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Foxing Up Saddam
February 4, 2003 4:00 PM   Subscribe

Is Fox News Giving "Aid & Comfort" to Saddam? Contributing money to the regime they hate so much - without disclosing it - seems to go against the grain of the flag-waving network. I don't think Barbara Streisand ever contributed any money to Baghdad... (via Electrolite)
posted by owillis (42 comments total)

 
Sounds like all the networks are paying for the privilege to be there. Why slam fox in particular?
posted by bitdamaged at 4:11 PM on February 4, 2003


Because they're the ones who trumpet their SuperAmericanness/demonization of agitators more than anyone else
posted by owillis at 4:13 PM on February 4, 2003


Probably because FOX is notoriously the most vocal in it's pro-war, pro-Bush, anti-everything else speech. Consequently, they are the most hypocritical, and the most deserving of criticism. I do agree that other companies deserve reprimand as well, if we are dishing it out.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:14 PM on February 4, 2003


Err. What owillis said. Damn you!
posted by lazaruslong at 4:14 PM on February 4, 2003


That's a two-edged sword. Either Fox (and everyone else...) goes to Iraq and covers the war, or they cede all war coverage to whatever the DoD wants to show 'em. Fox should have the same rights to cover the war as any other network, and shouldn't be targeted. Every now and then (not very often, but..) the people who work at Foxnews actually seem to think about what they're saying. It's an amazing and rare thing to see -- kind of like an eclipse or the aurora borealis.

Frankly, after the failure of the press to get access to cover the war in Afghanistan, I am glad there are reporters in Baghdad again -- freedom of the press is a more important issue than whether Saddam gets a bit of money off of war tourism. I just wish they didn't have to pay so much to do their jobs.

As for Saddam making money on the deal, well, so long as he's still blocked from spending it on prohibited goods, I'm not that concerned. In the long run, it probably won't matter much. After all, you can't take it with you...
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:20 PM on February 4, 2003


You're calling FOX hypocritical because Saddam extorts money from journalists? Pathetic...
posted by techgnollogic at 4:21 PM on February 4, 2003


Well, what else are they supposed to do? It's not like this money is going to let them win the war or anything.
posted by delmoi at 4:21 PM on February 4, 2003


No reason to get excited. The news andmedia in general has become Show Biz, and all rush in to make money. Besides, this "show" is like sex in marriage: get in fast, get out fast, and let someone else clean up the mess.
posted by Postroad at 4:22 PM on February 4, 2003


I have to say this is pretty much a troll, no offense Oliver. The fact is that while FOX is one of the more biased networks, in order to compete they have to pay for access, there is simply no other way. You can make political hay out of it, but at the end of the day it's a non story.

A bigger story is why all the networks are so flaccid, pale, and lame in their coverage of world affairs.
posted by cell divide at 4:22 PM on February 4, 2003


"I helped a bomber get a fake passport."

"I helped shoot policemen."

"It's not like I was hurting anybody else..."


CABLE MONEY SUPPORTS TERROR

WHEN YOU WATCH IT, YOU MIGHT TOO
posted by zekinskia at 4:23 PM on February 4, 2003


Saddam isn't claiming to be an unbiased journalist. He can extort whatever he wants from anyone. Those who pay it instantly lose objectivity unless they are up-front and honest about it. Period.
posted by luriete at 4:26 PM on February 4, 2003


So when a free news company doesn't say what you want, you accuse it of treason?
posted by techgnollogic at 4:28 PM on February 4, 2003


The fact is that while FOX is one of the more biased networks, in order to compete they have to pay for access, there is simply no other way.

but as owillis and others have already pointed out, what other news stations flout 'fair and balanced' and 'no spin' with so much vehemence? o'reilly has lately been going out of his way to bash CNN and other networks for misrepresentation. i say it's about time something like this report came out. a thousand million thanks owillis!
posted by poopy at 4:28 PM on February 4, 2003


I think the ever objective FOX news network is simply giving fair and balanced support to both bush AND saddam.
posted by mcsweetie at 4:36 PM on February 4, 2003


Let's see

(A) The website this is from is one that is dedicated to anti Bush and anti Fox adocacy, so the real headline is - "Partisan axe grinders find that their axe grinding is desperately needed to save foolish non-Bush-hating sheeplike Americans from their own evil"

(B) Even if true, it would be just as accurate to say that any other news org (including the author, it seems since he doesn't say otherwise) supports terror

(C) Also even if true, that money is what people call "Bribes". They are frequently paid to government officials throughout the world. Virtually no foreign journo operates in the third world without paying them - Iraq is just like the others in this respect.

