Fox News: Fair Or Unbalanced?

Posted: August 31, 2010 in Culture, In the News, Politics, Religion
Tags: , , , , , , ,

We report, you comply.

It’s been said by some that Fox News is undeniably incompetent; useless, inept, stupid. Others believe that, hidden beneath their seemingly retarded and inflammatory exterior, is a deceitful agenda; lies, manipulation, evil. Are they truly “fair & balanced” with a hint of ignorance or are they really just a bunch of hypocrites in fancy suits?

When the controversy began over the proposed Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero, Fox News’ first weapon of choice in the debate was “feelings.”

Feelings

Setting aside the First Amendment, Bill O’Reilly made the following request on his O’Reilly Factor program on August 17th:

I would appeal to the Muslim community to take into account the feelings of the 9-11 families who would prefer that the mosque be built further away from Ground Zero.

So the initial, somewhat reasonably “fair & balanced” conclusion from the network was that sometimes feelings should be more important than upholding the Constitution. And in this case, I assume, they were referring to the upset or insult to the non-Muslims who died on September 11th.

Highlight Reel

Now the argument has turned into an ugly circus with overzealous anchors, xenophobic “experts,” and bigoted political leaders and protesters all implying – not so subtly – that the building would be a symbol of victory for extremists and could act as a terrorist headquarters (kinda like the Legion of Doom in Super Friends) in the middle of Manhattan. No more sensitive feelings apparently, just a fear-mongering battle to the death! Their new weapon of choice?

A highlighted card.

Fox News anchor and ignoramus, Eric Bollig. (Note to Gretchen Carlson: Try looking it up on dictionary.com next time sweetheart.)

On the August 19th edition of Fox & Friends, anchor Eric Bollig and his fellow analysts attempted to loosely tie (using mights, maybes, and possiblies) the leader of the effort to build the new Islamic center, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, with some bad dudes. Without a single brick laid or dollar raised on the project at this point, Bollig still waved his card, with a series of potential financial backers highlighted in yellow, saying that we need to “question the money trail.”

Fairly Unbalanced

At this point in the conversation, my conclusion would be that Fox News is less “fair & balanced” and more obnoxious and unprofessional. When shouldered with the responsibility of reporting news to the general population, you’d think they’d strive for truth and accuracy over speculative nonsense.

From what would happen next, I should’ve known better.

Six Degrees To Evil

Later that same evening, following trivial pursuit with Fox & Friends, in the opening segment of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, host Jon Stewart also played his own game of guilt by association. The piece, titled “Extremist Makeover – Homeland Edition,” used the same tactics as Bollig, however, this time the subject of the conspiracy was Fox News itself. The following is a rough translation of the segment from The Daily Show with my comments in ()s:

Rupert Murdoch owns Fox News. He definitely has ties to Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal who owns the second largest share of News Corp. (the media conglomerate behind Fox News, 20th Century Fox, The New York Post etc.) outside the Murdoch family – 7%, 2.5 billion dollars. Now they say he’s a liberal Muslim, but he is in the Saudi Royal Family which may have ties to funding the Wahhabist mosques, the same particular brand of Islam practiced by some of the terrorists. And he may have business dealings with the Carlyle Group whose clients include (in addition to George H. W. Bush) bin Laden family, one of whose sons – now obviously I’m not going to say which son – may be anti-American. […] (Also) after 9-11 Mayor Rudy Giuliani would not accept $10 million dollars from this same Prince Al-Waleed because he (Al-Waleed) had cited (the U.S.) mid-east policy as one of the reasons that we were attacked which is the same reason they (Fox) said that the Imam down at the Ground Zero mosque was a radical.

"So I think that really when you look at this card and you do highlight it in yellow the only thing you can come up with is, 'Is Fox News a terrorist command center?'”

Think that was bad? Now here’s where it gets really frightening.

Rupert Murdoch donated $1 million dollars to the Republican Party in June this year. Though mentioned on over a dozen media outlets, Fox failed to report Murdoch’s hefty political contribution.

Intentional?

Also, on August 23rd, Fox & Friends got more specific about Imam Rauf’s financial ties to terrorism by citing another potential backer for the “Ground Zero Mosque” in The Kingdom Foundation. They called the group, “a Saudi organization headed up by THE GUY who tried to give Rudy Giuliani $10 million dollars after 9-11 that was sent back.” Yes, Fox was referring to the same Prince Al-Waleed – part owner of Fox News and a man a handshake away from a hefty donation to the Republican Party – a terrorist. By the way, Fox failed to say his name or show his photograph during the segment.

Incompetence?

The Internet isn't lacking for villainous pictures of Al-Waleed bin Talal. Says Daily Show's Wyatt Cenac, "You don't even need to doctor them! He already looks like he's about to feed Timothy Dalton to his white tiger."

My Final Conclusion

Taking all of the above into account, I still honestly don’t know if Fox News is stupid. Their tactics and choices of weaponry, however (and let’s not forget Glenn Beck), certainly do make them appear, at the very least, intellectually challenged.

I’m not sure if Fox News – or the Republican Party by $1 million dollars worth of guilt by association – is evil either. Nevertheless, when they insist on selling fear over the facts and conveniently overlook their own hypocrisy – whether due to incompetence or intent – the only fair and balanced thing one might, maybe, possibly conclude should be:

Fox News: Fair & Balanced Bull Sh*t.

