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Cable Wars I – The Foxxening

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One of my biggest pet peeves in the world today is cable news. The perpetual-news-cycle-as-profit model is one that lends itself to blowing stories completely out of proportion just to have something to talk about. No juicy story means no reason for people to watch. If nobody’s watching, there’s no reason for advertiser’s to shell out money for commercial time. If there’s no advertising money there’s no profit. And, finally, if there’s no profit, there’s no good reason to keep running a 24-hour news network.

So, essentially, cable news networks have to spend more of their time doing everything they can to carve out an audience than they do informing their viewers. CNN made cable news big shit during the first Gulf War, when everyone was watching smart bombs fall down a chimney. Several years later, Fox News blew away the competition and showed everyone else the sort of profits that could be made in the cable news business.

And pretty much everything has suffered since then.

So I’m going to start a three-part (not necessarily consecutive) piece, taking a look at the three main cable news networks: Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN.

We’ll start with the big boys over at Fox. I’d say it’s because they’re the biggest, but it’s mostly because they’re the nuttiest and I can’t imagine how people take them seriously.

It's okay. They can take a punch.

The Players:

We’re just going to focus on a few big names over there, because if I were to write about all of them I’d need an entire book. Names like Neil Cavuto, John Gibson, Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Michelle Malkin won’t be making the list. Neither, sadly, will Rupert Murdoch (again, deserving of an entire book in his own right). If you’re curious about any of them, or others at Fox, a little research goes a long way.

Now, onto the festivities. (A little note, first: All of the examples of lies, bias, or just plain weirdness I show here are only -some- of those that exist. Each subject could probably have a book written about them too, and some already do.)

Sean Hannity

This guy LOVES America.

Sean Hannity is a patriot, and if you don’t have the same vision of America that he does, than you’re fucking not. Sean is your prototypical ultra-conservative. He’s never taken a stand that wasn’t one-hundred percent right, and if you ever disagreed with him, you were one-hundred percent commie. Or Nazi. Or maybe you were just high at the time, or were born with fewer brain cells than the enlightened. Point being, if you weren’t on his side, you were on the wrong side of history, my friend.

Of course, Sean’s vision of America tends to blur the facts every now and again. But, hey… that’s the price for loving one’s country, right?

He likes to question people in such a way that they either have to agree that his totally skewed characteristic of their view is right, or disagree and damn whatever larger political figure Sean is linking them to with his analysis. I think he gets off on preparing for interviews, actually, and you can see that in his frustration when one doesn’t go the way he wants it to.

But, hey. Hannity cares about the lesser folks, too. He’s heavily involved with a charity called “Freedom Alliance”, so that’s a pretty swell thing, huh? Problem is, it gets a pretty mediocre rating from Charity Navigator, and awful ratings from other charity rating systems. It’s not crooked, just bad at getting money to people that need it.

He also lies about things. A lot. It’s kind of a problem. I’d say he’s working on it, but he mostly just does it more and more as he keeps getting away with it.

Glenn Beck

This is the face of Truth.

Where do you really start with this guy? Well, first I think it’s important to note that he worked for CNN before Fox, so he’s a real veteran of the cable wars. And being one of the very few high-profile fence-jumpers seems to have done strange things to Glenn’s psyche.

See, Glenn just wants people to know when someone’s out to get them. Or him. Or maybe someone’s out to get themselves. It all gets pretty tangled up when you listen to Glenn talk. Anyway, if you don’t believe me, you’re probably just a Nazi.

Or a Communist.

Or a racist.

The point is, Glenn knows these things. And he’s scared! Or angry! Or… I don’t know, fake crying! The point is, he wants you to be those things too. And if you’re not, then dammit! You’re a part of the problem! Don’t you understand? This is exactly what happened when Paul Revere tried to warn the people of this country that the British were coming, and nobody listened! Nobody! And if they had, this country would be much b-…

Oh, they did listen? Oh, right. Shit, nevermind. He’s just crazy.

Bill O’Reilly

Did you say... looooofaaaah?


Bill gets credit for being the non-idealogue of the Fox heavyweights
. There are a lot of people that like to defend him as a guy that just says what he believes instead of going along with the Republican line, as a lot of Fox does. And that much I think is probably true. However, he’s still really bad at passing information along to people, and has no problem making things up to support his point of view (which still -generally- leans to the far right).

