By NATHAN FULK
It goes without saying that the modern citizen has many options of where to get his news. Though the one-newspaper-city is a thing of the past which has ingloriously returned with economic hardship, there remain several television and internet sources where people can “tune-in” to current events. Often such people expect that their source offers news that is unflavored with personal opinion. Even more common is the expectation that such news is honest. Unfortunately, in both cases, they are let down.
This week I came across a documentary about the Fox News Corporation entitled “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism.” Directed by Robert Greenwald, whose other works include “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” and “Steal This Movie,” this documentary attempts to expose , not only their blatant disregard of, but their hostility towards the tenets of ethical journalism.
In this movie Greenwald interviews several former employees of the FNC who state that Fox’s upper management purposefully controlled the tone and content of their news articles, encouraged character assassination, and even fabricated news in the attempt to control it. Produced in 2004, it focuses not just on the Kerry-Bush election with which it coincided, but goes so far as to accuse Fox of reporting the results of the 2000 election without any evidence, and thereby creating a primary bias in what may have been the most hotly-contented presidential ballot in our nation’s history.
Even if half of the events portrayed in this film happened as they were shown, then calling it a “news channel” is unforgivable false advertising. In the thirteen years since its inception, the public has perhaps become too accustomed to what many view as a somewhat-harmless blend of entertainment and news. In fact, this mixture can become an all-too-confusing concoction for consumers, who, according to the documentary, actually become less informed about events due by their watching it. By having their news anchors work as conservative pundits on weekends, and allowing journalists to operate under significant conflict of interest, through a repetition of party-line buzzwords and a propagation of a culture built on fear, Fox News has (of course, according to Robert Greenwald) become an unofficial house of propaganda for the GOP.
Fast-forward by five years, add a historic, lauded Democratic President, and presto! Today, this purported news channel has become downright hostile to the House on Pennsylvania Avenue which could do no wrong in 2001, so much so, in fact, that President Obama has accused the network of being “a wing of the Republican Party.” This already shows signs of an all-out war; go to the Fox News homepage and make your own judgment. Do you think the network demonstrates bias?
I have made my opinion clear, but then again, I am not being a journalist right now, thank you very much. My role as a blogger is to give my opinion, and my opinion is expected. Fox News may say that they have separate news and opinion programs; it seems to me that the line has been blurred to nonexistence. What do you think?