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July 3, 2008 7:58 AM   Subscribe

FOX News gets a little goofy with their copy of Photoshop and caricatures two columnists. Will the NYT respond? No, Times Culture Editor Sam Sifton says, "it is fighting with a pig, everyone gets dirty and the pig likes it." (Which is actually a response in and of itself, so I presume the pig-fighting's begun.)
posted by WCityMike (82 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Photos and clip

The stretching I could see, although it would still be dumb. But the teeth and hair alterations?
posted by DU at 8:02 AM on July 3, 2008


Useless without pics.
posted by yhbc at 8:02 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Media Matter's take on it includes the photoshops. They are cartoonish and too far from reality to be anything less than "let's see what we can get away with."
posted by johnjreiser at 8:03 AM on July 3, 2008


The photos depict New York Times reporter Jacques Steinberg with yellowed teeth, "his nose and chin widened, and his ears made to protrude further," according to a statement today by Media Matters for America.

WTF.

You know, one would expect that even the douchebags over at Fox News would have enough sense to lay off making Jewish caricatures.
posted by three blind mice at 8:09 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is a perfect explanation why the media failed in the run-up to the Iraq war. It's run by three year olds.
posted by fungible at 8:09 AM on July 3, 2008 [8 favorites]


Times Culture Editor Sam Sifton says, "it is fighting with a pig, everyone gets dirty and the pig likes it."

Finally. Now we know who originated the quote.
posted by iconomy at 8:11 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wow, those are really terrible. MSPaint?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:11 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not that I don't want to smash Fox news, but isn't the show "Fox and Friends" more of a current events entertainment program, rather than a straight newscast?
posted by Pastabagel at 8:11 AM on July 3, 2008


The few times I've had to endure a couple minutes of that Fox and Friends program, I've found the entire thing to seem like the clips here -- childish, immature ramblings of right wing talking points with one outlandish thing after another coming in every thirty seconds.
posted by mathowie at 8:13 AM on July 3, 2008


Just to clarify my earlier point, it seems no one has a problem with this show calling the editors "attack dogs" which suggests that everyone understands this is a Glenn Beck type of show where bias is not only expected but is the entire point of the show.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:13 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel, it's on their news network during morning hours so I'd say it's fair game for being called out for shitty reporting. Media Matters goes after the big three networks' morning news/entertainment shows/hosts as well.
posted by mathowie at 8:14 AM on July 3, 2008


So, can they sue?
posted by RufusW at 8:17 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


this is a Glenn Beck type of show where bias is not only expected but is the entire point of the show.

Then maybe it shouldn't be on a dedicated news network.
posted by Mikey-San at 8:18 AM on July 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


...this is a Glenn Beck type of show where bias is not only expected but is the entire point of the show.

This goes beyond bias. Bias is giving the benefit of the doubt to one side more often. Bias is arguing for one side's positions more strenuously than the other's. Bias is not clumsily photoshopping a new hairline and teeth color onto pictures of a person you don't like.

That's called lying. Childishly.
posted by DU at 8:21 AM on July 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


In three hundred years, when school kids are reading about the downfall of functional journalism in the United States, they will refer to this time as the beginning of the 'Photoshop wars'.

The next salvo will undoubtedly be images of Fox newscasters faces appearing on the bodies of people engaged in a gang bang with farm animals.

From there it will just go down hill, eventually all news reports will be nothing other than altered images with silly text on the crawl beneath them. This time will be known as the 'lolnews era', and it will herald the coming of the end.
posted by quin at 8:21 AM on July 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


Just because it says "News" doesn't mean it is news. These charicatures are very obvious and ham-fisted, which is in keeping with Fox News reportage in general.
posted by Mister_A at 8:23 AM on July 3, 2008


My point wasn't that the reporting isn't shitty (it is), my point was that I can't imagine anyone thinking this show holds itself out as unbiased news reporting. It's two douchebags on a couch. In other words, if you're going to criticize this show, you might as well go after all the nonsense on Rush Limbaugh or Hannity or all the other ones. The prospect of that strikes me as exhausting.

