Friday, July 15, 2011

"Fair and Balanced," Really?

Rupert Murdoch, media mogul and creator of Fox News, is in the headlines. It's alleged that some of his United Kingdom Newspapers paid more than $1.5 million in hush money to cover up hacking into cell phones in the pursuit of stories. They allegedly hacked into the phone records of members of parliament, cabinet ministers, and even deputy prime ministers. If these allegations are true, Mr Murdoch is in deep trouble, indeed.

I have to admit that I'm relishing in these allegations. Not only are the alleged crimes serious in their own right, I believe Mr. Murdoch has contributed to the decline of our national politics of the last few decades. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those liberal lefties that enjoys seeing a politically conservative person get his comeuppance. In fact, I'm, by most accounts, a political moderate that has even voted Republican in the days the Republican Party had reasoned and logical ideas (as opposed to the fiscally irresponsible and theocratic Party it has become).

This recent news scandal brought to mind how Mr. Murdoch's American creation, Fox News, cloaks itself in a tawdry veil of objectivity, endlessly shouting its “Fair and Balanced” and “We Report, You Decide” slogans. Yet looked objectively, Fox News isn't balanced, but just another tabloid that provides blustering, loud, obnoxious, in-your-face opinion. It's nothing but a mouthpiece for the Republican Party. 

Watching Fox News commentators Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck is frightening. They manipulate facts and use incendiary rhetoric to promote division in America, all in the name of being good Americans. A lot of people watch this drivel and take it seriously. Even believe it. Unfortunately, Fox News seems to be everywhere. You find it in restaurants, gyms, bars, and even hospital waiting rooms.

I'm the first to defend freedom speech, but I don't patronize establishments that promote hateful, bigoted, and untrue information. For example, there's a small deli near my house that has reasonably good food; however, the two times that I've been there, Rush Limbaugh has been on the radio. Mr. Limbaugh is a particularly offensive person that uses intolerant and xenophobic overtones to spread his right-wing “ideas.” I no longer frequent this deli or Longhorn Steakhouse, another establishment that finds it appropriate to show Fox News to its patrons.

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