October 21, 2009

All the news that's fit to print

I've been catching up on the whole Faux News controversy brewed up this weekend by the White House apparently in an effort to start some sort of Jets/Sharks video showdown.
After going through the comments made by Emmanuel, Axelrod, Gibbs and others and the rebuttals from Ailes, van Susteren, and even Jake Tapper of ABC, I have to agree with Jason Linkins at Huffington Post:

What Fox sells now, essentially, is self-esteem. Having successfully defined themselves as the go-to source for the conservative base, Fox feeds those eyeballs with pure Soma, allowing their viewers to bliss out, have their worldview validated, and feel good about themselves. (What's really genius about this is that Fox News chairman Roger Ailes gives liberals exactly what they want, too: a source for consistent outrage that reinforces their worldview as well. No matter who you are, it's impossible to watch Fox News and not feel like your point of view is the right one!)
Really, I'm betraying my rabidly liberal leanings here, but who can watch this crap and think "fair and balanced"?? The "news" stories they pursue are petty at best and often deliberately malicious. They contain very little in the way of facts. Much of the reports are delivered and/or introduced with the vaguest references to sources.
Yes, MSNBC is almost obscenely left-leaning, but their news programming (as opposed to the maniacal tongue-tripping Olbermann) generally includes facts. And they don't spend inordinate amount of air time worrying over trivialities.
The reality is that all of our major news programs let us down. All national media is inherently a bully pulpit, but in the past, the NEWS was sacrosanct. When Murrow or Cronkite reported a story, there was no question that you were getting all the available facts and none of the reporter's (or station owner's) feelings. Whatever else NBC wanted you to think or do, the 30 minutes of the evening news was not part of it. And reporters in general knew their stuff. They had a grasp of the facts before an interview and when a subject said something questionable or misleading, a reporter --back then-- would call them on it.
Perhaps there's a reason Jon Stewart was selected as the most trusted man on the news.

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