The real focus of the criticism should be the so-called humans who turn this dreck on every morning. We know that Fox is all about treating news like other networks treat sitcoms - the emphasis is on getting the ratings, and that means spinning the news that way the audience wants it spun. The real questions are (a) why does the audience want news spun at all, and (b) why do they want it spun this way?
posted by Pastabagel at 8:26 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The next salvo will undoubtedly be images of Fox newscasters faces appearing on the bodies of people engaged in a gang bang with farm animals.

Perhaps that won't even require image manipulation.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:26 AM on July 3, 2008 [17 favorites]


These charicatures are very obvious and ham-fisted, which is in keeping with Fox News reportage in general.

That doesn't make it okay.
posted by hifiparasol at 8:27 AM on July 3, 2008


Not that I don't want to smash Fox news, but isn't the show "Fox and Friends" more of a current events entertainment program, rather than a straight newscast?

No, according to some of my relatives. It's fair and balanced reporting (yes, they seriously say that.)
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:28 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Hey, I'll bet we could stir up more audience disgust if we cartoonishly exaggerated this guy Steinberg's facial features!"

"Unbelievable! I'll bet nobody's ever had such a great idea before!"
posted by roystgnr at 8:30 AM on July 3, 2008


"This time will be known as the 'lolnews era' "

I am inappropriately giddy about this becoming a reality.
posted by oddman at 8:30 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


...I can't imagine anyone thinking this show holds itself out as unbiased news reporting.

You need an imagination upgrade.

Also, the people that DO know about the Fox Problem know precisely because of stories like these.
posted by DU at 8:32 AM on July 3, 2008


It's more okay than photoshopping someone's head onto a turnip. And that's considered an all time highlight of British tabloid journalism.
posted by roofus at 8:32 AM on July 3, 2008


An obvious Photoshop, such as the one they made showing the reporter's head stuck onto a poodle's body, is one thing -- a juvenile, lame thing, but recognizable for what it is. But those two images were on the edge of plausible (being nudged towards the uncanny valley with the ugly stick, I guess), so yeah, they were deceptive. Why am I not surprised? But I think the Times' take is right: don't sue, just mock.

(I first heard the saying as "Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig enjoys it.")
posted by maudlin at 8:35 AM on July 3, 2008


In other words, if you're going to criticize this show, you might as well go after all the nonsense on Rush Limbaugh or Hannity or all the other ones. The prospect of that strikes me as exhausting.

Well, Media Matters does go after those guys, and they do it on a regular basis. Yes, I'm sure it's exhausting -- exhausting enough for an entire nonprofit to base its existence around it.

The "why is everyone paying so much attention to these jerks?" argument (which is used by someone in every post about FNC/O'Reilly/Coulter/Malkin/whomever) really would only work if these guys were on the fringe, like the white supremacists or the antigovernment militias (although better journalists than I would have problems with even that assessment). These people have a major news network and tables full of books at Barnes and Noble, so I think it's a good thing that people devote their time to calling them out on their huge amounts of bullshit.

The fact that it's a morning puff show also shouldn't exempt it from such criticism. For a lot of people, this is the best opportunity they'll have all day to hear the news of the day. Being half entertainment doesn't make it okay for them to read Republican talking points verbatim from the facts, or engage in shitty journalism. Even the Daily Show doesn't do that, and they're more like 80 percent entertainment.

