Tuesday, November 01, 2005

UNFAIR AND OFF BALANCE

A few years ago I discovered something called the Fox News Channel. I was immediately drawn to its colorful, sensational presentation, and soon found I was preferring it to the comparably uninspired approach of other news networks. Fox had character…and I liked that.

The flashy Fox formula was soon duplicated by MSNBC and CNN, but there was still something I found appealing about Fox. It just seemed easier to digest somehow. My tastes have since changed, however, after having taken a closer look at how they cook their "news."

It didn’t dawn on me for quite some time that if you have to keep telling people you’re “fair and balanced,” chances are you’re probably not. Yet they drilled that message home over and over again, every chance they got, and with pleasant authority like a hypnotist telling me to relax. And every morning I’d watch the talking heads on Fox spew forth commentary disguised as news. I’d listen to carefully selected experts cite suspect and often refutable statistics in defense of their points of view. I’d see guests offering alternative perspectives berated and belittled in a hostile public forum. I actually started resenting the very news presentation I’d come to prefer.

I began to note how, behind all the fancy graphics and quick-hit breaking news alerts, there was an unmistakable undercurrent that pulled strongly right. I actually found myself laughing aloud at the ludicrous opinions offered up as articles of rational thought. These people are insane, I’d think, if they honestly believe some of the things coming out of their mouths. The Fox News Channel was about as fair and balanced as 24 hours of Tucker Carlson debating with a stuffed bear (an argument I’m not so sure he’d win, incidentally). More frightening than that was the fact that people actually watched this shit. And I was one of those people!

Morning and night, the Fox News Channel beat down its cable news competitors. And people loved the one-sided approach to news for the same reason they tuned in to hear Rush Limbaugh vomit diarrhea into a microphone every afternoon – because when you tell people how to think, they don’t have to think for themselves. And the presentation of opinion as fact is a clever means of telling people how to think without telling them you’re telling them how to think. Further, they actually think they’re thinking for themselves! Not only that, but then these brainwashed disciples go out into the world and spread a gospel of nonsense like fertilizer on artificial turf – making a big, stinkin’ counterproductive mess.

I don’t know where to get my news these days. All the cable news networks seem to have gone sensationalist on me. I guess that’s why I take such pleasure in making up my own news, not unlike the wizard who put together this entertaining collection of faux Fox News Channel reports .

Good shit, y'all.

3 comments:

Sideshow said...

ALL news programs these days are crap. Local and national. The focus is on being the first (forget fact checking) and presentation that keeps peoples incredibly short attention spans (so, basically, loud voices, flashy graphics and gobs of adjectives).

I avoid the news at all costs.

barnyardfriend said...

They are all crap. They all gang up on one story until they beat it to death. Elian Gonzalez, shark attacks, bird flu, et cetera.

Just think of Fox as the professional wrestlers of the news business. You know it's fake, but you can still watch it for entertainment...and the chicks with fake boobs.

Terry said...

When I first started watching Fox News, I soon learned how "unfair and unbalanced" it was, too. Now I still watch it, just to keep an eye on what's happening in the camp of the enemy.

I SEE YOU!