Bill likes to shout, and he likes to be right. So, it’s not at all unusual, when a guest is pointing out ways Bill is not right, for him to start shouting them down. If those un-American bastards should continue to try to exercise their Communist-given right of free speech over his loud braying, he’s liable to cut their microphone off like any true patriot would, and then spend the next several years lying about what they very clearly said on television.

Bill’s also big on taking really big stands, and then arbitrarily declaring victory every now and again. For instance, he once called for a boycott of France. Yeah, the whole country. And later claimed that his boycott cost them “billions of dollars” according to the “Paris Business Review”, a publication that, strangely enough, doesn’t exist. Who knew? Also, the “billions of dollars” they lost actually looked strangely like a small gain in exports to the States.

Also, he’s really all that stands between the world and the vile forces that hope to bring darkness upon it. He’s a Culture Warrior, folks, and he wants you to know that. He’s going to protect the sanctity of Christmas, by making damn sure the retailers banking on the commercial end of the holiday are saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”. Take that Jesus-haters! Why you guys gotta be all jealous and shit?

Here’s a little more on Bill.

The Analysts

Ann Coulter

Haters gonna hate.

Ann is the author of books with the following titles: “Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right”, “Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism”, “How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)”, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism”, “If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans”, “Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America”.

If you couldn’t gather it from those really terribly vague titles, Ann is not a fan of liberals. Also, the titles of the first two books make very clear that she has a non-existent sense of irony.

So, Ann is basically a smear-merchant. The way she makes her living is by selling books to closed-minded, bigoted people who hate those with progressive ideologies, and just want to read about someone else hating them too. And those titles make very clear that she understands that perfectly, and is absolutely alright with making her living by helping to breed hate.

Fun fact: Ann Coulter once suggestively called John Edwards a “faggot” at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and that’s barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun things she’s said. However, to the best of my knowledge, she has never taken part in any felonious activities with rogue nations.

Oliver North

... on the other hand.

If the name Oliver North sounds familiar to you, than you either know exactly who he is, or you’re older than I am and it just sort of rings a bell. If you don’t already know who he is, allow me the pleasure.

See, Ollie made a nice little name for himself in the late 80‘s as a colonel in the Marine Corps. Good stuff for Fox, right? Military officers -definitely- lend credibility.

Except there’s a little snag with this one. Turns out, Ollie was involved in selling a whole lot of weapons to Iran, who we weren’t supposed to be selling weapons to at the time. But industrious Ollie didn’t stop there; selling weapons to one rogue nation wasn’t enough.

See, then Ollie came up with a new part of this plan: he gave that money from Iran to rebel groups in Nicaragua. Granted, these groups were fighting against a communist regime, and it’s not a big secret that then-president Reagan was sympathetic toward these groups, but there’s yet another problem for Ollie. As it happened, there was a little legislative amendment that prohibited the US from helping these groups overthrow their government.

Whoops.

North was convicted of three felonies in the investigation, but the convictions were dropped as part of the pre-trial immunity he was granted, since the investigators were mostly trying to tie the whole thing to Reagan.

So, we’ve got a confirmed war criminal and someone that makes their living off hate-speech. Nice. All we’re missing now is someone with a debilitating perversion, and we’ll be all set.

Dick Morris

Ask and ye shall receive.

Dick Morris (which sets us right up for the perv jokes) was a political adviser to President Clinton. Now he spends most of his appearances on Fox deriding Bill and, even moreso, Hillary Clinton. Pretty big jump in ideology. Of course, whenever the likes of O’Reilly and Hannity have him on to bash the Clintons for no particular reason, they like to introduce him as “a former Clinton adviser”.

What they don’t introduce him as is “the former Clinton adviser who got fired because he let a prostitute listen in on conversations with the president, read drafts of speeches for the president and vice president, and also paid her to let him lick her feet”. But that would be a little more accurate.

Now Fox pays him to go on television and regularly bash the Clintons, even when they aren’t particularly newsworthy. They really know how to pick ‘em.

In closing, wow. That’s it. Just wow. There are no words to sum this up.
Examples of Fox News Bias (From an admitted liberal… and kinda boring guy, who doesn’t really seem to understand what “But I want to know what you think” means, since he always asks loaded questions after saying so. BUT! He’s usually on the ball.)

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