I do agree that we should go after the consumers more harshly. I'll do my part by calling them a bunch of lazy fat fucks who can't be bothered to think critically about anything.
posted by hifiparasol at 8:38 AM on July 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


But news is funnier this way. :*(
posted by mazola at 8:45 AM on July 3, 2008


"It's more okay than photoshopping someone's head onto a turnip" I don't think so.
posted by RufusW at 8:47 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not really surprised that Newscorp would use such petty and childish methods. These two idiots lack the mental capacity to properly engage in political and social critique, so they resort to such tactics, ah well.
posted by Fizz at 8:48 AM on July 3, 2008


verbatim from the facts

Uh, I mean, "verbatim from the fax machine." Shut up, it's early.
posted by hifiparasol at 8:53 AM on July 3, 2008


This reminds me of the caricatures of Emmanuel Goldstein and the Two Minutes Hate in 1984. Except in the end I guess he wasn't real....
posted by gurple at 8:58 AM on July 3, 2008


Worthy of Der Stürmer, seriously. Remember when Peter Seller's right arm, in Dr. Strangelove, randomly shot up in the air in an embarrassing "Sieg Heil" motion? These gloatingly Shylockian photoshops are the same thing -- no matter how much these fucks follow the current orders and relentlessly bang the drum for Israel on their newscasts, this thing shows you their true colors, just like Strangelove's arm. This is the reason why American Jews, despite 9/11, despite everything, still went 80/20 for Kerry in 2004.
posted by matteo at 8:59 AM on July 3, 2008 [13 favorites]


Metafilter: it's more okay than photoshopping someone's head onto a turnip. (sorry, had to do my part to keep alive one of the more annoying Mefi trends)
posted by WCityMike at 9:05 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


You recall that it was the Murdochian gang at the NY Post that superimposed the heads of weasels onto the bodies of Frenc and other UN Security members in the runup to the attack on Iraq?
posted by etaoin at 9:05 AM on July 3, 2008


Just noticed that one of those guys is "Jacques Steinberg". How much must Fox hate a French Jew?
posted by DU at 9:07 AM on July 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


This type of shit is exactly why I love watching Fox News.

Since commercial TV news is pretty much a mockery of actual journalism, why not go right to the source, the worst offenders, the most hilarious parody of newsmedia we're got. Fox just makes me smile with the level of ridiculousness they are willing to engage in, without attempting to put on some kind of "dignified" front to cover it all up like other networks such as CNN.

"When one fights with a pig, they both get dirty and the pig likes it." What this quote forgets is that it's absolutely hilarious to the people watching from a safe distance.
posted by smackwich at 9:08 AM on July 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


three blind mice writes "You know, one would expect that even the douchebags over at Fox News would have enough sense to lay off making Jewish caricatures."

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing: these photoshops would have passed unnoticed in Der Sturmer.
posted by orthogonality at 9:08 AM on July 3, 2008


....Okay, this is the second time someone's tried to link to Der Sturmer, and I keep getting blocked because the site is listed as "restricted access" -- what am I ostensibly supposed to be seeing there?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:09 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, all I know was that when Time used photoshop to made OJ blacker, there was a justifiable outcry. The racist angle isn't here, of course, but I'm still not quite so willing to give a free pass here.
posted by absalom at 9:12 AM on July 3, 2008


Stupid FOX. They forgot to invoke the rule of no touchbacks. We may well see this degenerate into the classic "times infinity plus N" scenario.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:13 AM on July 3, 2008


This is merely "Caricatures for those who don't know how to caricature." They need an artist, one of those who works in the park and will draw your nose real big and charge five bucks will do.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:14 AM on July 3, 2008


Also, what's with the calvin.edu links? They give a 403 when I click on the direct link, but I can navigate the directory with the images manually, and access any image that way.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:17 AM on July 3, 2008


This actually makes alot of sense, when you consider that the main goal of Fox News (and other righty media outlets) is to destroy news itself.

See, for a long time, journalism was an extremely important, respected profession. Not always of course (see Yellow Journalism in America 1776-1914), but I think its safe to say that for the latter half of the 20th century, journalism was understood as a means of providing the facts about the world around us to the American people.

And right-wingers hated it. Hated it.

Not that journalism as a whole was ever "left-wing" (you'd be hard pressed to find actual Marxists at the NYT within the past 50 years, I bet), but that journalism generally strived to tell the truth about what was happening, no matter what. That kind of behavior just isn't conductive to creating an authoritarian-nationalist state -- the kind of state which, by it's very nature, is founded upon comfortable lies and unquestioned propaganda -- so right-wingers hated journos with a passion.

