Faux News

Part 5 of 6 in the series Big Lie

The Big Lie (German: Große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” — Wikipedia

Deesillustration.com

“As audiences come to expect fast-paced, visually exciting programs, they will begin to find issue-oriented public-affairs and news programs dull,” notes Neil Postman in Conscientious Objections:

To compete with entertainment programs, news and public-affairs programs will become more visual and more personality-oriented. As a result, there will be a decline in the public’s capacity to understand and discuss events and issues in a serious way.1

The effect on political life will be devastating. There will be less emphasis on issues, substance, and ideology, an increase in the importance of image and style. Politicians will have greater concern for moment-to-moment shifts in public opinion, less concern for long-range policies. Unless the used of television for political campaigns is strictly prohibited, elections may be decided by which party spends more on television and media consultants.2

Bernard Goldberg in his book Bias describes the world of televised news as series of smoke and mirrors:

Most of the time television is nothing more than a diversion – proof, as the old quip goes, that we would rather do anything than talk to each other. We’d also rather watch a bad sitcom than read a good book. Bad sitcoms get millions of viewers; good books get thousands. In an “entertainment culture,” even the news is entertainment. Certainly too much local news has been pure fluff for some time now, with their Ken and Barbie anchors who have nothing intelligent to say but look great while they’re saying it. And because network news is losing viewers every year, executives and producers are trying to figure out ways to hold on to the ones they still have. They think cosmetics will work, so they change the anchor desk or they change the graphics. They the anchor to stand instead of sit. They feature more “news you can use.” 3

If arrogance were a crime, there wouldn’t be enough jail cells in the entire United States to hold all the people in TV news.4

“In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States,” writes Mike Gaddy. The case was regarding:

a story about bovine growth hormone (BGH), a controversial substance manufactured by Monsanto Corporation,… revealing that there were many health risks related to BGH and that Florida supermarket chains did little to avoid selling milk from cows treated with the hormone, despite assuring customers otherwise.… Fox executives and their attorneys wanted the reporters to use statements from Monsanto representatives that the reporters knew were false and to make other revisions to the story that were in direct conflict with the facts. Fox editors then tried to force [the reporters] to continue to produce the distorted story. When they refused and threatened to report Fox’s actions to the FCC, they were both fired. (Project Censored #12 1997)…

FOX appealed the case, and on February 14, 2003 the Florida Second District Court of Appeals…[ruled that reporting] the station’s actions to the FCC did not deserve protection under Florida’s whistle blower statute, because Florida’s whistle blower law states that an employer must violate an adopted “law, rule, or regulation.” In a stunningly narrow interpretation of FCC rules, the Florida Appeals court claimed that the FCC policy against falsification of the news does not rise to the level of a “law, rule, or regulation,” it was simply a “policy.” Therefore, it is up to the station whether or not it wants to report honestly.5

FOX News map with Iraq mislabeled as Egypt

FOX News map with Iraq mislabeled as Egypt

“A former Fox News employee… [who] agreed to talk with Media Matters confirmed… that Fox News is run as a purely partisan operation, virtually every news story is actively spun by the staff, its primary goal is to prop up Republicans and knock down Democrats, and that staffers at Fox News routinely operate without the slightest regard for fairness or fact checking,” notes Eric Boehlert:

It’s clear that Fox News has become a misleading, partisan outlet. But here’s what the source stresses: Fox News is designed to mislead its viewers and designed to engage in a purely political enterprise.

In 2010, all sorts of evidence tumbled out to confirm that fact, like the recently leaked emails from inside Fox News, in which a top editor instructed his newsroom staffers (not just the opinion show hosts) to slant the news when reporting on key stories such as climate change and health care reform.

Meanwhile, Media Matters revealed that during the 2009-2010 election cycle, dozens of Fox News personalities endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or organizations in more than 600 instances. And in terms of free TV airtime that Fox News handed over to GOP hopefuls, Media Matters calculated the channel essentially donated $55 million worth of airtime to Republican presidential hopefuls last year who also collect Fox News paychecks.6

Notes Glenn P. Hastedt in American Foreign Policy: Past, Present, and Future, “conservative Republicans tend to watch Fox News and liberal Democrats tend to watch CNN or MSNBC.” 7

The sources on which the people relied for information about the war [in Iraq] played a major role in explaining [their perception of events]. Fox was the news source for those who had the most misperceptions, while NPR listeners held the fewest misperceptions.… For those members of the public who are not very attentive to foreign affairs, exposure to soft news coverage of international events such as that provided by talk shows had a much greater impact on their thinking than did hard news coverage, and these individuals tended to hold isolationist attitudes [Matthew Baum, “Circling the Wagons: Soft News and Isolationism in American Public Opinion,” International Studies Quarterly, 48 (2004), 313-338].8

