Thursday, March 29, 2007

How the Fox Hounds Us!

So we've all heard it. "Fox News: Unfair and Unbalanced" pretty much says it all. But as someone who has never really watched the Fox News channel before this morning, I was still surprised at the sheer gall and partisanship of their anchors. If you've never watched, please do - whatever your political persuasion, you will be surprised (and possibly pleased) at the blatant right-leanings of their cast.

Tuning in this morning, I heard a commentator rant about the rampant anti-American Marxism of a couple of Seattle school teachers because they banned legos for a brief period as part of a lesson plan, and then the remark that "San Francisco has banned plastic shopping well as common sense." This was all in 2 minutes, before I changed the station.

Despite the suggestions of its slogans, including, "We Report. You Decide," Fox News is clearly unconcerned with an even-handed approach to the news. This would be fine, if not for the aforementioned war cries. Whatever you have to say about left or right biases elsewhere, in other media outlets, most other major outlets either clearly state their intentions, or else cover up their leanings with a bit more panache than Fox seems capable of mustering. I don't think they even have journalists working there. They have anchors, pundits, commentators, columnists, "fans," and spin doctors, but journalists? I don't think that's their business.

Let's run some quick comparisons here. I'll compare the Fox News website to a couple other major outlets, with similar presentations. Both CNN and the BBC are global news sources with television channels to supplement. On the main news pages for each of these sites, what do we see?

1) On the BBC, we are greeted by the current top stories, spanning the entire globe - from the British-soldiers-in-Iran situation to a a Nigerian village burying victims of a tanker fire. There are 14 pictures in all, representing people, animals, maps and diagrams from all parts of the world.

2) On CNN, there seems to be less information, but equal in scope. The top story is one concerning a storm in middle America, and there is a long ticker of other top stories, with the international and other categories of news nearer the bottom of the page. Only 8 pictures here, including an ad for a TV special with Lou Dobbs.

3) Fox News gives us a headline concerning a former Gonzales aide who plans to defend him in court. A large picture next to it shows us our president, first lady, and Karl Rove (as well as comedian Colin Mochrie, of all people), dressed in evening wear, attending some formal dinner party. In total, there are 28 pictures, the vast majority of which show off the array of young, blonde women (the one exception is Lauren Green) and business-formal-dressed men that write for the outlet. These "columnist's" headlines? "Iran and the American left," "...liberal bloggers...spew hate...," and "...death of Anna Nicole's son."

BBC gives us news of its soldiers being held by Iran, CNN gives us news of a deadly domestic storm, and Fox gives us... conjecture on a court case and our president's night out? Is that even news?

Without beating this too far into the ground, allow me to share another fun section of the website. The subsections under the "World" heading, as opposed to the BBC and CNN's strict regional groupings, include such white-house-accommodating specifics as "Iraq," "Iran," "North Korea," "War on Terror," and, my personal favorite, "Colonel's Corner by Ollie North." My only guess is that, since no serious journalists want to run their credibility into the ground by writing for Fox News, they have to find a man so rife with integrity that he lied to Congress because he thought illegally supporting a foreign paramilitary group was a "neat idea."

NB: While researching (if you can call it that) this article (if you can call it that) I found this website whose name bears a similarity to the pre-ordained title of this entry (that's more accurate): - very entertaining.

Doctor's Note

Please excuse this blogger's absence as of late. He has been trapped beneath a fruit vendor's cart at the corner of Wilshire and Plymouth, in front of the Washington Mutual. He returns to you dirty, but well fed.