In any case - try and get anything done in the middle east without paying bribes. I'd love to see it.

Sadly, this is just another troll. Maybe the poster got tired of posing as Elijah Wood on some other discussion boards?
posted by Jos Bleau at 4:40 PM on February 4, 2003


Whatever happened to Osama Bin...

nevermind

posted by larry_darrell at 4:44 PM on February 4, 2003


So that is to say that it is all right for the people from The New York Times, who are anti-war & anti-Bush, to pay Saddam?

This is a big old fat troll. Frankly, Oliver I thought you were above this kinda stuff....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:51 PM on February 4, 2003


Sorry, O-Dub...gotta agree with S@L and others...you're better than this post.
posted by davidmsc at 5:01 PM on February 4, 2003


I can see the need for this, but I would love to hear O'Rielly's spin on this.
posted by damnitkage at 5:20 PM on February 4, 2003


If you're going to make a post related to Iraq and the impending war, please reconsider...
posted by dash_slot- at 5:25 PM on February 4, 2003


I'm not accusing Fox of anything, I think the writer has a point in saying that Fox (and the other nets) should include the information that they're paying money to Saddam along with the standard issue "this report cleared by Iraqi censors". Our news media is complicit, they should at least admit their complicity.
posted by owillis at 5:29 PM on February 4, 2003


An opinion is not a spin. Not agreeing with an opinion does not make the person giving it a "spin doctor." Spin is twisting words and facts in an effort to change their meaning and context. O'reilly may be wrong, ignorant, simple or foolish on any number of topics, but he never fails to concisely offer his views in plain english. Calling this sort of thing spin, is, in itself, spin.
posted by cachilders at 5:29 PM on February 4, 2003


If you don't think O'Reilly is among the better spinners out there, you need to learn how to watch television critically. For one example, notice how O'Reilly's obsession with the coarsening of culture mostly extends to aggresive black male rappers? I watch his show, but roll my eyes at the "no spin zone" tomfoolery. That's as if Hassellhoff said people watch Baywatch for the complex story lines.
posted by owillis at 5:41 PM on February 4, 2003


or one example, notice how O'Reilly's obsession with the coarsening of culture mostly extends to aggresive black male rappers?

Oliver, that many be many things, but it is not "spin"....

Targeting FOX, out of all of the other news agencies in Iraq, calling them out for "Aid & Comfort" to Saddam, that is "spin"...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 5:55 PM on February 4, 2003


I'm just using their favorite line of rhetoric. I don't think any one of them gave true aid+comfort to Saddam. Our own government is a whole other ball of wax.
posted by owillis at 6:08 PM on February 4, 2003


I wonder which network gets that dramatic first shot of the anti-aircraft tracers over Baghdad. It's a guaranteed ratings bonanza!
posted by eddydamascene at 6:21 PM on February 4, 2003


owillis - my critical television viewing skills aren't the issue, my comments were quite specific to the nature of spin, which, as S@L points out, your point did nothing to undermine. As I said, opinion is not spin. Spin is quite specifically twisting and evading. O'Reilly is direct. As to my critical viewing skills, I think you may be making the common mistake of using your own world view as the fulcrum of the greater scale of merit. I disagree with the man on a number of points, but for the most part, I am able to evaluate his thoughts on a scale that is not adjusted by my personal politics. If this were not the case, I would be unable to even read MeFi, which seldom aligns to my point of view.

BTW, I agree that networks should disclose how they pay for influence and information, if not within the programs, at least on their websites. Otherwise all objectivity is at question.
posted by cachilders at 6:44 PM on February 4, 2003


I don't really think this issue is really specific to just Fox News, News Media, or any type of business. It's just a fact in the world (in whatever is happening) that a little money greases the wheels a quite a bit. It's just a part of human interaction. (Feel free to bash whichever network for talking whatever kind of shit as you may see fit...)
posted by stifford at 6:57 PM on February 4, 2003


i, for one, applaud owillis on bringing this issue up. everyone knows that FOXNEWS is biased (so is everyone) but i think there's a huge case to be made when 'the factor's' show - which loudly claims to be 'no-spin' - is found to be just as hypocritical as anyone else.

