"The War on Faux"

Hi MyDDers! I don't diary here often anymore -- it's been nearly a year (October 31, 2008) since I last did so -- but I'm bored and having more trouble sleeping than usual this morning. And of course, there are still a few of you here who haven't migrated, who I still miss. This diary was really just an excuse to post fun anti-Faux pics. Those of you I don't see often anymore, please pop in and say hello downthread! - sricki

I have probably watched more Fox "News" than any regular here on The Moose MyDD. In fact, I'd wager I have watched more of it than most rank and file Republicans, since I'm much more of a news junky than your average Joe. Growing up in a conservative household, it was pretty hard to escape it. (I have probably listened to more Rush than the rest of you, too, for that matter.) I have always enjoyed my parents -- despite their unfortunate political leanings, they are smart, funny, cool people in most respects -- and since they watched Fixed News in the den, I spent a lot of time viewing it as well, simply because it was a way of spending time with them and discussing the day's events.

I spend most of my online time in the company of Democrats and Left-leaning Independents, and most of my "real life" time in the company of Republicans. In liberal circles, I almost consider myself something of an "expert" on Faux (and I promise, I do NOT think of that as a bragging point) because I don't just follow the FNC controversies reported on by Keith, Rachel, and Media Matters -- I've actually watched the network, which I think most right-minded Democrats make a point not to do. And here's a little-known (and potentially embarrassing) sricki fact: I genuinely like watching The O'Reilly Factor with my father -- it makes for fantastic debate. My dad is unquestionably a wingnut, but he's a damn smart one, and we've had some lively discussions (as well as some yelling, screaming arguments).



Now if you've been watching Faux lately (which I'll guess that most of you haven't, but you'll still be aware of the story), you'll have noticed the bizarre amount of emphasis being placed on Obama's purported "War on Fox News." Beck in particular has enjoyed raving about it -- then again, Beck enjoys raving in general.





It all started in earnest earlier this month when Communications Director Anita Dunn excoriated Fixed News, calling it an arm of the Republican propaganda machine. Here is the clip from her CNN appearance, as well as a few juicy snippets transcribed by The Huffington Post below:



"If we went back a year ago to the fall of 2008, to the campaign, that was a time this country was in two wars that we had a financial collapse probably more significant than any financial collapse since the Great Depression. If you were a Fox News viewer in the fall election what you would have seen were that the biggest stories and the biggest threats facing America were a guy named Bill Ayers and a something called ACORN."

[. . .]

"The reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party. And it is not ideological... what I think is fair to say about Fox, and the way we view it, is that it is more of a wing of the Republican Party."

[. . .]

"Obviously [the President] will go on Fox because he engages with ideological opponents. He has done that before and he will do it again... when he goes on Fox he understands he is not going on it as a news network at this point. He is going on it to debate the opposition."

"[Fox is] widely viewed as a part of the Republican Party: take their talking points and put them on the air, take their opposition research and put it on the air. And that's fine. But let's not pretend they're a news organization like CNN is."

- White House Communications Director Anita Dunn



I've heard a lot of people voicing concern over this issue. The prevailing opinion seems to be that taking on the media is a big no-no and always a losing strategy. For the time being, I have to disagree. For one thing, Fux isn't really "the media" -- it's one cable "news" outlet, and despite their consistently high ratings, it isn't as if the entire country is watching. A lot of people don't have time to sit around in front of their computers or their TVs all day.



This Guardian article illuminates a few more reasons why the "War on Fox" is winnable:

First, what Obama spokeswoman Anita Dunn said - "Fox News often operates either as the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican party" - is clearly true. Even Republicans wouldn't deny this. After all, there's a reason conservatives watch Fox, just as there's a reason liberals watch MSNBC and those in between watch CNN. So she wasn't really saying anything that any informed person living in the real world would argue with.

Second, it is worth pointing out, because outside the realm of news junkies, lots of people may not know that Fox is a Republican network. I know this seems hard to believe to you and me. But never underestimate the lack of knowledge on the part of the larger public - not because people are dumb, but because they're preoccupied with other things.