Real eyes realize real lies
Real eyes realize real lies

“Canadian regulators announced [in February 2011] they would reject efforts by Canada’s right-wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to repeal a law that forbids lying on broadcast news,” writes Robert F. Kennedy Jr.:

Canada’s Radio Act requires that “a licenser may not broadcast… any false or misleading news.” The provision has kept Fox News and right-wing talk radio out of Canada and helped make Canada a model for liberal democracy and freedom. As a result of that law, Canadians enjoy high quality news coverage, including the kind of foreign affairs and investigative journalism that flourished in this country before Ronald Reagan abolished the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987.9

A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll conducted in October 2011 found that “Fox News viewers in the U.S. are less informed than those who watch nothing at all.” Dan Cassino, an assistant political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson and analyst for the PublicMind, “blamed the network’s ideological bent for depriving its viewers of current events that would keep them informed of what is going on in the world and the United States.”

“Ideological media isn’t even getting the basic facts down, so it’s hard to understand what the function is,” Cassino said. “The profit motive really is killing a lot of these best news sources.” 10


Sources

1 Neil Postman, Conscientious Objections: Stirring up Trouble about Language, Technology, and Education (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1988), pp. 110-111.

2 Ibid., p. 112.

3 Bernard Goldberg, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News (Washington, DC: Perennial, 2002, 2003), p. 201.

4 Ibid., p. 185.

5 Mike Gaddy, “The Media Can Legally Lie,” lewrockwell.com, at http://www.relfe.com/media_can_legally_lie.html (retrieved: 14 January 2012).

6 Eric Boehlert, “FOX NEWS INSIDER: ‘Stuff Is Just Made Up’,” Media Matters, 10 February 2011, at http://mediamatters.org/blog/201102100007 (retrieved: 14 January 2012).

7 Glenn P. Hastedt, American Foreign Policy: Past, Present, and Future, Tenth Edition (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), p. 135.

8 Ibidem, pp. 111-112.

9 Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., “Fox News’ Lies Keep Them Out of Canada,” Media With Conscience (MWC) News, 2 March 2011, at http://mwcnews.net/focus/politics/9037-fox-news-lies-keep-them-out-of-canada.html (retrieved: 14 January 2012).

10 Richard J. Brennan, “Fox News leaves viewers ignorant,” thestar.com, 22 November 2011, at http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1090791 (retrieved: 8 February 2012).

See also

“Healthcare ruling: CNN and Fox News report wrong decision,” The Guardian, 28 June 2012, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/us-news-blog/2012/jun/28/healthcare-ruling-cnn-wrong-decision?newsfeed=true (retrieved: 28 June 2012).

“CNN and Fox News Botch Report on Supreme Court Health Care Mandate,” thefw.com, 28 June 2012, (retrieved: 28 June 2012).

foxnewslies.net (retrieved: 14 January 2012).

“Danish TV Uses Assassin’s Creed Screenshot To Illustrate Syrian Crisis,” Huffington Post UK, 11 March 2013, at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/11/danish-tv-uses-assassins-creed-syria_n_2852558.html (retrieved: 13 April 2013).

Related videos

“FOX News- incompetent or ignorant?” boredjoewo video at YouTube.com, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNU4Zohho_k (retrieved: 8 February 2012). (Watch it here)

“Exposed: How Fox News Lies With Statistics,” David Pakman Show video at YouTube.com, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7EvBxRYNME (retrieved: 6 June 2014). (Show video)

“FOX NEWS DOESN’T LIE? HA! LIES EXPOSED.,” magx01 video at YouTube.com, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAsDBP6EwKo (retrieved: February 2012). (Watch it here)

“Fox News Kills Monsanto Milk Story,” lokkness video at YouTube.com, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axU9ngbTxKw (retrieved: March 2012). (Watch it here)

“CNN Gets Supreme Court Ruling Wrong,” video at 5min.com, http://www.5min.com/Video/CNN-Gets-Supreme-Court-Ruling-Wrong-517406831 (retrieved: 28 June 2012). (Watch it here)

“Fox News Gets Supreme Court Ruling Wrong,” video at 5min.com, http://www.5min.com/Video/Fox-News-Gets-Supreme-Court-Ruling-Wrong-517406870 (retrieved: 28 June 2012). (Watch it here)

“Outfoxed: Fox News technique: ‘some people say’,” bravenewfilms video at YouTube.com, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYA9ufivbDw (retrieved: 10 September 2012). (Watch it here)

“¡ TchKunG ! – Picture of the Riot Zone,” Kevin Crosby video at YouTube.com, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRh7JaWL6TA (retrieved: 25 November 2012). (Watch it here)

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