Return us to the old days of reportage. Before Fox News obliterated the line between reporting and commentary, a boundary separated them. Something about adhering to genuine ethics. Another worthwhile bit of character we’ve misplaced during our digital age.
Aware that other cultures seldom bothered with such clear-cut distinctions, Americans were once assured, perhaps smugly and righteously so, that dislike the news presented, disagree with whatever and however the editorial page disturbed, the latter never colored the former. While opinions could waver between highly principled and batshit crazy, who, what, where, when, and how weren’t massaged to inflect some political, social, ideological, or theocratic point of view.
News Corp publications skewed the old emphasis. Fox News eradicated it.
Fox News emerged Frankenstein-like from News Corp, an Australian newspaper publisher which then immigrated to and infected Britain. After acquiring serviceable if not highly respected American newspapers, the company instilled suspect journalism practices in domestic newsrooms.
News now became adversarial or supportive, depending on whether the publisher favored or opposed the issue, group or individual. Simple reporting no longer sufficed. Readers weren’t given facts and allowed to decide. The publisher’s tastes now nudged readers this way and that, trampling a once sacrosanct line.
Done overtly, advocacy, favoritism, bias, have each migrated from the editorial purview into news articles throughout the decades.
Years later, News Corp purchased a movie studio, renamed the dream factory, through it entered broadcast then cable television, which produced the monstrous child Joseph Goebbels wished he could’ve sired, Fox News.
Aligning Goebbels beside Fox News isn’t an exaggeration. Nor is it even heresy. His organization and the News Corp harangue machine bridge the eras by bracketing issues in similar manner. A discernable difference being Goebbels and his associates put no limits on their nefarious intentions while Fox News only seeks profits and influence as it steers retrograde America further astray. Devious as Fox News is, it is less sinister than Goebbels’ brand of extremism.
Aping false prophets everywhere, Fox’ barking heads deliver the world in order to mislead. Rather than inform or even enlighten their message intends deceiving, distorting, misinterpreting altogether.
Far from being made properly aware, the audience clearly prefers these detours around what’s actual. As if hearing or reading about events objectively would demolish the self-deceptions they’ve erected into certainties.
Can’t have that, can we?
Fox doesn’t exist to pierce darkness or report to clarify our world. No, Fox is a pox that further scars those viewers who’ve found comfort in self-perpetuating ignorance.
However, this being America, the susceptible masses aren’t lulled into complacency by shrieked repetitive calumnies. Instead, here they’re befogged through self-proclaimed godliness, patriotism, and appeals to “restore.”
Or as others know it, regress.
Fox has rebooted Goebbels’ old Ministry of Propaganda and Enlightenment; one which profits by promoting insecurity, intolerance, and doubt. Until Fox fed them growth hormones, were Americans aware we suffered substantial existential crises?
Too bad our system isn’t a parliamentary one. Rather than departments ministries could serve us. Then Fox would offer the template that would create our Ministry of Fear.
Yeah. Faint praise indeed.
Fooled by News Corps’ all-out assault on the public seeing clearly, more and more low information Americans are bamboozled through the canard that all journalism leans one way or another. Until Fox’ onscreen arrival, astute readers could only get away with labeling newspaper editorial pages right or left, not news content itself.
Today, though, newspapers inform a smaller percentage of the public. Or more accurately, rightward bent cable television news misinforms greater numbers of us.
Nevertheless none of the most rabidly reactionary broadsheets or blood-drenched tabloids in our Republic’s history ever monkeyed so egregiously with straight news. Yes, while readers may perceive certain mastheads hives of unrepentant Trotskyites, their editorial pages appeal to consciences rather than actively pit this segment against that one.
Perhaps Fox’ rise can also be attributed to evermore Americans finding discontent with the news. Not the tone. With what’s being reported.
Surely to many Americans newspapers and news broadcasts have become constant bearers of grenades whose shrapnel further shreds our formerly impeccable national character. Yet we haven’t declined; simply reporting has improved. We’ve gained greater maturity as a populace.
Fewer of our deficiencies are obscured.
What injustices and duplicities had been commonly known and accepted and only mentioned obliquely, if at all, by a mainstream society which preferred being seen as polite – at least professed preference for “decency” – rather than forthright, now fills public discourse. This openness about “those people, their issues” must upset any finding succor in squeamishness. For them it must presage or verify decay in American Civilization. Especially where none exists.
It displeases a vast number of Americans that not only is our invulnerability questioned but our “perfection” as well. When insufficiencies in American living standards started receiving notice, that “greatest country in the world” brag still held plenty of water. Having taken it on blind faith, who didn’t strive for the American Dream? Whatever it was.
Fox insists on propagating sham blight. By scaring then exploiting the weak, the gullible, the empty, the selfish among us, the broadcaster reassures their uncertainties. Succumbing to these qualms is probably a better bet than facing and overcoming such groundless fright.
It certainly is easier.