Watchdog Blog

Barry Sussman: Ridiculing Fox News

Posted at 1:02 pm, December 18th, 2010
Barry Sussman Mug

How excellent it is that Media Matters for America devotes so much space to ridiculing Fox News. No group is more deserving. The individual stories are juicy, the news endless. Putting it all in one place is a public service. It won’t stop Murdoch and Ailes as they go about dumbing down America, but – who knows – maybe it’ll embarrass their families a little.

A recent episode involves a climate change email sent by Fox Washington M.E. William Sammon instructing news reporters to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.”

In a Media Matters column, Sarah Pavlus quotes a source who says the push to the right from Sammon is not just to slant news, but to do it “in a more brutish way.”

As Pavlus puts it, “The problem, of course, is not just that the reporting on Fox News is wildly dishonest – after all, a supermarket tabloid can be wildly dishonest, too – it’s that the lies and smears on Fox News have very real policy implications.”

That’s the problem, all right: Fox News is truly comical, but it’s also deadly serious.

9 Responses to “Ridiculing Fox News”

  1. John Whitaker, MD says:

    I am amazed. Do you honestly believe Bill O’Reilly, Juan Williams, Britt Hume, Megan Kelly, Andrew Napolitano, Greta van Susteren, etc are “dumbing down America!?” You must have an awfully inflated opinion of yourself and most of the population!

  2. Larry Croft says:

    Could be but, as an extreme conservative, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Fox fan.

    Whee, life is great!

  3. Larry Croft says:

    Just a post to correct my website address given on the 2:48 pm post.

  4. Keenan says:

    Dr. Whitacker,
    The author didn’t say the speakers and news readers are stupid – he implied that they are venal for pandering, lying, exaggerating, and parsing things to a point where they can ridiculed, far removed from the intent or truth.
    Several studies showed that Fox viewers are more poorly informed than the general audience – they self-selected and they everyone was questioned.
    I believe that by not telling the truth and slanting everything in anti-intellectual, anti-science, and ultra-conservative phrasing that Fox News leaves its audience less informed, angry, and more biased than they would otherwise be.
    People who listen only or primarily to Fox want their personal opinions validated – “they say it on Fox and see, I was right!”
    Holding conservative opinions shouldn’t require conservative facts – we should share the same facts and then talk about where we should go from here. Unfortunately, Fox creates a false reality when it finds the facts unpleasant or contradictory with their views.
    Very sad, and I don’t know where we go from here.

  5. LAA says:

    And when you think of intelligence in the media, you think of Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews and Rachael Maddow? Give us a break. Your using the oldest trick ever employed by the incompetent. When you can’t beat your competition, try to discredit them. Sorry, considering Fox’s ratings….. it isn’t working.

  6. Larry Croft says:

    To Keenan:

    You said: Several studies showed that Fox viewers are more poorly informed than the general audience. . .
    Bet you won’t reply with names.

    You also said: People who listen only or primarily to Fox want their personal opinions validated – “they say it on Fox and see, I was right!” My response: You got me figured out.

  7. jeff says:

    The network’s Family Channel, which promoted family-friendly entertainment, was spun off in 1990 to International Family Entertainment Inc., led by Pat Robertson and his son Tim. In 1997, that company was sold for $1.9 billion to Fox Kids Worldwide Inc., which later sold it to the Disney Co.

    I attended Junior High School with Pat Robertson’s son Tim.

    Now I understand why Pat hired former U.S. Attorney General John Ahcroft.

    And it wasn’t to teach government and law at Regent.

  8. bughunter says:

    @LAA: You project your own fanatic devotion to a single media source upon the audience of MSNBC, where in fact there is no such phenomenon.

    I talk to a lot of “progressives,” “liberals,” and even a few “socialists,” and none of them are fanatically devoted to any one. But, in typical conservative fashion you are unable to imagine motives or methods other than your own, so liberals are in lockstep devotion to an empty demagogue.

    When, in fact, the lack of coordination and leadership is a flaw of the left; it’s like a herd of cats. It’s been the chief failing of the left for the past 40 years, in fact.

    Most of the liberals I know find KO tiresome, even though he is usually factually accurate, and critical of O as much as he was of W. They find Maddow intellectually appealing but wish she would be less snarky. They find Moore just embarrasing; his theses are correct but he uses very bad form to support them. But we do still watch, mainly just to see the rare alternative viewpoint made in mainstream media.

    And Chris Matthews a lefty? Yougottabekiddinme. Is Matthews the new boundary between center and left?

    Next you’re gonna be telling me that Megan McArdle is liberal.

  9. Jack says:

    Fox News and the News Corp in general publish material that suits the biases of their readership. That has nothiing to do with publication of facts. Most of the material on Fox News’s various cable stations is not news, but rather it is news “analysis”. The bias of the analysis is apparent in the total lack of divergence from one Fox opinionator to another. They all cast the same line. MSNBC is not a perfect answer, but is certainly far more fact based than is Fox News. If the worst that can be said aboout Maddow is that she is a bit too snarky, that’s not too bad. I’d describe her as vehement rather than snarky. Check out what she reports and it’s accurate. When she gives an opinion it is based on factual information that she lays out plainly. There is no evidence of deception or slant. Yes, Maddow has an opinion that is liberal in its perspective. All the better. At least she’s not fawning over some too rich supporter or advertiser.

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