Approximately 94,700,000 American households receive the Fox News Channel on their big, small, and tiny screens. However, few of these residents can claim to be experts on the dominating cable news network. Enter Dr. Reece Peck, College of Staten Island (CSI) Professor, author, and “Fox-ologist.”
Dr. Peck, a Communications Professor in the Department of Media Culture, has been studying the rise of the widely popular and purportedly biased cable news channel for nearly a decade. His book The Power of Political Style: Fox News, Conservative Populism and Tabloid Journalism (Cambridge University Press) is slated for publication in 2017.
Dr. Peck asks the question, “What is it that makes the Fox News brand so distinct, compelling, and polarizing?” to which he answers, it’s all about the network’s style, taste, and class. Fox News was one of the first conservative outlets, he elaborates, “to make the populist political tropes of the conservative movement intelligible within popular news formats and tabloid entertainment culture.”
Dr. Peck was recently contacted and interviewed by WNBC after sexual harassment claims forced Fox News Chief Roger Ailes to submit his resignation. In the interview, Dr. Peck, a Brooklyn resident, briefly discussed Fox News and put the circumstances in a historical context.
“When you study something for many years, there are these moments when people are looking for answers. It’s nice when your research can shed light on an issue of popular interest,” said Dr. Peck, who began investigating Fox News during his doctoral studies at the University of California, San Diego.
“Surprisingly, there has been relatively little academic work done on Fox News,” noted Dr. Peck, who is originally from Utah. “For me, Fox News was a compelling objective of analysis since it has done so much to change American politics and journalism… Not only does Fox’s conservative brand of populism make for clever marketing and dramatic entertainment, it stands as one the most sophisticated and culturally astute forms of political communication in the national media today.”
Department of Media Culture chair Dr. David Gerstner commented, “We are so pleased to have Reece as a member of our faculty. His research and teaching bring an important voice to the study of contemporary media in the United States. And given the political landscape in which we live, his work is timely and important.”
Dr. Peck will also be speaking at CSI’s Dean Symposium about the current presidential election alongside other CSI faculty on September 27. He has been a faculty member at CSI since 2013 and “truly enjoys teaching the students here, particularly the first-generation students,” as he is one himself.