Thursday, 27 August 2009

What the Fox?

We’re all familiar with media bias, I for one am exposed to it on a daily basis through my Mum’s insistence on reading The Daily Express, a paper so unashamedly Conservative I’m surprised its logo isn’t Thatcher’s wrinkly mug.

No amount of exposure to media bias, especially the relatively tame versions we have in the UK, could prepare you for the granddaddy of them all because truly, to paraphrase Sinead O’Connor, nothing compares to one 24-news network in the States.

Step forward Fox News.

As one of the most powerful countries in the World’s big three 24-hour news networks (along with CNN and MSNBC) Fox News has a far reaching influence on the American people, who for the most part, and I know this is a horrible stereotype, will get their news from the TV rather than the printed press.

For a network that bills itself “fair and balanced” that shouldn’t be an issue really should it? But you see, the thing is, Fox News is anything but fair and balanced, in fact it couldn’t be less fair and less balanced if Bill O’Reilly burnt an effigy of Barack Obama in his studio.

Fox News is so far right its almost falling off the page, the bias it has towards anything and everything Republican is truly astounding; and its merry band of propaganda pedalling, venom-spewing presenters and contributors (I am extremely loathe to use the word ‘experts’) whip up hate and manipulate their viewers without thought and seemingly without rhyme and reason.

I used to think it was funny, I still can’t help but laugh at some of the unadulterated horse shit that continuously streams out of the mouths of these ignorant nimrods who are actually paid to pedal their filth, but it has gotten to the point where it actually scares me now just how horrifically biased this network is.

What changed? Well I recently discovered, through the only real trustworthy source for news in the States – ‘The Daily Show’, that Fox News’ prime time news broadcasts pulls in over three times more viewers than CNN and MSNBC’s rival shows, and that chilled me to the bone.

To consider the fact that your average Americans who maybe aren’t that well read on the bias that certain networks have, are tuning in and accepting Fox’s revisionist history as the gospel truth really is scary.

A little bias has to be expected in all walks of life, and when its blatant and humorous its fine, for instance during Obama’s inauguration in January – one of the most historic events we may see in our lifetime – Fox were more concerned with where Bush’s helicopter was going…

…That made me laugh, but at the moment with Obama trying to get free health care to millions upon millions of needy, desperate Americans, Fox as you would imagine, are completely against this policy and are practically encouraging people to be disruptive and threatening as the President and his staff try and revolutionise the country’s health care system.

Fox are ignorant and hypocritical but they don’t seem to care. The main offenders on this sorry excuse for a news outlet are the three headed beast of O’Reilly, Hannity and Beck.

Sean Hannity is the host of the imaginatively titled ‘Hannity’, which replaced his old show ‘Hannity and Colmes’ when his former co-host, and the Spade to his blundering Farley, Alan Colmes left the show.

Colmes was supposed to be the counter balance to Hannity’s staunch Conservatism but in reality Colmes was actually quite liberal – far from the “hard-hitting liberal” Fox billed him as.

Since Colmes’ departure, Hannity has become even more unbearable than before, and without someone to at least try and keep him in check his revisionist history and seemingly very short memory are now running rampant like Katie Price at, well, somewhere with men.

Then we have big Bill O’Reilly, a man who is host to – get this: the most watched cable news programme on television – a pretty scary fact when you consider the man is a borderline psychotic who decrees anyone with a different viewpoint to him a “loon”.

O’Reilly has a history of distorting the truth, providing erroneous facts and generally misleading his audience while promoting it as ‘news’. It has even been concluded in a university study using analysis techniques developed after World War One that O’Reilly’s show was actually classed as propaganda.

Now I don’t want to be a hypocrite and start name-calling here but, propaganda, revisionist history… Remind you of anyone else?

The final head of this disgusting beast that makes the Hydra look like a Chihuahua is Glenn Beck – a man so emotionally blackmailing he could probably manipulate his audience into felating him live on air.

Beck has only recently moved to Fox News but in his short time with the network his views seem to have miraculously fallen in line with those of the network, funny that.

Beck’s trademark seems to have become the fact that he tears up at the drop of a hat mid-show and proclaims how he “just loves [his] country”.

It’s a shame he sold his soul really, because out of the three, Beck is the one I think I could actually, dare I say it… like, but in his current home and with his current penchant for emotionally raping his audience I can harbour nothing but disdain for the man.

The aforementioned ‘big three’ aren’t the only Fox News cronies who are the very definition of the phrase ‘ignorance is bliss’ though; we also have co-anchor of ‘Fox & Friends’ Gretchen Carlson.

Carlson is practically a ‘Stepford Wife’, grinning inanely and spouting off uneducated slush like she’s been lobotomised with a coat hanger. Arguably, an attractive woman, she is the living embodiment of a woman whose views can turn you off faster than the sight of Vanessa Feltz on a treadmill… Take note Palin.

