Friday, March 21, 2008


I live in a bubble, quite sheltered from most popular entertainment and "info-tainment". I jokingly tell my movie-buff buddies that the answer to any question that begins with "Have you seen..." is probably 'no'.

My knowledge of the goings on of the larger world trickles in to me during about 10 minutes of paging through the Austin-American Statesman while I wait for my morning jo to kick in, and then, as I drive to work, about 20 minutes of NPR.

Recently, however, I broke pattern and turned on the TV, which, by the way, poet Carl Sandburg very aptly called "the great thief of time"-- 40 years and 69 channels ago! I happened to turn to FOX news.

I don't know why. Just landed there, I guess, and was so appalled that I just stayed. Kinda like rubber-necking as you crawl past a car wreck on I-35.

Now, sheltered though I am, I knew enough to scoff at FOX's claim to be "fair and unbiased" and knew it to be less of a source of news than a mouthpiece for the Republican Party. I knew that it was bad journalism. I knew that it was bad karma. I knew that it was bad politics. What I didn't know it that it's not merely bad. It is insidious.

Case in point:

1) Hours and hours (it was on in the background while I was surfing the web) of the most offensive clips of Reb. Wright's near minstrel-show antics while in the lower right-hand corner an image of Barack Obama's face slowly faded into and out of view. Thinly-veiled semi-subliminal association. Enough to make me want to puke.

2) A half-hour long "Crossfire" style discussion between two political pundits. Topic: Obama's candidacy in light of the Wright clips. One pundit was against Obama, and the other one was REALLLLLY against Obama. That is the fair and unbiased way to present an issue. Right?

3) Four days after my initial lengthy peek into the very nasty world of Fox News, I have it on again (right now) and see, once again, an endless loop of Rev. Wright's unfortunate ravings.

4) Now what's on Fox News? An author talking about his book "The Liberal Mind". The segment was introduced just before a break with the line "Is liberalism a mental disease?" What a farce! This is no book review or chat with the author! It is propaganda. To paraphrase:

Author: There are two kinds of liberals. Some are harmless, but others are radical and cause a lot of damage. They are really dangerous.

Host: I know some liberals really mean well. They want to see a world that is more fair and where everybody gets a fair share, but they expect a sort of Big Brother government to take care of everybody regardless of how hard they work.

Author: That's right.

Host: What percentage of liberals are the first kind, the good-hearted but misguided kind, and what percentage are the other kind?

Author: I don't know the percentages, but the radical liberals do by far the most damage. They are the ones who are most dangerous.

End of interview.

The one brief shining moment out of hours of dreadfulness and dreck-- an interview with Princeton professor Dr. Eddie Glaude. After the host surprised the hell out of me by saying that he was a Christian and then asked why can't Rev. Wright just forgive and forget, Dr. Glaude, who is an African American and also a Christian, attempted to explain that there is a multiplicity of Christian viewpoints and that Rev. Wright and many African-American churches embrace a prophetic view of Christianity. And, as Dr. Glaude was beginning to explain just what that prophetic view is (and by the way it has to do with social justice and not fortune-telling), the host cut him off, saying that time was short. But time was not short. The host talked and talked. During the course of the interview he talked more than the guest.

When does the Revolution begin? Let me know.
In the mean time, vote for Obama and let's all do our best to turn this mess around.


mrpod said...

What drives me batshit crazy about Fox News is their insistence on calling "suicide bombers" "homicide bombers" in order to push some obscure agenda. As in, "a homicide bomber blew up another check-point in Iraq today."

The first question I always think when they say it is, "oh did they catch the guy who did it? Do they have any leads?" Well, you don't know bomber blew himself up unless the anchor adds extra, what should be understood information.

Timothy McVeigh was a homicide bomber. Someone that straps explosives to their vest and blows themselves into a million pieces is a suicide bomber.

Efficient use of the English language does not embolden or legitimize the terrorists.


Bookhart said...

Remember when I posted "Fox News sucks"? THAT'S why.