The 13th Clown went into hibernation during the past several weeks because the content of the Presidential campaigns caused him to drink heavily and increase his meds to amounts that resulted in stupor. There are few things sadder than a clown in a stupor.
A similar sadness has now descended on Carl Rove, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Dick Morris and several million FOX News viewers, virtually all of whom dutifully cast their vote for Willard Mitt Romney. FOX News had assured their viewers that the bulk of Americans would do the same. Except they didn’t.
How can that be?
Well, because FOX offers a faux reality and most of their viewers buy it. FOX told viewers that Mitt had “Unstoppable Mo” after the first debate wherein Mitt did a 180° pirouette from being the severe conservative of the primaries to the pandering centrist of the general election. However, by the first debate, Mitt’s FOX fans had no where else to go. They certainly were not going to vote for the author of Obamacare. Ergo, Mitt shook the Etch-a-Sketch and scrambled to the middle without fear of losing them to, oh say, Rick Santorum, the zealot who FOX really wanted in the race.
For those readers who sense that I don’t hold FOX News in high regard, I applaud your perceptiveness. As a recovering journalist, I can state, without fear of hyperbole, that FOX News is a source of accurate information in the same sense that Popeye’s is a true Cajun dining experience.
Having said this, I have to acknowledge that Rupert Murdoch’s business model for all of his media outlets, especially FOX News, is brilliant. Rupert knows that somewhere around 3o-35% of the cable-viewing public are eager consumers of paranoid-scare-blather, those who would rather not be bothered with other sources of information that might cause them to consider issues as complex and difficult to resolve. Critical thinking is just too damned hard. If the solution to a policy issue can’t be summed up on a readable bumper sticker, it doesn’t compute with much of this segment of the population…”Drill, baby, drill”.
Do you realize that capturing 30% of a cable media market sends lots of lucre to Rupert’s bottom line? (CNN gets a 24% share and MSNBC gets 16%, so which segment would you go after if maximum revenue is the goal?) Who really knows what Rupert’s politics are? For all we know, he is a pantywaist liberal but that’s a tough way to make a few billion in advertising revenues. FOX News, just like Rupert’s other media outlets, is in the tainted red meat business because that’s where the money is. Actually delivering “fair and balanced” news is a fool’s game if the object is revenue. I give you the dying print news media as proof, “Newsweek, Newsweek, wherefore art thou, Newsweek?”
Late on the night of the election, Bill O’Reilly neatly summed up FOX fans’ dismissal of 47% of the population (embraced by Mitt in what he thought was a private moment, of which there are none these days but he hadn’t figured that out). On FOX News, O”Reilly stated, and I paraphrase but not by much, “The blacks and Latinos are going to vote for whoever will give them stuff and of the two candidates, who would that be?” It’s a rhetorical question of course and I imagine that most FOX News hounds sadly nodded their collective heads in agreement. The fact that it is patently absurd makes no difference if the last time you used your critical thinking skills was when you were five years old and trying to divide the Halloween candy.
In O’Reilly’s statement you have one succinct and simplistic FOX News explanation of the political divide in the U.S. He could have stated it more crudely and just said, “White people make stuff and the blacks and the browns take it with the help of the Mulatto-in-Chief.” What’s really telling is that O”Reilly is considered one of the FOX News intellectuals. Yikes!
Here’s a real, live, actual news flash for Bill. The majority of Obama’s support came from WHITE PEOPLE. In fact, about 35 million white voters supported the President. I suppose that it is possible that all 35 million are “takers” instead of “makers” just like all of O’Reilly’s dependent blacks, Latinos and those sneaky-smart Asians. But, since I know of at least one old white dude who has been and continues to be a maker and who voted for Obama anyway, I will need some pretty reliable data that the other 34, 999,999 white Obama supporters are all on the dole before I accept it as fact. Rest assured that any reliable data regarding this issue will not be forthcoming from FOX News.
If your goal is to be a relatively well-informed citizen–and having a well-informed citizenry is the bedrock requirement of an enduring republic–then getting most or all of your information from FOX News is a deal breaker. You will be forever misinformed. For too many people, getting their “news” from FOX makes them feel better, which is like denying that you have a malignant tumor by Photoshopping the X-rays.
Observoid of the Day: You can teach an old dog a new trick but the trick will proceed very slowly.