Monday, January 26, 2015

Fox (Not-So)News

When you’re in a hospital, your choices typically become limited. Indeed, most of your options will tend to come from the mass market, generic side of things. That’s how I found myself watching Fox News again for the first time in a very long time, because that is what was being offered. I found the experience depressing. Apparently, the good people at Fox are trapped in a bubble that has them reliving 2010 all over again.

The show opened with the anchorettes pulling their skirts up another three inches and the boy anchors practicing their outraged faces... grrr... grrr! They immediately dove into the vital stories of the day:
● Why does Hollywood hate a genuine American film like American Sniper, whaled the anchor! (I guess being nominated for Best Picture is evidence of hate?). A panel was introduced and they all accused Hollywood of anti-American and anti-military bias, but provided no support for these assertions other than their supposed “hatred” for films like this... again, no support was offered. Then they finished by bizarrely telling us that “this the type of film Hollywood and its liberal base” won’t make... even though they did make the film and even nominated it for big awards.

● Like lightening, we suddenly switched to the “story” of a bright young GOP presidential candidate named Marco Rubio. The whole story entailed Charles Krauthammer stating on another Fox show that he guesses Rubio has a 30% of being the nominee. That was the whole story.

● Next, they told us the GOP has a new plan to stop ISIS, and since Obama hasn’t jumped on board this plan within the first few days, the talking heads became outraged that “Obama just won’t do anything to stop ISIS!” They then bolstered their opinions by noting that Obama promises to close Gitmo, a promise he first made a decade ago and has repeated every year since.... and never did anything about.

● Then they turn to the smugrage of the day. Apparently, some school lunch server sent a nasty note to the parent of a child over the contents of the child’s lunch. What prompted this was the massive amount of junk in the lunch. Fox, however, presented this differently. First, they noted that the parent is a doctor, as if that puts them beyond reproach rather than increasing the reproach for the horrible lunch. Then the anchor looked at the obviously obese child and he announced: “You look healthy.” Really? He then asked if she ate this every day, which she said she did, and he declared that it looked delicious. He finished by expressing his outrage that a school official would tell a parent that their fat-inducing lunch, which is unacceptable under school policies, would dare say such a thing!

● Finally, we came to Romney. A panel was called to discuss what his run could mean. They never really talked about him though. Instead, this group concluded that this represented a rare moment for conservative Republicans... yep. See, Romney, Christie and Bush will split the “powerful moderate vote” three ways, allowing a genuine conservative like Rubio to “finally” give “conservative a voice.”

Interestingly, they seemed to assume a world in which conservatives have never had a way to get moderates to listen to them... as if the Tea Party or Religious Right or Goldwater or Reagan or Newt never existed.
What really struck me watching this half hour of Fox News was how completely blind they have been to the last ten years. Their analysis basically assumes there was never a Tea Party and they recommend that conservatives band together to rise up and take over the party, as if the last election wasn’t the undoing of that very thing. And didn’t Rubio rise and then explode on the fickle shores of genuineness?

Even more, though, it struck me that Fox is trapped in the petty politics of the past. These same stories first appeared on Fox in similar forms almost ten years ago. What’s more, look at the utter lack of news value to any of these. Some lunch lady sent a nasty note. So what? How does that affect anyone other than those two people? Should we designate Rubio as the frontrunner based on the opinion of one of our anchors? Talk about fabricating stories. So the party is dominated by moderates who only lose when they split the vote three ways, yet Fox asserts that the public wants conservatism?

This is the most tired of tired scripts. I almost expected stories related to Clinton’s infidelities, White Water, and the response to the OJ verdict. This is what a worn out propagandists looks like... not a news service.


ScottDS said...

Look who's back? How's your health? :-)

What's sad is that the marketplace is probably big enough for a genuinely conservative news network but that would require people with actual depth and nuance... and would be contra to the way the 24-hour news cycle operates. (And this is an Independent saying that!)

As for Sniper, the reactions from both sides have been sickening. But the "F--- Hollywood" posts are just funny. Who do you think made this movie?! A Hollywood icon (albeit a right-leaning one), working for a major Hollywood studio, starring one of Hollywood's biggest actors.

It's not even a movie anymore - it's a think piece, and I hate the idea of the BH crowd dancing around thinking they've "won" the battle. The true tests will be: a.) longevity (will this film be remembered in a decade)... and b.) will other films of similar temperament be made in its wake?

Tennessee Jed said...

glad to see you writing. I only watch Brett Baer's show. I recognize their bias (e.g. beating the same stories about Benghazi to death.) At least their bias is not liberal. I suspect a truly objective quality news show would fail. Nobody presents just facts ... everyone injects their own "analysis".

Kit said...

There are only a few regular panelists there I like:
—Charles Krauthammer
—Kirsten Powers (liberal)
—Dana Perino

Were you watching The Five, by any chance?

BevfromNYC said...

