penthouse centerfold-turned-sex therapist Victoria Zdrock. All bulging cleavage and pouty lips, she’s there to serve as the show’s guest weatherperson, while also hawking her new sex manual. The normally-moralistic male hosts oggle with glee, giddy as John Hughes heroes on the verge of their first score..

Or maybe it’s like this: you’re watching Hannity & Colmes or The O’Reilly Factor, and they feature a softball interview with the porn star authors of a book called How To Have Sex Like A Porn Star. Hannity and O’Reilly trade in their usual bloviating and judgmentalism for knowing, dirty-old-man smirks and friendly paternalist chatter with these “girls.”

Something doesn’t seem right to you. Isn’t Fox News the network of choice for America’s moral vanguard? Doesn’t it often act like the self-appointed purveyor and defender of our “traditional values”?

After that, it’s the little things you pick up on: the female broadcasters on Fox are noticeably more “tarted up” when compared to their counterparts on the other news networks; even former Fox fox Paula Zahn, now over at CNN, never seems quite to measure up. The Fox women’s eyes are always a bit more shaded, their lips a little glossier, their necklines cut a tad lower.

Before long, you wonder if the halls of Fox News are paved with lime-green carpeting, if Lori Dhue wears a gold lame’ bikini under her dress, if their inter-office sound system plays second-rate funk all day. You wonder if “Fox News” isn’t some kind of double entendre. But mostly, you wonder, what gives?

Then you notice that Fox News is part of the same media conglomerate who provide you with such family-friendly TV fare as The O.C., The Simple Life and Pamela Anderson’s new vehicle, Stacked, as well as previous porn-chic classics like Fastlane; who distributed and produced such traditional-values films as Kinsey and The Girl Next Door; and which owns DirectTV, one of the world’s largest satellite distributors of hardcore pornography.

Your head hurts. You remember something you read in college by feminist author Naomi Wolf, something to the effect that pornography was just puritanism with pierced nipples.

You didn’t really understand that until you started watching Fox News.

You want to change the channel, but you can’t. There’s an interview with Brianna Banks coming up. Or so you hope.

” The people who run the porn business are not sex radicals. You’d be surprised how many of the producers and manufacturers are Republicans.” — Nina Hartley

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