Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fox Anti-News

The problem with critiques of Fox News and most other right-wing media outlets is that they assume that Fox was originally set up as a legitimate news operation meant to compete with the so-called left-wing bias of the existing media outlets. This assumption is as much true of Media Matters for America as it is for the Columbia Journalism Review or The Daily Show. They criticize Fox News for supposedly doing a bad job of bringing us the news. Bringing us the news was never the intention of Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch and the rest. Their primary intention was to delegitimize news in general and weaken the effectiveness of the Fourth Estate as a check on government and corporate overreach.

Facts don't matter. Consistency doesn't matter. Fair and balanced doesn't matter. All that matters is to get out that day's talking points, to muddy the waters and generally to call into question the value of news in our society.

It doesn't matter how stupid or wrong-headed or reactionary they appear. By being ridiculous they demean all news operations. If, by trivializing the news, by giving the public what it wants rather than what it needs, or by hyping scandal and paranoia, they achieve ratings success (as entertainment rather than information), it's a win-win for them. Especially if other media agencies imitate their tactics in search of higher rating and economic rewards.
Fox News is not news. It is anti-news.

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