We’ve been onboard our ship for eight days, and it has been delightful; the sole complaint I have is that our only option for television news is Fox. (This may have something to do with the average age of the passengers, which looks to be somewhere around the mid-eighties, just barely older than the average age of Fox’s audience.)
At home, I almost never watch Fox. I see Jon Stewart’s clips and I read about some of the more outrageous and/or embarrassingly wrong reports that periodically become a topic of broader discussion, but this has been the first time I’ve been exposed to extended “real time” broadcasts.
It’s even worse than I thought.
Earlier today, during a discussion about the (genuine, troubling) IRS scandal, one blond “newscaster” turned to another and said the problem stemmed from the fact that President Obama has total power—“there are no mechanisms to keep him from doing whatever he wants. There has never been such a powerful chief executive.”
I am not making this up.
Blond bimbo evidently never heard of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, the Senate filibuster, Mitch McConnell, the Party of No….
Yesterday, there was a roundtable of some sort about Benghazi. I listened for a good ten minutes in an effort to figure out precisely what the participants believed the “scandal” was. What, exactly, do they think is being covered up? What misdeeds are suspected? What is it that they are insisting is “worse than Watergate?” Not a clue. But one of the hosts signed off the segment by saying “You’ll only hear about Benghazi on Fox, because all the other media are covering for the Obama Administration.”
Perhaps “all the other media” are hamstrung by that old-fashioned journalism practice called verification—the quaint notion that reporting requires demonstrable facts and that in the absence of anything remotely resembling evidence, responsible news organizations don’t manufacture and air stories, no matter how ideologically satisfying such stories might be.
A research project a year or so ago found that people who got most of their news from Fox knew less than people who didn’t follow the news at all.
I believe it.