Saturday, October 15, 2011

Speaking of liars…

I ran across something on the web that was both funny and instructive. Talking Points Memo asked: “Which is harder to believe—that Fox News got something wrong or that they apologized for it?”

They go on to document how Fox’s Fox and Friends reported with their trademarked outrage that President Obama had considered apologising to Japan for Hiroshima when, in fact, that was completely false. Had Fox “journalists” done even a tiny little bit of fact-checking, they would never have run that story.

Instead, Fox and Friends apologised (well, sort of, insofar as they’re capable of apologising for broadcasting falsehoods…) on-air, but they did so only after Mediaite contacted them about their errors.

Now, obviously, I thought TPM’s rhetorical question was funny (and true), but the thing about this incident is that now that Fox has put this untruth out in the wild, rightwing folks will keep repeating it as if it was true. This happens all the time as Fox reports things that are either demonstrably false or grossly misleading.

Lies are sometimes more enduring than truth. Mark Twain, as a commenter on the TPM site pointed out, wrote, “One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.” (from Pudd'nhead Wilson).

If Fox “News” didn’t get things so very wrong so very often, whether through laziness, accident or design, the rightwing echo chamber would lose an important “credible” source for their disinformation campaigns. Sadly, Fox is not a cat.

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