I once saw a poll a couple of years ago showing that a shockingly large percentage of Americans, maybe even upwards of 40%, couldn't keep straight in their heads which US political party supported abortion rights and which one opposed them.

Given that, it's perfectly fine for the White House to tell the broader public that Fox is a Republican network. This actually may be news to some people, and is therefore a useful thing to say.

Third, saying it openly, and denying Fox interviews as Obama did last month, makes the base happy. What's wrong with making the base happy?

The Guardian



It certainly makes this member of the base happy. I see nothing wrong with exposing lies and distortions for what they are. Will there be backlash? Maybe. But in what form? What are we afraid of? Faux News pundits and reporters spreading misinformation about the administration? We can't have that! Oh wait...



The heated back-and-forth between the White House and Fox News has brought equal delight to Fox's conservative commentators, who revel in the fight, and liberal Democrats, who have long characterized the network as a purveyor of right-wing propaganda rather than fact-based journalism.

Speaking privately at the White House on Monday with a group of mostly liberal columnists and commentators, including Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann of MSNBC and Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich and Bob Herbert of The New York Times, Mr. Obama himself gave vent to sentiments about the network, according to people briefed on the conversation.

[. . .]

"We simply decided to stop abiding by the fiction, which is aided and abetted by the mainstream press, that Fox is a traditional news organization," said Dan Pfeiffer, the deputy White House communications director. Later that week, White House officials said, they noticed a column by Clark Hoyt, the public editor of The Times, in which Jill Abramson, one of the paper's two managing editors, described her newsroom's "insufficient tuned-in-ness to the issues that are dominating Fox News and talk radio." The Washington Post's executive editor, Marcus Brauchli, had already expressed similar concerns about his newsroom.

White House officials said comments like those had focused them on a need to make their case that Fox had an ideological bent undercutting its legitimacy as a news organization.

Fox News Channel certainly seems to be enjoying a row it considers ratings candy, having devoted hours of news coverage and commentary to the fight.

But White House officials said they were happy to have at least started a public debate about Fox.

"This is a discussion that probably had to be had about their approach to things," Mr. Axelrod said. "Our concern is other media not follow their lead."

New York Times



The fact is, Fox "News" is not news at all. It is propaganda plain and simple -- and dangerous propaganda at that. And no, it's not just the pundits. The Project on Excellence in Journalism report in 2006 found that 68 percent of Fox cable "NEWS" stories contained personal opinions. Compare that to MSNBC (that wicked Leftist propaganda network!) at 27 percent and CNN (that evil Clinton News Network!) at 4 percent. The "content analysis" portion of their 2005 report also concluded that "Fox was measurably more one-sided than the other networks, and Fox journalists were more opinionated on the air."



For the time being, Obama has refused Faux an interview. I think the general consensus amongst Left-leaning bloggers is that Democrats should stay off the network altogether. Appearing on Fux is just an opportunity to be bullied, and it legitimizes their crazy bullshit. If our people would ALL stop giving interviews to them, their ratings would go down. Faux News viewers are mostly looking for a pie fight, in my opinion. My hero Alan Grayson had some thoughts on the matter recently:

I'm just glad to see Obama isn't losing any sleep over the conflict. Oh, but I really hope Glenn Beck is.

Oh, and just for fun:


Tags: Anita Dunn, Barack Obama, Fox News, Media (all tags)

Comments

45 Comments

Re: "The War on Faux"

Welcome back. You should feel pretty comfortable here, I would think.

Your Diary is the good stuff, thanks for bringing it.

I can't watch FOX, my cardiologist won't allow it. (I didn't tell him I debate here, I'm afraid he'd prohibit that as well.)

by QTG 2009-10-23 07:01AM | 0 recs
Gracias, Q.

By the way, have I ever told you how much I love your sig line?

by sricki 2009-10-23 07:51AM | 0 recs
Re: sig line

I was thinking of changing it to:

"I am more worried about how this will affect President Obama than I am about how this will affect the American people."

