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Fox "upset-the-White-House-won't-call-it" News
October 23, 2009 10:34 AM   Subscribe

Fox News's bent on the news is well known, but recently the White House has begun actively excluding the network, including skipping Fox's Chris Wallace on a recent round of Sunday morning news shows. “We simply decided to stop abiding by the fiction ... that Fox is a traditional news organization.” says White House Depty Communications Director Pfeiffer (as has Press Secretary Gibbs and others). The responses range from concern about an attempt to control the media to a feeling that it's about time. Is it just about Fox's anti-Obama pundits, or is it also about Fox's consistent errors and misinformed viewership? Or is the White House attempting containment so that Fox's ratings-gold style and ideas don't take over the rest of the press?
posted by ADoubtfulTrout (285 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Most people don't realize that Fox N.e.w.s. stands for Neocons Erecting Worthless Stories.
posted by pwally at 10:40 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me why fair and balanced Fox can't have one liberal host while MSNBC (The Scary Liberal Network) gives three hours every morning to a conservative host.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:40 AM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Fox News is to journalism what the WWE is to sports. I can't believe serious adults went so long pretending otherwise.
posted by mullingitover at 10:41 AM on October 23, 2009 [123 favorites]


Fox News is to journalism what the WWE is to sports

Yes.
posted by wabbittwax at 10:42 AM on October 23, 2009


More like Faux News, ha ha AMIRITE?

Seriously nice to see someone actively taking the stance that Fox is as biased as Rush Limbaugh. I dearly wish that the US news agencies had the same legal obligation that the BBC has to report news fairly.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:42 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also stridently liberal bias in the news would be just as damn annoying, and we shouldn't be calling out Fox simply because they are apparently a Republican mouthpiece - NO news agency should be employing people who are unable to set aside their personal feelings long enough to actually report the news.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:44 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I dearly wish that the US news agencies had the same legal obligation that the BBC has to report news fairly.

I don't. The problem isn't FOX, but the viewership that buys its bullshit.

Watching this whole brouhaha as it has made its way through the front page of google news, I can only say never pick a fight with somebody who buys ink by the barrel, or the modern equivalent.
posted by mokuba at 10:44 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't understand why conservatives who can think and write and report accurately -- and there are plenty -- put up with Fox. Fox News's popularity is a national embarrassment.
posted by bearwife at 10:45 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


NO news agency should be employing people who are unable to set aside their personal feelings long enough to actually report the news.

You think Fox's bias is due to personal feelings? I'm sure there's no corporate influence no none at all why would I think that billionaires with huge media outlets would be interested in influencing politics?
posted by DU at 10:46 AM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


From Media Matters: Fox News' War on the White House.
posted by defenestration at 10:47 AM on October 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


You know how in every movie, there's a moment where the cast basically stops and says, okay, let me break it down for you: He's actually her brother, and they don't have a kid ...

And you go, wait, wait, I got that! I didn't need the exposition! I can follow a plot! But then somebody behind you goes "Ooooh!," like they've just figured it out, and then they turn and explain it to their spouse, who still sounds bewildered.

The bewildered spouse represents about 40 percent of America, and a lot of them watch FOX. They're never going to udnerstand that Fox is not news, that what is being passed off as news is partisan spin, that Glenn Beck uses his status as a commenter, rather than a reporter, to just make shit up, and that the whole function of the station is propagandistic. You can show them documentary after documentary, piece of evidence upon piece of evidence that Fox relentlessly distorts, misstates and misrepresents the news to support a partisan agenda, and they won't get it. Even if they concede you have a point, they'll say that it just balances out the liberal media, because, in their world in which the most inane movie plot makes no sense, a conservative lie provides balance to a liberal truth.

The White House is right. But I'm right that most movies would be better if they didn't drag the pacing to a screeching halt to explaint the story to the idiots. And, if movies did that, they would have an audience about 1/20th their current size.

The best way to make yourself unpopular is to take a moral stance that fools will never understand.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:48 AM on October 23, 2009 [159 favorites]


Fox News is to journalism what the WWE is to sports

Even down to their respective fans who get really upset when you point out it's fake.
posted by turaho at 10:48 AM on October 23, 2009 [31 favorites]


I just don't understand why the WH thought this approach would be a good idea. I mean, sure, put Fox on the standby list, if you want. But don't go making it a public spat. What's to be accomplished? Have they not heard the old saying? Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:52 AM on October 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


And, if movies did that, they would have an audience about 1/20th their current size.

See, that's the kind of movie I like.

Unless it's some handwavey stuff about how it's all like Schrodingers cat and like, that's deep, isn't it?
posted by Artw at 10:53 AM on October 23, 2009


I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me why fair and balanced Fox can't have one liberal host while MSNBC (The Scary Liberal Network) gives three hours every morning to a conservative host.

I thought they did.

Then again, my source for that was THE DAILY SHOW, so perhaps I should be a bit skeptical.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:54 AM on October 23, 2009


I'm with Thorzdad ... the currency of media is access, not necessarily recognition.

You can easily restrict and manage access without saying anything to anyone. The last thing you want is to give your enemy ammo in the "no, you're a dick" shouting match.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:54 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


NO news agency should be employing people who are unable to set aside their personal feelings long enough to actually report the news.

The problem with Fox isn't that it's partisan. The problem is that they're partisan while pretending to be like all the other news organizations. I'd be perfectly happy to have partisan journalism on both sides, as long as they're upfront about it.
posted by PlusDistance at 10:56 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Even down to their respective fans who get really upset when you point out it's fake.

Supposedly wrestling fans are divided into smarts and marks. Smarts know that the whole thing's rigged, marks do the WRESTLING AIN'T FAKE thing. Then there's the smart marks, who accept that it's fake but enjoy the performance.

Fox News fans are marks, plain and simple.
posted by permafrost at 10:56 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seriously nice to see someone actively taking the stance that Fox is as biased as Rush Limbaugh. I dearly wish that the US news agencies had the same legal obligation that the BBC has to report news fairly.

I'd say there were two things which USED TO promote that.

One was this disclaimer: "Responsible Parties with an opposing viewpoint may request time for rebuttal"

And the other was the Point/Counterpoint format.

Both of which were brought to us by "The Fairness Doctrine"
posted by mikelieman at 10:57 AM on October 23, 2009 [11 favorites]


That errors link is a fantastic, even-handed dissection of Fox's coverage of some small efforts to reform a few pieces of the PATRIOT Act.
posted by jedicus at 10:58 AM on October 23, 2009


I wonder how much of this involves Rupert Murdoch's known sympathies to the Chinese Communists.

If I recall correctly, during Tienneman Square, his network stopped carrying BBC World Service because they were showing the now-iconic pictures of the confrontation.

Shouldn't the motives of someone who appears to have only obtained US Citizenship for the benefit of being eligible to own more media properties be scrutinized?
posted by mikelieman at 10:59 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can't understand why conservatives who can think and write and report accurately -- and there are plenty -- put up with Fox.

If you're going with the idea that the "liberal media" -- everything except FOX -- is essentially a communist front, then Fox doesn't look so bad.

My mom, who does not like that mean man Hannity but otherwise appreciates FOX's rightward tilt, especially the place it makes for nice Christians like Huckabee and Keyes on its shows, is of the opinion that FOX is no more biased than CNN. I can only roll my eyes.
posted by mokuba at 10:59 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it would be better if they simply renamed it Fox News-Related Program Activities. More accurate.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:00 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


MSNBC (The Scary Liberal Network) -- Owned by GE. (The scary defense contractor).
posted by mikelieman at 11:01 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


bearwife: I can't understand why conservatives who can think and write and report accurately -- and there are plenty -- put up with Fox.

Liberal media types to far-left moonbats: "Shut up! You're making us ALL look bad."

Conservative pundits to far-right wingnuts: "Keep talking! You're making us look good."
posted by hangashore at 11:02 AM on October 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


"Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it."

Yes, that is true, but you also want bacon for breakfast, so sometimes you need to wrestle that pig so you can get close enough to stab it in the right places. I mean, if you just shot the pig, people would think you were really being totally unfair. You have to fight on an even playing field for the spectators, otherwise they'll call foul when their team loses.

Honestly, one of the things that bothers me about a lot of the criticism of the White Houses statements, mostly coming from the left, have been so drasticly _wrong_ that it's not funny. There was someone on MSNBC that said something to the effect of "when you attack someone, you should always be punching upwards", meaning the whole iconoclastic, speaking-truth-to-power, underdog fight, etc, etc. They're saying the White House is the big bully, picking on iddy-biddy, weaklings. No. That is verifiably false. The White House can say whatever it wants, and Fox News can just bend and twist and outright lie to the public, and since they have direct control of a broadcast medium, they win. We don't have a State controlled media outlet in this country. No Cuban radio, here, blaring government crafted messages. And recently, Fox News won in court for the Right To Lie, under the First Amendment.

So, no, the White House isn't attacking some weakling. They are attacking a cancerous growth upon our society, which uses it's power and control to distort reality and lie to the public on a minute by minute basis, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
posted by daq at 11:02 AM on October 23, 2009 [34 favorites]


Fox is just broadcast mental poison. Whenever my mom argues some political point using absurd distortions of the facts or flat out lies, I know she got it into her brain via Fox News. (Thank God for Google and her willingness to "make a $5 bet on it" for any particular argument) That station caused some serious problems in my relationship with my parents during the nightmarish Bush years. It turns my parent's idiot box into an idiot box of ignorance and anger.
posted by Auden at 11:03 AM on October 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


from the nytimes piece: That followed a pointed question at a White House briefing this week by Jake Tapper, an ABC News correspondent, about the administration’s treatment of “one of our sister organizations.”

this is mindblowing to me. why the fuck is ABC News defending Fox News? Is this some kind of fraternity thing, where if you're on the air you're buddies? wtf?
posted by shmegegge at 11:03 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't stand Fox News' daytime newscaster guy. I have no idea what his name is, but he looks like a smarmy fuck, gloating and smirking as he waves his arms to point at various televisions around the studio. With every gesture, the camera SWOOPS up to the monitor where some besuited white dude just grins and nods. Then they cut to some blond woman who looks Very Concerned About Not Having Enough Punch For The Church Social and then back to Smarmy McFuck who waves his arms and points at another monitor. On the monitor is what I presume is a Democrat, only because their lighting is so poorly done that they look like a Frankenstein. Frankencrat's lips move for a few moments and then it's back to Smarmy, who's glaring and smirking in a "can you believe this joker?" manner. Then there's a commercial of a fat guy trying to walk up stairs.

I have no idea what's going on - the sound is off at the gym - but the sheer feeling of "jingle jingle jingle look at the jingly keys, baby!" that presentation-style expresses enrages me. It has affected my workouts - I can't spend as long on the ellipticals or exercise bikes as my blood pressure is through the roof. Instead, I end up in the weight room because I lifting weights is the next best thing to punching a hole through the TV.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:04 AM on October 23, 2009 [63 favorites]


I think this is a good idea for the administration. It gives Fox a reason to whine, but I think it does marginalize them, too.
posted by snofoam at 11:04 AM on October 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


You can easily restrict and manage access without saying anything to anyone. The last thing you want is to give your enemy ammo in the "no, you're a dick" shouting match.

And then Fox does a huge series on "Why Won't Obama Talk To The People's Press?" and the White House is forced to respond and by "respond" I mean "not be in front of the story".

The best defense is a good offense.
posted by DU at 11:06 AM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


this is mindblowing to me. why the fuck is ABC News defending Fox News? Is this some kind of fraternity thing, where if you're on the air you're buddies? wtf?

I don't exactly recall them circling the wagons like this when the Bush Administration jerked off all over Helen Thomas.
posted by mikelieman at 11:06 AM on October 23, 2009 [14 favorites]


"I can't understand why conservatives who can think and write and report accurately -- and there are plenty -- put up with Fox. Fox News's popularity is a national embarrassment."

Conservatives in media who can think and write and report accurately either don't have partisan positions and thus feel constrained against comment, or are so sloshed by Napoleon brandy bought by National Review slush funds that they couldn't give a shit.

But here's where I mumble about party press and objective news being an anomaly and how you can't force people to take their news medicinally and how partisan shit is more entertaining if you already agree with the premises…
posted by klangklangston at 11:06 AM on October 23, 2009


What Fox does is insult the intelligence. While our democracy depends on an informed and literate citizenry, we witness Fox news dumbing-down information by the most Orwellian means. Through smear campaigns, through the sleaziest character assassination techniques, through misinformation and outright lies, Fox manipulates information until what’s left is a form of Republican campaign. With Fox cheerleading the teabaggers (and that’s documented) and with the Fox kooks like Hannity and Beck, we watch as those without basic critical thinking skills fall victim to a massive disinformation, propaganda and brainwashing effort. It ain't pretty.
posted by uraniumwilly at 11:07 AM on October 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


Yes, that is true, but you also want bacon for breakfast, so sometimes you need to wrestle that pig so you can get close enough to stab it in the right places.

ob New Yorker: Block that metaphor!

Also, mmmmmmmmmm, bacon ....
posted by lex mercatoria at 11:09 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wish it marginalized them, snofoam. Even though this is exactly the right step, FOX is going to get louder and louder the more they're snubbed and it'll only incense their followers more and more. The only way I can see progress being made is for the other news networks to stop giving FOX and other intentionally misleading sources in general equal time in the interests of "balance." That, or for laws to be put in place to hold news networks to standards of truth and lack of deceit.
posted by flatluigi at 11:10 AM on October 23, 2009


What I don't fully understand is other people in the "media" business defending Fox in this fight. NPR's Ken Rudin referred to this as being just like Nixon's Enemies list more than once this week. Which once you get beyond the facile comparison, is just plain absurd. I understand and see the point of people saying the WH should just ignore Fox, but I also completely understand why the WH is picking this fight given the persistent disinformation and borderline racism that seems to stream from this source.

Incidentally there is a small rumor circulating that Roger Ailes (head of Fox news) is being courted to run for President in 2012, which I think is pretty funny.

Hell, you know if you could come up with a president that did what Nixon did, and subtract the actions that stemmed from his paranoia, you might actually end up with a decently liberal president. Actually, I doubt a Richard Nixon would stand a chance getting elected nowadays
posted by edgeways at 11:10 AM on October 23, 2009


I dearly wish that the US news agencies had the same legal obligation that the BBC has to report news fairly

Fox News is on cable, not the public airwaves.
posted by cj_ at 11:11 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


why the fuck is ABC News defending Fox News?

ABC strikes me as a particularly conservative / right-leaning outfit. While I only make this judgment via my listening to KGO-AM, I still remember hearing that cock Wattenburg confidently report that we had found WMDs in Iraq, back in 2003. KGO's morning guy is a pro-war tool, their afternoon guy is some mindless suit, and the evening guy is a self-satisfied libertarian. Pretty shitty for a region that voted 75% for Obama.
posted by mokuba at 11:14 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


"this is mindblowing to me. why the fuck is ABC News defending Fox News? Is this some kind of fraternity thing, where if you're on the air you're buddies? wtf?"

Yes, basically. Especially when they, like our former president, are "great guys to have a beer with." That and journalism school encourages a lot of idealism that only rarely gets to be trotted out in the real world, so there's a sense of BUT WE'RE DOING THIS FOR FREEDOM!

And no, people did stick up for Helen Thomas—that's largely how anyone heard about it—except for Fox News, who wants the privileges of media establishment but doesn't want to play by the rules that justify those privileges, which has kind of been their modus operandi for a generation, but no one minds it when it gets us The Simpsons. They still see themselves as scrappy outsiders just trying to get the real story out there, despite being conservative fucktards with a disproportionate amount of power.
posted by klangklangston at 11:14 AM on October 23, 2009


The short list of news channels that are right wing and somewhat cowardly in the US:

All of them.
posted by Artw at 11:19 AM on October 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


The 24/7 news channels are simply vying for market share. Coloring the news with a partisan brush is just another way to build share. Lest you think any of the channels are broadcasting for noble progressive purposes - audience, and thereby ad revenue, is their ONLY agenda.

Fox "Fair and Balanced" lies aren't your cup of tea? Perhaps you would feel more comfortable listening to different lies? Obama shunning FOX will only draw more conservatives into their fold (and increase their ratings / ad revenue).
posted by LakesideOrion at 11:21 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


this is mindblowing to me. why the fuck is ABC News defending Fox News?

Possibly because it's not a far leap from "limiting access because of your political bent" to "limiting access because of your negative coverage".
posted by smackfu at 11:21 AM on October 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


From Talking Points Memo: "Fox New's John Stossel will be a participant in "health care town halls," i.e., rallies against health care reform, set up by the anti-reform group Americans For Prosperity." It's funny, with his charming personality and mellow tone of voice, AND that fine mustache, Stossel seems like he's got integrity.
posted by uraniumwilly at 11:23 AM on October 23, 2009


And recently, Fox News won in court for the Right To Lie, under the First Amendment.

Well, a local Fox (the broadcasting network) affiliate's evening/morning news show was involved in that case. It had nothing to do with Fox News (the cable channel), except to the extent that they're all owned by the same corporation. Unless you're suggesting that the local Fox affiliate is likely to be politically biased in a way that the local NBC, CBS, or ABC affiliates aren't.
posted by aswego at 11:23 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Actually, here's the exchange from the ABC reporter, which starts with:
Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one?
posted by smackfu at 11:24 AM on October 23, 2009


Oh god, KGO. That guy that's on in the evening, I've caught him before on my commute back when working late. What a complete tool. I try to stick to NPR or just silence.