Sorry you had to watch in your sickened state. I am sure it didn't help. The only thing that I can add is one must remember that "Fox News" network is the conservative version of what MSNBC. Neither is a "news" channel. It is not ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, BBC, PBS nightly news. They are a non-stop string of partisan punditry. Expect opinion, not facts. That's why I read my news from multiple sources and philosophical perspectives.

Kit said...

"That's why I read my news from multiple sources and philosophical perspectives."

USA Today, Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, sometimes Al-Jazeera (shut up), and Bill Maher's Vice News are my top ones.

Koshcat said...

You watched Fox News with the sound on? No wonder you're annoyed. This is a problem with all the news networks. There is probably only a total of 2 hours of indepth news each day. You got to fill the other 22 hours with something. Next time you are in this situation just stick with soap operas. They are probably more realistic.

Kit said...


"This is a problem with all the news networks. There is probably only a total of 2 hours of indepth news each day. You got to fill the other 22 hours with something."


AndrewPrice said...

Hi folks! Sorry I've been absent, but it's been a busy day of escaping the hospital.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I am alive and that makes this a great day! :D

I absolutely think there is a place for a genuinely conservative (i.e. thoughtful, principled, honest, smart) news channel. I think they could dominate the landscape. But sadly, the media establishment seems to be headed more and more into the realm of pretenders.

I have no thoughts on American Sniper itself. I just find it bizarre that Fox is trotting out the same playbook they used years ago. Is this really an issue? Shouldn't the issue actually be that Hollywood is starting to make more acceptable movies?

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That's been the only show on Fox I've ever felt respect for because they do bring independent news to the channel and their spin is often unexpected. The rest seem stuck in a time warp in which they ignore a sea change in American opinion.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I don't know which show it was, but it seemed to be more of a pretend-news show than a pretend-talk show.

I like Powers, though I suspect liberals hate her guts. Krauthammer I like sometimes and really dislike at others. I'm never sure that I agree with him, even when we agree on something.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That is so true. I pick on Fox here because it struck me like some sort of twisted Groundhog's Day with them repeating the same issues and conclusions that five years of time have exposed as sideshows and politically worthless.

Nevertheless, the other networks are in even worse shape. No, they aren't stuck in the past (except for MSNBC), but they are clueless, biased morons who say things that obviously aren't true, and they totally lack any grasp of what is relevant to the world today.

Critch said...

My problem is that it's been a long since I heard much from CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, or MSNBC (and let's not forget PBS) that I agree with. At least Fox does have some's hard to find a conservative on the other networks.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I think that is half the problem: they are trying to fill too much time with nowhere near the level of content they need. The end result is filler...bad filler.

The other problem is that they seem to be lowering their hiring standards through the profession. Even something like the conservative flagship National Review feels like it's been taken from icons like Buckley by lightweights and placeholders. They cling to conventional wisdom in lieu of analysis, name-calling in lieu of problem solving, and they do absolutely zero actually thinking or researching.

The whole word of journalism has fallen into this and now it seems to be open call for anyone who can sound argumentative while looking "hot secretary" in front of the cameras.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, I absolutely admit that Fox is better than the others... no argument there. But I don't see any value in watching any of them anymore. I can skim the same headlines from the AP and spin them however I like too, so why spend an hour watching news anchors do the same thing.

The entire journalistic world is depressing right now, and it's getting worse.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. When you do find a "conservative" on those other networks, they are typically suffering from the journalistic equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome, and watching them comes across as creepy.

Kit said...


National Review just posted a skewering article about Sarah Palin.

“It would be hard to say,” York observed drily, “that Palin’s 35-minute talk had a theme.” But, one might ask, “Do they ever?” For a long while now, Palin has not so much contributed arguments and ideas as she has thrown together a one-woman variety show for a band of traveling fans. One part free verse, one part Dada-laden ressentiment, and one part primal scream therapy, Palin’s appearances seem to be designed less to advance the ball for the Right and more to ensure that her name remains in the news, that her business opportunities are not entirely foreclosed, and that her hand remains strong enough to justify her role as kingmaker without portfolio. Ultimately, she isn’t really trying to change politics; she’s trying to be politics — the system and its complexities be damned. Want to find a figure to which Palin can be reasonably compared? It’s not Ronald Reagan. It’s Donald Trump.


ScottDS said...

Kit -

Ouch, indeed, and not undeserved! :-)

Anthony said...

I don't watch Fox or any other tv network, but I don't have a problem with what they are. There is no point in bothering with hard news? Yeah, somebody has to do it, but the payoff is minimal.

Shoeleather reporters who talk about what is happening on the ground are going to garner a lot less attention than the big names who tell their followers what they feel they need to know and what they should think about what they need to know, whether that name is on Fox or even lowly MSNBC.

Anthony said...

Post 2008 anyone with a brain could see that Palin just wanted to be one of the conservative pundits/priests who are richer, purer and more popular than mere politicians. That is great work if you can get it so it is a perfectly reasonable desire (far more rationale than the desire to be a politician).

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