Jessica Tarlov's calm approach pierces Fox News' partisan bubble

As I've said before, when the history of the fall of American democracy is written, Murdoch, Ailes and Fox "News" will be in the first paragraph. If they didn't create the right wing echo chamber, they shot it up with steroids; there's really no way to undo the system-wide damage they've done. I wish I believed in hell because they'd have a one way ticket south on the Styx Express.

Since forever, Fox has always featured liberal punching bags — someone for their stars to beat up on while pretending to be even-handed. 

Historically, there have been three types of liberal or Democratic Fox guests. There are active politicians who attest to believing in the importance of interacting with the network's audience of Republicans and nominally persuadable independents… 

There are "Democrats" who only ever seem to disagree with what the Democratic Party is doing; their purpose on the network seems to be to reassure Fox's audience that liberals are, in fact, radical and unreasonable. 

And then there was the late Alan Colmes, Hannity's original sidekick on the show that was initially called Hannity and Liberal to Be Determined. The mild-mannered Colmes seemed to exist to get steamrolled, serving the same purpose as food dropped into an animal cage in the "large cats" wing of the zoo…

To me, the house liberal is actually more frustrating than the host — of course Hannity or Tucker or O'Reilly or whomever is going to say wretched and stupid things. That's the brand. But the weak liberal really reinforces the right's worst stereotypes. 

But Slate has a profile of the current house liberal on Fox, Jessica Tarlov, and she sounds very impressive.

Tarlov does not actually fit in any of these categories—nor, as much as it might be suggested by her chipper social media profile, upscale Manhattan biography, and on-trend glasses, does she seem to be an aspiring influencer or cultural personality in the Meghan McCain mode. As bizarre as it may be to find such a person on Fox News or cable TV more generally, she is basically just a levelheaded liberal who, befitting her background in polling, tends to explain politics (and defend the behavior of Democratic politicians) in practical terms.

I avoid Fox "News" like the plague but I might have to check her out. What's her approach that this writer finds so effective?

She rarely shows up in viral clips because she doesn't tend to eviscerate anyone or lose it on air. Panic and gloating go viral; reality-based exposition doesn't. But it makes for viewing that is entertaining and, of all things to be saying about Fox News programming, informative. By speaking to her colleagues as if they are her social peers—like humans might actually talk to each other, instead of competitors in a contest to see who can be the most provocative—she gets them to actually listen to what she's saying…

It's obvious that facts don't matter, raising your voice doesn't matter. But appearing calm and rational may just be the ticket for peeling off the handful of Fox viewers who are not in the cult.

Previously: Greg Gutfeld seems to think Nazis only killed useless Jews in the Holocaust