> Pretty shitty for a region that voted 75% for Obama.

Michael Savage is based out of SF too. His face is plastered all over the clearchannel billboards along US101.
posted by cj_ at 11:26 AM on October 23, 2009


Seriously nice to see someone actively taking the stance that Fox is as biased as Rush Limbaugh. I dearly wish that the US news agencies had the same legal obligation that the BBC has to report news fairly.

I'd say there were two things which USED TO promote that.

One was this disclaimer: "Responsible Parties with an opposing viewpoint may request time for rebuttal"

And the other was the Point/Counterpoint format.

Both of which were brought to us by "The Fairness Doctrine"


Except the Fairness Doctrine would not have applied to Fox News, because it is a cable channel, not a broadcast channel. The Fairness Doctrine never applied to The Nation or The National Review, did it? The FCC is generally wary of getting involved in regulating cable content, though the Parental Tightass Council may be making headway in getting that changed.
posted by aswego at 11:26 AM on October 23, 2009


But don't go making it a public spat. What's to be accomplished?


Unusually trenchant Gawker post:

"The White House's decision to delegitimize Fox News isn't intended to delegitimize Fox News. It is intended to elevate them into a political force, to fill the vacuum in the GOP leadership. By spinning a "White House v. Fox News" narrative, they've managed to temporarily supersede the "White House v. GOP" narrative, thereby making Fox News the de facto political opposition. Which is what both sides want: Fox News for money and viewers, and the White House because they like the idea of having an opposition that is noxious, untruthful, combative, angry, emotionally unstable, and subject to an unyielding financial incentive to be ever more so."
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:26 AM on October 23, 2009 [63 favorites]


Fox "Fair and Balanced" lies aren't your cup of tea? Perhaps you would feel more comfortable listening to different lies?

FOX News is not simply the opposite view of other news programs (ABC, CBS, PBS, NPR, etc).
posted by inigo2 at 11:30 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was flipping through channels aimlessly yesterday evening, feeling kind of sick after eating what I think were bad crabcakes, when I decided to see what Cavuto was up to. He had some guy on, can't remember, probably a think tank guy, but not sure, and they were talking about congress. The tone was very proud, very smug, self-satisfied. You see, they were discussing how to incentivize congress to do well at their job. We could dock their pay, we could increase their pay, we could start them at minimum wage(?!). Basically it's abhorrent that we don't use a business model for congress's job performance.

I guess they don't vote.
posted by birdie birdington at 11:31 AM on October 23, 2009


Metafilter: Sometimes "you also want bacon for breakfast".
posted by notsnot at 11:31 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


From smackfu's link:
Tapper: [...] I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a "news organization."
I see what you did there.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 11:31 AM on October 23, 2009


Except the Fairness Doctrine would not have applied to Fox News, because it is a cable channel, not a broadcast channel

Now would be the perfect time to fix that, wouldn't it?

Or perhaps the FTC can examine their claims to be a "News Channel", and enforce Truth-in-Advertising regulations better.

Well, considering the FCC and FTC's track records, I'm not really expecting this to happen.

But if *I* were The Emperor, they would.
posted by mikelieman at 11:32 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would be quite happy if the FCC reinstated the Fairness Doctrine. I think it kept a lot of the noise and bullshit from becoming quite to omnipresent and strident. Yet another legacy of the Reagan administration, that fount of poison which continues to fuck with the quality of daily living to this day.

Bonus side effect of reinstating the Fairness Doctrine: all radio stations which currently air Rush Limbaugh would immediately have to find 3 hours of liberal radio programming to counter it.
posted by hippybear at 11:32 AM on October 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


Wonder if excluding the opposition with help stop the slide?
posted by LakesideOrion at 11:33 AM on October 23, 2009


AZ: The best way to make yourself unpopular is to take a moral stance that fools will never understand.

This is the underlying tragedy of progressive politics in the U.S., I am afraid.
posted by aught at 11:38 AM on October 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


I see very little Fox News, just enough to know I'd be overjoyed if I woke up tomorrow morning and found a scorched, smoking crater at its position on the dial. But this is just plain wrong. It's just plain wrong.

There have been plenty of scurrilous revolting politically ax-grinding yellow journalist outfits in American journalism from the get-go, and Fox News is just one more. If it went away tomorrow, its many, many fans (and the many others like them who don't ever watch Fox News) wouldn't get any less stupid, selfish, short-sighted, or hostile during this lifetime. The golden age of fair-minded journalistic ethics had about the same breadth and shelf-life as that magical time when, according to delusional conservatives, all Americans lived idyllically in an episode of Leave It to Beaver.

If President Obama and Rahm Emanuel want to play hardball and get medieval on somebody's ass, more power to 'em. I respectfully suggest they stroll down the street to Congress and administer some brass-knucked party discipline where it can do some fucking good.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:45 AM on October 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


...there is a small rumor circulating that Roger Ailes (head of Fox news) is being courted to run for President in 2012...

Yep.
“Ailes knows how to frame an issue better [than] anybody and that’s what we need now,” says one Ailes friend who is encouraging him to run. Frank Luntz, for one, tells Playbook that Ailes could be a force if does it. “I have known Roger Ailes for 29 years,” says Luntz. “No one knows how to win better than Roger.”
posted by ericb at 11:46 AM on October 23, 2009


I don't know what the right answer is in this brouhaha, but I know this...Obama is the smartest guy in the room. My money is firmly behind his tactics.
posted by vito90 at 11:47 AM on October 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


Now would be the perfect time to fix that, wouldn't it?
Or perhaps the FTC can examine their claims to be a "News Channel", and enforce Truth-in-Advertising regulations better.
Well, considering the FCC and FTC's track records, I'm not really expecting this to happen.
But if *I* were The Emperor, they would.


But...why? I mean, I kind of get your truth-in-advertising point, but "news" is a pretty vague term that can apply to pretty much anything (I could start a commercial website called "aswego's news," and no matter how bad it is the FTC is not going to come after me). The FTC isn't going to do anything if Fox isn't breaking any trade regulations.

And the FCC has no reason to regulate cable content. They aren't using the public's airwaves, so they don't owe the public anything. Why would they owe the public any more than the crazy guy ranting on the street corner?
posted by aswego at 11:47 AM on October 23, 2009


Ah, memories: At White House Christmas party, Bush joked about ‘conspiring’ with Fox News chief Roger Ailes.
posted by ericb at 11:48 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


As happy as it makes me that the executive branch is stating the obvious when it comes to recent comments about the lack of legitimacy of Fox news, I'm not convinced there's much to be gained by it.

It would be more productive for the Obama administration to forget about Fox and get us the hell out of Afghanistan and Iraq. That would make me really happy.
posted by imjustsaying at 11:48 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's to be accomplished?

Fox news's stance of "fair and balanced" is now something they have to defend. The White House is playing the media's game: Call something into question, make the discussion about it, and the discussion itself proves the original point. Essentially they're forcing Fox to defend their assertion that they're a news organization, which creates a lot of openings to point out how they're not.

The alternative is to play defense and knock down Fox's attacks as they come in. The White House simply took the Rovian lesson that the best defense is a good offense.
posted by fatbird at 11:53 AM on October 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


"I'm sure there's no corporate influence no none at all"

That's the part that gets me: How does a corporation with such a right-wing bias also carry shows that are as liberal and irreverent as the shows that Fox TV seems to have built its reputation on? Corporate influence can't be ignored of course, but... how do they fit all of that under one corporate umbrella without stabbing each other?

"since they have direct control of a broadcast medium, they win"

Actually - and it's worth remembering this - WE own the broadcast medium. THEY use it because they have a license to do so. The President can temporarily override their "control" of the medium at any time, and in fact this happens quite often, during emergencies, speeches, and the like; usually this is limited to non-cable but interstate telecom is covered by the FCC so there's no reason to think the government couldn't cut in and go live on every channel simultaneously if there were a need to do so. Hell, if the US government decided there was reasonable cause, Fox could have their broadcast license revoked.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:54 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


It is rarely possible to objectively prove that a news organization isn't objective. But with Fox News it's trivial.

During supposedly Fair and Balanced newscasts, count how many times the on-screen graphics gave the dates, locations and web addresses of Tea Party protests, and how many anchors encouraged the audience to go on the web and find out more. Then count how many times they have done this for left-wing protests.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:55 AM on October 23, 2009 [11 favorites]


Fox News is a wretched hive of scum and villainy and everything, but I don't see an upside here for the administration. They're basically throwing fuel on the right's collective persecution complex, and in a way that's hard to defend; as smackfu said, it's difficult to objectively distinguish this from Bush wielding press access as a weapon to compel favorable coverage.

And for what? Do they think Fox will be shamed into objective journalism? Do they think any Fox viewers will reevaluate their opinions on the say-so of Barrack Hussein Obama? Do they think this won't just turn out to be a ratings windfall for Fox when it's inevitably played for THIS IS AN OUTRAGE HOW DARE YOU SIR posturing?

When it comes to which morning programs get a presidential cameo, fine... skip Fox News. When you're picking reporters to receive questions from, fine... skip Fox News. But don't make a point of excluding them, don't make a big deal about how you don't think they're legitimate. Everyone who cares already knows that, and you're only empowering them further by giving them the attention they so desperately crave.
posted by Riki tiki at 11:56 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Left needs to develop new tactics to counter the Right's venom and insidious lie-mongering. The old tactics (Ignore Them; Don't Respond to Baiting; Take the High Road, etc.) clearly do not work anymore.

The Right has deftly figured out how to sidestep the old guard tactics (aided by a particularly brainless base of followers) and make hay out of the chaff of government.

The Obama White House's tactics may or may not be exactly right, but there needs to be a new set of tools developed to counter the pernicious Right's fucknozzlery before it gets a clawhold, instead of trying to suture the ragged wounds after the fact.
posted by Aquaman at 11:56 AM on October 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


i dunno. isn't nancy grace on cnn? i have a hard time telling one 'news' station from another these days.
posted by msconduct at 11:59 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fox News keeps me from being tempted to waste money on cable or satellite tv.

Thank God for Fox News.

Well OK yes, they're working on bringing about the apocalypse. But at least I'm not wasting money on cable.
posted by washburn at 12:00 PM on October 23, 2009


“Fox News is to journalism what the WWE is to sports. I can't believe serious adults went so long pretending otherwise.”

Ridiculous and outrageous statement. Even though it’s a staged performance, WWE involves athletic activity and has at least a vaguely coherent storyline. Indeed, it has tropes and rules and traditions that exist, if only to break them.

Fox is more akin to a monster truck rally. Loud spectacle for the sake of loud spectacle.

“I mean, if you just shot the pig, people would think you were really being totally unfair.”
That there pig? Well, you don’t eat a pig like that all at once.

“I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” -- why is that appropriate for the White House to say?”

Jake, if you stopped beating your wife, perhaps you wouldn’t hate children and puppies so much. Look, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with kicking old women into the street, and perhaps some of the old women you kick deserve it. But the simple fact is – why do we have to talk to anyone? The first amendment gives the press the right to say whatever it likes, it doesn’t mean they have the right to force anyone to speak to them.
Indeed, the Bush administration made full use of the bully pulpit and nary a whisper from many quarters.

True, the White House cannot and should not define what a legitimate news organization is and it’s silly to try. They should not have predicated their decision on that reasoning, but the more direct point that Fox distorts and willfully misrepresents the facts whether they are, as an organization, ‘legitimate’ news or not. (And they’re not).

So who then can define what a legitimate news organization is? Well, congress.
Except they’ve made no provisions for it (by fostering an independent not-for-profit media source) and stripped what provisions there were.
That being the case – no one can lay claim to legitimacy when everyone is in a number of ways directly beholden to their respective corporate sponsors. So, Jake, fuck you ya whore.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:01 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ken Rudin referred to this as being just like Nixon's Enemies list...

It's one of the GOP's 'talking points' this week:
Alexander to Obama: No 'enemies list'.

"Is President Obama Nixon-fying the White House?" Republicans ask.

GOP Communications Arm In Action: Republican Senator Takes Up Fox News’ ‘Enemies List’ Attack On Obama.

Pat Buchanan on GOP and Fox linking Obama to Nixon: ‘It is the most idiotic comparison I’ve ever seen.’

Enough with the foolish Obama/Nixon comparisons.
Another one of this week's 'talking points' taken up by FOX: "Where are the jobs?"
posted by ericb at 12:02 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've been following this for a couple of days since it first started making waves, and I think a part of the problem is that I can't see a stated goal; is it to make Fox start behaving in a more "balanced" fashion? Is it to force them off the air? I don't think either of these things are going to happen, and I think that marginalizing them will just feed into the persecution complex that the commentators and viewers over a Fox seem to live under.

Which is fine by me. I've said for a while that I'm sick and tired of these fuckers claiming that there are monsters in every shadow, out to get them, when the fact is that they themselves are most often the actual boogieman. So I say "Fine" let's show them what it feels like to be actually persecuted for a bit.

Maybe they'll finally get pushed far enough that they'll start mainlining stories about Planet X and the lizard people, and that would be just the perfect end to the Fox empire as far as I'm concerned.
posted by quin at 12:03 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


FLASHBACK: Fox News Supported Bush White House’s War Against NBC.
posted by ericb at 12:03 PM on October 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


...they've managed to temporarily supersede the "White House v. GOP" narrative, thereby making Fox News the de facto political opposition.

Mike Pence,chairman of the House Republican Conference: Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck speak for many Americans.
posted by ericb at 12:11 PM on October 23, 2009


And the FCC has no reason to regulate cable content. They aren't using the public's airwaves, so they don't owe the public anything. Why would they owe the public any more than the crazy guy ranting on the street corner?

I thought the middle "C" in FCC was for COMMUNICATIONS. And their baliwack is whatever Congress decides it is.

And can't a great case be made that with the technological evolution of "Communications", that their responsibilites be altered as appropriate?
posted by mikelieman at 12:14 PM on October 23, 2009


I can only say never pick a fight with somebody who buys ink by the barrel, or the modern equivalent.

That would only be true if there were a depth that Fox News hadn't yet sunk to in their incessant attacks, but they'd now be willing to sink to as a strike back against Obama.

Which seems pretty unlikely to me. There are, to be sure, depths that Fox hasn't sunk to (blatant photoshops of Obama personally raping little white boys, for example), but I think they've already pretty exhausted the well of "depths we can sink to without alienating even our median-moronic watcher."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:14 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck speak for many Americans.

As you will similarly find 'many Americans' for whom Adolph Hitler's words resonate deeply.

That doesn't mean you *LISTEN* to the nitwits.
posted by mikelieman at 12:15 PM on October 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Pat Buchanan on GOP and Fox linking Obama to Nixon: ‘It is the most idiotic comparison I’ve ever seen.’

When Buchanan's denouncing you, you got troubles.
posted by mikelieman at 12:17 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The White House has decided it will not bargain with terrorists.

Seems like a fair stance to me.
posted by yeloson at 12:20 PM on October 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


When Buchanan's denouncing you, you got troubles.

Yeah -- and he was an adviser, special assistant and confidant to Nixon.
posted by ericb at 12:23 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


At my gym they vote every so often as to what news channel will be displayed. Fox always wins.
Around here they call CNN the Communist News Network.

I personally feel that every channel has a bias. The biases simply vary.

Agree or disagree with the White House re Fox, it's still a stupid, stupid move on Obama's part and plays right into the Right's hands.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:24 PM on October 23, 2009


this is mindblowing to me. why the fuck is ABC News defending Fox News? Is this some kind of fraternity thing, where if you're on the air you're buddies? wtf?

I don't understand the hate being piled on Jake Tapper for the interview.

* The White House makes its statements.
* That move, by definition, is news.
* Your job is to ask questions and report news.

Now, how do you word the question to the president's spokesman? "How are they different?" And then in the next sentence, "I'm not talking about their opinion programs."

Where's the issue? You want Gibbs to answer the question to show the White House reasoning. This is journalism, folks.

We can quibble with the wording, but he's just asking the question. It's not like he's jumping on a live grenade tossed near Glen Beck's teleprompter.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:35 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Pat Buchanan on GOP and Fox linking Obama to Nixon: ‘It is the most idiotic comparison I’ve ever seen.’

But it's still okay to make the Hitler comparisons, right?
posted by Spatch at 12:37 PM on October 23, 2009


it's still a stupid, stupid move on Obama's part and plays right into the Right's hands

I don't think I'll ever get tired of hearing people say this, and then 3 or 4 months later, Obama is (metaphorically) standing inside a ring of right-wing corpses, stomping their banner into the mire of their blood.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 12:37 PM on October 23, 2009 [26 favorites]


why the fuck is ABC News defending Fox News?

Because now, the precedent has been set, and we'll have a Repugnican administration one day that will ONLY talk to Faux News and outlets like it.
posted by deadmessenger at 12:38 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Bad/scary move by the WH. Just turn back the clock and imagine if the Bush Admin did this to MSNBC. Don't need to like/agree with Fox News (or MSNBC for that matter) to see how this can spin out of control (either under this admin or under a future one that cites this as precedence)
posted by rulethirty at 12:39 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course, Spatch. After all, Hitler was a peaceful and respectable man who didn't want war.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:39 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought the middle "C" in FCC was for COMMUNICATIONS. And their baliwack is whatever Congress decides it is.