Speaking of the former Governor of little old Alaska, any network that endorses a woman so unbelievably stupid and oblivious to the World around her just cannot be taken seriously. For Christ’s sake (oops, sorry Fox) if Palin can be a Vice-Presidential nominee then so can I!

In the UK, our current band of baboons in Downing Street get a pretty free ride, can you imagine how low their approval ratings would be if we had the U.S. media?

Brown and Darling (or Laurel and Hardy as I like to call them, and trust me, they’re never getting that piano up the stairs) and the Dark Lord Peter Mandelson should count themselves lucky that we don’t have a 24-hour news network culture like they do in the States; can you even begin to fathom just what a laughing stock any TV network would be if they unflinchingly endorsed these fucking primates we call a Government?

In this country, a network that unashamedly backed the government in light of all their failings & mistakes and against all evidence to the contrary would attract approximately no viewers and be in administration with a month.

This is why Fox News’ power is so scary: Brown, Darling et al are just grossly incompetent and unprepared for the job they inherited (that’s right inherited… but that’s another rant for another time).

Bush, Rumsfeld and Beelzebub Cheney on the other hand are practically war criminals, yet Fox News would never even suggest that they did anything but a stellar job in the eight years in which they managed to bring the greatest nation on Earth to its knees like a groupie backstage at a Motley Crue gig… No all this bad stuff has happened since January.

It is little wonder that intelligent Americans are more and more using a ‘fake news’ show like ‘The Daily Show’ to get their news. Although it has a visible leaning towards the left, Jon Stewart and crew treat everyone as fair game, if you say something stupid they’re going to call you on it.

It’s a sad World we live in where a ‘fake news’ show might actually be the most accurate and reliable source of news on what was once a trusted and respected facet of the media...

…Walter Cronkite would be turning in his grave…

…Because, if you can’t trust your newsreaders, who can you trust…?

…At least we’ve never had this problem with Sir Trevor McDonald…

…On a lighter note and as somewhat of a parting gift, allow me leave you with this clip, which shows just how psychotic Bill O’Reilly actually is – you thought I was exaggerating didn’t you…?


Other Musings this Week:

TV has hit that transitional period before the big winter shows return to our schedules, so I’ve dropped the Televisual from this week’s musings, but that’s not to say that still I won’t be dissecting televisual news because…

- The ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ line-up was announced this week and after at first thinking it was a piss poor line-up I’m actually now quite looking forward to the clear winner of the Saturday nigh reality TV battle returning.

In terms of flagging up a winner, which I haven’t had much luck with this year, my heart says Richard Dunwoody (a gentleman, a legend and star of one of the greatest TV ads of all time), the cynic inside me says Ricky Whittle and my head (and possibly my money) is leaning towards Jade Johnson.

Athletes always do well on ‘Strictly’, and if this girl has a good personality then she could definitely be the dark horse, because let’s be fair ‘Strictly’ is basically a popularity contest as last year’s farcical outcome proved.

- This Friday sees the big screen release of a film I’ve read nothing but positive things about ‘The Hurt Locker’, directed by Kathryn Bigelow the film focuses on a bomb disposal team deep in the heart of the Iraq war.

It promises to be an adrenalin fuelled ride, I’ll have my ticket this weekend and I highly recommend you get yours – have I ever steered you wrong before? Actually, don’t answer that…

- Staying with movies, this week I finally got to see what has quickly become my film of the year, the amazing ‘In the Loop’.

After being shafted by geography for its criminally small cinematic release, my DVD finally arrived Monday and boy was it worth the wait. The funniest British film I’ve ever seen and probably ever will, ‘In the Loop’ retains all the magic of ‘The Thick of It’ and then some.

Peter Capaldi’s Malcolm Tucker is one of the greatest comic creations of all time and he carries this movie to heights of profane bliss. Buy it now!

You can see how ‘In the Loop’ fared against its 21st Century Comedy peers in my countdown of The Top 10 21st Century Comedies (So Far) over at

- I happened to catch the video for Shakira’s new single ‘She Wolf’ this week and fuck me, its practically soft porn!

And although I thought it was pretty dire at first the song has actually grown on me, besides how could anyone not like a song that allows you to howl in it!?

TV Moment of the Week:

Okay, so it’s not strictly limited to this week, but I’m loving the new Sony Bravia ad with Alice Cooper.

It is kind of disheartening to see rock royalty flogging stuff in ads, like Iggy Pop on those horrible Swift Cover ads and Cooper previously on those Aviva ads, but when they are this funny you can’t help but enjoy them.

Speaking of ads, here is the latest in the genius Paddy Power series, this time featuring Zimbabwe’s finest Bruce Grobbelaar.

I’m still waiting for Dion Dublin under the bed… A man can dream…


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