Yesterday I was walking on the treadmill at the Y and I was too far away from the TV that was tuned to CNN so I decided to watch FOX. I usually don’t watch FOX because it gives me a stomach ache, but I decided to see if they were still as biased towards the right as they used to be. Well it only took me about 2 minutes to see that their slant has not changed. Also I now know where all these ridiculous stories that make much ado about nothing are coming from.
First the news reader spent ten minutes discussing the cost to fly Leon Panetta from Afghanistan to California whenever he wants to visit his family. And the cost is eye-popping. There was, throughout the story, an implication that Obama cut a bad deal with Panetta when he talked him into taking over in Afghanistan. There was a long discussion about how a seat in First Class could be rigged up to work for private transportation for Leon Panetta without creating a security risk.
Next the news reader spent fifteen minutes discussing what a huge political blunder it is for Obama to appear on the Jimmy Fallon show and how he has been spending way too much time on TV. They said that Obama is playing to his comfort zone and not taking the risks he should take.
During this same treadmill experience FOX spent fifteen minutes on a story that says that, although Obama likes to compare himself to Ronald Reagan since they both took office during a recession, there is really no comparison. Their data proves that in the Reagan years the job market improved swiftly and the unemployment rate obviously fell just as quickly. Their “facts” do not mention that decades separate these two presidencies and they also just sort of ignore the whole issue of globalization with the exodus of jobs to countries outside America and the continuing weakness in the housing market, a market which has been troubled since the collapse of the housing bubble. Reagan did not have to deal with either of these unique economic events. Nor did he encounter the partisan divide that has halted Obama’s agenda. His party did not control both houses of Congress, but members of the two parties were willing to compromise. FOX, of course, makes the same conclusions they always make. The only way out of this is to cut taxes and stop the “class warfare”. They don’t mention that they made up the term class warfare to demonize requests for increased taxes from the wealthy. They also don’t mention that the GOP actually began the class wars when the first place they went for budget cuts was to recommend cutting so-called entitlements.
Once these non-stories are created by FOX all the other news media have to treat them as real and these stories live far longer than they should while the dialogue goes back and forth between the right and the left. Fact checkers try to minimize the damages of these “created” issues, but then the story goes blithely on while the facts languish once again in limbo. FOX news is guilty of wasting lots of our time on nonsense and has even occasionally bordered on fomenting violence over what is basically semantic tricks and propaganda.
Pretty amazing to have a whole TV network dedicated 24 hours a day to criticizing the activities of the President of the United States. I’m not really sure why the Democrats cannot put together a channel that is equally critical of the GOP, but perhaps they just like to stick a bit closer to the facts and they hate to waste our time creating one media story after another out of some event that should be basically too minor to be more than a blip on our radar.