Tuesday, July 20, 2004

They even pissed off Walter Cronkite

Inspiration: Doonesbury@Slate - Me and Rupert

It's all clear to me now! Fahrenheit 9/11 is balancing factor to the FOX News Channel, just as FOX News is a balancing factor for all the rest of the liberal media.

One of the first memories I have of FOX news after the invasion of Iraq. They cited a poll where 1/3 German youths believe that the US sponsored the 9/11 attacks. Why this is important for viewers to know is beyond me. I'd heard that FOX was biased and came to a dismissive conclusion that it was indeed but never got around to thinking explicitly about it.

At a later time, I also came across a seemingly far-fetched study that, among other things, isolated dedicated FOX viewers as having the highest likelyhood (80%) of having at least one of three misconceptions about Iraq and 9/11 compared with people who fell in any of the other 6 categories. Those with did not have any of the three misconceptions had the least likelyhood of supporting the war, 23%. NPR listeners and PBS viewers had the least likelyhood of thinking one of the following:
  1. Iraq was directly involved in 4 hijacked plane attacks of September 11th (MAJOR CORRECTION! Updated 10:44 PM EST 8/22/04; The major misconception was that 'world public opinion favored the US going to war in Iraq'. However, the report cited these results: 'Polled June through September, the percentage saying that Iraq was directly involved in 9/11 continued to be in the 20-25% range, while another 33-36% said they believed that Iraq gave al-Qaeda substantial support. [Note: An August Washington Post poll found that 69% thought it was at least “somewhat likely” that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11—a different question than the PIPA/KN question that asked respondents to come to a conclusion.]'. These results weren't included in the three misconceptions, but are actually more disturbing in nature. No relationship between primary source of news and belief in these statements. Refer to this new report linked from Chrenkoff for recent poll information.);
  2. collaborative [the actual study didn't specify] links between Iraq and Al Quaeda had been found;
  3. weapons of mass destruction had been found;
This week's topic in Doonesbury talks about the unfair and unbalanced documentary, "Outfoxed." After watching the trailer and reading the NYTimes article about it, I finally have an understanding of exactly how FOX is biased and how its wrongs are fundamentally different from any accused bias of other news sources that may be left-leaning. The NYTimes summarized the documentary's primary message with the following:
The story they tell is of the systematic and deliberate dismantling of journalistic norms, and of an outfit that has become not merely a voice of conservatism but a cheerleader for the Republican Party.
One difference between Outfoxed and F911 is that Outfoxed at least closes by touching on the problems of ever increasingly consolidated media corporations. The other is that Outfoxed is dealing with a much simpler subject matter and doesn't try to tell any conspiracy theories. Interviews with employees, Walter Cronkite and Al Franken, internal memos make the case presented by FOX personalities themselves even stronger, depicting journalism at its worst. The anchors frequently cut off their guests (the trailer opens with Bill O'Reilly telling the producers to kill the mic') and repeat propagandistic messages (John Kerry is a flip-flopper).

The worst thing, however, is of course the top-down approach to reporting the news. From the memos just shown in the trailer, it would seem that orders come straight from the top as to how anchors should make John Kerry look bad today. They've already decided which candidate to support in the 2004 election. Now its someone else's turn to report.


Joshua Montgomery said...

FOX News is REALLY evil. I had the same impression when I saw this movie. What you miss is the Rupert and FOX reach WAY more people than 9/11 ever will. For that reason alone, it is worth doing somthing about it. http://www.foxblocker.com

Will said...

Hah, we've downgraded to Comcast's limited basic so I am no longer even paying for the FOX News Channel. Seems like it's too premium for basic cable.