Except that it only ever applies to broadcast communications: broadcast television and terrestrial radio. That's why they can't keep naked cock out of cable or cursing off satellite radio.

Which is fine by me. More cursing and nudity, I say!
posted by grubi at 12:40 PM on October 23, 2009


And can't a great case be made that with the technological evolution of "Communications", that their responsibilites be altered as appropriate?

Too right. It might take help from Congress for a drastic expansion of power, but the FCC should involves as all agencies do (and as it's done in the past). The general movement, though, has been away from regulation of content in any medium where there are lots of options. Cable TV is much less like broadcast TV and much more like the internet this way (another medium where the FCC has decided to avoid content regulation), in that there is significant access for cost from a few limited providers, but that once you're "on" you have tons and tons of content options to choose from. I mean, Drudge's site might be awful, but do we really want the FCC getting involved in regulating internet sites? Most progressives would flip out if that happened, but we're on board with regulating cable TV stations?

I thought the middle "C" in FCC was for COMMUNICATIONS. And their baliwack is whatever Congress decides it is.

Well, if that's what the test is going to be, I'd like to see Senate Bill 111-214, "Authorization for FCC Regulation of Any Conversation Criticizing the Federal Government" hold up to First Amendment scrutiny these days.
posted by aswego at 12:40 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


There are, to be sure, depths that Fox hasn't sunk to (blatant photoshops of Obama personally raping little white boys, for example),

No, they've photoshopped pictures on their supposed "objective" news shows.
posted by stavrogin at 12:40 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


I don't think this is a stupid move at all, there may be some growing pains with this, but when Obama was running he consistantly gave Fox the chance to treat him fairly and they (obviously) never did. The goal here is not to drive fox off the air or bully them to change their coverage, they surely won't. The goal is to delegitimize Fox in their treatment by other news organizations, which is essentially the same thing the Republicans do when they refer to the "liberal media" or use "New York Times" as a slur. Only in this case the White House actually has the facts on its side. Every time someone hops on Fox News to argue their case to an audience of people who aren't listening, amidst framing that will in no way present their case fairly or in a positive light, they give creedence to the "fair and balanced" lie. If the White House is truely successful in essentially boycotting Fox News so they can't scrape anyone from the Left to appear on their air, it makes a difference. Let them sputter and shout about how he's Nixon and he has an enemies list, the only people who will believe this are birthers and teabaggers anyways. And if anyone at ABC or whereever else thinks they should defend Fox in some sort of "first they came for the Jews" sense, than they're absurdly idiotic and their corporate parents should fire them on the spot for hurting their chances at gaining market share anyways.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:41 PM on October 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


I love Fox News. I think it is a terrific cable news channel. Reading the representatives of the liberal 10% on Metafilter rail against the 40% of America that watch and enjoy Fox News is rich.

Fox News is not any more biased than other cable news outlets, or any other mainstream news outlets for that matter. Lou Dobbs has been ranting against free trade on CNN for more than a decade now. George Stephanopoulous helped lead the Clinton War Room for crissakes. You name an obviously opinionated Fox News pundit, and I will name a counterpart elsewhere who is equally as partisan, but less honestly so.

Fox News is not any more inaccurate than other cable news outlets. We can go citation for citation between Media Matters' reporting on Fox and the MRC's reporting on the other outlets if you would like. Big things and little things. CNN and MSNBC just within the past week unapologetically attributed false quotations about the Martin Luther King Jr. assassin to Rush Limbaugh (with CNN's reporter, not pundit, later apologizing several days after the fact). Hate Limbaugh if you will, but that was a breathtakingly egregious breach of journalistic ethics. Remember the "false but accurate" forged documents upon which CBS's George W. Bush Vietnam draft service were based? I'd add that Major Garrett and Carl Cameron are as good a couple of political journalists -- not pundits -- as anyone on the political beat right now.

The issue is not that Fox has bias; it's the direction of the bias. For decades, there was near uniformity in ideological tone among mainstream news in the United States. Fox News ruined that for the reporters, editors, and producers who liked it that way. It also provided a counter-point to the prevailing ideological orthodoxy, and millions of consumers of news wanted that counterpoint. Hence, commercial success. Also, backlash from entrenched interests who are tired of having to hear news stories and arguments that challenge their worldview.

The idea that Fox News is the WWE to CNN's more staid reporting is nonsense. The better analogy is that Fox News is the WWE to CNN's WCW or some other professional wrestling league that is not quite as commercially successful. In case you have not noticed, all cable news outlets are screaming faces: "no bias, no bull," "hardball," etc. It's been that way for some time. The only difference now is that a huge chunk of the American viewing public that did not have a home with Jim Lehrer or Katie Couric or Dan Rather can now watch Sheppard Smith instead. They are doing so in droves.

Good for Fox News. Bad for the White House. This is such a silly fight to pick.
posted by Slap Factory at 12:42 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Fox News is not any more inaccurate than other cable news outlets.

Check it out everyone: Slap Factory's a liar!
posted by grubi at 12:44 PM on October 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


rulethirty: The Bush White House DID do that to MSNBC. Which the former Press Secretary recently admitted in an interview. They also used "New York Times" as an epithet as often as possible.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:44 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Around here they call CNN the Communist News Network.
What a savage misuse of language, history, and fact.
posted by lumensimus at 12:45 PM on October 23, 2009 [20 favorites]


Good for Fox News. Bad for the White House. This is such a silly fight to pick.
posted by Slap Factory


Sweet concern trolling. If someone who thinks Fox News isn't more biased believes this, then the White House must really be on to something here.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:46 PM on October 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


So, no, the White House isn't attacking some weakling. They are attacking a cancerous growth upon our society, which uses it's power and control to distort reality and lie to the public on a minute by minute basis, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This is what I am talking about: leave the bubble, dude. You should be suspicious when the government starts going after journalists, even when you don't like the journalists. And the notion that the Administration -- which controls the executive power of the United States government, including the armed forces, the IRS, and the Surgeon General -- is the underdog in this fight has to be one of the least progressive notions I have heard in a long time.
posted by Slap Factory at 12:48 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


What a savage misuse of language, history, and fact.

That is some good prose.
posted by grubi at 12:49 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, they've photoshopped pictures on their supposed "objective" news shows.
posted by stavrogin


It's insane who poorly done those photoshops are! Seriously. I think the shoddy work is the most offensive part of that.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:50 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


which controls the executive power of the United States government, including the armed forces, the IRS, and the Surgeon General -- is the underdog in this fight has to be one of the least progressive notions I have heard in a long time.
posted by Slap Factory


OMG I know, OBVS Obama could invade Fox News, indict Roger Ailes for tax evasion, and put a label on cigarettes indicating that pregnant women should avoid Fox at all costs.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:52 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


backlash from entrenched interests who are tired of having to hear news stories and arguments that challenge their worldview.

You're right, but not in the way that you think.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:52 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


the Administration -- which controls the executive power of the United States government, including the armed forces, the IRS, and the Surgeon General

OH SHIT, not the SURGEON GENERAL!1!!!!
posted by joe lisboa at 12:53 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just turn back the clock and imagine if the Bush Admin did this to MSNBC.

Except they did, bro-bro. Selective amnesia much?
posted by joe lisboa at 12:55 PM on October 23, 2009 [15 favorites]


Five or so years ago when Jon Stewart was giving a talk (I think for the New Yorker festival...it's somewhere in here) he was asked (for the umpteenth time) by some audience member to basically "give his opinion"/denounce Fox News. He refused. He said that all Fox News did was find a way to make bias or falsehoods extremely marketable, and that surely means some talented person can find a way to make good (not liberal, just good) journalism just as successful. It's pathetic nobody's done so. That's the way to beat Fox...figure out how to sell quality.
posted by aswego at 12:57 PM on October 23, 2009


This is so great. Count me in the "It's About Time" camp.

And toss in all the other lying clowns: Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, etc. They might as well be wearing fright wigs and red rubber noses. Stop Taking Them Seriously!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 12:57 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Slap Factory, do you think it's right for news anchors (not opinion, news) to repeatedly advertise one political protest to the exclusion of all others? Do you really think that's something you would see on a CNN or MSNBC newscast?

CNN and MSNBC just within the past week unapologetically attributed false quotations about the Martin Luther King Jr. assassin to Rush Limbaugh (with CNN's reporter, not pundit, later apologizing several days after the fact)

Did he apologize unapologetically?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:58 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's still a stupid, stupid move on Obama's part and plays right into the Right's hands.

Don't you love it when someone who fell for Palin's obvious faux-populist schtick deigns to give political advice to someone who actually knows what the fuck it is they're talking about and, uh, managed to get elected President? Please, St. Alia, do tell President Obama how best to handle his office on tactical matters. Because then he'll know exactly what not to do.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:59 PM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


SLap Factory:
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Bubble? From the guy who thinks Fox News is only as bad as the other media outlets? Really?

Please tell me you don't listen to Rush Limbaugh. I hope you don't want Glen Beck either, even if it's just to laugh at him. If you take a single thing they say as being based in any way as "fact", or that they qualify as some kind of example of "journalism", with any kind of citation of their sources, other than the depths of their colons, I cannot take a word you say as having more thought put into it than a Fark headline.

Facts are hard, kids. They require thinking and evaluation. Not top down rote acceptance just because the man behind the desk on TV said it was so. And if you aren't fact checking these buffoons and simply accepting what they say as valid facts, you are a mark, and I hope to meet you in a game of 3 card monty very soon.
posted by daq at 1:05 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The scary thing about FOX is not that they are propagandizing or trying to push their loyal following in certain directions. They are a business. They slant their content based on what they know a HUGE portion of the populace wants to hear. The tail does not wag the dog. FOX has identified a gigantic market of 'red-state,' covertly (and overtly) reactionary people that for years were by-and-large ignored by a media increasingly dragged leftward by the evils of education, world experience, and a growing sensitivity to people unlike themselves. Things that many Americans want nothing to do with. Perhaps, scarily, most Americans. What do you do with your democracy when a majority of its people have abhorrent beliefs?

FOX prints money telling the ignorant and fearful what they want to hear. Why should they change? They'll print a whole new big bag of money on the strength of this story.
posted by umberto at 1:08 PM on October 23, 2009


Agree or disagree with the White House re Fox, it's still a stupid, stupid move on Obama's part and plays right into the Right's hands.

Would you describe yourself as CONCERNed about this issue, Alia?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:10 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


FOX News:
Mark Foley (D-FL)!

Mark Sanford (D-SC)!

John McCain (D-AZ)!
posted by ericb at 1:10 PM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


this is mindblowing to me. why the fuck is ABC News defending Fox News? Is this some kind of fraternity thing, where if you're on the air you're buddies? wtf?

Because it is a kind of fraternity--free speech, and I'm glad they're fucking rallying. I still dom't get how an entire organization can be trashed for the few nutjob opinion shows it airs--who the hell can legitimately say that Chris Wallace, Brit Hume and Charles Krauthammer aren't newsmen??
posted by njbradburn at 1:13 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]



Fox News is not any more inaccurate than other cable news outlets


Is that your only concern, that Fox keep up with the (perceived) lies and biases of its cable competitors? (I will leave aside for the moment, Slap Factory, that this begs the question of whether Fox is worthy to be called a news organization.)

If you are really worried about bias in the media, then perhaps you should bear in mind that bias means slant, i.e. distortion of truth. And in that case there is nothing good about any "outlet" that claims to report news but actually distorts it to comport with its slant. We don't need countervailing biases in the news, we need accuracy.

I am always surprised to see the argument that two wrongs must make a right. When will conservatives or Rs or whoever Fox is supposed to speak for start to demand actual truthfulness from their chosen "outlet?"
posted by bearwife at 1:13 PM on October 23, 2009


RuleThirty: Just turn back the clock and imagine if the Bush Admin did this to MSNBC.

The Bush Administration did do this to MSNBC. And you know what? Everyone survived.

I don't see why some think that the White House can't push back against the treatment they receive in the media. The whole "they should be better than that" angle is nothing but velvet handcuffs.
posted by fatbird at 1:13 PM on October 23, 2009


No, they've photoshopped pictures on their supposed "objective" news shows.

Wow, that's juvenile. They might as well have added stink lines and blackened out their teeth.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:15 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't you love it when someone who fell for Palin's obvious faux-populist schtick deigns to give political advice to someone who actually knows what the fuck it is they're talking about and, uh, managed to get elected President? Please, St. Alia, do tell President Obama how best to handle his office on tactical matters. Because then he'll know exactly what not to do

Don't you just love it when people forget that there are actually people out there in the hinterlands and/or the internet who aren't Democrats and/or Liberals, and who will see this move by the White House as confirming some of their worst fears?

You may have no respect for my views or for me personally, but what I have that you don't is insight into a group of individuals that you wouldn't probably give a second thought to. And I also know that there are many more of them than many of you would imagine.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:15 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because it is a kind of fraternity--free speech, and I'm glad they're fucking rallying.

Um. They're not saying Fox can't say that stuff, they're saying if Fox wants to say whatever instead of reporting News than they aren't going to treat them like News. There has been no mention of censorship on their part, simply a line drawn between News and opinion.
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:17 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Criticizing Fox isn't "Nixonian." But Fox is. -- "Pundits are making false comparisons between Obama and Nixon. They have no idea what they're talking about."
posted by ericb at 1:17 PM on October 23, 2009


who the hell can legitimately say that Chris Wallace, Brit Hume and Charles Krauthammer aren't newsmen??

Call them "newsmen" is like calling Ellen DeGeneres a "cocksman."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:17 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


“He said that all Fox News did was find a way to make bias or falsehoods extremely marketable…. That's the way to beat Fox...figure out how to sell quality.”

Sounds like he’s standing on Rule 35.

I mean – ‘sell’ quality? You’re never going to have an environment were the truth is a marketable commodity by the very nature of the two things.
That which is true is going to be antithetical to marketing. And marketing is always going to seek to commoditize any given thing and widen the disparity between the actual and image.
Apart from “how much do you bench” anyone who pays my build any attention typically asks “how did you do it.”
They don’t want to hear about diet, exercise and hard work. There’s gotta be a gimmick. Some angle. I must be on the juice or something. It’s got to be something they can get in a bottle. And plenty of people willing to sell them that bottle and tell them I’m full of b.s. or a sucker for sweating in the gym.
The truth needs independence. A sales model isn’t going to allow that without some constraints of some kind.
Not that I can work out the details here. But there are models for news organizations independent of their funding sources that do have quality journalism.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:23 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


quin : I think that marginalizing them will just feed into the persecution complex that the commentators and viewers over a Fox seem to live under.

St. Alia of the Bunnies : Don't you just love it when people forget that there are actually people out there in the hinterlands and/or the internet who aren't Democrats and/or Liberals, and who will see this move by the White House as confirming some of their worst fears?

Aaaaand scene...
posted by quin at 1:23 PM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


Don't you just love it when people forget that there are actually people out there in the hinterlands and/or the internet who aren't Democrats and/or Liberals, and who will see this move by the White House as confirming some of their worst fears?

Can you show me any evidence that people here are oblivious to differing opinions? I mean, how is this statement even remotely not nonsense. If we thought that everyone shared our opinion, why on earth would we be having this discussion?

I think you're missing the point: we are fully aware of the variety of political thought. And I can only speak for myself, but I'm sure others will agree: it's the out-right attack on rational thought predicated in a disingenuous and insidious Fox philosophy that worries us. Regular Americans don't have time to sift through the barrage of political nuance, and Fox takes advantage of this by appealing to their emotions, gaining their trust in doing so, then straight up distorting reality.

As far as I can tell, you're still just trolling. You're making up caricatures of liberals, and you're making snide comments towards "them."
posted by spiderskull at 1:26 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


what I have that you don't is insight into a group of individuals that you wouldn't probably give a second thought to.

To all those in North Carolina who helped make sure your state's electoral college votes went to Obama, I salute you.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:29 PM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


It is saddening to see so many people here say the White House shoudn't have called Fox News what it is.
posted by JHarris at 1:34 PM on October 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


American Cable news occasionally turns up on UK television in a WTF kind of way. Charlie Brooker, in a review of cable news, described Fox News as "a dystopian-future-sci-fi-satirical-shouty-porn-sledgehammer-channel ". My own experience of Fox has been limited to a few trips to the US where most of the tv is much more in your face than I am used to in the UK. Having said that, Fox stuck out as being particularly in-your-face.

Part of the reason that American cable news seems so skewed to us is the requirement for due impartiality in news reporting for commercial companies (such as ITV, Channel 4 and the Murdoch-owned Sky News). The BBC is slightly different in that it is regulated by the BBC trust. However, in essence, it must also present fair and balanced reporting (and by that I mean actual fair and balanced reporting as opposed to the Orwellian doublethink in play in Fox's use of the epithet).

The BBC is in a weak place at the moment. This is due to various manufactured scandals- stoked by a jealous commercial media envious of the monies it brings in through the licence fee, and, also, of it's huge cultural footprint. The old MeFi favourite, The Daily Mail has attacked it on numerous occasions. Murdoch's son, non-executive leader at Sky television stuck in the boot during the annual Mactaggart lecture at the Edinburgh TV festival. Murdoch's papers have also been on the attack.

