I live about five miles from Speaker John Boehner’s West Chester residence. As you might imagine it is a very conservative community. The news outlet of choice around here is FOXNEWS. If you walk into any home or business you will in all likelihood find FOXNEWS providing background noise for the day’s activities. Most of my friends and family members have made FOXNEWS their news outlet of choice. So it is with some amount of trepidation that I write this posting.
It is my personal belief that the misinformation coming out of FOXNEWS has had a detrimental effect on the Republican Party, the conservative movement and the country. For too long I have nodded my head in polite agreement as I listened to friends and family parrot what I know to be the factual misrepresentations coming out of the FOX cable news channel. Well, enough is enough.
So to all those advocates of the FOXNEWS network…this blog is for you.
FOXNEWS viewers are uninformed. That is not just my personal opinion. ABC, NBC, CBS and PEW all conducted surveys to determine viewer preferences for current events. They each asked focus groups a series of questions about civics and current news topics. They also asked the participants to provide their primary source for news and information. Across the board, the most uninformed of all the groups surveyed was the group of participants that sited FOXNEWS as their primary source for news and information. The results are not surprising, especially given the personalities that FOXNEWS hires as paid contributors.
FOXNEWS hired Sarah Palin as a political expert. FOXNEWS viewers believe that Ms. Palin is qualified to serve as president. This is a woman who quit her governorship, doesn’t read and according to her campaign SUPPORTERS preferred Bloomingdales to briefing books.
FOXNEWS gave us Dick Morris as polling expert and campaign guru. Morris is the guy who on the morning of the election predicted that Romney would defeat Obama in a landslide.
FOXNEWS hired Carl Rove to handicap the election. Rove raised hundreds of millions of dollars in support of candidates that the American people rejected. On election night Rove embarrassingly refused to call Ohio and the election for Obama when every other major news outlet…including the pollsters at FOXNEWS…had already made the announcement.
FOXNEWS hired Glenn Beck. Enough said!
FOXNEWS supports candidates like Todd Akin, Sharon Engle and Christine O’Donnell. Candidates no more qualified to serve nor capable of winning and election than I am.
Viewers of FOXNEWS slurp at the tough and parrot the talking points. But their actions often tell a different story.
Viewers of FOXNEWS typically support the Tea Party. Fair enough! They can be found at Tea Party rallies bearing signs that say “KEEP YOUR GOD DAMN GOVERNMENT HANDS OFF MY MEDICARE!”
Viewers of FOXNEWS hate the president and bemoan the size of government. Then they drive on federally paved highways, send their kids to government funded public schools, buy food protected by the FDA and breathe air protected by the EPA. I could go on but you get the picture.
FOXNEWS complains about the government meddling in people’s lives. Palin likes to chime in here and talk about freedom and liberty. Viewers applaud and parrot the talking points. Then they support laws that tell taxpaying citizens who they can love, who they can and cannot marry, when they can and cannot vote; all while restricting access to legal women’s health services.
FOXNEWS likes to talk about the “takers.” These are the people who dare to access the social safety net. The 47% who FOX says are happy to live on the government dole. Viewers applaud and parrot the talking points. Then they stand in line to collect their unemployment benefits and use emergency rooms and Medicaid to tend to their health care needs.
FOXNEWS supports the NRA. Fair enough! Viewers proclaim their right to bear arms. “If you take away my gun you take away my liberty.” Another talking point! They bemoan the tragic mass shootings at places like Columbine and Sandy Hook. Then they block every attempt to pass sensible gun laws to curb the violence.
FOXNEWS portrays Ronald Reagan as the godfather of conservatism. Viewers nod in agreement. Reagan raised taxes nine times in his eight years in office.
FOXNEWS portrays Republicans as sober fiscal conservatives and Democrats as lavish spenders. Viewers parrot the party line. History tells us that deficits typically shrink under Democrat presidents and increase under Republican leadership. Clinton balanced the budget. Bush 43 left office with a $5 trillion deficit. Wars can be expensive.
Speaking of wars…FOXNEWS portrays Republicans as warriors and Democrats as weak and feckless. Viewers agree! Bush sent the full force of the US military after bin Laden and failed. Obama got him with a handful of Navy Seals.
FOXNEWS rips Obama and the intelligence agencies for violating Americans’ privacy. “Hacking our emails and tapping our phone logs is a violation of our basic freedoms” they say. Viewers parrot the talking points. Yet FOXNEWS and its audience had no problem with Bush signing the Patriot Act into law. The Patriot Act is the very cornerstone on which the current eavesdropping procedures are based.
FOXNEWS likes to tell its viewers that we are a nation of laws. Viewers enthusiastically nod in agreement. Talking points to follow. But they look the other way when we violate the Geneva Convention by water boarding detainees. And they are silent on the topic of due process when we hold detainees at Guantanamo indefinitely without filing charges. Sarah Palin attends an NRA Convention where she defends water boarding and proclaims “If I were in charge, they would know that water boarding is how we baptize terrorists.” In one sentence Palin offends law abiding Americans, Muslims and the religious community. Viewers give her a standing ovation.
Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion. But if you are going to voice your opinion, then at least make it an informed opinion. Check out another news outlet to get a different slant on the issues. ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS the Cartoon Network…I don’t care. Listen to opposing views and then make up your own mind rather than allow one news outlet to make it for you.
FOXNEWS likes to say they are “Fair and Balanced” in their reporting. Roger Ailes says that FOXNEWS was specifically launched to provide a counterbalance to the left leaning reporting coming out of MSNBC.
If you watch FOXNEWS and you don’t know who Roger Ailes is…then you are truly uninformed.