(Since we with the DC mindset and our noses up the Oligarchs' asses have been accused of exactly that.)

by QTG 2009-10-24 06:59PM | 0 recs
Re: We have another Front in the war

Right Now:

CSPAN House floor debate on the public option

CSPAN2 Global Warming Deniers

CSPAN3 Rumsfeld speaking at 'keeper of the flame' awards ceremony for Dick Cheney

by QTG 2009-10-23 07:27AM | 0 recs
Re: "The War on Faux"

Nice stuff.  But note this from the NYT today:

"In a sign of discomfort with the White House stance, Fox's television news competitors refused to go along with a Treasury Department effort on Tuesday to exclude Fox from a round of interviews with the executive-pay czar Kenneth R. Feinberg that was to be conducted with a "pool" camera crew shared by all the networks. That followed a pointed question at a White House briefing this week by Jake Tapper, an ABC News correspondent, about the administration's treatment of "one of our sister organizations"."

You have the Jake Tappers seizing the opportunity to brown-nose Rupert Murdoch.

by Bob H 2009-10-23 07:36AM | 0 recs
I did see that.

Disappointing.

by sricki 2009-10-23 07:53AM | 0 recs
the Village protects its own

above all things.

by JJE 2009-10-26 06:55PM | 0 recs
Collective Media is Dumb

Fox and wingnut talkers slam the newsapers and the other networks everyday.  They've done it for years.   Yet what does the rest of the collective media seem to be doing here?   Running over to protect the bully who has and will continue to punch them  in the nose.

DUMB.

by RichardFlatts 2009-10-23 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: On CSPAN now

CSPAN2 John Fund (WSJ jerk) trashing ACORN and OBAMA (and community organizing - yecch!)

CSPAN3 Terrorism and Social Networking and vice versa

CSPAN committee hearings on 1st time Home buyer cheats.

by QTG 2009-10-23 09:53AM | 0 recs
Re: "The War on Faux"

Hey Sricki, what's up?  Hope all is well.  I'll stop by soon!  Great diary, me likey the pics

by KLRinLA 2009-10-23 09:53AM | 0 recs
Hiya KLR!

Glad to see you've evaded the banhammer here!

by sricki 2009-10-23 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Don't get cocky

there's a PLAN!!!

by QTG 2009-10-23 10:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Hiya KLR!

Oh, I just like to play whack-a-mole here and there, maybe throw up a substantive point here and there (speaking of which, ya seen any?).  

I do enjoy little j's bitter/sensitive/whiny bait diaries, those are always fun too, it's like watching a small child with a temper tantrum.  So obvious.  

Oh, the memories...I think I, like Bono and the Edge, am having campaign separation syndrome.

by KLRinLA 2009-10-23 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: "The War on Faux"

Hey Kiddo, I'd REC the HECK out of this, but I don't seem to have a 'Recommend' button at my disposal anymore.  Also, lots of my comment ratings are disappearing.  Curious, eh?

Troll life.  It's how I roll.

P.S. Fox sucks.

by fogiv 2009-10-23 10:17AM | 0 recs
Awwww,

at least he hasn't banned you yet. ; )

by sricki 2009-10-23 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: "The War on Faux"

I just recced for us both.  If anyone wants to check the list, just imagine it reads "Strummerson & Fogiv"

by Strummerson 2009-10-23 10:33AM | 0 recs
I can see it in my mind...

and it's beautiful.

by sricki 2009-10-23 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: I can see it in my mind...

Please can I be banned too!!

Still have my rec and rating privileges, but only because I was away in Egypt last week, and missed the next stage of the Jerome meltdown.

Anyone know how to contact Jess. She was wunderbar. I got my hide rating in on 'later liar' but I think I've somehow missed the fall of the hammer.