The likelyhood is that we are going to get a Tory government in 2010 in the UK. Almost certainly as part of that, the Tories will have made a Faustian pact with Murdoch to break up the BBC bit by bit in order to get the support of his newspapers (The Sun, News of the World, The Times and The Sunday Times). As a result, I can see a day when the BBC and commercial requirements for impartiality are watered-down into 'letting the market decide'- it will be incremental, but it will occur eventually. The BBC, for all it's faults, could end up like PBS or the Australian ABC rather than the global operator that it is just now. That will be a shame for the UK and the wider world. When I watch Fox News, I see the shape of things to come and it depresses the life out of me.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 1:35 PM on October 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


"I don't. The problem isn't FOX, but the viewership that buys its bullshit."

Of course many do. There's an awful lot of media out there that supports the particular framing of the issues that FoxNews also supports... and a fair amount of it is owned by Rupert Murdoch. There will be a reliable 30% who will watch for that reason, and another 15% who will watch for the fireworks.

You can't judge the situation as being just FoxNews. Take a look at his other properties. The New York Post basically exists to attack the most iinfluential reality-based newspaper in the country. It also pushes them to the right.

It's not widely mentioned, but Murdoch owned neoconservative Bill Kristol's magazine "The Weekly Standard" for a long time, only selling it after purchasing the Wall Street Journal. This doesn't seem like a coincidence to me. Rather, it sounds like he "traded up", but still intends to reach roughly the same audience, with a similar message.

The WSJ purchase reminds me of his purchase of The Times of London... essentially, he's using the WSJ to provide an "intellectual", finacial, upper-class underpinning for the same kind of policies he supports on FoxNews, much like The Times of London provides the same kind of support for papers like The Sun and News of the World.

The big difference? Murdoch's SkyNews has had to be mostly on the sidelines, politically, because of Ofcom regulation. They *do*, however, regularly attack both the BBC and Ofcom.

Rightwing talking heads are afraid of a reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine in the US, and have ranted on it so hard that any efforts to move in that direction would lead to a lot of angry protests. That said, it probably should be done somehow, even if there's not a lot of political courage to do it. One of the big reasons that Murdoch is supporting the David Cameron over Gordon Brown is that Cameron has said he will abolish Ofcom, which serves a role similar to the FCC and the Fairness Doctrine.

Basically, the Conservatives in Britain are campaigning on a platform of gutting balance in British media and making people pay more money for watching television... and the British people are going to back those policies, because Murdoch and several other media sources want them to concentrate on fearmongering distractions like immigration.

FoxNews isn't an American embarrassment. It's the most prominently featured online news source on The Sun's website... in front of SkyNews, Times of London, and The New York Post... and it's going to come to Britain soon enough, albeit with different branding.
posted by markkraft at 1:35 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


You're making up caricatures of liberals, and you're making snide comments towards "them."

It's not a troll, it's a whole style of thinking.

The Paranoid Style of American Politics.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:37 PM on October 23, 2009


Oh... and once the British people allow their government to gut Ofcom and the well is thoroughly poisoned... you can bet that the BBC will be next.

Gee, it's sure a lot easier to gut regulations than restore them, dontchathink?!
posted by markkraft at 1:39 PM on October 23, 2009


*timidly raises hand*

Okay: I consider myself liberal. I voted for Obama. I hate FOX with the fire of a thousand burning nuns.

....And I think that the White House absolutely did the wrong thing in this instance.

I'm sorry, but for the government to make a ruling as to whether a given institution is or is not a valid news network, and for giving no other source for their ruling than "it's our opinion," just...goes against everything I believe the First Amendment of the Constitution is supposed to represent.

It wasn't right when Bush did it to MSNBC, and it's still not right when Obama did it to Fox. The entire point of the First Amendment is to protect even the speech which is critical of the government.

If they'd had a better basis for their arguments -- a spreadsheet breaking down several extant libel cases against them, incontrovertible proof that they had falsified material on earlier broadcasts, SOMETHING -- that would be different. But it sounds uncomfortably to me like their entire basis for ruling out Fox is just "....we don't like them." And -- that makes me very uncomfortable when a government uses that as their sole excuse to bar anyone from speaking. Even the people I disagree with. that right there is the ENTIRE WHOLE POINT of the First Amendment, and for OBAMA'S White House to falter on this...this has me very uneasy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:43 PM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


My mom and dad, both in their 70's, have turned me back on to MSNBC commentator block as Fox antidote. They've also got me taping Meet the Press and Face the Nation as well.

I really love my mom and dad for their out and out smarts.



(edgewise, you seem to have borderline and blatant mixed up...)
posted by djrock3k at 1:44 PM on October 23, 2009


More like Faux News, ha ha AMIRITE?

I prefer Faust.


Bah, this theater is fine with me. While the easily entertained are distracted by this, the people who want real change can get to work without half the hassle.

The White House isn't deciding anything about what Faust News is or isn't. They've made the decision for themselves, not for any of us.
posted by lysdexic at 1:55 PM on October 23, 2009


I still don't get how an entire organization can be trashed for the few nutjob opinion shows it airs

Until just a little over one year ago, Glenn Beck's program was aired by CNN.

The line between news coverage and punditry on all 24/7 news networks has been blurred to the point of having no distinction between propaganda and reality. This isn't journalism from any angle, and from what I can tell, isn't even trying to be.

That the President even feels obligated to appear on the interview circuit is backwards. The White House should hold regular press conferences, and host the video of said press conferences on whitehouse.gov. They should do this with every speech, appearance, and situation of note. Cut out the middle man and stop facilitating the lack of any requirement of thought regarding the political current of this country.
posted by clearly at 2:01 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


the 40% of America that watch and enjoy Fox News


Oh please. Fox does very, very well in the ratings. Very, very well = 2.25 million total viewers in prime time.


Sted 40%, try 0.007%
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:01 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


40% of America that watch and enjoy Fox News

No. Not even close. Fox News averaged 2.25 million total viewers in prime time for the third quarter of this year. With current estimates of the US population standing at around 304 million, that means that less than 1% of people in this country "watch and enjoy" Fox News.

Now, to be fair, in a September 2009 Pew Research poll, 55% of respondents said they viewed Fox news favorably - but 60% said the same of CNN, while MSNBC has a 48% favorable rating and NPR has 44%. And, if you look at the unfavorable rating, Fox News first among the cable news networks at 25% (with CNN and MSNBC tied for second at 19%).
posted by thewittyname at 2:01 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Rachel Maddow (who is inadvertently personally involved) pulls back the veil about Fox News and their ties to White House administrations.
posted by hippybear at 2:02 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


...that makes me very uncomfortable when a government uses that as their sole excuse to bar anyone from speaking.

Though they haven't barred them from speaking. They've simply chosen to stop making appearances on their shows.

Also, I hope the people who are worried/upset about this do recognize the games Bush pulled in terms of media conferences in Iraq, right?
posted by yeloson at 2:03 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Though they haven't barred them from speaking. They've simply chosen to stop making appearances on their shows.

....Oh, is THAT what this is? Oh, I somehow got that it was the White House refusing to acknowledge FOX reporters during official White House press conferences or something.

Okay, THAT is something different. I feel better now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:08 PM on October 23, 2009


Is any news network praised for spouting truth like Fox News? Or anyone who few thousand dollars to buy a billboard that says "THANK GOD FOR THE FOX NEWS CHANNEL"?

Unfortunately, even if this doesn't elevate Fox News to the level of the GOP as the new adversary to the Democrats, it'll make every story against the White House a major success. Anything not given freely is then a story that has been ripped out of the tyrannical grip of Obamanation, and worth even more accolades for freeing the truth from the land of lies. Of course it's not true, but that's the truth they can spin.

Michael Clemente, senior vice president for news and editorial programming at Fox, said the White House was conflating the network’s commentary with its news coverage. That, Mr. Clemente said, “would be like Fox News blaming the White House senior staff for the Washington Redskins’ losing record.”

... if the Washington Redskins were managed by the same folks as the White House staff. Different group of folks, same over-arching management. I doubt that the Redskins will get any game-winning tips from the White House staffers, where FOX folk could shuffle tapes from one show to another, editing it down to the choice bits and whatnot.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:08 PM on October 23, 2009


It's funny, but a lot of the protest we are hearing from non-Fox affiliated journalists smacks of members of the club closing ranks around their profession. They may not like Fox, but they see themselves potentially besieged by similar criticisms if they say nothing. This is not true, of course, as FoxNews is no more a news outlet than than Saatchi and Saatchi is. But if you were to put the rest of the people that comprise the commercial MSM under similar scrutiny, it would become quickly apparent that the overwhelming majority are fame whores, failed actors and people who are just not very good at their jobs.
posted by psmealey at 2:09 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Don't you just love it when people forget that there are actually people out there in the hinterlands and/or the internet who aren't Democrats and/or Liberals, and who will see this move by the White House as confirming some of their worst fears?

The problem, Alia, is that the community you identify gets their worst fears confirmed by Obama's choice of jam in the morning. They've demonstrated themselves repeatedly to be deeply paranoid and credulous, swallowing worthless bile like birtherism and screaming "socialism!" at every opportunity. And Fox news makes its living by feeding that community all the fear it can stomach, and then some.

As I pointed out above, the Obama White House is doing to Fox what the Bush White House did to MSNBC. Were your worst fears confirmed then as well?
posted by fatbird at 2:09 PM on October 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


I'm simply saying that the WH is giving an impression. That impression is that "Hey, you don't fall lockstep with us, we won't talk to you. " Whether right or wrong or indifferent, that is what a lot of people will take this as.

They could have certainly backed off from Fox without coming right out and saying it. That is why I say it is a stupid, stupid move.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:10 PM on October 23, 2009


Metafilter: The best way to make yourself unpopular is to take a moral stance that fools will never understand
posted by jock@law at 2:15 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, Glenn Beck is perhaps one of the worst things to happen to this country this decade.
posted by jock@law at 2:16 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


So I just started reading this thread and we turned on Fox News for some shits and giggles and I swear, did Glenn Beck just call for someone to "whack" the president? No seriously, it freaked me out. He was waving a bat around and everything.
posted by like_neon at 2:18 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fox News averaged 2.25 million total viewers in prime time for the third quarter of this year. With current estimates of the US population standing at around 304 million, that means that less than 1% of people in this country "watch and enjoy" Fox News.

That is total junk statistics. Average total viewers != number of viewers who watch Fox.
posted by smackfu at 2:19 PM on October 23, 2009


Oh, I somehow got that it was the White House refusing to acknowledge FOX reporters during official White House press conferences or something.

According to the NY Times story, they tried to freeze Fox out of a pool interview with an administration official.
posted by smackfu at 2:21 PM on October 23, 2009


I still dom't get how an entire organization can be trashed for the few nutjob opinion shows it airs--who the hell can legitimately say that Chris Wallace, Brit Hume and Charles Krauthammer aren't newsmen??

::eyeroll::

You list party operatives, not honest news brokers.

This is going to sound retarded to our conservative friends here, but outside of Krugman I don't hold much expectation for any media voice being in the unbiased, straight-dealing department.

Part of the problem is that one's ideology -- eg. pro-market, pro-life, pro-country, pro-church, pro-war, pro-Israel -- can and does poison the mind, turning one into an imbecile, consistently wrong about reality.

I wheel this out whenever I get the chance: "Point of view is worth 80 IQ points" since it resonates so with me.
posted by mokuba at 2:21 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


They could have certainly backed off from Fox without coming right out and saying it. That is why I say it is a stupid, stupid move

Stupider than Rupert Murdoch working with the Chinese Communist censors to stop coverage of the Tiennamen Square protests way-back-when?

They aren't focusing on his very close ties to the Chinese Government and state broadcasters, are they?

Which is good, because I question Murdoch's basic loyalty to America, and he should be grateful that his motives don't come under closer scrutiny.
posted by mikelieman at 2:23 PM on October 23, 2009


This is going to sound retarded to our conservative friends here, but outside of Krugman I don't hold much expectation for any media voice being in the unbiased, straight-dealing department.

Amy Goodman.
posted by mikelieman at 2:26 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


and he should be grateful that his motives don't come under closer scrutiny.

I think it's the President's job to run the fucking country, not scrutinize organizations. As St Alia says, I also think making this public is dumb.

It strikes me as showing weakness in the face of a bully.
posted by mokuba at 2:28 PM on October 23, 2009


If you want to see how many viewers Fox News gets, the stat you want to Google is "Cable News Cumulative Audience", which measures "the number of individual viewers who watch a channel for at least six minutes over the course of a month." That chart is here. Fox has 57 million distinct viewers by that stat, for those who insist that "no one watches FNC".
posted by smackfu at 2:29 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Amy Goodman.

yeah, her too, but she's not quite embedded in the establishment media. Krugman was kinda an accident, the NYT thinking they were getting another Brooks.
posted by mokuba at 2:30 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Perception is not reality. Reality is reality. Perception is one person's way of dealing with reality.

If you refuse to deal with reality, it will certainly deal with you. I can say red is green all day long but that doesn't make it true. Saying that the economy was just swell the last 8 years and the "fundamentals are sound" didn't make it true.

Faust can say all it wants about the White House, health care reform, teab*ggers, etc. It doesn't make it true.

The other news orgs will get a kick out of defending Faust for a while, but as Faust ramps up the crazy, and gets more and more out of touch, the other orgs are going to run away fast to keep from being sucked down with them. Just how closely are they going to want to be associated with open calls for treason and sedition?

Jobs are gone, money is gone, and we're in the last throes of clinging to the fantasy that all we need is a "moral" congress, a "moral" president, a "moral" court system. and organized, sanitized, christianized prayer in the schools. I can't wait for the end of that fantasy.
posted by lysdexic at 2:31 PM on October 23, 2009


I mean – ‘sell’ quality? You’re never going to have an environment were the truth is a marketable commodity by the very nature of the two things.
That which is true is going to be antithetical to marketing. And marketing is always going to seek to commoditize any given thing and widen the disparity between the actual and image.
Apart from “how much do you bench” anyone who pays my build any attention typically asks “how did you do it.”
They don’t want to hear about diet, exercise and hard work. There’s gotta be a gimmick. Some angle. I must be on the juice or something. It’s got to be something they can get in a bottle. And plenty of people willing to sell them that bottle and tell them I’m full of b.s. or a sucker for sweating in the gym.
The truth needs independence. A sales model isn’t going to allow that without some constraints of some kind.
Not that I can work out the details here. But there are models for news organizations independent of their funding sources that do have quality journalism.


Yeah, benevolent sources of unlimited funding will be nice, when enough of them come along to save all the news outlets we need. But shouldn't journalists have some kind of backup plan while we're living in a capitalist society?

I don't have the magic funding model that is going to save newspapers or anything, but journalism of positive quality has succeeded in the past despite (or maybe even sometimes because of) the "constraints." The NY Times grew from a local newspaper to a national newspaper because of its perceived quality. The New Yorker has been profitable (at times) because of a reputation for fact-checking. CNN grew mega-successful because it offered something positive during the Desert Storm that no other network could (up-to-date coverage). If those positive qualities aren't good enough to draw customers anymore, then news outlets will have to find different ones. Or maybe their marketing departments just have to figure out a better way to sell them. I think the point was that Fox News figured out something a lot of people wanted (encouragement of their most base instincts), but that there's enough of a desire for more positive stuff if some news outlet can just crack the code and deliver it.
posted by aswego at 2:33 PM on October 23, 2009


Is this something I would have to believe that TV is real to understand?
posted by chavenet at 2:41 PM on October 23, 2009


njbradburn: "Because it is a kind of fraternity--free speech, and I'm glad they're fucking rallying. I still dom't get how an entire organization can be trashed for the few nutjob opinion shows it airs--who the hell can legitimately say that Chris Wallace, Brit Hume and Charles Krauthammer aren't newsmen??"

you know, this - and a few other responses in thread - is a good point, and thank you for making it. it puts what tapper said in a much improved light, so that's good.

now, speaking only for myself (and specifically not trying to make the point that "the white house is totally right all the time grar grar"), I'd make a distinction between the reporters and the organization. It seems clear to me as a consumer who is familiar with Outfoxed and the like that, despite the credentials and/or integrity of the individual reporters, Fox News is a biased mouthpiece organization. Further, I'd say that if the White House wants to hold an organization that is purportedly a member of the Fourth Estate accountable for its actions, it should do so regardless of the credibility of its individual members. I don't think anyone would say that an individual reporter of good faith and conscience to the fire. at least, no one reasonable would say that. on the other hand, you can't take Fox News to task without in some way affecting every member of the organization. And it seems to me that it's important enough to put the lie to Fox News and its tactics that at the end of the day the white house's stance has to be "I'm sorry for [reporters x, y and z]. this isn't meant to impugn them. But this action is important, and I hope they can see that this is not about them but the larger organization. I hope they take this opportunity to continue their fine work with an organization of repute, because quality reporters from better organizations will always be welcome."

of course, maybe that's not the WH's stance. but I hope that's where they're at, here. That's how I feel about it, at least. Hell, I know people who have worked at Fox News who are hard line liberals who tell me that the entire behind the scenes staff there is liberal and hates the product put out. I wouldn't want any of them to be hurt by this on a personal level. but at the same time, I can't exactly let that cloud my feelings that Fox News needs to be outed as the lying corporate spin machine it is.
posted by shmegegge at 2:46 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm simply saying that the WH is giving an impression. That impression is that 'Hey, you don't fall lockstep with us, we won't talk to you.'

Ari Fleischer: "All Americans need to watch what they say, watch what they do."
posted by kirkaracha at 2:52 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


who the hell can legitimately say that Chris Wallace, Brit Hume and Charles Krauthammer aren't newsmen??"

