Friday, December 10, 2010

Once And For All


I know people who watch Fox "news" (I stopped watching all cable news a long time ago.) I even know people who cling to the idea that it's "fair and balanced." (Which is like saying grits ain't groceries, eggs ain't poultry, and Mona Lisa was a man.) Shall we now all admit that watching Fox "news" is an exercise in bias-reinforcement? If that's what you need, fine. But call it what it is. Propaganda, pure and simple.

At the height of the health care reform debate last fall, Bill Sammon, Fox News' controversial Washington managing editor, sent a memo directing his network's journalists not to use the phrase "public option."

Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox's reporters should use "government option" and similar phrases -- wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats' reform efforts....

...Two months prior to Sammon's 2009 memo, Republican pollster Frank Luntz appeared on Sean Hannity's August 18 Fox News program. Luntz scolded Hannity for referring to the "public option" and encouraged Hannity to use "government option" instead.

Luntz argued that "if you call it a 'public option,' the American people are split," but that "if you call it the 'government option,' the public is overwhelmingly against it." Luntz explained that the program would be "sponsored by the government" and falsely claimed that it would also be "paid for by the government."

"You know what," Hannity replied, "it's a great point, and from now on, I'm going to call it the government option." ...

... The next morning, October 27, Sammon sent an email to the staffs of Special Report, Fox News Sunday, and FoxNews.com, as well as to other reporters and producers at the network. The subject line read: "friendly reminder: let's not slip back into calling it the 'public option.' "


Foxians like to separate their "opinion" shows (ie, ones based on craziness) from their "straight news" (ie, thinly disguised manipulation based, among other things, on highly selective editorial choices.) But here's an example of one of their so-called straight ones:

First, on Bill O'Reilly's show Tuesday, ("news"man James) Rosen argued, with a perfectly straight face, that President Obama had raised some serious concerns about national security because he had described Republicans in Congress as "hostage takers" with whom he had negotiated:

Rosen: One other point, Bill, if I may, and this should concern a broader spectrum than just the president and his supporters. And that is the potential national security implications of a president of the United States broadcasting to the world that he is willing to negotiate with hostage takers if he believes the hostage is being harmed.

O'Reilly actually burst out laughing, assuming that Rosen was kidding. He wasn't.

Then yesterday, on Happening Now, Rosen followed up with a segment about Obama's record regarding how well he's keeping his promises. It featured a clip of Obama saying, "Look at what I promised during the campaign. There is not a single thing that I said that I would do that I have not either done or tried to do," and "And if I haven't gotten it done yet, I'm still trying to do it."

Rosen then told his audience: "That leaves little terrain as ground for contradiction, and yet the Pulitzer Prize winning website PolitiFact.com lists more than 500 broken Obama campaign promises."

But as Simon Easter at Media Matters observes, that's a far cry from what PolitiFact actually reports -- namely, that of the 506 campaign promises they've monitored, Obama has actually broken only 24 of them:


Perhaps it's just stupidity: it is, after all, hard to read a graph with all those numbers on it. Categories 'n stuff. Nor do any of their bright lights emanate a lot of candlepower. So, yeah, guess the guy could just be an idiot. Or, to put it more properly, his idiocy could be all-encompassing. Still, it's a pretty hard thing to misread.

Many people refer to Fox and MSNBC as if they're two pees in a pot. I admit KO can get pretty sanctimonious and -- what shall we call it?? -- screamy. But I've never heard him boldly lie about something the way the opinionators do at Fox. And when he makes an error, he corrects it. Quickly. Moreover, there's simply no equivalent on Fox to Rachel Maddow, whom I've also stopped watching (but because she's so right and so informed and so smart, what she says is irrefutably depressing.) None, over there. None with her smarts, her precision, her fairness -- yes, fairness -- to people from the other side that she invites on her show (fewer and fewer of whom are willing to be seen forced to defend themselves against actual facts.) Nor is there any equivalent on Fox of Joe Scarborough.

