Friday, August 27, 2010

FOX News is more entertainment than news

Admittedly, this is a pretty uninformed statement because I really never watch FOX news. But on occasion I do watch Jon Stewart who spends a lot of time making fun of FOX news. Consider this clip, where Stewart points out the hypocrisy of FOX news condemning the Kingdom Foundation for funding the Imam of the controversial mosque, the same foundation by the way who is a part owner of FOX news:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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So, Jon Stewart's humor driven narrative is often to make fun of Fox's "fear driven narrative". And Stewart often doesn't play very fair in order to tell his joke. He'll cut clips out of context and present only his point of view. But his larger agenda is to entertain, to get a laugh. He does it largely within a context of a left-biased political point of view, granted. But if Stewart's not funny, he won't keep his audience.

I feel like FOX is doing something similar. There objective is to not to be objective nor is it really to really inform. Their real agenda is to entertain and to keep their ratings high. They found that if they peddle fear and inspire anger, they keep their audience. It gets ratings and its entertaining for many people. And just like Jon Stewart this kind of entertainment should be more or less harmless if people realize that neither FOX news nor Jon Stewart can be counted on for objective investigative reporting. Use FOX news as a way to entertain, but find other avenues to stay informed. Similarly, Jon Stewart is obviously not a substantive news source.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid there are many people who use Jon Stewart as their sole news source (I've heard that anyway). More sinister, FOX news portrays themselves as a serious journalism when they actually peddle entertainment. Nobody should consider FOX news as serious journalism and definitely be sure to find other ways to keep informed.


Sean Elcock said...

Scott, I agree with the spirit of this post. FOX News is in the mass media business, and they do seem to pander to their audience. The same is true for the other side of the left/right spectrum.

Whether it's FOX News, CBS, CNN, or whatever, there will be some truth and some slant. Different opinions will exist about the amounts of truth vs. slant depending on our own views. This is also true of smaller media outlets and blogs, as these might tend to shout or overexaggerate in an attempt to get attention.

I think the key is: can a person partake of media and discern what is there? This post lays bare the idea that in order to be free and prosperous, we must be able to see through the propoganda and discern truth for ourselves.

The Turley Times said...

Sean, I agree that CBS and CNN and other news sources have their biases and slants. But I think what FOX news does is worse from an investigative journalism point of view anyway. Maybe their more on par with a Michael Moore or Keith Olbermann. Entertaining for some people, but not trustworthy and in some ways, purposely misleading.

I think the difference is FOX news has a political agenda first and foremost (their real agenda is to make money and they serve a viewership that really just wants their opinions validated largely), and so they crank up the fear and the anger to serve that agenda.

Honestly, I hardly consume CBS or CNN anymore, but a news source I do consume is NPR and on "Fresh Air" recently, there was this moving interview with

That show is admittedly biased slightly left, but a recent episode really highlites my point. They had a program where they talk about this man who was jailed for drug possession and dealing, but they go into his background:

- His mother was murdered by his father. He was named after his father by the way.

- He was trying to make it by revitalizing delapidated rentals in Mississippi until Katrina hit and then he was wiped out. On top of that he was forced to pay taxes on property that was now worthless.

- In desperation and in a moment of weakness he agreed to transport some drugs for a friend of his for some cash.

The second time he did so, he was caught.

The story, by the way, is told through the eyes of his sister, a poet and university professor who explains why she had advantages that he didn't.

Its a moving story.

So, yes, its slanted left because it presents a point of view that would bias a person against harsh prison sentences for drug offenses.

But its also serious journalism. If FOX news tried harder to become a right wing response to NPR, I would pay much more attention and we would all be better served.

So, I think we largely agree, but I just want to point out that based on my understanding (as limited as it is because I never really watch news on tv anymore), I believe CNN and CBS is doing better, more objective work than FOX right now.