WTF, unless something has changed in FoxNews approach very recently, those guys all regurgitate the talking point provided to them by management, and they all do the Fox pantomime (eye rolls whenever they mention Pelosi, Ted Kennedy or FDR by name). Also, I'm sorry, but did you see Wallace's interview with Dick Cheney? Wallace was about 30 seconds away from fellating... Dick.

If those are your ideas of newsmen, I'd hate like hell to see who you think qualifies as a hack.
posted by psmealey at 2:52 PM on October 23, 2009


shmegegge: "I don't think anyone would say that an individual reporter of good faith and conscience to the fire."

excuse me. I don't think anyone would say that an individual reporter of good faith and conscience should have his or her feet held to the fire.

my bad.
posted by shmegegge at 2:52 PM on October 23, 2009


I say it's about time. I'm tired of dangerous ideas (for example creationism) getting as much time as real science and news just because those that are flat our wrong or biased claim they deserve equal time because it's fair. Fuck that, your'e wrong and your're biased so get the fuck out.
posted by zzazazz at 2:55 PM on October 23, 2009


When The Simpsons, a show that airs on the FOX network, does bits on FOX News like the one I'm about to link to, I think there's no longer any ability to argue that FOX is nothining more than Your Voice For Evil.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:59 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The White House refusing to deal with FOX News isn't infringing on anyone's free speech. Just because you're a liberal doesn't mean that you have to respond to someone beating on you by asking for more and pretending that they're genuine and honest members of the conversation.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:08 PM on October 23, 2009 [11 favorites]


I' ve said it before but FOX News is basically a broadcast from an insane asylum. It's entirely sensible to ignore the bullshit. If you come to the table saying you'll be fair, considered, and civilized and then conduct yourself as if you forgot to take your medication and shit on the table then you don't deserve respect.
posted by juiceCake at 3:09 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Free speech issue? I never knew that included having to talk to people who are in all likelihood going to lie about what you said.

I certainly think this was framed poorly, but a general rule of not talking to people who misrepresent and misquote you is only good sense.
posted by Zalzidrax at 3:20 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


“But shouldn't journalists have some kind of backup plan while we're living in a capitalist society?”

Because if there’s one thing commercial media does well, it’s innovation?
Cooking shows, financial news, home repair shows, history and biography show, and especially children’s television started in public broadcasting because commercial media didn’t want to touch something that was untested.

As it is, 90% percent of the history channel has devolved into Hitler and crazy weapons. Discovery (et.al) has turned into the sharks biting things and stuff blowed up channel and fantasy battles of Cherokee's vs. Roman gladiators.

I’d be thrilled and I’d push money at a station that actually delivered something relevant and educational. As it is, that’s only public broadcasting (which I do subscribe to). Heard any radio that’s not public broadcasting play classical? I like classical. A lot of people like it. Plenty of market, at least here in Chicago. I've heard zero on commercial broadcasting.

We’re talking trust vs. money here. People trust public broadcasting. Have more of it. And news.
Or change the laws to make self-styled news outlets conform to a certain ethic. I don’t much care for that.
But capitalism-wise – you don’t need to save any news outlets, simply have independent public broadcast news and force competition to that standard.

As it is – why ADM doesn’t want to compete with their rivals against the consumer? Because the customer is the enemy. This is true of more than just corn additive producers.

Given communication technology and the degree of sophistication in business, the environment in which the NYT, et.al. could be profitable with national news just doesn’t exist anymore. Too many more powerful interests throwing far more money into the equation because news, for them, is just a sideline to support their interests and/or agenda. Mostly because of changes in the law, ownership, etc.
Either you have an independent news organization in which the editorial department is beholden to no one and doesn’t have to worry about sales figures or anything but accuracy or the law makes constraints.
Either way you’ve set a standard by which competition exists.

If the law allows media to lie at will – as the law has ruled, and allows the broad ownership policies in mass media, then accurate news, quality journalism, will not exist in competition.

“If those positive qualities aren't good enough to draw customers anymore, then news outlets will have to find different ones. Or maybe their marketing departments just have to figure out a better way to sell them”

How is the failure of people to buy the truth a failure of marketing? Advertising is by design is distortion or at best emotional appeal.
News companies should lie more to sell the truth better?
Bad money will always drive good money out of circulation. So you have laws. And a standard (albeit, not a gold standard anymore, but…)

The environment now, no one can lay claim to any standard. One’s journalism can be perfectly true, accurate, and relevant and one can still be shouted down in the din of competing outfits telling people what they want to hear.
That’s not a failure in marketing.
Competition in the media is adversarial, but not against rival news organizations. It's become about deluding us, convincing us, etc. To a degree it always has. But there has at least been some protections under the law and limits to which technology could be used.
Not so much anymore.
Call me an f'ing socialist but I'd like to have a straight news source and I'm as happy to pay tax money for it as I am to subscribe to public broadcasting, if not more because there is oversight.
Think it's a coincidence media business folks like Murdoch attack the roots of such things? End run the laws, all that?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:23 PM on October 23, 2009 [14 favorites]


I'm going to link to Gawker again for the best explanation of why the White House is doing what it's doing: What's Bad for the GOP Is Good for Fox News.
posted by wendell at 3:30 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


No. Not even close. Fox News averaged 2.25 million total viewers in prime time for the third quarter of this year. With current estimates of the US population standing at around 304 million, that means that less than 1% of people in this country "watch and enjoy" Fox News.

This reasoning is wrong. The number of individuals watching at any single moment != total number of people watching over time. 40% sounds high, but it's also going to be higher than 1%.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:59 PM on October 23, 2009


pro-market, pro-life, pro-country, pro-church, pro-war, pro-Israel

Millions of us out there, by the way. And calling people like us imbeciles is no way to win friends and influence people. It suggests to me that perhaps you would be more interested in pushing your own ideology than yourself being fair and balanced.

I have no trouble believing that much if not all news is driven by ideology and not objective truthtelling. But those of us who believe in ideology that is different from the White House's ideology have concerns. And I am saying that this clumsy move by the White House is gonna rebound on them. But I can certainly patiently wait and see how it plays out. I have popcorn.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:59 PM on October 23, 2009


PS for the record I don't have cable, and the only fox news I see is when I go to the gym and get on the elliptical or treadmill instead of my usual spin class. So I have no real opinion re their objectivity.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:00 PM on October 23, 2009



PS for the record I don't have cable, and the only fox news I see is when I go to the gym and get on the elliptical or treadmill instead of my usual spin class.


Ahh, in that case we thank you for your expert opinion on cable news.

Unless your ideology is racist, warmongering, and lying it isn't an ideology you share with Fox.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:03 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


And one bit of perspective via a factoid in an Advertising Age article about something else entirely: "the uber-brand Food Network continues to be a major growth business for Scripps, boosting ad revenue by 9.4% in 2008 to $525 million (banking more than Fox News Channel)" (thank you Google cache for getting around AdAge's archive paywall).

So, 'ratings' and 'popularity' and 'respect' aside, in the language of Media Business, ad revenue, Food Network > Fox News.
posted by wendell at 4:04 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, 'ratings' and 'popularity' and 'respect' aside, in the language of Media Business, ad revenue, Food Network > Fox News.

And don't get me started on those ratbastards and their militant pro-brining stance all day long. They are obviously in the pocket of the kosher salt lobby.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:07 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


According to the NY Times story, they tried to freeze Fox out of a pool interview with an administration official.

TPM says that this isn't true.
Feinberg did a pen and pad with reporters to brief them on cutting executive compensation. TV correspondents, as they do with everything, asked to get the comments on camera. Treasury officials agreed and made a list of the networks who asked (Fox was not among them).

But logistically, all of the cameras could not get set up in time or with ease for the Feinberg interview, so they opted for a round robin where the networks use one pool camera. Treasury called the White House pool crew and gave them the list of the networks who'd asked for the interview.

The network pool crew noticed Fox wasn't on the list, was told that they hadn't asked and the crew said they needed to be included. Treasury called the White House and asked top Obama adviser Anita Dunn. Dunn said yes and Fox's Major Garrett was among the correspondents to interview Feinberg last night.

Simple as that, we're told, and the networks don't want to be seen as heroes for Fox.

TPMDC spoke with a network bureau chief this afternoon familiar with the situation who was surprised that Fox was portraying the news as networks coming to its rescue.

"If any member had been excluded it would have been same thing, it has nothing to do with Fox or the White House or the substance of the issues," the bureau chief said. "It's all for one and one for all."

A Treasury spokesperson added: "There was no plot to exclude Fox News, and they had the same interview that their competitors did. Much ado about absolutely nothing."
posted by maudlin at 4:08 PM on October 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


I just stole turaho's brilliant movie rant/metapohr and posted it to Facebook. It's flippin' perfect.
posted by cccorlew at 4:10 PM on October 23, 2009


As it is, 90% percent of the history channel has devolved into Hitler and crazy weapons.

That's not exactly fair. These days they're much more likely to air shows about dangerous, working-class jobs and the 2012 Prophecy. If they could combine those topics then they'd really be cooking with gas.
posted by brundlefly at 4:15 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


"It's all for one and one for all."

?

Is that how the free market is supposed to work?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:16 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm definitely no political strategist, but I think this is a good call. Despite its popularity, I think that FNC is outside the mainstream of political discourse. The White House doesn't give a lot of interviews to The Militant or The Final Call, either.
posted by box at 4:17 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's not exactly fair. These days they're much more likely to air shows about dangerous, working-class jobs and the 2012 Prophecy.

And masonic symbolism!

On the jobs front the seem to have a new one that's exactly like Deadliest Catch but with lobsters, so that's "Less Deadly Catch" or "More Deadlier Catch" or something.
posted by Artw at 4:20 PM on October 23, 2009


Re: total audience ('cumes'), scroll down for relevant charts. Last year, FoxN had a 'total audience' around 56 million, slightly LESS than MSNBC and more than 15 million LESS than CNN. Cume ratings are a rotten measurement if you're selling advertising, but very good if you're assessing influence. So, FoxN reaches no more people than the other news channels, but those it reaches watch for longer periods of time.

Anyway, the FoxN audience is less than 19% of the US population, making the '40%' figure kind of like those 'estimates' of 2 million attendees at the Glenn Beck Rallies last month... a lie. (BTW, FoxN's audience for the Saturday rallies was LESS than for Beck's weekday show, but more than CNN & MSNBC combined, and they cut away for a live Obama speech.)
posted by wendell at 4:35 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


And more perspective on people's views on the News Media, via a Pew Poll (which I distrust less than most polling organizations)
posted by wendell at 4:47 PM on October 23, 2009


Rep. Alan Grayson: FOX News is the enemy of America.
posted by ericb at 4:58 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or is the White House attempting containment so that Fox's ratings-gold style and ideas don't take over the rest of the press?

Pretty sure this guy is all about telling the truth. That requires confronting lies. Obama's supreme trick is not a trick at all. He just calls out bullshit without running away from it. Clintonian messaging strategy (wholly adopted by Bush) is all about reinforcing your storyline while ignoring the other guy's. Obama has a "new" paradigm. He doesn't run from bullshit, he goes right at you, repeating your lie to your face and demanding you defend that lie. Lot harder to lie on defense. Obama's really smart about what he says, too. He figures that if he calls it as it is, he can use your talking point against you. If he loses, he ties. Our he-said/she-said media dutifly reports both sides' take on any one issue or even catch phrase. If he wins, he really wins. You paint yourself a liar. He doesn't have to run negative ads--you sink yourself.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:04 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


ericb: Rep. Alan Grayson: FOX News is the enemy of America.

Wow. Just . . . Wow. That is one truly, spectacularly, mindblowingly heinous shirt/tie combination on that guy.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:09 PM on October 23, 2009


St. Alia of the Bunnies PS for the record I don't have cable, and the only fox news I see is when I go to the gym and get on the elliptical or treadmill instead of my usual spin class. So I have no real opinion re their objectivity.

See, this is why we have such disdain for your views.

You've been told, and shown, over and over again why and how and to what extent Fox News is utterly un-objective. There are links in this thread, two minutes' Googling will show you numerous examples, and so on.

And then you turn around and say "I have no real opinion re their objectivity".
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:13 PM on October 23, 2009 [14 favorites]


FOX News is simply playing the victim lately. It's absurd. It turns out this story about FOX being excluded from an interview at the White House was false. But FOX News is running with it.
posted by Rashomon at 5:14 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


PS for the record I don't have cable, and the only fox news I see is when I go to the gym and get on the elliptical or treadmill instead of my usual spin class.

Ah. The details of YOUR life are quite in-con-se-quential.
posted by psmealey at 5:21 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


You've been told, and shown, over and over again why and how and to what extent Fox News is utterly un-objective. There are links in this thread, two minutes' Googling will show you numerous examples, and so on.

My point stands whether or not Fox is what you say or not. I am objectively saying that for many people, their opinion re what the White House is directing at Fox will have ramifications re their opinion of the White House. That is a point worth considering whether or not you think Fox is the spawn of satan or God's gift to the public airways.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:23 PM on October 23, 2009


PS for the record I don't have cable...

Nor does Balloon boy's dad, Richard Heene. Or, so he said last Saturday: "I don't have cable."
posted by ericb at 5:23 PM on October 23, 2009


(In other words, I don't give a rat's hiney about Fox itself, I am pointing out that in the minds of many, this is a strike against the Obama White House. I'm just the messenger, dudes.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:24 PM on October 23, 2009


Aye; I think Obama's electoral political strategy has always amounted to keeping cool and collected and letting the opposition sink itself. As the GOP wanks harder and louder it alienates more and more people. Every time the GOP regroups around the nutjob base, the nutjob base gets more power, and the GOP becomes less relevant to the moderates who make up the majority of the electorate.

Attacking the wingnuts is a great way to take advantage of the republican herd mentality. Given the united front that the GOP works so hard to maintain, it makes sense to attack their craziest elements. The circling wagons then put the crazies at the center of the party, alienating the moderate voters.

When Sarah Palin was announced as the VP pick, she became the butt of every joke in the country, and became the center of the GOP's attention. Shortly after the election, the WH attacked Limbaugh, and suddenly Limbaugh became the center of the party, more relevant than Michael 'Checked my Dignity at the Door' Steele. Remember the 'Party of Limbaugh?' The current media controversy will serve to solidify the GOP as the 'Party of Fox,' and will become conflated with all of the bigotry and hatred and idiocy allowed on that network.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:25 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


(In other words, I don't give a rat's hiney about Fox itself, I am pointing out that in the minds of many, this is a strike against the Obama White House. I'm just the messenger, dudes.)

Are these the same many minds that thought Sarah Palin was an intelligent pick for Vice President? 'Coz if so, it apparently wasn't enough minds to matter.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:30 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


in the minds of many, this is a strike against the Obama White House

I doubt anyone's opinion about the Obama White House will change a whit. Obama fans won't care, and the upset Fox fans were never supporters of the administration to begin with.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:30 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


in the minds of many, this is a strike against the Obama White House

Define 'many.'
posted by ericb at 5:32 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because if there’s one thing commercial media does well, it’s innovation?
Cooking shows, financial news, home repair shows, history and biography show, and especially children’s television started in public broadcasting because commercial media didn’t want to touch something that was untested.


Yeah, but these things evolved at a time when PBS's competition consisted of just three networks. The networks invented a lot of lasting forms before PBS came around. Being only three in number, expecting them to have filled every niche is ridiculous. It was great that PBS found and experimented with things those other three hadn't gotten around to yet, and it's nice that now there are entire networks devoted just to cooking, etc. Do I have to list all of the cable channels devoted to subjects PBS didn't get around to? They may not be your cup of tea, but they're popular, too, and not all objectively worse. I don't know how you can say they're not the result of commercial media innovation. People will take risks if someone can convince there's money in doing it. There's no reason to think media's any different a business in that respect. And thankfully we still have PBS to (theoretically) try new things out if there's a void to be filled.

Given communication technology and the degree of sophistication in business, the environment in which the NYT, et.al. could be profitable with national news just doesn’t exist anymore. Too many more powerful interests throwing far more money into the equation because news, for them, is just a sideline to support their interests and/or agenda. Mostly because of changes in the law, ownership, etc.

Except there are profitable sources for news better than Fox. They include...everyone that isn't Fox. Many are corrupted to some extent, and yet there's still good stuff coming through. All could be better (many significantly), but I don't know how starting...what...another NPR?...is going to accomplish that. But maybe it will. I'm happy to support a public alternative and don't think that makes anyone a socialist. I just wouldn't bet a lot of money on it being successful.

Either you have an independent news organization in which the editorial department is beholden to no one and doesn’t have to worry about sales figures or anything but accuracy or the law makes constraints.

Telling the NY Times that its lax approach to fact-checking lately has killed its credibility with much of America isn't what I consider a "constraint." And the fact that people aren't itching for Hunter S. Thompson/Jimmy Breslin-style New York Magazine pieces like they were in the 1970s isn't a result of corporate encroachment or changes in laws. Sometimes people's tastes just change. It's not about telling a reporter to change a fact to a lie to sell more papers. It might just be about finding a reporter who writes in a more appealing way. This is not an idea most editors/journalists would quibble with. They all strive to put out a more appealing product, and few are willing to sacrifice accuracy for doing so. They just don't know what appeals now.

If the law allows media to lie at will – as the law has ruled, and allows the broad ownership policies in mass media, then accurate news, quality journalism, will not exist in competition.