my mother (whom i love dearly) sees o'reilly as a legitimate news source and she receives her outlook of the world from him (in much the same way that bill himself demonizes the rap industry for infiltrating the minds of young teens). i believe that many other people are being misled by this so-called 'journalism' and that is what is so dangerous. he (and FOXNEWS IMO) is nothing more than an OP-ED piece but they cleverly disguise their [extreme] views with inane catch-phrases.

ever since i learned about o'reilly and started watching his show i've realized just how dangerous something like this is. not 'could be' but IS. everyone here might resort to more legitimate news sources but we have to realize that the general public is tuning into 'the o'reilly factor' and they are listening. and his message is sinking in.

everyone is biased, including the media, but one thing that i haven't seen from the other networks is a verbal assault on other news sources. o'reilly is the only one who has started bashing the other networks, trying to discredit them. maybe it's time they start fighting back.
posted by poopy at 8:02 PM on February 4, 2003


i really didn't want to make a day of arguing these points, but i think a line needs to be clarified here. The O'Reilly Factor is a news commentary show. It is not sold as hard news. This is no different than any other news commentary program, such as CNN's Hardball. The show is an Op-Ed piece, and is billed as such. CNN Headline News is a news gathering and reporting network. FOX News is almost entirely news commentary, with the exception of, i believe, two patently news programs and the news updates at the top and bottom of the hour. Talking about news is valid, no matter what your point of view is. So you don't agree with Bill O'Reilly, who cares, it doesn't mean he is degrading the merit of the news being reported outside of his program. To the danger of a viewpoint that isn't your own, all I can say is that all information is dangerous to somebody. That does not mean it is anyone's job to determine which dangers to which viewpoints are more valid than others.
posted by cachilders at 8:25 PM on February 4, 2003


All major news networks blow, to put it as crass as possible.

Case in point:


posted by lazaruslong at 9:21 PM on February 4, 2003


I don't have a problem with O'Reilly espousing his viewpoint (and calling it "no spin" when it isn't - even when I agree with his views).

My example of O'Reilly's spin is valid I believe because whether or not you feel rap is good/bad, it's the people O'Reilly singled out. O'Reilly's "spin" is that this is only something perpetrated by people like Ludacris/Eminem when Britney or Aguilera are just as bad (he railed against Pepsi hiring Ludacris, no problem with Aguilera shilling for Coke). I could care less if Bill's mind is too closed to enjoy rap, my beef is that he should just come out and say "I'm scared by thug love".

My real beef extends to the other Fox people and the supposedly unbiased personalities, with the loaded phrases they use. When a network purports to be "fair and balanced" when they just aren't - isn't it the right of the viewers to say "no you ain't" in response? I'll also note that I'm equally critical of programs like PBS' "Now with Bill Moyers" whose program is so slanted to the left that every corporation in America is Out To Get You.

Of course, nobody watches Bill Moyers, so what's the use talking about them?
posted by owillis at 9:23 PM on February 4, 2003


Besides, this "show" is like sex in marriage: get in fast, get out fast, and let someone else clean up the mess.

One would need a lead apron like they make you wear for dental X-rays--hell, a full body leadlined suit to even think of approaching this strange cratered fragment with its uncanny pulsing green glow. Is it astrobleme or eldritch artifact? Oh. don't go there, don't go there...



owillis, I hear you, man, here, I'm on your side but, guys, guys, gals, guys, ancillary note?

*makes time-out T sign with hands*....

We are all on the edge of our seats, tensions taut, the world turned upside down--this is as scary a time as I can remember, and I can remember watching John F. Kennedy, in 1962, announcing the Cuban Missile Blockade, live on black-and-white TV, and my mom standing behind the ironing board in the dining room, presssing a shirt and bleakly, saying "Well, I guess we're all going to die now..."

Now that was a scary moment, I tell you.

But we lived, as we do now and, in 'shallah, god willing, we will live long and prosper

...or so I hope. And I do so hope. I do so hope.

Let me quote from a niece's e-mail on a family matter here--

i have to say, i know its rough, but you've got to hold your temper with this stuff. A lot of stuff we do here is
frustrating, but we've known each other long enough to know that:

1) nobody is deliberately trying to hurt anyone

2) screaming/bitching/complaining about/to each other is not going to get us anywhere (just as it clearly has not gotten us anywhere up until now).

Thus, the next time you get see a comment that makes smoke emerge from your nostrils, STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER, or you will likely regret what you do thereafter. A lot of really tragic things have been happening recently, i would say it would be wise to try to get over everyone's inadequacies and idiosyncrasies and try to see whatever there is that's good in each other. After all, this is the family we have, and even a strange family is better than none at all.


