Friday, October 23, 2009

Make sure Fox Noise apologists know that the Noisemakers routinely misidentify scandal-scarred R's as D's -- it might help

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by Ken

I wish I had a research paper to back this up, or at least a series of pithy links. (You know how clicking through makes you believe most anything you find at the other end, or would find if you had the energy to do so.) But all I've got is some empirical data from friends and colleagues who swear it's true. That and my own incredulity, not easily overcome, which nevertheless wonders whether this might not be the equivalent of driving a silver stake through the heart of Fox Noise.

If it weren't so grim, and pathetic, it might be amusing to watch MSM types rushing to the defense of Fox Noise in the face of the Obama administration's mild but nevertheless pushback against the propaganda purveyors. No, I don't mean the likes of Charlie Toyhammer. If he ever wrote a column that didn't sound like it was dictated from a straitjacket in a ward for the criminally insane, his friends would probably wonder if maybe he had a sniffle. No, I'm thinking more along the lines of ABC's Jake Tapper's ringing defense, as reflected in his questioning of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Tuesday:

TAPPER: It hasn't escaped our notice that in the last few weeks the White House has decided to declare war on one of our sister organizations saying it's not a news organization and tell the rest of the news media to not treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it's appropriate for the White House to say one of them is not a news organization and the rest of the media should not treat them like one.

GIBBS: We render opinion based on some their coverage and the fairness of that coverage.

TAPPER: That's a pretty sweeping declaration that they're not a news organization. How are they different from, say another, say ABC, MSNBC, Univision?

GIBBS: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o'clock tonight or five this afternoon.

TAPPER: I'm not talking about their opinion programs. Or issues you have with certain reports. I'm talking about saying that 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?

[And so on and so on.]

A possibility I've heard is that people like Tapper don't actually watch Fox Noise, just as Press Secretary Gibbs was suggesting. And again, when our Jake attends a press conference or other make-believe journalistic function (press events are not, of course, where you gather real news, if by chance you have any interest in doing such a thing), he sees all his cronies, his pals and rivals, and so how dare those White House bullies disparage them? No doubt his whining will have more credibility after we review the record of his challenges to the Bush's regime's genuine 24/7 all-out assault on anyone in the media who challenged the nonstop stream of lies and obfuscations it wished to have reported. OK, here we go, a review of Jake Tapper's pushback against the Bush regime's campaign of intimidation against the media.

Well, that didn't take long.

It probably doesn't occur to our Jake that even those cronies of his who do an honest plodder's job of reporting are filtered through the editorial wringer put in place by Fox Noisemaster Roger Ailes, who has never been anything but a right-wing propagandist, and has found the fullest flowering of his professional skills in the Fox Noise enterprise he created with and for his master, Rupert Murdoch. That, Jake, is what makes your "sister organization" different from ABC. Even apart from "their opinion programs," which he makes sound like a small, separate operation from, presumably, their "news" programs, it's the choice of stories, the presentation of stories, the careful ideological vetting of what goes into stories and what's left out.

Again, I at least hope ABC News is different from Fox Noise. Maybe our Jake knows something we don't?

It may be too much to expect infotainment-news grunts like our Jake to see Fox Noise for what it is, and certainly to expect them to say so publicly. Still, it's depressing to see them defending an enterprise that is engaged in a wholly different occupation from theirs. At least I would like to believe that ABC still thinks it's engaged in a wholly different occupation from Fox's.

And much the same is true, I'm coming to believe, with the mass of politicians, and I mean those who aren't constituents of the conspiracy of confusion served by Fox Noise. They really don't seem to know what the Noisemakers do, how relentlessly they pollute the news atmosphere and the minds of their loyal viewers. In their minds, complaints about it are just "the other side" getting in its propaganda licks.

Thank goodness, the Fox propaganda machine no longer roars in a vacuum. Splendid progressive organizations have jumped into the breach, and it seems almost unfair to cite only MediaMatters, whose people do such a fine job of keeping tabs on the Noisemakers (they issued this report yesterday, and right now have a whole corner of their front page devoted to reporting on "Fox News' War On The White House), and News Hounds, which focuses on them, living up to its singularly inspiring mission statement: "We watch FOX so you don't have to."

But they don't penetrate the consciousness of the mass of mainstreamers, who don't seem to grasp the concept of "facts" much better than the Fox Noisemakers themselves. Much to my surprise, there may be a way to reach them. This isn't scientific, mind you. It's just anecdotal, from friends and colleagues who report having achieved startling responses this way. I can't say it even makes a lick of sense to me. But then, many of the prescribed lethal weapons against monsters and demons aren't exactly logical. The only test that matters is: Do they work?