Well, I don't know what you're basing this on, but "at will" ignores defamation laws that exist and get enforced all of the time. Maybe people have more room to hedge than you like, and you're willing to sacrifice some old First Amendment ideals for it. But the media has no more leeway from the government to "lie" now than it ever did. As for media consolidation...yet it's awful. But we still have six companies now fighting over all of television when we used to only have three, and we have an infinite number of online alternatives not owned by those companies. We have more opportunities to find good journalism than ever before. Fox News can shout all it wants, but it doesn't have the ability to actually drown anyone out, you know. It hasn't actually done anything anticompetitive that I'm aware of. It hasn't undercut other networks on pricing. It hasn't negotiated with cable carriers to get rid of CNN or MSNBC. It's just tiny spot on the dial.

How is the failure of people to buy the truth a failure of marketing? Advertising is by design is distortion or at best emotional appeal.
News companies should lie more to sell the truth better?


It's a failure of a lot of things, including a dumbed-down society. But how much Mad Men does one have to watch to be convinced that all advertising has to be distortion and emotional appeal? When an ad for Slate pops up next to your Google results for some yuppie product, you're really going to call that pernicious? It's not just a media organ trying to find the right customers for its content without sacrificing any accuracy in its reporting? Everytime Atlanic Monthly gets a new editor and reinvents itself, is it really killing its commitment to truth?
posted by aswego at 5:32 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


You list party operatives, not honest news brokers.
Unbelievble. What, in your mind, are the acceptable credentials of a newsman (I'll give you Kraut, because he *is a political commentator)?

Part of the problem is that one's ideology -- eg. pro-market, pro-life, pro-country, pro-church, pro-war, pro-Israel -- can and does poison the mind, turning one into an imbecile, consistently wrong about reality.
So you assume that a journalist can't dissociate their values from their reporting. So *liberal reporters are okay in your book.
posted by njbradburn at 5:40 PM on October 23, 2009


They could have certainly backed off from Fox without coming right out and saying it. That is why I say it is a stupid, stupid move.
...
Millions of us out there, by the way. And calling people like us imbeciles is no way to win friends and influence people.


But for that to really carry much punch, there would have to be conservative white southern churchy Republicans who weren't already whipped to a froth about Obama. Or, if you'd rather, there's precious few people among your demographic who could be won as friends or even influenced.

Who knows what's going on and whether it will turn out to be smart. But I think part of this is Obama \& Co betting that the market for conservative outrage is pretty well saturated, and the market for Obama among churchy conservative Republicans pretty well nonexistent. If that's the case, you might as well write off that demographic and look at the effects your actions might have on other demographics. And doing something that might annoy Fox, and doing so bluntly and openly, might help shore up some of the Democratic base.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:42 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The reason why Fox News has grown to become such a force for evil is this. A substantial proportion of people, I would guess at 80%, simply cannot make up their own minds. They need to be told what to think, and what to do. So who is telling them what to think and do?

For at least three generations the voice of western liberal thought has been saying "you need to make up your own mind". That's of no use to the 80%. It's an empty statement, useless advice, unfollowable instructions. You might as well tell them to grow wings and fly. It may superficially parse, but what it gets interpreted into and run as, is "I must find someone to believe, and do as they tell me to". Now, there are a lot of social mechanisms that act as catchments for people in that state. Churches, political parties, activist groups, corporations, families, gangs, subcultures, schools. Many of these are very pro-social: you are told to think of yourself as a member of society, to have table manners, to queue, to share public spaces, and so on. Some are completely anti-social, like neo-nazi gangs and African warlords' armies but even these at least exist for the superficial benefit of their members and those whom the members identify as deserving benefit. What makes them anti-social is a desire to actively harm the rest of humanity. Corporations, while more than rapacious enough in limited ways, basically don't interact with anyone not an employee, customer, regulator or competitor; while evil, theirs is an evil of callousness and selfishness, rather than malice. Most churches--I would carve out exceptions for Wahhabis, Scientologists, Satanists, Prosperity Gospellers, and most charismatic cults--have a very pro-social agenda; if they do harm--and they do do harm--it is incidental to the purpose, and when looked at closely the harm done mostly acts as a mechanism for maintaining obedience to the church. Like an (unenlightened, but not malicious) dog-trainer's choke-chain: they don't actually want to pull it, they want you to not pull it.

But what is the agenda of academic liberalism, of us? "Reject agendas" - again, meaningless advice. "Think" - they pretty much can't. "Go and make up your own mind". The ~80%, given these instructions--assuming they are in an instruction-obeying state, ie not pre-inoculated by their current mental owners against interference--will go and look for loud-shouting voices to believe and obey, because to them, the idea of "going and making up their own mind" exactly equates to "find someone to believe and obey". They're not aware of a difference, do not understand a difference, cannot conceive of a difference, else would not be who and what they are. There's a good reason why the archetypal gym teacher and drill sergeant behave as they do: shoutiness, in the minds of the ~80%, is an attribute of authority, which equates to correctness. Hence Fox News.

The more intelligent reader--ie, most of you--is thinking "Aeschenkarnos is making the 'sheeple argument'". So, exactly when was the 'sheeple argument' discredited? Never. It's not nice. That doesn't make it incorrect. Most social mechanisms depend on the truth of the sheeple argument to function. There is agitation against the sheeple argument, but I would ask to consider to what extent does that agitation exist only to mollify the offended sheeple?

So facing the sheeple, and sufficiently self-aware (have you checked?) to not be one, what are we to do? Apparently they respond to shouting. To paraphrase Jon Stewart, there is no reason that the shouts must be calls to evil. The sheeple don't care about logical argument. The sheeple don't look at evidence. They listen to statements of "this here is logical argument, and this here is evidence" from their masters, and they hear "you should listen to logical argument and consider evidence" from us, and look to the master to get the nod, and they obey.

This is something I had, and still have, hope for - that President Obama has realized, as every intelligent leader of humanity does, that he leads sheeple, and he can't do anything about that. He has to work with what he's got. So far he seems not to be trying to make them benefit himself (the usual behaviour of leader-types). I hope he doesn't try to make them into not-sheeple (as many of us seem to want, and I admit I want it too, I just think that achieving it would take a palletload of magic wands and a battalion of wizards to wave them). There is no need to make them into not-sheeple in order to give them good orders: this has worked in the past; the fall of racism and sexism are ideal examples. The typical Western, English-speaking sheeple largely does accept the notion that a person ought be judged by the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin or the shape of their genitalia, but do not make the mistake of thinking that because they think and act so, they understand why.

So, I hope that Obama will outshout Fox News, and he will will shout instructions to think and do good things. It's the only way to beat them.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:56 PM on October 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


aeschenkarnos: Nice points. I agree with you about influencing people, and overpowering them (outshouting) can work - I've seen it at work in top people at large companies I've worked at, where we like to think all decisions are intellectual, when that is far from the truth. I don't think its in the large percentage values you mention, I think the closer reality is actually apathy is higher than followships. Thats why I think its not a bad thing the president has done more public announcements and speeches then most in recent history - the more he educates the public the better, I don't believe in overexposure, at least where his speeches are concerned.
posted by uni verse at 6:35 PM on October 23, 2009


So, exactly when was the 'sheeple argument' discredited? Never. It's not nice. That doesn't make it incorrect.

Well, I'll go ahead and proclaim your theory as being at least one step nicer than mine.

People commanding others to be understanding and nice and unselfish and tolerant don't get a lot of traction in the west. People shouting hatred do.

It's not all about "finding someone to tell you what to do; what to believe". It's about playing to the basest of human desires. Those "sheeple" aren't blameless for, what was said upthread -- lack of critical thinking skills? No, they're choosing the side that feels good. It lauds their ignorance, after all, and shuts out negative thoughts with any wild-eyed conspiracy theory that suits the moment. It's not all about the shouting itself.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:37 PM on October 23, 2009


(In other words, I don't give a rat's hiney about Fox itself, I am pointing out that in the minds of many, this is a strike against the Obama White House. I'm just the messenger, dudes.)

Why do you think this is a necessary role to fill? I sometimes get the sense you honestly believe what this implies; that we don't know Republicans or Conservatives, or Southerners, or bigots. I really don't think it is as you imagine.
posted by birdie birdington at 6:44 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's not widely mentioned, but Murdoch owned neoconservative Bill Kristol's magazine "The Weekly Standard" for a long time, only selling it after purchasing the Wall Street Journal. This doesn't seem like a coincidence to me. Rather, it sounds like he "traded up", but still intends to reach roughly the same audience, with a similar message.

I am not sure about traded up. Bush repeatedly said that The Weekly Standard was the official magazine of the White House. Can't get a lot higher than that. But I do think he understands that Kristol is a neocon, who are beginning to cause a rift in the party, and that the WSJ is bound to have conservative influence long after the neocons are gone.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:47 PM on October 23, 2009


Media whores
posted by Rafaelloello at 6:52 PM on October 23, 2009


in the minds of many, this is a strike against the Obama White House
Define 'many.'

Define 'minds.'
posted by hangashore at 7:08 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why do you think this is a necessary role to fill? I sometimes get the sense you honestly believe what this implies; that we don't know Republicans or Conservatives, or Southerners, or bigots. I really don't think it is as you imagine.

You assume these people would talk freely in front of you. In some cases, yes, they would, to the point of irritation-but in very many cases, not at all.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:25 PM on October 23, 2009


You assume these people would talk freely in front of you. In some cases, yes, they would, to the point of irritation-but in very many cases, not at all.

.....So wait, why are we to assume that they would be talking freely in front of you, either? How are you so sure that you have assessed them correctly?

I mean, if they're so reticent with what they think. How do you know they're telling YOU everything?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:04 PM on October 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


You assume these people would talk freely in front of you.

You assume they wouldn't. Oh, hell yes. If you're a white male, they talk more than freely to you.

None of those, "many" voted for Obama, and none of them would ever vote for Obama (some of them would have voted for Hillary Clinton, but... well let's just say people talk freely to this white man).
posted by dirigibleman at 8:05 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are three issues.

1. Is it appropriate for a President to single out any news agency as good or bad, even if it is?

2. Let's assume Fox is a biased right-wing mouthpiece, is a President allowed to dismiss it, and the enormous numbers of people it speaks for? Even if Obama is right and everyone who watches it is wrong (on a set of issues) isn't his job to at least try to bring them around to his thinking?

3. It's a popular game, we can play it here: if this was Bush...

When they digitally alter a magazine cover model and people react, "but it's fake!" they're missing the point. The photo isn't supposed to be a representation of reality, it is supposed to be a representation of an idea, a feeling. To complain it isn't an accurate visual depiction of what that woman really looks like means you want that cover photo to be something different than its intended purpose.

Fox News (and CNN and MSNBC etc) are not supposed to be accurate depictions of reality. There's an old stock market adage: you can argue about market direction, but you should never argue over the prediction.
posted by obamamustlose at 8:12 PM on October 23, 2009


I'm just the messenger, dudes.

Maybe so. On the other hand, counter to the distressingly Palinmaniacal tone of your highly entertaining Dispatches From Real America series last fall, 60% of your county turned out to vote for Obama on November 4. So perhaps you're not a particularly accurate or informed messenger.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 8:16 PM on October 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


Without wading into the argument over what Fox News is or isn't, I just wanted to make a comment about TV ratings. Fox is indeed a dominant network when you look at the usual Nielsen numbers, but that doesn't necessarily mean that more Americans are watching them.

The rating numbers most often referenced are calculated based on the the average length of time a viewer watches. That means that a program can get a very high rating even if fewer people watch as long as those people watch for longer. This is especially true of news programming where the average viewer watches for less than 15 minutes at a time.

Fox News benefits from this. They may have fewer people who watch in any given time period, but those few people are more loyal viewers who watch longer and more often.

This average rating is an important number for an advertiser buying time on the network, but trying to look at these ratings as some sort of indicator of the relative size or influence of a particular political block is a probably a mistake.

I haven't looked at cable news ratings in that much detail in a while, but historically, the total viewer number for Fox News has not been as high as the program ratings might lead you to believe.

That doesn't mean they're not a powerhouse in cable news, it just means that the numbers tell a more nuanced story.
posted by Noon Under the Trees at 8:21 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]



Maybe so. On the other hand, counter to the distressingly Palinmaniacal tone of your highly entertaining Dispatches From Real America series last fall, 60% of your county turned out to vote for Obama on November 4. So perhaps you're not a particularly accurate or informed messenger.


There has been a lot of "at the gym watching TV sometimes" research that went into this conclusion, don't discount it out of hand.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:35 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Either global warming doesn't exist, so we don't have to do anything, or it doesn't exist and we can't stop it, so we don't have to do anything.

Either Fox is unbiased, so we don't have to do anything, or it's OK for it to be biased because everyone is, so we don't have to do anything.
posted by effugas at 8:44 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I'm just the messenger, dudes."

That's nice, but do you have your own point of view? No. No, you clearly do not.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 9:29 PM on October 23, 2009


Because nothing sucks more than a news station actually reporting more than just what MSNBC or the White House deems proper to report. Yeah.
posted by CountSpatula at 10:13 PM on October 23, 2009


Wow, Spatula, I'm trying to identify the degree of broken thinking that would lead you to make that statement.

Missing Middle?
Strawman?

There's a difference between impartial and active opposition. The sanest person on Fox at the moment appears to be Shephard Smith, other than that it is basically an on-message attack dog of the GOP, and has been since Ailes got the damn thing up & running.
posted by mokuba at 10:21 PM on October 23, 2009


1. Is it appropriate for a President to single out any news agency as good or bad, even if it is?

Stating facts should never be controversial. That's part of the goddamn problem with this country.

2. Let's assume Fox is a biased right-wing mouthpiece, is a President allowed to dismiss it, and the enormous numbers of people it speaks for?

FOX is a infoporn operation, not a democratic feature of our society. It speaks for FOX.

Even if Obama is right and everyone who watches it is wrong (on a set of issues) isn't his job to at least try to bring them around to his thinking?

That a news organization can actually hold a wrong position *is* the problem. What ever happened to "we report, you decide?"
posted by mokuba at 10:25 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


metafilter: an infoporn operation
posted by freshundz at 10:43 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


There's a difference between impartial and active opposition. The sanest person on Fox at the moment appears to be Shephard Smith, other than that it is basically an on-message attack dog of the GOP, and has been since Ailes got the damn thing up & running.

And this differentiates Fox (being generally right wing) from MSNBC (being vehemently left wing) how? If Fox is not a news agency due to their tendency to report the right wing slant, logic follows that MSNBC is not a news agency due to their tendency to report the left wing slant. Or, as has been said in the past, you can't have your cake and eat it too.
posted by CountSpatula at 10:43 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


being generally right wing

HO HO HO I AM SANTA TROLL, HERE TO GIVE GIFTS OF LAUGHTER TO LURKERS ABOUT TO WATCH THIS THREAD PROGRESS
posted by cmonkey at 10:49 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Spatula, nobody is complaining that FOX is not another MSNBC (not that MSNBC is particularly "left-wing" in balance with FOX's foundational conservative establishment[1], but whatevs) so you need to roll back on 10:13PM above.

And everybody is free to have all the cake they want. Obama's minions in gov't are free to call FOX a partisan GOP operation because it's fucking obvious that what it is, to its great success. Nobody is going to outFOX FOX's mission of pandering to the conservative side of the national polity. More power to them is what I say.

I've already said I don't think this a good policy for the government. It should have the balls to just deal with it and move on.

[1] "Alan Keyes is Making Sense" was on MSNBC during the nadir of the national sanity level earlier this decade, no?
posted by mokuba at 10:56 PM on October 23, 2009


"Well, I don't know what you're basing this on, but "at will" ignores defamation laws that exist and get enforced all of the time. Maybe people have more room to hedge than you like, and you're willing to sacrifice some old First Amendment ideals for it. But the media has no more leeway from the government to "lie" now than it ever did."

Pretty well known case against Fox involving milk. Been referenced even in this thread. I don't have the time, inclination, or really the depth to argue this point if you're not going to cede to basic facts. I don't have time to educate you and it's not my field to expound on further.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:59 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Michael Clemente, senior vice president for news and editorial programming at Fox, said the White House was conflating the network’s commentary with its news coverage.

Did anyone follow up with Clemente to determine how the White House, and Fox viewers, should tell the difference between those two things?

Which shows are 'news' and which are 'commentary', and how should we know the difference?

I'd really like to see an official statement explaining that.
posted by rokusan at 1:15 AM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


The explicitness of this move by the White House surprised me, but at the same time I have to think:

(1) it's not like their treatment of Obama and his administration could get more negative, anyway.
(2) appeasement doesn't work. Someone find me the last piece on Fox that showed anything positive (anything at all) about Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Kerry, or Biden.
(3) if it does get worse somehow, I think that can only be by being more strident and obvious with their messaging, and even more detached from reality. I think there's a significant chance that will backfire hard... eventually.
(4) there's not much risk here: you can't "drive more people to watch Fox". They have all the crazy right-wing nutjobs already, 100% of 'em, and until those breed to produce more crazy nutjobs, the market size is capped.

So while the possible gain might be marginal, or at least low percentage play, I don't see much possible lose" here, either. The worst case is a biased 'news' network that slams the Obama administration at every turn? That's status quo.

So this is a calculated bomb drop, and nothing will be clear for awhile. It'll be interesting to see how the fallout works in a few months, though. A more charged-up and strident Fox could be... very interesting.

