One Rant at a Time

Whatever heaves into view........better keep its head down.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Journalism 101

This story fascinates and heartens me. For the past decade, America has been infected with the very worst sort of politically-biased journalism courtesy of Rupert Murdoch's Fox network.

Fox starts from the premise that they can convince you the Emperor is wearing a three-piece suit, Afghan coat and a natty trilby, even though the evidence staring you in the eyes shows nothing more than a flabby, old guy wearing nothing more than a monocle.

Fox will repeat ad nauseam that the Emperor's new clothes are a beauty to behold, until you either begin to distrust your eyes, or you turn off the TV, or you start to believe that the Emperor is in fact wearing something that you're not quite worthy enough to see.

What's frightening is how good Fox has been in convincing people that there are indeed some clothes there, and that these people must somehow not be conservative enough to see them. By being strident, loud and in-your-face, Fox keeps the viewer off-balance enough to keep driving home its divisive message of unquestioning acceptance.

Fox believes if you repeat an untruth often and loud enough, it somehow will become a truth. Consider last week, when a Fox talk-show host (I'm desperately looking for the name of this chump) claimed that president Bush had shown "decisive leadership" during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Decisive? Let's see. First of all, Bush stayed at home. Then he went on a fundraising trip. Finally a little bell went off at corporate HQ and someone told Bush it might be a good idea to acknowledge that a disaster was happening. Three days after the fact....

Anyway, the point I started out trying to make way back at the start is that Katrina, unlike Iraq, has had blanket coverage by the entire US media. Because the government was so slow off the mark in taking charge of the situation and restricting access as they do in Iraq, the media had a clear run at all the information, all the pictures, all the outrage. They asked questions, and when they didn't get the answers they wanted, they asked more questions.

And the US media (with the exception of our friends at Fox) has played it straight. They've let the pictures do the talking, they haven't said that black is white, they haven't editorialised or tried to convince us that this was just a harmless prank by the kids up the street. They've just reported.

And because the media have finally got to do their job the way it should be done, the US government is now having to perform a very intricate tap-dance of regret, apology and humility, while all the time still trying to scrape off the radioactive gunk of incompetence and moral corruption that seems finally to be sticking to it.

So my hat's off to US journalists and camera folk for remembering what it is that journalists do.

2 Comments:

At 5:11 PM, Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

the thing that really gets my goat is the way, as stated in your excellent post, the American government choose to manipulate the media into only showing and telling of news that they deem of interest. who gave them that right? is is part of the constitution? doesn't the irony of it all amuse you? here is the MAJOR world democracy, the one who stood against the dicatorial U.S.S.R and its ulra left wing politics doing exactly the one thing that they claim to be aginst?

 
At 5:12 PM, Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

PS. I see that you 'write for a living', well so do I. I am constantly writing out cheques for my wife to spend!!!!

 

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