So let me try now. I realise that Jerome's problems don't stem from the primary, but are actually a more acute misunderstanding of what political blogging is all about. The fact that he banned a whole series of supportive commenters, and yet bigs up Bruh reminds of the days when he singlehandedly banned dozens of real dems, and allowed Universal and Texas Darlin free range. It's not the politics, it's his pathological inability to think beyond his own thin skin.

I really really hoped that, having been silent for a year, he might have learned something about democratic debate. Instead, like a junkie addicted to his own toxin, he returns to replay the histrionics, only this time neither as farce, or tragedy, but as some sad quiet form of self immolation.

I'll post in my substantive reply to your excellent diary below, Sricki. Meanwhile I'll just observe that Jerome is now picking on potential friends. If someone like Kysen or Shaun Appleby is outraged by his actions, then he should know he's in deep doo-doo. I kind of felt he'd always play out this way from my experience of his actions last year. But knowing a car crash is going to happen doesn't make the carnage any less shocking

by brit 2009-10-23 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: I can see it in my mind...

Kent crap diaries but no Jess81.  Sorry sorry state indeed!

by Strummerson 2009-10-23 01:36PM | 0 recs
Re: I can see it in my mind...

Hey Strummerson. It's been too long. You still in Israel? Might be passing your way in the next couple of months.

by brit 2009-10-23 01:47PM | 0 recs
Re: I can see it in my mind...

Sad to say I'm back in Ann Arbor and have been swamped since our return.  Things should lighten up a bit towards the holidays.

by Strummerson 2009-10-24 04:13PM | 0 recs
Who would study English at UMich? Ah?

by louisprandtl 2009-10-24 06:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Who would study English at UMich? Ah?

Me.  And everyone else here, I guess.

by Strummerson 2009-10-24 07:34PM | 0 recs
I know that's why I was asking!!! Darn..

Somebody forwarded me this website for your reading pleasure...

http://www.mstillsucks.com/

;)

by louisprandtl 2009-10-24 07:49PM | 0 recs
Re: I know that's why I was asking!!! Darn..

Wow.  That's a special form of icky.  Worthy of a Red Sox fan.  

by Strummerson 2009-10-24 08:10PM | 0 recs
Well I'm more a polite Yankee..but Red Sox

is close enough. Hey, I was being neutral here. All of this mid-west Big Ten rivalry is not really my cup of tea. But seeing the opportunity, I'm really sorry as couldn't really help but rub it in.

by louisprandtl 2009-10-24 08:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Well I'm more a polite Yankee..but Red Sox

No worries.  No "it" to rub anything in.  I'm as East Coast urban baseball guy living in a midwest football college town.  Whatever leads to less vomit on the sidewalks here works for me.

But whoever put the time into putting that thing together needs some real help.  Likewise, I'd put all of "Red Sox Nation" on the couch if I could.  Ever seen the t-shirts they sell outside Fenway?  That much hate makes it hard for me to understand how Boston doesn't go republican on a regular basis.

by Strummerson 2009-10-24 08:28PM | 0 recs
Dude...

don't kick us when we're down.  I was at the PSU game and a wake broke out.

by JJE 2009-10-26 06:53PM | 0 recs
Jess is "mostly" on The Moose. ; ) n/t

by sricki 2009-10-23 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Jess is "mostly" on The Moose.

If that is so, then the scales have fallen from my eyes, and my admiration for her is vindicated.

;)

by brit 2009-10-23 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: "The War on Faux"

I recced for someone else too.

If anyone wants to check the list, just imagine it reads "Kysen & Jesus".

(yeah, we're tight like that)

;)

by Kysen 2009-10-23 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: "The War on Faux"

Eternally thankful <-------- fogiv

If you can't go over, you must go under.

