Saturday, July 11, 2009

Political: Fox News Hysteria (I just don't care)

People like it, right?

"Fox News has avoided the post-election ratings drop that hit other networks and is on course to have it best year ever, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The network, helped by programming changes like shifting Glenn Beck to 5pm, has shown a steady rise in ratings and now has as many viewers as CNN, CNN Headline News and MSNBC combined." -- Robert Quinn

I am sure at this point you have heard something about Fox News. Unless you are under 65 years of age and a white male, you probably don't watch Fox News too regularly. And if do watch Fox News regularly and not part of that demographic, who cares. Or at least it isn't your primary source of news content. You aren't going to some purgatory after you die. I wanted to air my opinions on the 24 hours cable news network. I don't care. I don't care that you hate Fox News. I don't care if they are some source evil, evil information. I just don't care. And you shouldn't either. It is a 24 hour cable news program. It shows up on your TV or on your radio. Like most content on TV or radio, it is mostly entertainment. The goal of Fox News is to get you to watch, so that they sell more advertising. I bet the advertisers are happy because Fox News has trumped other cable news networks like CNN. The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity's show have repeatedly beat CNN in ratings, week after week.

So the deal is, the Fox News channel is supposedly some kind of right wing network that is pushing right wing, neocon propaganda. This may or may not be true. If you were looking at this from an investigative point of view, you would have to find out who the key players are in controlling Fox's programming. You would have to find out where Fox's funding comes from. (It probably comes from the advertisers). And then you probably want to find out the extent of the propaganda. How bad is it? What is the damage? Lets think about this for a minute. The level of damage done by the propaganda would be very difficult to assess? Wouldn't it? Let me put this another way, compare Fox News propaganda to Nazi propaganda. The Nazi propaganda is very blatant. It was seen in the history books, the posters, set forth by the Nazi leadership. It was very clear that the Nazi leadership hated the Jewish people. Here are some questions to think about:
  • Who is the target or what is the message of Fox News propaganda?
  • What is the goal of the Fox News message? What do they want?
  • Are they a propaganda machine all the time? For example, is their message entirely political?

Worst Case Answers

  • Who is the target or what is the message of Fox News propaganda? - Maybe their goal is to position the Republican party for complete domination. This may be the case, but the Republicans lost big in the last presidential election to very young, unknown Senator. The Republicans control the House and Senate. And despite all of this, their ratings have gone up?
  • What is the goal of the Fox News message? What do they want? - Already covered in my last answer.
  • Are they a propaganda machine all the time? For example, is their message entirely political? - This is an argument I have with people a lot. If they want to have any competition with CNN, don't they have to present some of the same news segments? For example, Michael Jackson just died. Don't they have to cover some of the Michael Jackson stories? Will this hurt their opportunities to advertise for the Republican party? What about sports event? The Superbowl?

This is my theory. And maybe Fox's ratings are evidence of this. The majority of people that watch Fox News probably don't care about the Fox News agenda. If you watch Fox in the morning, you might want to check the weather, or get the latest sports scores? Maybe some finance news? Is Fox able to push an agenda with the Michael Jackson news? If so, it sure is an indirect one?

(image from Fox News website)

What about Hannity, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee?

Sean Hannity got his own program. Alan Colmes, Hannity's so called left-leaning partner left the program. Glenn Beck, the right wing nut got his own free range program. And Mike Huckabee, the former Republican president candidate got his own program as well. Tony Snow acted as Bush's press secretary. These are Republican commentators. Karl Rove also makes regular appearances on Fox. What is my comment to this? Who cares? If Fox wants to put these guys on, that is their choice. Mike Huckabee did run for president. Glenn Beck was already on another news network, he basically just changed channels. These are people, not political messages. Do I like the programming? Absolutely not. But Fox decided to put them on, they show advertising during their programs. Here is another theory of mine. I believe Fox went hardcore right, recently because of all the polarizing blogs and hate against them. They are ambulance chasers. They want O'Reilly to say something you disagree with. Just as long as you keep watching. That is the only goal for the Fox News network. Ensure that you keep watching their programming. It may not be the best journalism. Sure, it is entertainment. Is this a bad thing? I believe if the American people want engaging, hard-hitting programming then the networks will shift and start showing it. If CNN went Al-Jazeera on us and start to get more ratings, then Fox may shift as well. I also believe that now Fox is entertaining both the Internet liberals and the neocons. The neocons are looking for their message and the liberals are looking for something to use against Fox. Either way, Fox makes money. I haven't found the episode, but Bill Maher made a great comment, he said that Fox has really good producing. That is why they were able to one up CNN. If you think about it, that is probably true. They hire really attractive analysts and reporters. Have you heard the term Fox Babes? I am sure they get a lot of money from the Fox network to do the graphics and other aspects of the programming. They run a tight ship. I will agree with O'Reilly on this, CNN still continues to be boring. CNN needs to do SOME opinionated commentary. Between the opinion segments (E.g O'Reilly) and the producing, Fox still remains on top, for 24 hour cable news.

Is it bad for the country, is Fox evil?

I am sure we all remember the American 'tea baggers'. No taxation without representation. Some believe that Fox was a big part of pushing out the message. Americans were angry, maybe even inciting some of the rage. Was this bad? I don't know. It certainly borders on bad journalism.

Maybe next time I will delve into the key players, the number of viewers and demographics. How much revenue they generate. But this post is mostly addressing the over-hyped hysteria surrounding the program.

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