“I oppose the planned location of a mosque in close proximity to Ground Zero,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement released Saturday. “The concerns of the 9/11 victims’ families and the citizens of New York City should be respected.”
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Comments
  1. dylangreene says:

    Do not underestimate the power of the mainstream media.

    Currently six conglomerates own and run the mainstream media: GE, News Corp. (which owns Fox), Disney, Viacom, CBS, and Time Warner. This can be further divided into their respective subsidiaries.

    Throughout human history, the way you get people to hate their fellow man is to strip their target of human qualities; dehumanize the target. What we are seeing is a repetition of this.

    Is the media interested in killing off the Islamic faith specifically? Probably not, but they know this gives this lots of ratings. Sadly, people like Glenn Beck have large fingersnap armies. This issue is going to boil up over time….

  2. deepwellbridge says:

    That really pisses me off about the Muslim worker. People need chill a little before they think through their emotions and get themselves in trouble.

  3. deepwellbridge says:

    As a Christian conservative I have to say that I agree with everything you’ve written here. FOX is really pissing me off right now.

    I don’t understand what it is with my party. It’s like they have a fetish over certain benign issues that in its heart (And past all the emotional crap) really amount to nothing. Bill Clinton being impeached for lying about sleeping with a woman anyone? I mean if my party really cared about the morality of the president, maybe they shouldn’t expose so amoral a deed so that everyone’s kids know that the president cheats on his wife.

    Now this mosque thing. I’m a Christian but I have a good understanding that the constitution protecting my liberties as a Christian also protect the liberties of Muslims and Buddhist. I don’t like the mosque being built so close to ground zero but legally I can do nothing about it, nor should I! That way if I ever wish to turn my house into a church well, Mr. Joe down the road can only protest in a friendly manor and not send my ass to court.

    • natinanorton says:

      Thanks for the feedback! And you’re absolutely right about protecting the Constitution, regardless of personal beliefs. It’s not selectively applicable. The rights apply to everyone. Otherwise, what’s the point of having “freedom” if it’s always going to be subject to dissenting opinion? Funny how our freedom of speech and religion are both part of the First Amendment that way, eh? 🙂

      At the moment there are crazy people fighting on both sides of this issue. Fox News and CNN, Republicans and Democrats, Christians and Jews, Rational People and Glenn Beck… Actually, now that I think about it, the only side I’ve hardly heard any fevered debate from is Muslims. But then there’s so much fear, hate, and anti-Islamic sentiment right now who could blame them? A man working as a carpenter at the World Trade Center site was berated walking past a anti-mosque protest last week because he looked Muslim.

      When you feel forced to avoid exercising your freedom of speech, religion, or any other right because you’re afraid your fellow citizens will violently retaliate against you, that is terrorism.

      Natina

  4. mandymcadoo says:

    Fox News scares me. I don’t know if they say what they say because of incompetence or malice, and I don’t know which reason would scare me more.

    • natinanorton says:

      Could be a bit of both, just depends on which show or anchor you’re watching.

      Fox & Friends? Incompetent.
      Bill O’Reilly? Malicious A-Hole.
      Glenn Beck, Delusional.

      Takes all kinds to make a news network, eh? 🙂

      I’m curious if there was an internal memo instructing all reporters to never mention Murdoch’s Republican donation or bin Talal’s investment in the company, but either way, the truth will come out eventually. It always does… though at the moment, Murdoch has the power to decided what version people will hear. Scary stuff. Oh well. Until then, there’s always Out-Foxed!

      http://www.outfoxed.org/

      Natina

  5. Blake says:

    The New York – Mosque thing is so, so bad on so many levels. You’d think in 2010… I don’t know, this kind of ignorance… it’s just amazing. I mean, if anything you’d want to make a point of endorsing the erection of a Muslim facility in …New York as being a principalled stand against the theoretically unAmerican idea of religious persecution. This issue really brings to light that the veil is off, a huge number of American people directly relate Muslims to terrorism. This makes me so sad. It’s the opposite of the core principals the “new world” was founded on. By treating Muslems like they’re somehow “lesser Americans,” or in some way responsible for the acts of the 9/11 hijackers is the direct equivalent of blaming Christians for the most heinous actions of its congregation. By not embracing the vast American Muslim population that wants to contribute positively to society, we push them away from it. The war mongers win.

    The founding fathers would be rolling in their graves.

    If they weren’t dead…

    …like the 9/11 hijackers OH MY GOD THOMAS JEFFERSON WAS A TERRORIST.

    • natinanorton says:

      Well said, Blake.

      Hateful, irrational, and intolerant people. Our way is the only way. If you’re not with us you’re against us… Wait. I lost my train of thought. Was I talking about Islamic extremists or Americans?

      Actually, I shouldn’t generalize ALL Americans as evil, ignorant bigots. That would be silly and wrong. However, with 18% still believing INCORRECTLY that President Obama is a Muslim, and an estimated 87,000 people (or 500,000 gajillion if you ask Fox News) willing to listen to the self-important sermons of a Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin, it’s really embarrassing to be a citizen of this country right now. The world is watching and some fanaticals are making the rest of us look bad. Sound familiar?

      Love it or leave it? Until this whole idiocy blows over, consider my tickets book. 🙂

      Natina

  6. cala4lily says:

    You obviously could never work for Fox News because 1. you actually do some research 2. you are able to do some analytical thinking 3. you do not seem hypocritical enough and finally, 4. you do not jump to conclusions.

    Great post!

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