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Scheherazade On December - 22 - 2009

Chernynkaya wrote a wonderful article regarding the way the media has being covering health care reform and the debates that have occured as a result of it. I would recommend the article to anyone. In fact I think it should be printed, emailed, and shown to anyone and everyone you encounter this Holiday Season. It’s that good and certainly that important.

In reading some of the responses to her article I was reminded of something I read a few months ago. I found it on The Daily Beast. It was written by an unknown blogger that goes by the moniker “mzkitti” and says it’s “[f]rom CJ.” My best guess for that is Citizen Jane Politics, but I’ve not seen this posted there before. It was a response posted to someone who was defending Glenn Beck and Fox News. The article was The Real War on Fox, which is worth a look as well.

From The Daily Beast:

mzkitti

From CJ
Beck or Fox News fair and honest and on what planet would that be?

By legitimizing Fox News as a news organization, reporters and commentators are enabling the network to continue conducting a massive conservative political campaign under the guise of journalism. In the process, they are permitting Fox News to dominate the national discussion by spreading smears and lies — smears and lies that become conventional wisdom. They are also defending an organization that has nothing but contempt for journalistic standards — hence undermining their own profession and the public interest at the same time.

Criticizing Fox News has nothing to do with criticizing the press. Fox News is not a news organization. It is the de facto leader of the GOP, and it is long past time that it was treated as such by our nation’s media.

The evidence supporting such a reality is overwhelming. To begin with, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has described his station’s confrontation with the Obama administration as “the Alamo.” Fox News senior vice president Bill Shine said Fox was “the voice of opposition.” In other words, the entire operation has an explicit political agenda, not just a few hosts. There is no separation between Fox News’ “opinion” programming and its “news” programs. Bret Baier’s Special Report, the closest show Fox News has to a straight newscast, portrays Obama in a negative light 77 percent of the time, according to a recent study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs.

But the story goes well beyond the conservative bias Fox News has historically reflected. Like all major political entities, Fox News is now coordinating grassroots (or, more accurately, astroturf) political activities, lobbying for or against legislation, and fundraising for conservative causes. The network called April’s protests “Fox News Tea Parties.” It encouraged people to attend town halls last summer and then broadcast only the statements of those who opposed Democratic health care proposals. The 9/12 rally in Washington was the work of Beck, who claimed that 1.7 million people showed up (it was actually closer to 70,000). A video soon emerged of one of the station’s producers coaching marchers before a live “report” from the scene.

Fox news routinely implores its audience to call Congress and oppose progressive legislation. Fox’s Dick Morris and Mike Huckabee have both used Fox News airtime to encourage donations to conservative political action committees.

Again, these are unambiguous campaign activities, not the work of a news organization. It is no wonder that Fox’s new website, FoxNation.com, has repeatedly cheered legislative developments it favors as a “Fox Nation Victory!”

Fox News relishes its newfound activism. “The conservative media is winning now,” Bill O’Reilly said on September 17. “They’re damaging the president of the United States.” But the damage Fox News causes isn’t just political. Every day, it undermines serious journalism, misleads millions of Americans, and distorts our national discussion on crucial issues. Fox News represents an attack on democracy itself.

Much of the channel’s “reporting” takes the form of obsessive and factually inaccurate efforts to smear progressive organizations and discredit Obama administration officials. To give you a sense of priorities: over a three-year period, shows hosted by Sean Hannity and Beck mentioned ACORN 1,502 times, saying it was a corruption scandal. By contrast, their programs mentioned Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater, Jack Abramoff, and Bob Ney 109 times combined.

Fox is currently conducting a witch hunt against administration members. After Van Jones resigned, Hannity told a crowd, “We got rid of one, and my job starting tomorrow night is to get rid of every other one.”

Exposing improper conduct is one thing. Inventing it is another. Fox News breathlessly reported claims that an ACORN employee had murdered her husband without confirming the story. It wasn’t true. Similarly, Hannity reported that Department of Education official Kevin Jennings had concealed the “statutory rape” of a high school student. It was soon revealed that the student was 16 at the time (the age of consent), and by his own account had not engaged in sexual activity with his fictitious assailant. Hannity never apologized.

Fake stories like these are what Fox News is built on. Health care reform will create death panels? False. Cass Sunstein believes in mandating that people become organ donors? False. John Holdren advocates for “compulsory abortion and sterilization,” as Hannity put it? False. Fox reported them all as fact — and the list goes on.

