FOX In A Box

When I was a child I used to have one of those little Jack-in-the-Box toys. Remember them? It was a little square box with a trap door on the top and a grinder on the side I would turn, causing it to play the song “Pop! Goes the Weasel”. When it got to the end of the song, the trap door would pop open on a spring mechanism and a clown would pop out.

I was reminded of my childhood toy when I read this article in Media Matters about FOX News (also known as Fake News, Faux News, Fixed News, Fictional News, False News, Bovine Feces News and numerous other more accurate descriptions.) A former employee of FOX has stated that FOX news is nothing but a propaganda machine.

“It is their M.O. to undermine the administration and to undermine Democrats,” says the source. “They’re a propaganda outfit but they call themselves news.”

It is not a true news organization, or at least it’s not like the news organizations I grew up with, in the heyday of professional journalism. Walter Cronkite on CBS, Huntley/Brinkley on NBC, Harry Reasoner on ABC, all of them emulating the great Edward R. Murrow. You trusted these news organizations to tell you the news, impartially, with very little slant (they’re human  – there will always be some slant). And even if they weren’t exactly unbiased, you knew they weren’t making it up, they weren’t consciously spinning the news to influence opinion in a particular political direction.

Times have changed.

This employee has said that FOX had no compunction about being the mouthpiece of a political side. It started out spinning the conservative viewpoint, then graduated to spinning the Republican viewpoint, and finally to the official viewpoint of the Bush administration, and adversary to the Obama administration. And they do this all under the  banner of “fair and balanced”. This has been known for years, but this is the first time it’s been confirmed by an employee of FOX.

“It was a kick ass mentality too,” says the former Fox News insider. “It was relentless and it never went away. If one controversy faded, goddamn it they would find another one. They were in search of these points of friction real or imagined. And most of them were imagined or fabricated. You always have to seem to be under siege. You always have to seem like your values are under attack. The brain trust just knew instinctively which stories to do, like the War on Christmas.”

So FOX is just a propaganda machine, bought and paid for by conservative, Republican interests. Whenever something happens in the world that is newsworthy, FOX is like that Jack-in-the-box from my infancy. Instead of getting something new, unique and informative, impartially rendered, you get the news stuffed in a can, which is then wound up until a clown pops out of the top spouting the same old conservative, Republican line. It’s the same thing, over and over and over. You can rely on it.

But like a child, the ignorant and gullible in the American populace squeal with delight every time FOX pops out of the can, believing that they are being given impartial, unbiased access to the world.

The joke’s on them.

Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle.
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! goes the weasel 1

17 thoughts on “FOX In A Box

  1. “Tell me which news station isn’t biased?”

    Uh-uh. Won’t work, TFT. Infidels don’t have to provide proof for anything they say. Only Christians.

    John, that jack-in-the-box is a dead-ringer for a certain lawyer I know. You should have pasted another image into that photo… like, say… an Indian or even a pseudo-Indian cranking the handle?


    • Uh-uh. Won’t work, TFT

      And not only that, those that actually read what I wrote would see that I said they are all biased to some some degree, due to human nature. But there is a big difference, to the non-pinheads of the world, between bias and propaganda. If you take your news with the grain of salt of a skeptic, you’ll be able to filter out the inherent bias. We all do that. But if you take your news because you simply want someone else to do your thinking for you, then by all means watch FOX.

      John, that jack-in-the-box is a dead-ringer for a certain lawyer I know.

      Really? Your lawyer looks like Billo? My condolences.

  2. They all bring the viewpoint of the ownership into it, the talking heads are deemed to be “players” in the game and somehow a part of the “news”. They and the persons of power who are often their subjects seem to walk about in some colleagiality, and speak together in a “priestly tongue” which isn’t really meant for the lower orders.

    Fox does this, too, but they cater to an audience that has been more “schooled” than educated, one that has been conditioned to emote rather than think, and responds to authority, slogans, and symbols rather than actual intellectual process.

    Seems to work, too.

    SI have you ever investigated the Philidelphia journal, the Aurora? Now, THAT was journalism…and wikileaks had nothing on them!

  3. Sarge

    I would say CNN does a pretty good job of “schooling” also. The difference (in my eyes) is that the average listener of CNN “feels” they are more “educated.” Unfortunately most main stream news watchers are grossly misinformed about the world.

    • I don’t say ‘no’ to that.

      Fox targets people who have a certain predilection for credulity, and can, as discribed bt T.E. Laurence (but upon another people) be “swung on an idea as on a cord”.

      Facts don’t even figure into it, nor truth, it’s perception and the ‘moment’ that count. And Fox figured it out and uses it more egregiously than most.

