In an interview with this fearless reporter, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch confessed a bit of an inside joke that has kept him smiling to himself for over 18 years - The FOX News he initially envisioned was a 24-hour news parody satirizing America's increasingly reactionary right-wing.
"I was originally going to call it the 'Wrong Side of History Channel', but I feared that would give away the joke," Murdoch chuckled.
Murdoch, despite a public perception which he has worked diligently to cultivate, aligns himself more with the Democratic Party, "It's true; I'm a bit of a bleeding heart, really," he revealed between bong rips at his Rocky Mountain chalet, the location of which we agreed not to disclose.
"I was already making substantial anonymous donations to progressive causes, but among the immensely wealthy, admitting that you support social programs, women's rights, and campaign finance reform would have meant my removal from the conservatives' circle of trust…and I still wanted access to their resources for the debut of my FOX News comedy channel.
"The idea came to me at a gay rights protest in Chicago in the late nineties," Murdoch began, gazing fondly at a picture of himself in a cheap slave mask, surrounded by a scrum of shirtless chests and handlebar mustaches.
"I was tired of living a lie; FOX News would mark my coming out as a true liberal with a conscience. I would be lauded in Hollywood. I would be a blue-state icon. I would be a regular guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
"FOX News was to be a constant tongue-in-cheek assault on conservative ideology," he explained as Chomsky, his pet ferret, poked his nose out curiously from behind Murdoch's left Birkenstock.
"The idea was simple - Hire actors, put them in suits, have them spew the most ridiculously contrived, fear-mongering, rally-round-the-flag propaganda. The public loves to laugh at politicians and the media who stoke the flames of controversy. Viewers would tune in for the anchors' dry delivery of absurd arguments.
"Obama is a Muslim/Socialist/Kenyan! America does not have a gun control problem! Sarah Palin is competent to lead the nation! The problem is, the packaging was too subtle. The public took it at face value…and half of America loved it.
"The crazier the script became, the more fans tuned in. Now I've created a monster and it's too late to tell America the truth. What am I going to do? Have Bill O'Reilly announce that the whole 'Papa Bear' shtick was a bit?
"Tell Sean Hannity to come clean that he's a character actor from Pasadena? Interesting side note about Hannity: Phenomenal actor, that guy. For this role, he takes his cues from a family friend with severe brain damage. What a talent…Sorry, do you want a cookie? These oatmeal raisins are grubbin'."
When asked about the star of FOX News' Glenn Beck Show, Murdoch brushed some ash and cookie crumbs from his Che Guevara t-shirt and smirked coyly, "Oh, yes..Glen Beck. Let's just say he doesn't seem to have gotten the memo, but we are thrilled with his performance.
He's not exactly doing an act. He kind of has his own brand of conservative-influenced psychosis that has made the man our go-to punchline. Every time he bawls for America, or follows a colossal brain-fart with that look of 'I just said something clever,' ratings jump through the roof. It's incredible.
"So here we are today, enjoying the impressive ratings of our now 'serious' news network, and I've developed a new strategy," he plotted with a twinkle in his eye and a hacky-sack perched precariously on his exposed toes, "namely, to fracture the Republican Party through aggressively counterproductive programming and continue to fund the other side of the aisle through anonymous donations….This would be much more effective than revealing the illusion at this point."
A pregnant pause filled the room as the media mogul mischievously predicted the final question, "And before you ask, I am confident that the present interview will do nothing to undermine my agenda. Unlike my FOX News project, the satire of your e-rag is blatant and self-aware."
Shots fired, Mr. Murdoch. Shots fired.