Remember that thread the other day about dealing with crazy flashers on the street who are desperate for attention? Don't freak out. Don't act scared. Don't appease them.

Point and laugh.
posted by rokusan at 1:21 AM on October 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's certainly not the majority perspective in this thread, but the whole idea that liberals shouldn't "fight back", that they shouldn't "stoop to their level" or that they should "just ignore them" is so ridiculous It's suicidaly stupid. It's like you guys are taking lessons you learned about dealing with mean kids on the playground and trying to apply them to national politics. Maybe it's good to ignore bullies on the playground, or not show weakness, or whatever. But in the real world those people don't disappear, they preach to the choir while presenting a moderate face, and then they get elected and destroy the country. It's your job to make sure people understand what's really going on. Thank god Obama isn't that dumb. Got damn!
"The White House's decision to delegitimize Fox News isn't intended to delegitimize Fox News. It is intended to elevate them into a political force, to fill the vacuum in the GOP leadership. By spinning a "White House v. Fox News" narrative, they've managed to temporarily supersede the "White House v. GOP" narrative, thereby making Fox News the de facto political opposition. Which is what both sides want: Fox News for money and viewers, and the White House because they like the idea of having an opposition that is noxious, untruthful, combative, angry, emotionally unstable, and subject to an unyielding financial incentive to be ever more so."
Another important reason: it's to hamper fox's ability to drive the news cycle in other media. If fox gets to inject stories into the wider world under the cover of being a 'legit' news company, then they can cause big problems. If every story they put out gets a jaundiced eye from other news orgs, that's better.

I actually heard that one of the catalysts for this was someone at the NYT saying that they were 'out of step' with the country because they missed the (fox-fueled) town halls and ACORN stories.

“Ailes knows how to frame an issue better [than] anybody and that’s what we need now,” says one Ailes friend who is encouraging him to run. Frank Luntz, for one, tells Playbook that Ailes could be a force if does it. “I have known Roger Ailes for 29 years,” says Luntz. “No one knows how to win better than Roger.”
Hah.

Hahah.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!
Fox News is a wretched hive of scum and villainy and everything, but I don't see an upside here for the administration. They're basically throwing fuel on the right's collective persecution complex
Persecution complexes don't win over swing voters. The crazier the right gets, the more people will vote for democrats.
I've been following this for a couple of days since it first started making waves, and I think a part of the problem is that I can't see a stated goal; is it to make Fox start behaving in a more "balanced" fashion? Is it to force them off the air? --- quin
The point is to delegitimize them and make sure serious people ignore what they say. Plus, I mean are you really criticizing Obama for saying what we all understand is the truth?
I thought the middle "C" in FCC was for COMMUNICATIONS. And their baliwack is whatever Congress decides it is.

And can't a great case be made that with the technological evolution of "Communications", that their responsibilites be altered as appropriate?
-- mikelieman
No offense, but that's idiotic. The FCC regulates the airwaves and makes rules about how things are wired up. They have no control over content that isn't broadcast over the air, and they never will, thanks to the first amendment. Nothing congress can do will ever change that.

This is what I am talking about: leave the bubble, dude. You should be suspicious when the government starts going after journalists, even when you don't like the journalists.
Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism. Obama isn't "going after" fox news in any material sense, the Whitehouse is just refusing to lie about what fox does.

I do agree that the other news networks are biased, but they are in general just biased towards entrenched powers in D.C. Fox news is the only network that’s biased towards one particular party.
who the hell can legitimately say that Chris Wallace, Brit Hume and Charles Krauthammer aren't newsmen??

Me, lol. (Krauthammer? Srsly?)
Until just a little over one year ago, Glenn Beck's program was aired by CNN.
He was on CNN's ADD addled sister network, CNN Headline news. And he had a lot of restrictions on what he could say.
Rep. Alan Grayson: FOX News is the enemy of America .
Okay, Alan Grayson is getting kind of annoying.
--

Barack Obama hasn't lost a fight yet. Maybe he will some day, but he does seem to know what he's doing.

Also, calling Obama "nixonian" in his dealings with Fox, a network run by an actual, honest to god Nixon goon is absurd.
posted by delmoi at 4:13 AM on October 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


The worst case is a biased 'news' network that slams the Obama administration at every turn? That's status quo.

No, I'd say the worst case scenario is that you drive many of the Palin-hating Republicans who grudgingly voted for you back into the fold and annoy some of your actual supporters enough that they begin to consider staying home in 2012.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:23 AM on October 24, 2009


Pretty well known case against Fox involving milk. Been referenced even in this thread. I don't have the time, inclination, or really the depth to argue this point if you're not going to cede to basic facts. I don't have time to educate you and it's not my field to expound on further.

Yes, I'm the one who pointed out that case had nothing to do with Fox News, but in fact a local affiliate of the Fox broadcast network. And describing the case's holding as giving any network a "right to lie" is beyond-the-pale misleading. The case involved employees of a local news program who protested a false report. They tried to rely on whistleblower laws and an FCC regulation stating that news networks had to report the truth. A judge ruled against them. Nobody actually sued the network for lying under defamation laws, and nobody sued the network for lying under an FCC regulation (which actually could be done, since unlike Fox News, this was a broadcast network). This was an employment law case.

But even if this were a straight-up defamation case, and it were against Fox News and not some local news program, it still would ridiculous to say it meant the network could "lie at will." That would be like saying that Americans could "murder at will" because OJ found a way to get off. It's hysterical.
posted by aswego at 6:54 AM on October 24, 2009


Oh, FFS. When Obama uses the IRS to harass people, and hires small time crooks to break into "enemy" offices, then he'll be like Nixon.
posted by lysdexic at 7:18 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


The new South Park episode makes more sense now. Thank you
THEY TOOK HIS JOB??!
posted by yoHighness at 7:40 AM on October 24, 2009


MSNBC (being vehemently left wing)

Is this the same MSNBC that fired Phil Donahue because he presented a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war...He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives"?
posted by kirkaracha at 9:48 AM on October 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


delmoi No offense, but that's idiotic. The FCC regulates the airwaves and makes rules about how things are wired up. They have no control over content that isn't broadcast over the air, and they never will, thanks to the first amendment. Nothing congress can do will ever change that.

The FCC regulates US cable TV. As it also regulates the US internet and US free-to-air TV, it does not make sense for it to not regulate something that is in-between the two.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:41 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


No offense, but that's idiotic.
Hah.

Hahah.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:50 AM on October 24, 2009


So... what? Will the Fox News viewership hate the current administration even more? Is that even possible?
posted by Talanvor at 11:14 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everyone's girlfriend, Rachel Maddow, has a really great run-down on why Fox is not news. (Not the same clip that was already linked, this is a new clip!)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:35 AM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Even the "real" news networks send a clear message to the White House that they're out of line:

"Bureau chiefs held a quick conference call and decided that their networks would not do the interviews unless Fox was given the opportunity, said a network executive who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person did not wish to be a part of the White House-Fox tiff."
posted by Rafaelloello at 11:43 AM on October 24, 2009


How can anyone who wants to call themselves a journalist work for an organization that would air such vile filth? I mean, just, god, how can you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning?

Obama is right. It's long past time for FOX to be called out for their lying and nasty hatefulness.
posted by marsha56 at 11:44 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Blogger Donald Sensing has a fascinating analysis of President Obama's war against Fox News. He describes the effort as "directly out of the Saul Alinsky playbook." Alinsky was the author of "Rules for Radicals," bible of left-wing community organizers. One of his rules, or "power tactics": "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." Sensing analyzes how Obama is carrying out this advice
posted by Rafaelloello at 11:49 AM on October 24, 2009


How can anyone who wants to call themselves a journalist work for an organization that would air such vile filth ? I mean, just, god, how can you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning?

Remember, "Don't shake it like a wuss"
posted by Rafaelloello at 11:57 AM on October 24, 2009


No, I'd say the worst case scenario is that you drive many of the Palin-hating Republicans who grudgingly voted for you back into the fold and annoy some of your actual supporters enough that they begin to consider staying home in 2012.
So they hate Palin, but they'll vote for her because they're so annoyed at the swipes at fox? Lots of people who watch fox do understand it's a biased network, according to polls. And while Obama has done a lot to annoy his own supporters, it's hard to imagine that bashing fox would be seen in a negative enough light to vote against him in '12.
The FCC regulates US cable TV. As it also regulates the US internet and US free-to-air TV, it does not make sense for it to not regulate something that is in-between the two.
It regulates the way those things are setup from a technological perspective (which is what I meant when I said 'how things are wired up') but it does not regulate the content.
Blogger Donald Sensing has a fascinating analysis of President Obama's war against Fox News. He describes the effort as "directly out of the Saul Alinsky playbook."
God those guys are obsessed with that guy (Alinsky). They need to get over it.
posted by delmoi at 12:05 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am objectively saying that for many people, their opinion re what the White House is directing at Fox will have ramifications re their opinion of the White House. That is a point worth considering whether or not you think Fox is the spawn of satan or God's gift to the public airways.

And vice-versa. A whole lot of people know Fox is a bunch of liars. They are really tired of seeing Democrats run away from Fox. They love to see Obama go after Fox. It makes them charged up and want to vote for Obama and Democrats. That energy translates into more people at the voting booth.

Guess who came up with this strategy? The Republicans. They incesseantly whined about the liberal media. Perhaps you remember the "nattering nabobs of negativity" speech by Nixon's VP Spiro Agnew?

Nixon pioneered conservative media and TV strategy. You'll never guess who was his TV guy--Fox News founder and current head, Roger Alies. That's right, the guy whose whining about the White House strategy is the guy who invented it.

And no wonder--its working for Obama.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:07 PM on October 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


On review:

The Obama administration allowed a Fox News Channel reporter to interview Treasury Department "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg after other network news executives said they wouldn't use a pool arrangement to speak to him unless Fox was included.
...
In its report, Fox said the White House "relented" after the pool's decision.


Awww, shit. :(
posted by marsha56 at 12:10 PM on October 24, 2009


Rafaelloello, I'm confused. How does an admittedly silly, fluffy cocktail lesson that Madow recorded for New York magazine compare to a ugly little piece of 'commentary' wherein Beck uses metaphors to call the president a murderer and metaphorically tries to goad someone to assassinate him?
posted by marsha56 at 12:15 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yet another demonstration of just how bullshit the idea that the mainstream media is "liberal" or "left" in any way is.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:16 PM on October 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


marsha56: "240On review:

The Obama administration allowed a Fox News Channel reporter to interview Treasury Department "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg after other network news executives said they wouldn't use a pool arrangement to speak to him unless Fox was included.
...
In its report, Fox said the White House "relented" after the pool's decision.


Awww, shit. :(
"

It's not that they love Fox or are generally outraged, they're just astute at reading the writing on the wall. How would you like your only news outlet to be GNBC?

"Good Evening and Welcome to Government News Broadcasting Channel's Nightly News. Community Weblog "Metafilter" was shut down today by the US WTF Weblog Unit and the moderators were sent to Guantanomo Bay for retraining. In other news...
posted by Rafaelloello at 12:19 PM on October 24, 2009


marsha56: "241Rafaelloello, I'm confused. How does an admittedly silly, fluffy cocktail lesson that Madow recorded for New York magazine compare to a ugly little piece of 'commentary' wherein Beck uses metaphors to call the president a murderer and metaphorically tries to goad someone to assassinate him?"

Perhaps a foreign concept:

Weekend = Fun?
posted by Rafaelloello at 12:22 PM on October 24, 2009


That "Awww shit" wasn't directed at Obama, but at the other networks who forced Obama to do business with a network that employs people who actively compaign for the defeat of his presidency and who often go so far as to actively encourage wingnuts to take violent action, all the while telling bald-faced lies about the good he is trying to accomplish.
posted by marsha56 at 12:26 PM on October 24, 2009


marsha56: "245That "Awww shit" wasn't directed at Obama, but at the other networks who forced Obama to do business with a network that employs people who actively compaign for the defeat of his presidency and who often go so far as to actively encourage wingnuts to take violent action, all the while telling bald-faced lies about the good he is trying to accomplish."

I understood what you meant 100%. Maybe you need to re-read and see if you may have missed something.
posted by Rafaelloello at 12:30 PM on October 24, 2009


Weekend = Fun?

Good to know.

From here on, I'll assume anything posted by rafaellocello on Saturdays and Sundays should be regarded as 'just in fun'. How about Friday evenings? Does that count as weekend too?

;-)
posted by marsha56 at 12:31 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Obama administration allowed a Fox News Channel reporter to interview Treasury Department "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg after other network news executives said they wouldn't use a pool arrangement to speak to him unless Fox was included.

Someone posted up thread saying that wasn't true, that there was some technical problem and the other networks let fox user their hardware, or something I didn't read in detail, but the gist was that it was not the case that the other networks refused the interview because they wouldn't grant fox access. Which isn't very surprising, because it would be insane for them to do that. They are competitors after all.

Ah, here's the link posted by maudlin upthread.
posted by delmoi at 12:35 PM on October 24, 2009


marsha56: the claim you're quoting, and that rafelleollo is citing, was debunked earlier in this very thread.

Even rafaelloello's link itself, the best possible reading any sane person could ever give that particular claim, notes that the reason that Fox was initially left off the list for the interview was that they did not ask to be on it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:41 PM on October 24, 2009


As I understand the pool process, it works like this:

1. On a rotating basis, one network's camera crew sets up and does all the filming, recording, etc.
2. Each network sends in their reporter to interview and is filmed by (4 out of 5 times) another network's camera/sound crew and is given the tape.

This cuts costs and adds efficiency as you have one tech crew and you just file in a line of reporters. As I understand it, the White House called for a pool interview but said, "We'll leave Fox out this time." which violates not only fair access, but the pool agreement that all the networks have with each other.
posted by Rafaelloello at 12:43 PM on October 24, 2009


From the link upthread:
"Treasury called the White House pool crew and gave them the list of the networks who'd asked for the interview.
The network pool crew noticed Fox wasn't on the list, was told that they hadn't asked and the crew said they needed to be included. Treasury called the White House and asked top Obama adviser Anita Dunn. Dunn said yes and Fox's Major Garrett was among the correspondents to interview Feinberg last night."
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:45 PM on October 24, 2009


fatbird: The alternative is to play defense and knock down Fox's attacks as they come in. The White House simply took the Rovian lesson that the best defense is a good offense.

That isn't Rove; that is common sense.

Rovian strategy is to attack your opponent on his or her strongest point, which is your weakest point. Turning around and accusing your opponent of doing something ghastly that you're doing: Those are Rovian tactics.
posted by LanTao at 12:47 PM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


ROU_Xenophobe: "249marsha56: the claim you're quoting, and that rafelleollo is citing, was debunked earlier in this very thread.

Even rafaelloello's link itself, the best possible reading any sane person could ever give that particular claim, notes that the reason that Fox was initially left off the list for the interview was that they did not ask to be on it.
"

Just a mild amount of research will quickly prove that this is spin in the face of defeat. There are already reports being pulled down.

I have one on Google News right now with the headline "Fox News' 'White House Bans Fox News' Story Is Starting To Unravel" but the link is already relegated to Ooops! Whatever you were looking for isn't here.
posted by Rafaelloello at 12:50 PM on October 24, 2009


Duh!!

Slaps forehead!

Thanks guys for bringing me up to date!

Think I'll step out for awhile.

(slinks away from keyboard...)
posted by marsha56 at 1:00 PM on October 24, 2009


was debunked earlier in this very thread

Was debunked by TPM, who is as much of a news organization as FNC.
posted by smackfu at 1:21 PM on October 24, 2009


And I find it interesting that the quoted excerpt posted above stops right above this bit:
"This White House has demonstrated our willingness to exclude Fox News from newsmaking interviews, but yesterday we did not," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
posted by smackfu at 1:22 PM on October 24, 2009


I am objectively saying that for many people, their opinion re what the White House is directing at Fox will have ramifications re their opinion of the White House. That is a point worth considering whether or not you think Fox is the spawn of satan or God's gift to the public airways.

Well look, every action that Obama could take would piss someone off. And if he did nothing, then he would piss everyone off. The job of the president isn't to offend no one. If you're delicate sensibilities are so offended by calling a bunch of liars a bunch of liars, then I think you're a little naive.
posted by delmoi at 2:42 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


^ not naive, just human. We all filter everything in complicated ways.
posted by mokuba at 3:43 PM on October 24, 2009


I think the question we should be asking is: what are the standards that organizations must adhere to before being granted access to the white house?

Obviously a huge amount of filtering already goes on or else every joe blow with a video camera would be in the press room. The whole thing only works at all because the white house defined a set of standards and qualifications for media organizations to hew to in order to get access. And it makes sense that if an organization starts failing to meet those standards, that you let them go and give someone else who actually meets the standards a chance.

If CNN decided to perversely start displaying images of dog poop over the audio of their white house interviews, I don't think there would be any question that their white house press creds should be revoked. They'd have stopped being a news organization. So how is this any different?
posted by breath at 6:33 PM on October 24, 2009


“And describing the case's holding as giving any network a "right to lie" is beyond-the-pale misleading.”

Again, probably not worth my time to even broach this but – I’m speaking in generalities. I don’t care that it was Fox, specifically or not. But I’m pretty sure I know how to read.
Pretty sure it wasn’t just a FOX affiliate involved (and even there, don’t tell me there’s no such thing in business practice as vertical integration) but five heavyweight media outlets that filed briefs in support of the station’s position (Cox, Belo, Media General Operations, Post-Newsweek, Gannett) that the FCC policy against ‘falsification of the news’ isn’t a law, but indeed, when is the last time the FCC prosecuted a media organization for distortion?