So they set about trying to destroy journalism itself. And I'd have to admit, it seems that they have been largely successful. Their strategy was simple: slowly turn journalism back from a serious and respected profession into a yellow tabloid-entertainment-propaganda machine like it was in the 1800's. Then it won't matter that the "liberal media" exposes (say) the President stealing money from the public treasury to fund right-wing dictators in South America, because, look, here's a picture of Olbermann with a funny Jew-nose! See! He must be some kind of commie! Ha ha!

And people buy it. People come away with the feeling that all news is just lies told by various political factions, that something approaching objectivity is impossible and that it's useless to get involved, get angry and start voting these fuckers out of office, because we'll just be electing a new liar-in-chief with his own friendly journos to support him.

And thats exactly what they want. Thats what all fascists want. They want to discredit democracy and journalism to the point where people won't be sad when both of those institutions are finally swept away, either officially or otherwise. At this rate, nobody is going to care when Future President Smith starts blocking websites and shutting down newspapers because, hey, they're all a bunch of tabloid liars anyway, mirite?

And the day after it happens, Fox News is going to run a 3-hour special called "TRAITOROUS PAPERS GET THE CUT!" with funny photoshops of editors and journos being stuffed into black, unmarked SUVs.
posted by Avenger at 9:19 AM on July 3, 2008 [109 favorites]


The racist angle isn't here, of course...

Uh, did you see what they did to Steinberg's nose?
posted by rooftop secrets at 9:19 AM on July 3, 2008


The calvin.edu links don't like our referrer. But if you load the URL directly it works fine.
posted by DU at 9:21 AM on July 3, 2008


The real questions are (a) why does the audience want news spun at all, and (b) why do they want it spun this way?

It is my impression that Fox News has been designed to attract and develop just such viewers. It's been a long effort by right-wingers in the media to develop such an audience and pander to it. I don't think it's any vast conspiracy, just a few rich guys that hoped to put their view of the world on the air in a "reinforced" manner, in reaction to their impression that straight news was some sort of slanted view of the world.

...the most hilarious parody of newsmedia we're[sic] got.

Wouldn't that be the Colbert Report?
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:27 AM on July 3, 2008


Since commercial TV news is pretty much a mockery of actual journalism

...and the fact that the mock TV news is a better source of information is pretty unfortunate. Sadly, I think the folks that take Fox News seriously (I, too, have family of this ilk) resent the Daily Show for the same reasons we're working over Fox and Friends. Only they're crazy.
posted by assoctw at 9:34 AM on July 3, 2008


Avenger, that is a fantastic post.
posted by cashman at 9:50 AM on July 3, 2008


Thanks DU, for posting the link with pictures and saving the post.
posted by w0mbat at 9:53 AM on July 3, 2008


"This actually makes alot of sense, when you consider that the main goal of Fox News (and other righty media outlets) is to destroy news itself.

See, for a long time, journalism was an extremely important, respected profession. Not always of course (see Yellow Journalism in America 1776-1914), but I think its safe to say that for the latter half of the 20th century, journalism was understood as a means of providing the facts about the world around us to the American people.
"

Dude, this is HI-LARIOUS to anyone who's actually studied journalism. I mean, start out with the predating of Yellow Journalism and a mistake about what it means. Then this universalizing of the Ochs "objective" model, which is an American EXCEPTION, not the general role of journalism. Fox News hews to an earlier model, the party press model, which is still seen pretty much everywhere else in the world. And they do a damn fine job of it—it's entertaining, it reinforces the biases of the viewers, it makes money. That they're closer to a Zoo Crew than a responsible outlet is the point, and every time these doom-and-gloom pronouncements about the end of journalism comes out, I know it's someone who has no fucking clue about what journalism actually looks like, even in the more "objective" papers. If anything, Fox News is reacting to the failure of medicinal journalism and the covert agenda-setting biases that people are suspicious of because they don't understand them.

