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Is This the Essential Problem with Fox News?

To hear Jon Stewart talk about it, the main problem with Fox News is that they’re conservative and that they’re passionate about it.  This is not what’s wrong with Fox News.  A conservative news outlet that still practiced real journalism wouldn’t be a problem like Fox is. The problem with Fox is that they promote misinformation at a breath-taking clip.  Any given moment during the day, you can turn it on and whatever they’re saying is probably dishonest on some level, or even an open lie.  They set out to confuse instead of enlighten.  They want the average viewer to be more, not less, ignorant for watching them.

Amanda Marcotte

H/T: Dale at Faith in Honest Doubt

A lot is said about what is wrong with Fox News, but has Amanda Marcotte put her finger on what’s really wrong with the network? What do you think?

17 thoughts on “Is This the Essential Problem with Fox News?”

  1. I never watch Fox but I watch or read info from many sources CNN, BBC, CTV, TVA, Radio-Canada, Al Jazzera, le Monde, Haaretz, LaPresse (Montreal, French)) and the Gazette (Montreal, English) the way they each deal with the same piece of news is totally confusing at times. When they all agree it means that something there must be true. Otherwise you have to average what is similar and dissimilar, look at the origins of the news outlet, factor in the biases involved…and make your own judgement call. Exhausting but the only way to have some kind of truth.


  2. I don’t know that it is a conscious policy… I think it’s cynical partisanship (making them proud of their bias regardless of truth) combined with the drive to make lots of money. Which is the ultimate in conservative values.

    But then you look at Glenn Beck and you have to wonder… he is however, a huge viewer draw.


  3. I understand Fox’s MO to be as follows. They have a few blocks of “news” programming (three hours in the AM, three hours in the PM if I recall) where they maintain some manner of journalistic integrity. Biased, leading, but technically honest. The other sixteen hours are opinion-reporting, including all of their most popular shows (Beck, O’Reilly, Hannity, Fox and Friends) where they lie as they please. Their opinion/lies are couched in weasel words, “I’ve heard/read that,” “It seems to me,” “Isn’t it true that,” and so on. Throughout these hours of opinion programming, “Fox News” is still displayed and announced throughout, which would lead people to believe they are watching the news.

    If you read their print news (on their website) it’s reasonably legitimate but it’s mixed in with their crazy editorials. I think Fox’s real success over the last decade has been to blur the line so successfully between editorial and journalism that the average person can’t tell the difference.


  4. I have no idea why FOX is “bad” because I stopped watching the news years ago. If you are still interested enough to care, you are the fish nibbling the hook. Perhaps that is what is wrong with FOX and all news media.

    News without editorial is absolutely FREE. The twentieth-century media used news to sell “commercials” and migrated to endorsing events. News in the twenty-first century is free and news anchor-opinions are “news” for those watching you can only get from the opinion purveyors.


  5. @Sean, I think you’re right. Where I might quibble with you — and this may or may not be a disagreement — is that labeling your program as “opinion” or “analysis” does not absolve you of the demand to tell the truth — or some reasonably defensible presentation of it — and abstain from spreading outright distortions and falsehoods. Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann are opinionated and engage in “biased” analysis, but they make a serious effort to ground their presentations in observable reality (and if you’ve watched them, you know they do correct their mistakes when made aware of them); whereas Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, etc., are happy enough to latch on to facts when it suits them, but just as happy to lie through their teeth when that moves the dial better. You’re definitely right about their preference for weasel phrases as a way to insert lies.

    @Ahab, I don’t give FOX enough credit to say they have merely forgotten how to tell BS from reality. Their distortions have been too systematic and too longstanding to be anything but purposeful. There’s a point at which we need to abandon the assumption of best intentions (any chance Barack Obama is reading this??). They have demonstrated their intentions daily for many years. If they were merely sloppy or confused, it would look quite a bit different. The clock always seems to break and freeze while displaying a specifically right-wing time there at Fox, and it breaks frequently.


  6. I think it’s a mix of what she, Sean G. and K. Capach. Although I disagree with what she said about Stewart. I watch his show every night and he has repeatedly attacked Fox as well as specific people on Fox for fact stretching and selling outright lies and I believe he would be just at critical of them were they liberal and operating the way they are.


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