Now you or I might think that what matters about Fox Noise's performance is that everything that goes out on it is propaganda -- carefully chosen as well as slanted or outright made up to grind its masters' (and lackeys') ultra-extreme fascist ideological axes. Sometimes they don't even have to lie, if they simply select which tiny strands of news they select; the lies form themselves in the act of omission of the surrounding reality. But lying is hardly a Rubicon they're afraid to cross.

(And at this point I might add parenthetically that any analogy between Fox Noise and MSNBC is the result either of profound ignorance -- Keith Olbemann and Rachel Maddow are obsessive in their pursuit of the facts of a story, whereas Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck live only to project the fictions spun amid the cobwebs of their brains -- or of simple dishonesty.)


To you or me this has seemed bleedingly obvious since the day Masters Murdoch and Ailes unleashed their satanic creation on an unsuspecting (dare we say oblivious?) viewership. Of course there are two more people who probably break out in convulsions of hilarity when they hear someone like Jake Tapper refer to their baby, Fox Noise, as a "sister organization": Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes. They probably look at each other and just lose it.

I imagine the ensuing dialogue going something like this:

RUPERT: Can you believe that twit?
ROGER: What a sap!
RUPERT and ROGER [overlapping]: We gotta hire him!!!

So what is it that I'm claiming does penetrate the thick noggins of those phlegmatic pols and journos? Don't blame me if you don't believe it. I'm just passing on what I've heard. Anyway, what I'm told stops those folks dead in their tracks is:

The fact that Fox Noise routinely misidentifies Republican miscreants as Democrats.

As you recall, they did it with Mark Foley, they did it with Larry Craig, they did it with John Ensign, they did it with Mark Sanford, and who knows who else?

Again, my reaction is that this is so childish as to be barely worthy of notice. It might simply be written off as carelessness or ineptitude on the part of an organization that doesn't grasp the basic concept of "facts" as things that exist independent of whether you approve or not -- well, it might be so written off if not for the pattern. Still, I can't see this as much more than a juvenile delinquent's or political dirty trickster's smirking demonstration of "see what I can get away with," a mere embellishment on the network's 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week body of deception.

However, highly credible people tell me that when certain journalists and pols were informed that Fox Noise had done this, they were thunderstruck. It shook their world. It apparently, for them, changed everything. Or at any rate changed something, and that by itself would be a significant if small victory in the propaganda war in which Fox Noise, to the mass audience, stands unopposed.

I would love to see people try this on any journalists or pols they know, or for that matter on any Right-minded civilians -- though ordinary people may not be equipped with whatever sensory apparatus makes this revelation so uncomfortable for journalists and pols. And please share any experiences you have.



At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

Right with you there, Ken. What gets me is that this avalanche of self-righteous media defense of Fox News comes from people and organizations who never uttered a word of protest when the Bush White House routinely met with conservatives, or threatened to take to court tv news networks and newspapers whose coverage it didn't like, or barred news organizations and journalists from routine briefings if they dared to occasionally question the WH line. There's a lot of hypocrisy stinking up mainstream journalism at the moment, and even those Very Serious Pundits who opine that "Fox is wrong, but the WH is wrong to attack them" don't bother dealing with the elephant-in-the-room: "If you had a network airing 24/7 wall-to-wall lies about your government, what sort of response would you provide?" None of them answer that. They're far too busy being sanctimonious and nodding with satisfaction at one another.

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Can't agree.

Obama is stepping in it. So what if Fox is a political action group, so was/is MSNBC. So what if they distort/lie etc. trying to cut them out is wrong.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

About the wisdom of the president's actions, I'm not sure, Bil. Not because I disagree with the principle, but because the real-world consquences may not be worth it.

But as to any equivalence between Fox Noise and MSNBC, as I've already indicated, there is no possible way I could disagree more vehemently. MSNBC (at least insofar as we're talking about Keith and Rachel, and maybe Ed, about whom I don't know very much, but I'm certainly not talking about Morning Schmo or whatever the heck else may be transmitted on the network) deal in FACTS, and take it for granted that their job is to get to the truth of a subject. (OK, their job is to get ratings, but that's true of Jake Tapper too.)

Giving in on that crucial distinction is simply allowing the Far Right to custom-frame yet another dimension of the real world.


At 8:14 AM, Anonymous GEM_in_Orange said...

Olbermann and Maddow also have been known to actually correct an error they have made in a previous segment or on a previous broadcast -- a practice totally unknown on Fox.


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