--Jewish Proverb

by fogiv 2009-10-23 06:16PM | 0 recs
Re: &quot;The War on Faux&quot;

Fantastic Diary :-) Thanks Sricki

by JDF 2009-10-23 12:12PM | 0 recs
Re: &quot;The War on Faux&quot;

Great diary, Sricki. You for one can confirm the truth about Foxy Newsy because you've actually watched it for more than one New York Minute. I must admit, I find it intolerable claptrap. In my itinerant mode of the last few months between apartments, I happened on it with my older brother, who - like you - watches it for entertainment and 'know thine enemy' reasons. Really, it's so banal, opinionated, fluffed up airhead hate, that my attention found grass growing, paint drying and traffic lights changing more appealing. But that's my limitation. Kudos to you for rummaging around in those entrails, and pathologising them.
One thing to bear in mind. Fox is owned by an Australian with American citizenship who has also used his political clout to avoid trust busting regulation in the UK. Rupert Murdoch has been the bane of the British press since he bought the tabloid Sun and the The Times in the early 80s. Since then he has expanded his media empire both here and in the US, mainly by using media channels as ideological attack dogs. Blair and Brown had to kowtow to him (they felt) to get elected, and his organs gave Labour a brief pass. In return, he was also allowed to own the major satellite channel.

He hates the European Union with a venom, but only because they could break up his monopoly. He espouses libertarian values in some forums, but happily cosies up with the Communist Chinese Government. All in all, while adopting the mantle of 'free market' right wing thinking, he's basically a monopolist. Fox New is there for one good reason: to hijack potential republican governments and intimidate democratic ones. The only purpose is to make sure he has enough political traction to protect his commercial interests. Glenn Beck and O'Reilly are just 'useful idiots' in this greater enterprise.

Obama is the first American President not to bend to his ideological blackmail. That fact alone explains the vitriol on Fox for the last six months.  

by brit 2009-10-23 01:20PM | 0 recs
2 things we need to do

1) Tell Obama, the White House, and all Democrats ... DON'T stop.  Keep taking it to Fox.

2) Read this piece this by Dan Froomkin at the Huffington post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/23 /why-journalists-shouldnt_n_331748.html

by RichardFlatts 2009-10-23 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: "The War on Faux"

The Glenn Beck hammer is my favorite.

by Nathan Empsall 2009-10-23 09:05PM | 0 recs
Email the White House

Show your support.

I did.

by RichardFlatts 2009-10-24 01:31PM | 0 recs
It's nostalgia week on the D ;~)

I feel all verklempt....

Re: I really want to be the better person...

It must be easy living in the spring of 2008 forever like that.

by bruh3 on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 08:47:01 PM EST

It really is.

It's like getting to be right all the time, all over again.

[sigh]

Someone oughta sell tickets...

;~)

by chrisblask on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 10:45:20 PM EST

Where's engels?!?!?!

by chrisblask 2009-10-26 06:53PM | 0 recs
Damn you, sricki!

This place is like crack.  You know it isn't doing you any good at all but it's just so hard to not do the next hit.

by chrisblask 2009-10-27 05:16AM | 0 recs
Heh, are you readdicted to Mydd? n/t

by sricki 2009-10-27 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Heh, are you readdicted to Mydd? n/t

No.

But I have read more of it in the past few days than the past six months.

by chrisblask 2009-10-27 07:40PM | 0 recs
Nice to see you, sricki

I don't post much anymore... honestly I feel like we accomplished what we needed to do, and the only people with a lot of energy for political blogging here are the haters.

I stop by now and then to talk some sense, though.

by Dracomicron 2009-10-27 01:17PM | 0 recs
Lot left to do

When Sarah Palin can be a national celeb and Foz sees it ratings go up the more unhinged they become it just shows that there is lot left to do.

by RichardFlatts 2009-10-28 08:51AM | 0 recs
Uh

Jon Goslin is a national celebrity and I don't think anyone needs to do anything about him.  Fox has always been unhinged.

by Dracomicron 2009-10-28 08:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Uh

Sad thing is some very decent, but uninformed people, think they can tune into Fox "News" and actually get news and some honest opinions from time to time.  

The people who watch Goslin are just enjoying the train wreck.

by RichardFlatts 2009-10-29 09:56AM | 0 recs

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