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Fox News Reports, Fox News Decides

August 22nd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

You’ve probably heard the news already:

WASHINGTON — With Republicans hoping to recapture a number of statehouses in November, the media conglomerate headed by Rupert Murdoch is inserting itself into the races in bold fashion with a $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association.

Yes, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which owns Fox News as well a few print outlets, has given a million dollars to help republicans get elected. This completely contradicts the whole “Fair and Balanced” façade that Fox News has been trumpeting since its inception to great effect. People who watch Fox News religiously actually believe that it’s not conservative propaganda, that it really provides a balanced political perspective. Repeat a lie often enough and people will believe it.

To keep up the façade, News Corp. needs an excuse:

But News Corporation executives said the political priorities at the Republican Governors Association and its emphasis on low taxes and economic growth dovetailed with the company’s own concerns. “News Corp. has always believed in the power of free markets, and organizations like the R.G.A., which have a pro-business agenda, support our priorities at this most critical time for our economy,” said Jack Horner, a company spokesman.

Right—it’s not that you support one political party over another, it’s that you support one political party’s agenda over the other. Nuance, people.

I can just imagine the Fox News people saying, “Look, we’re perfectly willing to report favorably on democrats, but only if they push for policies we like.” See—fair and balanced.

What Fox News and its audience don’t seem to understand is that to actually be “balanced” you have to give equal treatment to different perspectives, not just different parties. If you give the perspective from the Republican Party and then the perspective from the Democratic Party, that’s not balance—especially because there are so many people to the left of the Democratic Party in this country because that party has moved so close to the center. The same can’t be said for the Republican Party anymore, as Fox News has pushed it to the right-wing fringe.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. It’s a free country and we believe in freedom of speech. If you can make a lot of money by presenting the news through a conservative-tilted lens, then go ahead and have at it.

Just don’t pretend that you’re fair and balanced. Don’t repeat the bullshit “We report, you decide” lie over and over again when you know damned well that you’ve already decided long before you report.

If you get all of your news from Fox News, fine. That’s great. I hope you enjoy it. Just don’t act like you’re well-informed or that you have a balanced perspective. All you’re doing is reinforcing the opinions you already have, and maybe that’s what you’re after. Maybe you have no interest in trying to look at things differently. All I ask is that you admit it, and recognize how that makes your opinion less legitimate than those of us who really do have an open mind.

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