With the advent of the FOX News Network, and I do use the term ‘News” loosely, there has been a lot of talk about how things have gone from bad to worse. Especially considering that FOX has a tendency to cleanse things to their liking to prove their point. This is hardly new information. And, FOX is not the first of the so-called “conservative” networks on TV and Radio that are guilty of this.
It is not unheard of that both sides are trying to cherry pick the points they want to expose. It is very easy to take a quote, pick out the parts you like or dislike, and make those small points out to be major problems. When this type of reporting is done, that leads to misinformation rather than informing the public. I admit that both sides are guilty of such practices. However, the length that FOX goes in this is remarkable considering that they not only cherry pick the points they want to make, they then demonize anyone who points out that is what they are doing.
But, FOX is not the leader in this either. Limbaugh has been lying to his listeners since Reagan did away with the policy of allowing opposing views on any news point. It used to be that if Limbaugh said something that another group disagreed with, his network was required by law to air an opposing view on the same topic. Reagan did away with that law, and the lying moved to new heights.
Throughout the past elections, there has been talk about the public being uninformed. There is a lot of talk about low informed people going to the polls and basically voting against their own interests. An example are white poor people who continuously vote for politicians who want to take away the very social safety nets these poor people depend upon. They vote for these politicians against their own interests because the politicians tell them that their plight is the fault of those “other” people. And, that is what the poor white people want to hear.
This leads us to the mess in Ferguson, MO. As I have written before, I am opposed to the violence that has occurred there. Looting and rioting is not the answer to the shooting and killing of a black man who was unarmed. However, the nice people at FOX seem, at least to me, to want this incident to continue. It is my opinion that they are helping to foster the atmosphere that usually leads to trouble.
Many of the FOX “reporters” and pundits are making statements like the victim may have deserved to be killed. They are leaning towards their opinion that the police can never act badly and that the shooting was justified. Instead of reporting on the facts of the case, they are more interested in reporting that the New Black Panther Party has a couple of their members there. As if that makes everything the police have done and are doing justified.
When the Ferguson Police released a security video showing a man who looks like the victim robbing a store of a box of cigars, FOX went on the rampage basically saying “see, he isn’t innocent.” It was much later that the Ferguson police stated that the officer involved in the shooting was unaware that Brown may have been a suspect in the robbery. FOX did not back off though. They are still saying that the shooting may have been justified.
They keep bringing up the fact that Al Sharpton is in the area. They keep bringing up that people like Louis Farrakhan have made comments against the shooting. They keep bringing up that the New Black Panthers have people there. They even go so far as saying that the reporters who were arrested in a McDonalds deserved to be arrested. Their argument is that they did not “obey” the police order quickly enough or that videoing them in the restaurant provoked the police. For a network that claims to be a “News” network, that is a remarkable thing to say.
This is a perfect example of how so-called news reporters can lie and mislead the viewers into believing something based on totally unrelated information. Rather that reporting the facts, they look for side stories that show the victim is the one to be blamed. They are actually using the defense too often used by rapists and their lawyers. The victim wanted or deserved what happened to them.
However, when the “offended” person is white, they call them patriots. Remember Cliven Bundy? Here is a freeloader who owes the government about a million dollars for illegally grazing his cattle on government land, and FOX called him a patriot. Worse, the man in the picture lying flat on the ground of an overpass behind concrete barriers pointing a high-powered rifle at Federal Agents, they call a patriot. The difference in these cases is that in the second, the government was acting on court orders. Yet, the criminal was a patriot. In the first case, a young black man was shot and killed by a white officer. That makes the victim not a patriot, but a criminal who deserved what he got.
When people hear lies enough, they begin to believe them. When people already believe that Brown was guilty of something, then the lies are even easier to swallow. FOX news plays to the hate and bigotry that already exists. I won’t go so far as to say they make things up, but they do emphasize the points to justify the bigoted beliefs that the victim was wrong.
It used to be that “fair and balanced” meant that all sides of a story would be explored. That the truth, no matter what it turned out to be was the primary focus of news reporting. That meant that all sides of a story had to be reported. FOX News has perverted that phrase of “fair and balanced.” They have made it to be whatever they deem to be fair, and balanced has nothing to do with reporting the news.
I don’t agree that most Americans are low informed. I do believe that they are misinformed on purpose for political points. That is not reporting, it is propaganda.