I mean, even that you'd claimed journalism as "respected" for the last 50 years. Yeah, sure, amongst some liberals and the general bourgeoisie, but it routinely comes in next to lawyers as one of America's least favorite professions—even spanning back through those "respected" years.
posted by klangklangston at 10:14 AM on July 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I was thinking the same thing: these photoshops would have passed unnoticed in Der Sturmer.

I hadn't known about Der Stürmer before. It appears as if after the war, despite not being in the military and having no role in the Holocaust, Julius Striecher was hanged after the Nürnberg trials. So perhaps someday we can see the high ups at Fox tried at the Hague?
posted by kigpig at 10:16 AM on July 3, 2008


Mister_A for the win: "Just because it says 'News' doesn't mean it is news."
posted by MarshallPoe at 10:21 AM on July 3, 2008


It may be obvious to those reading this that those are some hastily done photoshops, but it's a safe bet that the great majority of those watching the show never once considered that possibility.
posted by the bricabrac man at 10:28 AM on July 3, 2008


Looks like they did the same with Obama. Barack's profile looks oddly like O.J. Simpson, and if you read the headline vertically, it leads pretty obviously to the word "Tom".
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:36 AM on July 3, 2008


posted by absalom Well, all I know was that when Time used photoshop to made OJ blacker, there was a justifiable outcry. The racist angle isn't here, of course, but I'm still not quite so willing to give a free pass here.

Time Magazine didn't alter the photograph of OJ. Time hired Matt Mahurin--a Photoshop artist--to create the cover art for that issue. Mahurin's style at that time was darkening and adding a substantial amount of effects to photographs to give them a distinctive, ethereal, and moodier look.

When the story broke, I was working for a magazine and I'd considered using Mahurin for a story, so I'd been reviewing his portfolio of work and I was familiar with his style. I can understand the art director's choice of using Mahurin to create a distinctive cover, especially because Newsweek was certain to use the same image for their cover. Time's style of cover art is to use extensive photo manipulation and illustration, whereas Newsweek tends to use an unaltered and journalistic style of photography for its covers.

So when people freaked out and cried "Racism!" about the Time cover, Time decided it was easier to issue an apology and fire the art director rather than stand by their decision and explain their motivations and their style of cover art. Sorry, but the claims that Time's intentions and Matt Mahurin's art were racist are total and complete bullshit.
posted by optovox at 10:38 AM on July 3, 2008 [10 favorites]


Fox News hews to an earlier model, the party press model, which is still seen pretty much everywhere else in the world. And they do a damn fine job of it—it's entertaining, it reinforces the biases of the viewers, it makes money. That they're closer to a Zoo Crew than a responsible outlet is the point, and every time these doom-and-gloom pronouncements about the end of journalism comes out, I know it's someone who has no fucking clue about what journalism actually looks like, even in the more "objective" papers.

I'm not sure I catch your drift, here. You seem to be disagreeing with what I said while simultaneously agreeing with what I said. (?)

If anything, Fox News is reacting to the failure of medicinal journalism and the covert agenda-setting biases that people are suspicious of because they don't understand them.

Oh ho-ho. I get it now. "Medicinal" journalism. Formulated by learned and nefarious white-coated elites in laboratories designed to constrain the will of the Common Man. They put fluoride in the water too, you know. Yeah, thats the righty spin -- although I've never pegged you as a righty, klang.

I mean, even that you'd claimed journalism as "respected" for the last 50 years. Yeah, sure, amongst some liberals and the general bourgeoisie, but it routinely comes in next to lawyers as one of America's least favorite professions—even spanning back through those "respected" years.

Not respected by everyone, no. But when Johnson said that by loosing Cronkite on the war, he had essentially lost America, he was saying that this lone journalist held more respect and was considered more objective than the President himself. Johnson wasn't a righty either, but that power -- the power to tell the truth about a failed and meaningless war, and to have people listen -- that power is the power that authoritarians of all political stripes fear, because it's not a political or financial power -- types of power that can be easily controlled -- but a moral power.

