Thursday, April 23, 2015

Faux News

Not too many years ago, I watched a lot of Fox News. Now, living in Europe, I cannot get the channel. After having it on in the hotel room in Florida for a few minutes, I can state unequivocally that I'm glad it's not available in Europe.

The image that Europeans and others around the world have of Americans as arrogant bullies is bad enough without exposing them to the likes of Bill O'Reilly (pictured above), whose ratings are perenially the highest among cable newswatchers.

O'Reilly pretends that he's a journalist, but I've met a lot of legitimate journalists and Bill ain't no journo. He's no more than a pompous ass who panders to what he thinks his conservative-right audience wants to hear and will drive ratings. I'm surprised he hasn't had Marine Le Pen on his show as the potential savior of France; he'd position her as a modern Jean D'Arc.

If O'Reilly or Sean Hannity or any of the dozen bleached blondes who read the teleprompter on Fox has a guest with whom they disagree, they talk over them, denigrate their opinions, scream as if being louder makes them right, and then cut off the guest's microphone. I would suggest the Fox theme should be "Scare and Unbalance" because they demonize everyone who might have a different world view. The truly scary thing is that many of their viewers, who tend to be older, elderly, have no other source of information; it's a form of self-brainwashing. Fox are like televangelists in preying on the weak-minded, though the payoff is not in donations but in votes.

CNN is hardly better. Somewhat more liberal, maybe, but hard to tell with their wall-to-wall coverage of airline tragedies and immediately posting every new inane speculation about what might have happened ... only changing their coverage when the next air incident stirs Wolf Blitzer's juices.

Having been exposed to channels from all over the world, I now like to check multiple sources (thank you, D-L) before deciding for myself on a story's perspective: BBC, France24, RT, Al Jazeera. All so-called news sources have some built-in bias, even the grandfatherly Walter Cronkite, so watching only one will give you a skewed view. By sampling several sources, I can get more of a complete picture. It's the way I operate in my own journalistic writing research; why would I not follow the same principle in the news I receive?

Observing Fox from a different mindset now, it's easy for me to spot the underlying biases, the racism, and even the hidden political agendas (as compared with their more blatant political agendas). One of their agendas is clearly pushing the American war machine so the US budget will funnel more money to corporations which make drones and bombs.

There are a few things I miss about living in America. Fox News is not one of them.

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