Wednesday, August 07, 2013
Media Quicksand. Fox News
I've been on the beach, building sand-mountains (breast or penis symbols, perhaps) and using my bare toes as sand-shifters. Such fun.
Then I return to my kinda-job as media watcher and I'm sinking in quicksand. Here's why. On Sunday I spent about three hours in a living-room with people chatting while the Fox News told everyone what the state of the world is.
And what a state! Did you know that nothing worth reporting happens in most countries of this world, in the class of international news? International news is only about Benghazi and about terror threats and how poorly Obama is managing terror.
US domestic news are about shark attacks and how those are becoming more common. The pictures repeated often show the maws of sharks coming out of water, trying to eat you up! The interviews (most of which I couldn't hear well, what with the chatter in the room) seemed to be about how much more common shark attacks are now.
So I tried to find data on shark attacks. This site suggests that 2013 attacks in the US have caused one death among humans. The world number of 2013 deaths is eleven.
It could be that the attacks are increasing. But sharks-as-killers we should worry about instead of the human killers of various types or environmental catastrophe?
The Fox News are very biased, of course, as are probably any news from political extremes. But I never realized that the bias is more on WHAT is covered both in what is omitted completely from the coverage (anything having to do with the woes of capitalism, say) and what rubbish is covered 24/7) than in the inserted bias of the contents of specific coverage.
Though the latter abounds, too.
So I sat there, getting more and more scared. Not about sharks but about the idea that many people have a completely different idea about world events and what matters, about this quicksand of discussion on Fox News.
Non-news coverage was even more biased, naturally. A program called The Five told me that criminals exist in direct proportion to broken homes. This was somehow an obvious thing to blurt out in the coverage of three teenage boys severely battering a fourth teenage boy in a school bus, and the ethical question whether the 64-year-old bus driver should have intervened.
Several of the Fox critters told that they would have stormed in to give the boys some real lessons and that the bus driver was a wuss for just calling the police and not physically intervening. Based on the video showing the boys' muscular condition and size, my prediction is that the bus driver would have been killed had he tried to physically intervene. But never mind. At least two of the five members of the show stated that they would have stormed in. That includes the female host of the show.
How cheap talk is. But the most fascinating blurt-out was that thing about broken homes by Greg Gutfeld, given that I doubt he did research on the family backgrounds of any of the teens.
This teens-story also ran yesterday in the same program. The final odd bias at Fox is the repetition of a few stories over and over again, as if nothing else happens in the world, as if those stories are the most important news items ever.
I don't intend my criticisms to be only about Fox News, by the way. It's always a good thing to follow several news organizations and at least one foreign source. Otherwise we end up slowly sinking in the quicksand we make our sand castles of. (Now that was a neat perfect-circle essay just slightly overdone!)