Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fox: Unfair, unbalanced and unhinged

The Fox “News” channel calls itself, ironically, “fair and balanced” when any rational person knows they’re neither. In fact, in this election cycle they’ve become positively unhinged, presenting lies and smears as news and sometimes manufacturing “news” completely.

Fox is basically the 24-hour Palin-McCain and Republican propaganda channel with unending attacks and slurs against Obama-Biden but not even a hint of real criticism of Palin-McCain. They repeat Republican talking points endlessly in an attempt to make them stick, even when there isn’t a shred of truth to what their hosts or commentators are saying.

The other day, Sean Hannity spent an entire show telling viewers why they shouldn’t vote for Barack, and only a couple of his “reasons” were anywhere near thoughful disagreement on principle. Instead, his “reasons” were just Republican talking points (not surprisingly), many of them based solely on smears and innuendo, not anything factual. Hannity didn’t tell viewers to vote for Palin-McCain, but that performance and others made make it abundantly clear that’s what he wants viewers to do.

In principle, I have no problem with a channel promoting right wing views and their agenda, but they shouldn’t call it “news”. What’s so offensive about Fox is the smug arrogance of their talking heads who present themselves and their fellow believers as the only ones with intelligence, the only ones with wisdom, the only ones who think correctly, and anyone who disagrees with them is, at best, stupid or blind, and at worst, anti-American, “extremist” or “ultra-leftist”.

It’s clearly impossible for any of the faces on Fox to admit that there’s anything good decent or worthy about their opponents. Their shrill, self-righteous rhetoric whips their fans into a frenzy and contributes to the angry, hostile climate I’ve been writing about. That’s not presenting a conservative viewpoint, that’s fomenting anger and inciting those angry rightwing people to some sort of action.

So, why do I watch ever Fox? Sometimes it’s a channel-surfing accident, but part of the reason for staying and watching is simple: They’ve declared war on everything I believe, and in war the first rule is, “know your enemy”. What’s abundantly clear to me is that Fox is not a news channel, it’s never fair and certainly not balanced. Lately, it’s seemed simply unhinged.

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