Cronkite, as a honest and respected journalist, had the moral authority (and duty, I might add) to admit to the American people that, in all likelihood, the Vietnam war could not be "won" -- at least in the terms that victory had been described by the "optimists" at that time. That kind of moral authority is dangerous when you plan on launching a few aggressive wars abroad or even at home, which is why a certain segment of American politics has been aggressively working to destroy moral authority in journalism for quite some time now.
posted by Avenger at 10:58 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sure, amongst some liberals and the general bourgeoisie, but [journalism] routinely comes in next to lawyers as one of America's least favorite professions...

"If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost America." - Richard Nixon
posted by DU at 11:01 AM on July 3, 2008


Durrr....Johnson.
posted by DU at 11:02 AM on July 3, 2008


They should sue. If Fox news wants to come out publicly and say they are not news, but entertainment - great.
posted by xammerboy at 11:07 AM on July 3, 2008


Yeah, Nixon would have said "Fuck Cronkite. Call up Liddy and see if we can get some pictures of the old coot with a hooker or something."
posted by Avenger at 11:08 AM on July 3, 2008


What next -- Obama with a turban, a watermelon, and a rocket launcher?
posted by digaman at 11:19 AM on July 3, 2008


"The calvin.edu links don't like our referrer. But if you load the URL directly it works fine."

Could someone print the link so I can do this? Thanks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:06 PM on July 3, 2008


Just plain click it. Then go to the URL bar and hit enter.

Alternatively, right click the link, choose "copy link" and paste it into the URL bar.
posted by DU at 12:18 PM on July 3, 2008


What next -- Obama with a turban, a watermelon, and a rocket launcher?

a watermelon launcher!
posted by matteo at 12:52 PM on July 3, 2008


Looking at the pictures it appears someone misguidedly thought they'd be displayed full-frame. And as we all know, Fox News is among those 4:3 aspect ratio channels that's almost exclusively displayed on 16:9 aspect ratio televisions that are permanently stuck in PanoStretch Distort-O-Vision mode. So perhaps the whole thing is just an innocent case of someone trying to counteract the Behind The Bar Television Effect!
posted by majick at 1:03 PM on July 3, 2008


I remember when news stations cared about credibility because it might affect their ratings negatively.

On the plus side, now I know which celebs have a baby bump!
posted by starman at 1:07 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos writes "....Okay, this is the second time someone's tried to link to Der Sturmer, and I keep getting blocked because the site is listed as 'restricted access' -- what am I ostensibly supposed to be seeing there?"

Try this. Or this (not technically Der Sturmer, but representative). Or this. Or this.)

(The last three are all posters for the film Der Ewige Jude ("The Eternal Jew"), a Nazi "documentary" about "world Jewry".)
posted by orthogonality at 1:17 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


big deal. No one seems to care when other news agencies do the very same thing. It's a tiring old theme....show the worst photograph you can possibly find/take of someone for their nasty story.
posted by unpoppy at 1:43 PM on July 3, 2008


The next salvo will undoubtedly be images of Fox newscasters faces appearing on the bodies of people engaged in a gang bang with farm animals.

Nml Frm!
posted by humannaire at 1:44 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I'm not sure I catch your drift, here. You seem to be disagreeing with what I said while simultaneously agreeing with what I said. (?)"

I am pointing out that arguing Ochs-style (from NYT publisher who essentially reshaped journalistic philosophy) as your norm is mistaken, and I am further arguing that people who hold forth on the "objective" nature of the news rarely have much experience with the news or understand internal forces that weigh upon the news. I'm saying that you're endorsing a modernist myth, and that it's a myth because of outside evidence both pre- and post-modernist.