  4. Let’s realize that news is a product, and news providers always delivered a product people wanted. Perhaps there was a time when everybody honestly wanted real news, so news agencies delivered what people wanted, but now people seem to prefer to hear what they want to believe. Perhaps people aren’t aware that they just want their beliefs reassured, or just can’t bring themselves to admit it. Perhaps people honestly do want real news and agencies with an agenda are actively misleading them. There are many possible explanations for the state of news today, but you can hang one thing on Fox. Their court victory in 2003 confirmed that no news agency had any obligation to report the truth. We all assumed they did, but as I said, that assumption was based upon the fact that news agencies used to report the truth, but they did so not out of obligation but because that was, or that’s what they believed the people wanted.

    We should also recognize that the good old days wasn’t full of pure, unfiltered news either. There were topics which were considered off limits, like a politician’s extra-marital affairs, or anything else which was considered unseemly, so I don’t believe we ever got a pure feed. Today might be the first time we do get real news, but it takes work sifting through the mass of shit online. That’s soon to end thanks to companies like Comcast and the end of Net Neutrality, though.

    News via traditional media is bullshit because they have a product to sell in a vastly more competitive market than in Cronkite’s time, with arguably a different consumer base. The best mass media news sources, imo, are non-American, probably due to less competition and a consumer base which honestly wants real news, but both situations will likely change eventually.

    • Philly

      Good points. I wonder what the average American would think about the Middle East if they only watched Al Jazeera. Now that would be news worthy. 😉

      • Amazingly, they’re not so bad, and they’ve been all over the Egyptian crisis from the beginning with live internet streams. I prefer the BBC news. It’s simply astounding how many huge stories get coverage, and extensive coverage, on the BBC which often never appear on US network news. Why? Americans have short attention spans and don’t give a fuck about anything in the world unless there’s a clear, direct, and immediate influence on or by the US. Rice shortages in most of the world? Don’t care.

  5. I think Jon Stewart NAILS it with this :

    I agree that the news organizations are bias … and because of that I cross check stories they air to verify what they say. I have found more errors, misrepresentations and flat out LIES from FOX news than all others combined 3 or 4 … hell… 375 times over. FOX news is NOT a news organization, it is entertainment.

      • Yea. A comedy show has superior news integrity. It’s so true, yet so wrong.

        MSNBC, in a lot of its programming, is highly left biased. Primarily in the news opinion shows, like Olbermann’s old show, Maddow, Chris Matthews and Lawrence O’Donnell. (I’ve never actually watched an MSNBC news feed.). But they don’t hide the fact that they are left leaning, unlike Fox, which pretends that they are neutrally reporting the news. “Fair and Balanced”. It’s a joke.

        Also, those shows on MSNBC would not exist were it not for FOX. They are merely an attempt to react to and level the playing field taken over by Fox. I suspect that if FOX wasn’t as bad as it was, MSNBC would either not exist, and CNN would rule cable, as it started to do, or MSNBC would be competing with CNN for the same centrist, relatively neutral position.

        CNN was pretty neutral when it started, but seems to be moving more to the left, again as a reaction to FOX.

  6. the talking heads are deemed to be “players” in the game and somehow a part of the “news”

    That’s so weird, isn’t it? It seems to be the case, though.

    • Our perception of this phenomenon is also something odd, whether we are Fox patrons or not.
      Do you remember the old TV series, Superman, from the 1950s? I never missed it as a kid, and that was sort of my idea, ingrained, about “Journalism”.
      I remember a couple of years ago there was an interview with Noel Neil, who played Lois Lane, and she said that her father was an actual reporter and the show used to drive him ape-shit. He admonished her about her charactor: “why are you always running up to people with that pad and pencil??!! You know better than that; someone sees you coming with those things in your hand they run away”!
      She knew it was true, but could never get him to accept that it was just a script meant to be seen by kids.

      But we have watched “journalism” become a “profession”, and, I guess, a sort of priesthood at that. I have heard it spoken of by “journalists” that theirs is the task of acting as a “filter”, making sure certain information got out, deeming some as unworthy of note, and even deciding that some shouldn’t be revealed to a querlous villienry, they just can’t be expected on to handle it well.

  7. Another thing Fox is infamous for is that whenever they report on a Republican elected official who is involved in some sort of scandal, when they show the person’s name in the chyron, the (R) is replaced by a (D).

    • That’s just because the “D” and the “R” are so close together on the keyboard. It’s simply a typo. Every time it happens.

  8. University of Maryland conducted a study that showed Faux News viewers were more misinformed that most Americans (who are, in general, mostly misinformed (read: stupid).)

Comments are closed.