So, Foxophiles. At least admit why you watch and what you get out of it: validation, reinforcement, the ability to maintain tightly-held beliefs in the face of controverting fact. Recognition is the first step to intellectual freedom.

Then, maybe, we can get you to see -- and then admit -- how dangerous and damaging is a network with no scruples whatsoever; with an extreme agenda for the promotion of which they'll stop at nothing. Certainly not at any line beyond facts.


6 comments:

Frank Drackman said...

Umm Sid, I know its in the first sentence of your post so its taxing your laughable short term memory butttt...................
If you really "stopped watching all cable news a long time ago" how can you reasonably criticize Fox News?
I mean it'd be like me criticizing the President's (Peace be upon Him) Oral Sex abilities, I mean I could, but unless you've seen Him(Peace be upon Him) in action, how can you really say if he's got "Game" or not?
I mean, your tellin me ver batum what someone said on O'riley's show Tuesday night, jeez, my DVR isn't that convenient...
and while your busy not watching TV news, do your eyes a favor and check out "Morning Joe" on PMSNBC, it was on in the OR lounge this week, and OMFG!!!
that Micka Zbrzinksi is H-O-T, shes a Lib, and always has this pissed off look on her face like women used to give me back in my single days...
Did a little stalking, I mean research, on Wikipedia, and found out she's the daughter of some Carter Cabinet Official, who cares? She's hotter than a 2$ pistol in a Laredo Whorehouse, as Dan Rather..
Oh, you don't watch TV, he was this insane Anchorman on CBS, and back in the 80's he got beat up by some homeless guy that kept saying "Whats the Frequency Kenneth" and nobody believed him, cause he was Dan Rather, but it turned out later he was telling the truth,and REM made a great tune out of it...

really, check out Mikah, your prostrate will thank you.

Frank

Sid Schwab said...

Frank, you don't have to watch to know what's going on. Applies to many things, actually.

Frank Drackman said...

Ummmmm,
"You don't have to watch to know whats goin on"??????
OK your right, and eventhough I gave my daughters last medroxy-progesterone shot in person, I still have a ittle of the "heebie jeebies" when I do her bi-monthy HCG, I mean, what if it's positive? and she has to go to the local "Women's Health" Clinic to get her nascent zygote terminated, with all the minorities....
Umm seriousy, how can you criticize Fox News, if you dont watch Fox News (Even for just a few minutes, and I'll admit that Norah Oconnell, is pretty hot)
Where was I? Oh yeah,
OREGON
Oh I'm sorry, you haven't watched an Oregon game since like, FOREVER,
cause thats how you PAC-10 Homos roll,
Seriously, whens the last time you watched an Oregon Game in its entirety??
I'm guessing like 199999999999
NEVERRRRRRRRRRRRR

Frank

Sid Schwab said...

What is there in this post, Frankie, that requires watching? Reading, yes, and understanding what I read. I can see the problem there, for you. But it's pretty obvious.

Every one that's on, Frank, front to back.

Sam Spade said...

Frank,

I can't remember where I read this, but Fox now employs every major Republican presidential aspirant except Mitt Romney. Then there's this small sample of their balance. Fox is infamous for the talking points they send out to their journalists, such as the one Sid referenced above. How much more does one need to know to make what you would call an informed judgment?

Search for Glenn Beck on Youtube, such as his Oligarchy clip. I just sat there with my mouth open when I saw that one. I mean, he misspells "Oligarch", which is worrisome but I can deal with it. However, he seems to believe that the letters in that word signify a cabal or some such. He is no brighter or better informed than Palin. Oh, wait, you think she's a capable politician. Never mind, I guess.

By the way, did the kids in high school call you Frank Spankman?

They should have.

Anonymous said...

Sam Spade - I'm pretty sure they called him "Frank, the guy who thinks his unedited train of thought is worth a crap."

Molly, NYC

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