Fox News is an oxymoron (moron being the operative word). During the Iraq war, a PIPA survey of Americans found that Fox viewers, more than viewers of any other news channel or listeners of NPR, were significantly more likely to believe the falsehoods that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the terrorist attack on September 11, that there was concrete proof that Iraq and Al Qaeda had ties, and that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. According to PIPA:
The extent of Americans’ misperceptions vary significantly depending on their source of news. Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average to have misperceptions. Those who receive most of their news from NPR or PBS are less likely to have misperceptions. These variations cannot simply be explained as a result of differences in the demographic characteristics of each audience, because these variations can also be found when comparing the demographic subgroups of each audience.
Fox News watchers were most likely to hold misperceptions—and were more than twice as likely than the next nearest network to hold all three misperceptions. In the audience for NPR/PBS, however, there was an overwhelming majority who did not have any of the three misperceptions, and hardly any had all three.
In fact, 80% of Fox viewers believed at least one of the misperceptions compared with 23% of NPR listeners/PBS viewers. This held true whether the viewers were Republicans or Democrats.
A more recent 2007 poll by Pew Research confirmed that Fox News viewers are among the most ignorant when it comes to the facts (as were those who got their news primarily from local stations). Despite its “Fair and Balanced” slogan, everyone who pays attention to the broader media and has a functioning brain knows that it is anything but.
Sean Hannity regularly splices footage of Democrats from different speeches to make it appear they are saying something wholly different from what they said.
When a Republican gets embroiled in a scandal, you can rely on good ol’ Fox to identify the Republican as a democrat. When we learned of Republican Gov. Sanford’s ”disappearance,” I predicted on another site that it was due to some scandal and Fox would undoubtedly identify him with a “D” next to his name. Sure enough, they did, all through his press conference. They did the same thing for Republican Mark Foley during the page boy scandal. Sometimes they use it the opposite way; when Rhode Island Republican senate candidate Lincoln Chaffee was being trounced in the polls by his Democratic opponent, Fox identified Chaffee as the Democrat and his opponent as the Republican.
I used to think this was willful on Fox’s part, but it is hard to say; they recently had a story accompanied by a map of the Middle East, with Egypt squarely where Iraq should have been.
Glenn Beck: The Loon Leading the Loons
In addition to the outright lies and misinformation Fox is spreading, I object to the hate and propoganda. Resident lunatic Glenn Beck is one of the worst. Among his many offenses, he recently called President Obama, whose mother and grandmother were white, a “racist”:
Beck exclaimed that Obama has “over and over again” exposed himself as “a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. I don’t know what it is…”
He also recently did a bizarre skit in which he drank wine with a cardboard cutout of Nancy Pelosi and claimed he had poisoned her wine. He routinely rants that the country is moving toward socialism and Obama is a Nazi. He has whipped up fear among his viewers that Obama is coming for their guns, that he wants to kill old people with healthcare reform, and that he is a bloodsucking vampire who deserves a stake through his heart. He has also accused the government of having interment camps and essentially called for revolution. Of course, when his crazy followers have taken his words to heart–one went armed to the teeth to a military installation that she was convinced was a US-sponsored concentration camp–he backed off for a moment and said he wasn’t calling for violence. Then, the next week, he said on his radio show:
..believe me, ACORN, obama, SEIU…you’re awakening a sleeping giant, and i have nothing to do with it. As a collective…America is waking up. You know, the American Revolution took place with 12% of the population-12; you tell me there’s not 30% of the population that “you’ll have to shoot me in the forehead before I let someone in my house to tell me how to raise my children, you’ll have to shoot me in the forehead before you take away my gun, you’ll have to shoot me in the forehead before I acquiesce and be silent!” You’re telling me there’s not 30% of this population?
I need you to be…a constitutional watchdog…I need you to watch them. I know there are 8 million people in this audience, there are 2 million people every single night that listen to me on television, but just those numbers, but you know there are multiples of those numbers…the real number of all the people that come across me in the course of a couple of weeks is probably closer to 20 or 30 million…you have a special place, that you have a job to do yourself. And when you do it, don’t try to connect to anyone else….follow what you know and alert me because they cannot move on these things! because they are building a machine that will crush the entrepeneurial spirit and the freedom that our founding fathers designed. This machine…it will crush it! do not let them build another piece! Watch every single move they’re making.
Against a backdrop of Nazi footage and music, Beck told his audience the Obama government was not socialist–it was fascist.
It all adds up to me, having to admit that I was wrong. Our government is not marching down the road towards communism or socialism. … But now I have to tell you that they’re not marching us that direction. They’re marching us to a non-violent fascism. Or to put it another way, they’re marching us to 1984. Big Brother. … Like it or not, fascism is on the rise.
When Richard Poplawski of Pennsylvania ambushed two police officers and shot them in the head, he said he was afraid Obama would come for his guns–something Glenn Beck of Fox News had been warning his viewers about. Poplawski had even posted Glenn Beck talking about the same FEMA concentration camps that so alarmed his other “crazy” fan. Beck has also suggested that the Obama government and democrats might need to be subjected to “military tribunals.” Is he calling for a military takeover of the government?
O’Reilly: Unrepetant Instigator for a Murder
Then there is Bill O’Reilly, who demonized an abortion provider named Dr. Tiller mercilessly, calling him Dr. Killer, saying he had blood on his hands. He went after him so many times that someone eventually killed Dr. Tiller–and O’Reilly was not sorry for it. O’Reilly regularly employs people to hound those who disagree with him, at their homes, at their offices, on vacation–and proudly presents the edited video of these unprepared victims to make these individuals look bad to his audience.
Tell Them to Change the Channel
Fox News is not just inept and biased. It is becoming increasingly dangerous. After Dr. Tiller was murdered, the progressive news host Keith Olbermann on MSNBC said people should take a stand against Fox and what it is doing, which is costing people their lives. He recommended that if you go to a restaurant or a store playing Fox News on the television set, ask them to turn it off. If they do not, do not give them your patronage. We need to let people know that Fox is offensive; the less it is viewed as a mainstream viewing option, the better.
Today, I took my dog to the vet’s. The vet’s office was playing Fox News. I asked if they would change it because I did not like Fox. They switched it to CNN, I thanked them, and that was that. Very easy. I commented to the person with me that I found Fox offensive. I am sure they heard me at the front desk, and I hope it gives them pause and that the next time they turn the TV on, they consider the fact that some of the people who give them business do not like Fox.