I seem to remember some trouble with 60 Minutes and Jeffrey Wigand. And I know people who were MACV-SOG and went into Laos who had no problem talking about problems, but, as with the Bush Air Guard records, one detail which was wrong (sarin gas being used) was singled out and the whole debacle (as in, WTF were they doing in Laos to begin with – not debating the strategic situation, which, given the givens, ok – but we signed the Geneva Convention Accords in ‘54 & ‘62 so it was illegal for foreign military powers to intervene there) got shoved back down the throat of CNN with people getting fired.
Last I heard the FCC was okaying cross media mergers and horizontal monopolies left and right and the only time they put someone on a hook is for using harsh language like Howard Stern.
Right to lie? If there are no cops policing a certain road, it might be technically wrong to say I have a 'license to speed' there, but the hyperbole in the phrasing is not at all misleading to the practical reality of the situation.

I cede your points because again, I don’t have the knowledge to debate them, this isn't my field, I admit that. And given a different context I might even agree, but on this one point I know what I’m talking about because I’ve been exposed to it.
The FCC is doesn’t like to take complaints about news stories very seriously, in fact they’ve said - for the government to intrude on news decisions would be "more dangerous to the public interest than any possible slanting of the news."
So don’t try to sell me on the hooker with a heart of gold.
Unless you’re arguing just to argue – than fine, Fox is wonderful. It’s a shining beacon of truth.
But again – no news company HAS to be because there’s no market viability in it when there’s more money to be made in telling people what they want to hear than in telling them the truth (Surely an intelligent, good looking, individual such as yourself can see that?)

And so a standard – of some sort – is necessary. By law, by independent network – whatever. Models exist. It’s doable. And more doable than waiting on some marketing dofus to figure out how to shill quality journalism without tainting the product. Good luck with that.

As to whether the will to fix all this is there or not, different story. But my only point is a model exists already beyond salesmanship. I dislike Fox for a lot of reasons, but no one’s going to talk me out of that anymore than they can tell me Big Macs are yummy and I should eat them.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:08 PM on October 24, 2009


The whole thing only works at all because the white house defined a set of standards and qualifications for media organizations to hew to in order to get access.

Exhibit A (from the Bush White House): Jeff Gannon (aka Jeff Gukert).
posted by ericb at 8:48 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


And so a standard – of some sort – is necessary. By law, by independent network – whatever. Models exist. It’s doable. And more doable than waiting on some marketing dofus to figure out how to shill quality journalism without tainting the product. Good luck with that.

I think that question has been asked before, and it's why the Fairness Doctrine was created, as well as PBS, the BBC, and public radio in general.

The FCC is doesn’t like to take complaints about news stories very seriously, in fact they’ve said - for the government to intrude on news decisions would be "more dangerous to the public interest than any possible slanting of the news."

Yes, but their mandate did used to include fairness.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:54 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


the Maddow video from Grapefruitmoon has some good points:


"The difference between Fox and news is not that Fox's hired personalities and executives and produces share and express an opinion about the news - that they share an ideology - opinion has always been a kissing cousin to news - and one mans ideology is another mans objective passion. The difference between Fox and news - the way in which one of these things is not like the other (chart of CNBC,NBCnews,msnbc,FoxNews,ABCnews,Bloomberg,CNN,cbsnews) is that only one of these organizations is organizing anti-government street protests. There's nothing wrong with that - it's perfectly legal as far as I know - it just makes Fox an opposition political outlet to the democratic party and the Obama White House rather than a normal news channel."


"This is a story that most of the media has gotten wrong so far - by not only defending Fox as if Fox is just a news network that has a right-wing point of view - but by ignoring what Fox does as a network that has nothing to do with the news. It's a free country and Fox can do what it wants - god bless them and keep them - but it would frankly be strange, it would be weird, for the white house - for the US government to treat a group that is organizing protests and rallies against it - as if that group is just covering the news - it's not - one of these things is really not like the other."
posted by sloe at 11:03 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Second Maddow Video really, really does nail it by blowing past all the smoke first, and hitting the actual tipping point.

Repeated so nobody misses it. Thanks, grapefruitmoon.
posted by rokusan at 3:49 AM on October 25, 2009


Last I heard the FCC was okaying cross media mergers and horizontal monopolies left and right and the only time they put someone on a hook is for using harsh language like Howard Stern.

As for the Howard Stern bit, that's a specific example of the FCC acting within its narrow broadcast power (unfortunately emphasizing obscenity over distortion as a negative, which I'll readily concede is one of its major failings), only to have the infringing actor move to an opt-in system (sat. radio, which is analogous to cable TV) because it isn't under the FCC's content regulation. If you disregard the specific reason Stern chose to move, that's actually how the system is "supposed" to work. The "ideal," as espoused by most liberal communications scholars, is to have as much content moving off public airwaves as possible, so the government doesn't have to worry about balancing the public interest and free speech concerns with content regulation (a difficult job, and one which consist of the government going to court everyday and having judges telling it where the boundaries are). If all the content is on opt-in systems, then the government can stick to regulating transmission concerns (making sure nobody controls too much of the market...making sure TimeWarner cable doesn't charge CNN's competitors higher carrier rates...making sure consumers have options).

It's not that I don't think Fox lies on a regular basis or that it's not worse than its competitors. It's more that the government's powers to stop that are very limited, and they're very limited for reasons beyond pernicious things like corruption and money. I think the FCC statement that you mentioned, "for the government to intrude on news decisions would be more dangerous to the public interest than any possible slanting of the news," is largely true. There are numerous similar statements by judges over the years along the same lines (regarding "prior restraint," usually). Even if you look back at the Fairness Doctrine (which I believe you support, though I don't), you can see that the government was worried about judging the actual content. It didn't want to look at both sides, and decide which was the right one, and then let that side be aired. It instead forced both sides to be aired in equal time, and trusted the viewer to make a decision. Now, instead of dividing viewpoints up by time on air, the approach is to let them divide themselves up by channels (or websites).

But again – no news company HAS to be because there’s no market viability in it when there’s more money to be made in telling people what they want to hear than in telling them the truth (Surely an intelligent, good looking, individual such as yourself can see that?)
And so a standard – of some sort – is necessary. By law, by independent network – whatever. Models exist. It’s doable. And more doable than waiting on some marketing dofus to figure out how to shill quality journalism without tainting the product. Good luck with that.


I guess I just can't agree that "telling people what they want to hear" will always win out. If that were the paramount draw in TV ratings, then Fox News would spend zero time on politics and all its time simply telling its viewers how intelligent and good looking they are. People's desires are complicated and shifting. And again, I think you should analogize cable TV with the internet. There are a number of quality websites that found successful business models, and no number of Drudge Reports or Pajamas Media outlets have been able to drown them out.
posted by aswego at 8:00 AM on October 25, 2009


Fox News is not any more inaccurate than other cable news outlets. We can go citation for citation between Media Matters' reporting on Fox and the MRC's reporting on the other outlets if you would like.

There's a number of reasons this could fail as a reliable metric, but I'd be willing to bet that if you evaluated each citation for political impact on the basis of both its depth and target, even this setup would reveal not just a bias on the part of Fox News but an agenda that goes beyond bias. And I'd be willing to bet even more that if you looked the entire range of errors by both Fox and any other given outlet -- rather than the narrowly selected ones that come up on Media Matters or MRC -- the pattern would be even clearer.

It's a bit like some defenses of electronic voting: every voting system has inaccuracies, so despite some electronic system's weaknesses, they're not any worse than paper/mechanical/optical systems, right? Nope. There's a difference between random errors and systemic errors.

It's beginning to seem to me that many conservatives don't or can't make this distinction, though I'm fortunate to know some who do, and acknowledge that Fox and many of the famous right-wing pundits are full of it.
posted by weston at 12:01 PM on October 25, 2009


in all honesty i doubt fox news even cares.
posted by trojanhorse at 12:08 PM on October 25, 2009


then Fox News would spend zero time on politics and all its time simply telling its viewers how intelligent and good looking they are.

That's not news. News junkies want to receive the latest outrage.
posted by mokuba at 12:36 PM on October 25, 2009


in all honesty i doubt fox news even cares

That's practically their mission statement, right there.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:39 PM on October 25, 2009


I can completely understand the frustration of the Obama dministration with Fox: at this point, Obama could repeal Roe vs Wade and hand out guns to every white Baptist and Fox would still run it as a socialist plot. But refusing to play ball with Fox — a completely understandable reaction after years of this — turns Obama into the bad guy, even if he is doing it for the right reasons.

Typical Fox viewers truly believe the network to be fair and balanced. They honestly believe that the rest of the mainstream media has a liberal bias. Refusing to provide access to Fox reinforces every belief their viewers have about Obama and liberals, and makes them more partisan, not less. Thus, the comparisons to Nixon, the cries against censorship and the fears of state-run media.

Dan Carlin had a much better suggestion, in my opinion, and I am surprised that Obama, as good as he is at political aikido, did not take it:

Rather than building up Fox through isolation, diffuse the threat by encouraging competition on the conservative fringes. Take trust-busting in new directions, with the message: "We're aware that Fox News has a monopoly on the conversative view on the public airwaves. We want to encourage more debate, and that's why we're giving tax breaks to (smaller, slightly further left-of-Fox media outlets A, B, and C)".

Is Fox going to complain about lowering taxes? Nosiree Bob. Are they going to whine about increased competition, after proclaiming the efficiency of the market? Unlikely.

Of course, there is always the possibility that you are feeding your enemy - that outlets A, B, and C are going to push further right and become more shouty in an attempt to emulate the success of their largest competitor. There's also the possibility that Murdoch could buy them outright, although between the rules on trusts and a competition of who has the biggest wallet, I think the government would win.

But in terms of the probability of a successful outcome and good PR, I think it is a much better choice than Obama's current moves. Reduce your enemy by increasing the power of those who, while not your friends, are the competitors to your enemy.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 1:19 PM on October 25, 2009


But refusing to play ball with Fox — a completely understandable reaction after years of this — turns Obama into the bad guy, even if he is doing it for the right reasons.

It could only turn Obama into the bad guy if he wasn't already the boogeyman, the Devil, and Karl Marx combined in the eyes of the aforementioned white baptists. But he is. He's been the bad guy since before his inauguration. There is nothing realistic he can do that would change these people's minds, and nothing realistic he could do that would provoke significantly greater ire on their part. They're already opposed to him, and that knob is already turned up to eleven.

Is Fox going to complain about lowering taxes? Nosiree Bob. Are they going to whine about increased competition, after proclaiming the efficiency of the market? Unlikely.

That's stunningly naive. Fox wouldn't complain about lowered taxes, they'd complain about the government subsidy to liberal media to drown out the voice of justice and fairness that is Fox, and they'd sue about it, and they'd virtually certainly win, because the federal government almost certainly cannot charge different tax rates depending on the ideological content of a firm's speech.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:40 PM on October 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can completely understand the frustration of the Obama dministration with Fox: at this point, Obama could repeal Roe vs Wade and hand out guns to every white Baptist and Fox would still run it as a socialist plot.

Sure, if you give the guns away. Now, if you say that we'll be giving every white Baptist and Methodist (Bush is a Methodist) a tax break, and you can take your tax break in the form of credits at your local firearm dealer/Wal-Mart, you might have something.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:23 PM on October 25, 2009


"Is it appropriate for a President to single out any news agency as good or bad, even if it is?"

If it is lying... then yes, it's appropriate for the President to point out when those who oppose him on issues are lying.

Let's assume Fox is a biased right-wing mouthpiece, is a President allowed to dismiss it, and the enormous numbers of people it speaks for?"

If the news organization is lying, is called on it, and continues to repeat the same lies even in their regular news broadcasts, then yes, it's appropriate to dismiss them to the status of opinion journalism/talk radio, as opposed to traditional news sources. It would be incorrect to say that Fox was "dismissed" from coverage, or access

If we were talking about the white supremacist website Stormfront, is it appropriate for the President to dismiss them, and the hundreds of thousands of readers it gets? If he points out their transparent lies, smears, and distortions, does he damage their audience by doing so... or does he possibly provide an intellectual basis for its readers to come around to reason?

"Even if Obama is right and everyone who watches it is wrong (on a set of issues) isn't his job to at least try to bring them around to his thinking?"

Sometimes, the best way to do that is by pointing out that those who insist on repeatedly lying even when called on it simply aren't credible.
posted by markkraft at 4:22 PM on October 25, 2009


Interesting article on Gawker that someone upthread linked to.

Looks to me that what's going on is that Fox News is the tail that wagged the dog. Post-Bush Sr., about 48% or so of the nation was upset a Democrat was in power, and wanted news that would reaffirm their beliefs, and better target their demographic. The Republican party liked this, as it meant they would always have someone willing to stand up for their point of view. Fox liked this arrangement, because they like money.

Skip ahead to 2009. Now, only 20% of voters call themselves Republicans, and Fox still targets that audience. However, the people left onboard are the die-hard, single-issues, paranoid folks. Thus, Fox hires a crazy guy to cry on the air and tell them that they are going to die if Democrats stay in power. This alienates the moderate Republicans, who start looking into the neighborhood Blue Dog. Recognizing demographic shifts, the party line of the GOP shifts father right as the zealots spurred on by Fox push for more reform. As the zealots realize their numbers are dwindling, they tune into Mr. Glenn's Chuckle Hour to be reminded that "[they] surround [us]." And thus the circle of life continues.

Basically, what we have here is a star going supernovae. The works are falling apart, but we're seeing a brilliant and scary flare-up on cable. It's a ramjet engine designed to burn away what remains of the GOP's credibility and integrity to create cash as quickly as possible. Should Fox run out of wingnuts to market to (doubtful, as I think it's human nature for some percentage of us to be fringe d-bags by default), they can just move on to the next niche.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:48 PM on October 25, 2009


The thing I like best about what tiny snippets I’ve seen of Fox interviews is you get a liberal type come on the show and she’s all “You know, you guys can be pretty unreasonable” and the interviewer guy is like “We’re not unreasonable, we’re fair and balanced!” and the interviewee is like “No, no, you’re quite unreasonable, look at this evidence-“ and the interviewer goes “NO WE’RE NOT UNREASONABLE WE HAVE THE HIGHEST RATING ARE YOU ARGUING WITH THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE?” so the interviewee either gives up because there’s just no value in continuing the conversation at which point the interviewer goes “You don’t even have anything to tell us, it’s all lies and fabrication!” or the interviewee shouts back in which case the interviewer goes “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE HOW DARE YOU GET OFF MY SHOW!” and then after the break the interviewer is like “We gave Liberal McSmartypants the opportunity to voice her concerns - look how reasonable and fair and balanced we are! – but they had nothing to say/became violent” and that’s just no way to live as a person much less an ostensible reporter or interviewer (you’re not the subject, fucko) and I can’t believe so many people are falling for it.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:17 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let's assume Fox is a biased right-wing mouthpiece, is a President allowed to dismiss it, and the enormous numbers of people it speaks for?"

The President is an American Citizen, protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. He is allowed to make political speech of any type he wants.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:18 PM on October 25, 2009


And so a standard – of some sort – is necessary. By law, by independent network – whatever. Models exist. It’s doable. And more doable than waiting on some marketing dofus to figure out how to shill quality journalism without tainting the product. Good luck with that.

Exactly wrong. Here's the deal. Fox News is allowed to lie. And Barack Obama is allowed to call them out on their lies. The arguments from the left that Fox needs to be forced to tell the truth are as wrong as Fox partisan's silly insistance that it is not fair for Obama to point out that Fox lies. One counteracts the other.

These guys who put the Constitution together, they were pretty sharp, no?
posted by Ironmouth at 10:22 PM on October 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let's assume Fox is a biased right-wing mouthpiece, is a President allowed to dismiss it, and the enormous numbers of people it speaks for?"

That's the problem. Fox is not the question-asking, note-taking, reporting events type of beast that an actual news organization would be.

Fox is, as you said, now speaking for its audience, lobbying 'for' them, organizing and promoting anti-government demonstrations (!), and generally telling its followers what to do.

At the very least, that's a political organ. It's getting close to operating as a full-blown cult.
posted by rokusan at 5:45 AM on October 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fox anchor peeved when guest takes a swipe at the "fair and balanced" tagline.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:00 AM on October 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


God, Fox News is pissy, ain't they?
posted by grubi at 6:23 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ha, that video.

"Good for you. Don't put up with it."

Whether the White House's line-drawing was good or bad, I bet that's the tactic we'll see from many of the (smarter) Democrats in the next couple of weeks. "Fine, whatever, you keep on with your silly little Fox pony show, no problem..."
posted by rokusan at 7:14 AM on October 26, 2009


What is the difference between Fox news and Fox opinion?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:41 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Glenn Beck tweets:

Pelosi says she's abt 2 bring a vote 2 ban Fox News from covering Congress. http://ow.ly/wveK


The link is to a joke story. Hysteria much?
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:52 PM on October 26, 2009


Fox News can suck my ass.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:30 AM on October 29, 2009


Now you see the strategy pay off:

Today that ass Neil Cavuto defended Fox, stating "We are not red. We are not blue. We're green."

You know you're winning when your opponent is forced to declare "I am not a crook."
posted by Ironmouth at 7:49 PM on November 2, 2009


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