"Oh ho-ho. I get it now. "Medicinal" journalism. Formulated by learned and nefarious white-coated elites in laboratories designed to constrain the will of the Common Man. They put fluoride in the water too, you know. Yeah, thats the righty spin -- although I've never pegged you as a righty, klang."

And what if I were?

You don't get it. "Medicinal" doesn't necessarily mean nefarious elites—though it certainly can. Medicinal means that the news is treated as something that is to be taken because it is good for you, rather than because it is enjoyable. And with that comes a whole raft of assumptions about what is necessary for the public to know, what it means to be good for the public, etc. But reading the news (or listening to it or watching it, though those are certainly less difficult) is optional, something that news organizations have had to realize, to considerable chagrin, within the last 40 odd years. Fox News, or, as I've argued before in a more extreme example, Rush Limbaugh, is entertaining. People want to watch it. Same with the Daily Show. This is how people are CHOOSING to become informed, and there's no real option to force them to get their news in a way that's better for them, at least not without severely curtailing free speech laws. Arguing that they're killing news is stupid—they're changing the way news is delivered, and doing it in a way that a lot of people like. You can bemoan that, or you can accept it and move forward—Keith Olberman would be an example.

"Not respected by everyone, no. But when Johnson said that by loosing Cronkite on the war, he had essentially lost America, he was saying that this lone journalist held more respect and was considered more objective than the President himself. Johnson wasn't a righty either, but that power -- the power to tell the truth about a failed and meaningless war, and to have people listen -- that power is the power that authoritarians of all political stripes fear, because it's not a political or financial power -- types of power that can be easily controlled -- but a moral power."

You don't know what you're talking about. What Johnson said was that if he had lost Cronkite, he had lost middle America. Cronkite was not the moral authority, he was the moral barometer. Not only that, when Cronkite gave his famous editorial, the majority of Americans still supported the war, and would for another year. So not only did the quote not say what you think it said, but Johnson was wrong.

Cronkite, as a honest and respected journalist, had the moral authority (and duty, I might add) to admit to the American people that, in all likelihood, the Vietnam war could not be "won" -- at least in the terms that victory had been described by the "optimists" at that time. That kind of moral authority is dangerous when you plan on launching a few aggressive wars abroad or even at home, which is why a certain segment of American politics has been aggressively working to destroy moral authority in journalism for quite some time now."

And here you've transitioned to post hoc ergo propter hoc. That there is a benefit to the right (and also to the left, frankly) in the undermining of journalistic credibility does not mean that they caused it—there's been a decline of authority in America since the '60s, due to suspicion of elites (for good reason, often, as those elites tend to represent the interests of established power), and a factionalization of audiences as there has been an explosion in media outlets. Not only that, Cronkite's editorial or disapproval wasn't effective—he inveighed against the Tet Offensive (the equivalent of the Surge in Iraq). By then, the war was nine years old, and would continue for another six.

We've done a better job in getting out of Iraq—we've only been in for five years, and it's looking like (God willing) Obama can have us out in another year or two. That's with the media without Cronkite. That's with Fox News.

Not only that, but the argument that authority is somehow related to objectivity is bullshit if, again, you look at journalism anywhere else in the world. People trust the Guardian despite its mainstream leftist bent (even despite its famous spelling errors).
posted by klangklangston at 2:51 PM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


he inveighed against the Tet Offensive (the equivalent of the Surge in Iraq).

The Tet Offensive was an offensive push by the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese not a US strategy.
posted by tkchrist at 3:09 PM on July 3, 2008


Geez. If Fox News wants to get into the business of doctoring photos, they should at least hire someone who is good at it. Those are terrible photoshop jobs. It's almost as it they don't care if they get their hands caught in the cookie jar. I'd have a modicum (but only a modicum, mind you) of respect for them if they were doing their job of hoodwinking the country well. But this hamfisted photoshop work is insulting. Just like the rest of their journalism.
posted by cleverevans at 3:20 PM on July 3, 2008


Another battle in the American left vs. right media war. The left wastes time harping on how unprofessional the right is (if you don't already know then you're an idiot) and the right, fragile egos shaken, fires back with mean pictures of the left. At this point I'm convinced that the only way to combat propaganda and unprofessional media is not to pay any attention to it.
posted by hellslinger at 3:35 PM on July 3, 2008


big deal. No one seems to care when other news agencies do the very same thing. It's a tiring old theme....show the worst photograph you can possibly find/take of someone for their nasty story.

