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.