Out of the mouths of babes, eh what?

(Stavros knows whereof I speak!)

Eh?

Hey, guys: this is the MetaFilter we have and better than none at all. These are scary, scary times but you know what? Nobody here is deliberately trying to hurt anybody here and Homer Simpson brain says unpossible! even were that not true.

Let's rachet down, let's rachet down....

I'm so confused, I'm so confused

These are trying times--let us all cut each other a little slack. hmmm? Shall we slide our rapier wits back in their sheaths,
shall we try to get a grip?
shall we wrap our arms around our ribs?

breathe deep
exhale

Oh...

These are scary, scary times...

OK, carry on
posted by y2karl at 9:59 PM on February 4, 2003


The O'Reilly Factor is a news commentary show. . .This is no different than any other news commentary program, such as CNN's Hardball.

Minor nitpick: "Hardball" is an MSNBC show. Were you perhaps thinking of "Crossfire?"
posted by Vidiot at 11:21 PM on February 4, 2003


y2karl: Thank you for that. Sometimes I feel like MetaFilter is on the edge of a nervous breakdown. The old "ignorance is bliss" adage is true in some respects: The less knowledge one has of all the crazy shit happening in the world, the more peaceful one can be in day to day affairs. Seeing as how most of us are rather well-informed (regardless of viewpoints), I think, in times like these, we tend to get really damn tense.

Debate is good. Arguement bad. It's not that simple, but we can be our own best allies right now. I'm glad you made that point.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:52 PM on February 4, 2003


Thanks vidiot, i was thinking of Crossfire, but I imagine Hardball might have worked for the example.
posted by cachilders at 12:14 AM on February 5, 2003


My real beef extends to the other Fox people and the supposedly unbiased personalities, with the loaded phrases they use. When a network purports to be "fair and balanced" when they just aren't -

I agree, Oliver, but you are just falling into the trap: Fox -- and O'Reilly -- keep pushing the "no spin", "we report you decide" nonsense _exactly_ to anger people who don't agree with their Republican agenda. To anger people like you. It's just the WSJ editorial guys gleefully calling Krugman "former Enron consultant" every time they name him -- they're fucking with him (imagine Krugman writing the words "former alcoholic and cokehead" whenever writing the name of a certain prominent Republican office holder, all hell would break loose).
You're giving people like Ailes way too much power. Just ignore them, it's useless to discuss their bias, it's so obvious where they stand. "No Spin"? Yeah, right.
posted by matteo at 2:29 AM on February 5, 2003


I'll also note that I'm equally critical of programs like PBS' "Now with Bill Moyers" whose program is so slanted to the left that every corporation in America is Out To Get You.

Of course, nobody watches Bill Moyers, so what's the use talking about them?


Bill Moyers is your kryptonite Oliver. Yes, Fox sucks but Moyers is great and if you think otherwise then perhaps you've drunk the Kool-Aid and need a little kryptonite yourself.

[scene]
Me sadly deleting the owillis weblog from personal bookmarks.
[/scene]
posted by nofundy at 6:04 AM on February 5, 2003


(Stavros knows whereof I speak!)

Aye, that I do.

*gives karl a hug, buys him a beer*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:27 AM on February 5, 2003


I'm just wondering what people expect the nets to do: Go in to Iraq with sat phones blazing, commandeering anything and everything they want or need? So they pay a form of rent to Iraq. They also rent building in New York but no one expects all their coverage to say "New York City (where we rent a building) budget in toilet. News at 11."
posted by haqspan at 10:42 AM on February 5, 2003


Yes, Fox sucks but Moyers is great and if you think otherwise then perhaps you've drunk the Kool-Aid and need a little kryptonite yourself.

Just because I may agree with a left wing slant doesn't make it any better than Fox.
posted by owillis at 12:47 PM on February 5, 2003


I'm just wondering what people expect the nets to do: Go in to Iraq with sat phones blazing, commandeering anything and everything they want or need?

We could have press enter with the invasion force, like days of yore, but I doubt the government or the networks would like that very much. Corpses (US or Iraqi) would be just too unsettling for prime-time, and those damn battle lines move too fast to stage a good shot. We need lights in the sky; pleasant images like fireworks and the 4th of July, and sombre voiceover by America's Most Trusted News Team™ to add that touch of gravitas.
posted by eddydamascene at 6:10 PM on February 5, 2003


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