What other news agencies haven taken photos of individuals and photoshopped in yellow teeth, larger noses, receding hairlines, bigger ears, etc.?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:39 PM on July 3, 2008


What other news agencies haven taken photos of individuals and photoshopped in yellow teeth, larger noses, receding hairlines, bigger ears, etc.?

World Clown News?
posted by tkchrist at 4:14 PM on July 3, 2008


World Clown News?

In fairness though, that is the best site to get headlines like:

"Two small cars involved in head on collision. 25 dead."
posted by quin at 4:16 PM on July 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


"The Tet Offensive was an offensive push by the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese not a US strategy."

Good point, and I misspoke (miswrote, I guess): the Tet Offensive led to a counter-attack involving a surge of American forces, and Cronkite was speaking the belief that the best that could be hoped for was a draw, not a victory. But likening the Tet Offensive to the surge in Iraq was sloppy.
posted by klangklangston at 4:36 PM on July 3, 2008


When the Ostrogoths, Visigoths and Vandals are at our gates, I'm going to throw them the fucking key. We deserve it for allowing this kind of crap. FOX should have all media accreditation stripped bare, and be required to run a banner on the top of every program they air that says, FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:21 PM on July 3, 2008


The Tet Offensive led to McNamara's resignation and turned his personal opinion against the war. His successor, Clark Clifford, made some fairly outrageous appeals for more troops but he ended up only getting about 13,000 instead of the 100,000 reservists he wanted.

What they did do is start expaning the war into Cambodia and bombing north Vietnam more frequently and viciously, but that was later.

Cronkite's editorial immediately following the Tet Offensive was before our military reaction to widen the war - which really happened almost two years later. He was, rightly so, simply telling America the the war was not winnable (with out resorting to complete barbarity) for obvious strategic reasons. And eventually we did resort to barbarity (carpet bombing the north) and it was real solid journalism, not infotainment, that showed the world this and turned the tide fully against the war.

As far as relating the fall out of Tet to the US failure in Iraq and the resulting "surge" (IE: Reinforcements and bribes)? It only relates in that the lessons we learned, such as strategies like the wanton destruction we attempted after Tet, don't work. But frankly there was no comparable "surge" in Vietnam that resulted in any success. We had bombed the people we could have bribed or negotiated with by that point and they still didn't want to quit. Our negotiations in Paris were perfunctory and the NV had all the cards by then.
posted by tkchrist at 6:55 PM on July 3, 2008


What next -- Obama with a turban, a watermelon, and a rocket launcher?

Don't forget the Qur'an in his hand and the doobie in his mouth.
posted by ericb at 9:03 PM on July 3, 2008


"Cronkite's editorial immediately following the Tet Offensive was before our military reaction to widen the war - which really happened almost two years later. He was, rightly so, simply telling America the the war was not winnable (with out resorting to complete barbarity) for obvious strategic reasons. And eventually we did resort to barbarity (carpet bombing the north) and it was real solid journalism, not infotainment, that showed the world this and turned the tide fully against the war."

Except that it wasn't and it didn't. It was opinion, not journalism, despite being delivered by a journalist and despite being an opinion you agree with. Note the Meuller quote here (hate to keep coming back to Wikipedia, but it's a solid assessment).
posted by klangklangston at 10:53 PM on July 3, 2008


For our US chums that never saw it the first time round, I would highly recommend Brasseye and, to a lesser degree, The Day Today.

It foretold the asinine, shrill, celebrity-led culture of news with alternately hilarious and horrifying accuracy.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:08 AM on July 4, 2008


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