Never in American history has a media organization this powerful been so willing to misrepresent reality in order to achieve a political goal. The right-wing press ran a similar campaign targeting Bill Clinton in the 1990s, but for most of that time period, it lacked the national, real-time reach and impact Fox now possessed.

The impact of Fox News’ long campaign of misinformation should concern any citizen. Fox has repeatedly misinformed its viewers on everything from the non-existent connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda to the contents of health care reform legislation. Such misinformation can have serious consequences, and Fox News should be called out for propagating it.

There is nothing wrong with the White House standing up to its most powerful, unprincipled, and self-declared political opponent, one that clearly started this fight. And beyond politics, there certainly isn’t anything wrong with exposing an organization that unapologetically harms our democracy by poisoning our national discourse with falsehoods on an hourly basis.

The channel knows what it’s up against. “If they repeat this long enough,” said Fox News’ Bernie Goldberg on Monday, “and often enough — that Fox News is not a real news organization, it’s an arm of the national Republican Party, it’s not to be taken seriously — if they say that long enough, it might become part of bloodstream of the American culture.”

Fox News’ own media analyst got the story right, while so many others in the media are still getting it wrong. For once, the channel was actually breaking news, even if it is merely the simple truth.

As for myself, I give a pass on FOX News to NOBODY! If someone working for FOX News thinks of himself/herself as a journalist trying to report the news then SHAME ON THEM! They should KNOW better! If they really do have integrity they will walk off the set on live television.

I REFUSE to watch FOX News. If I want to know what they are saying I go to Media Matters for America. FNC is the single greatest threat to this country there is right now.

Also, The book I recommend the most over any other is by David Brock. The book is The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts DemocracyGet this book! It is a must read for everyone! If you can’t find it I have the unabridged audio version of it. I’d be happy to let anyone listen to it. Even if you heed nothing else I say, heed my words about this book.

4 Responses so far.

Click here to leave a comment
  1. Chernynkaya says:

    Geez-- so many good blogs to read today!!
    And thanks for linking to my post-- And thanks to Nellie, too!

    I edited this out of my blog about the media, but this seems like a good place to add it:

    There exists right now a yawning divide in the quality of commentary and argumentation regarding health care reform. As the Senate bill has gone through the legislative meat grinder, leading Progressive voices have shifted their rhetoric and opinions based on the changing conditions. Conservatives like Limbaugh and Beck, on the other hand, were screaming “Hitler” and “dictatorship” when the public option was on the table, and their tune hasn’t changed now that it’s no longer under consideration.

    The debate on the Left has been fact-based. Howard Dean and the Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas have argued against passing the public option-less Senate bill, calling it a gift to the already entrenched private health insurance monopolies. Meanwhile, The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein and The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn have defended the stripped-down bill’s merits, focusing on cost controls and the extension of health insurance to millions of people. Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich occupies something of a middle ground, saying the bill is worth passing, but only just barely. Their arguments have the dry weight of substance and reflect a genuine engagement with the issue.

    The same can’t really be said about the right side of the aisle.
    Rush Limpo smeared health care reform supporters as “mentally disturbed” before announcing: “People are going to die prematurely with the government in charge of all this.” Limpo defended the insurance companies’ prerogative to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, was outraged that the bill would extend coverage to victims of domestic violence, and advocated “shutting down the government” to prevent its passage.

    Meanwhile, Glenn Beckerwood theorized that the health care reform bill is purposefully unconstitutional, and that Democrats are ramming it through Congress to set up some sort of framework in which Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is the most powerful person in the country. Rather than bemoan the bill’s allowance for victims of domestic violence, Beck compared the bill itself to an abusive spouse.

    (I’m sorry this is so long, but since I hunt-and-peck-type, it seems a shame to let all those hard-won keystrokes go to waste. ;~))

  2. AdLib says:

    What is exasperating is the political correctness by the rest of the media to plug their ears and whine if anyone calls Fox a GOP propaganda machine.

    The MSM is so afraid of being exposed for what it’s become, it doesn’t want to allow the ball to start rolling even in the case of Fox where most intelligent people know it’s a GOP tool.

    IT’S RUN BY THE GUY WHO WAS CREDITED WITH HELPING REAGAN AND BUSH 1 WIN!!! WHAT’S THE BIG FUCKING SURPRISE?

    There are so many instances of the public knowing something that they accept goes unspoken or just joked about publicly…and it always ends up protecting scum.


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