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-   -   Is Fox News really all that bad? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=667548)

Aeschines 10-03-2012 04:14 PM

Is Fox News really all that bad?
 
First off, I'm very liberal.

Second off, I watch almost zero TV news. I catch it at my parents (not necessarily Fox), doctors' offices, and times like that. I do see a bunch of clips all the time of Fox News programs such as those featuring Hannity and O'Reilly. And sometimes it's a clip of an ordinary Fox News story, not necessarily anything political. That doesn't mean, however, that I haven't watched large chunks of Fox News over the past few years. I interpret at doctors' offices and often am waiting for patients. For some reason, Fox News is a popular choice to have on.

I think Hannity and O'Reilly are buffoons, but their programs are obviously and explicitly Conservative in message. One may blame the Fox Network for carrying such crap, but I don't, really. There's no hidden agenda, and those shows are fulfilling a demand for that message. In any case, I don't think those shows taint Fox News itself.

So, what about Fox News? It's slogan is, "Fair and Balanced." People, especially liberals, accuse it of being blatantly pro-Conservative. The thing is, when I've watched it, it's seemed like your typical stupid network news without a whole of lot bias either way. Plus, they have some hot blondes on there, which is nice.

I find network news to be boring and Conservative as a default setting. No matter what, it seems to reinforce the status quo. Keep calm and carry on, as the Brits used to say. No huge need for change, although there are problems problems problems, and isn't that interesting? Yesssss, watch. Watch more. Consume more. And... be happy (THX-1138).

Fox News seems well-produced with competent newscasters (some of whom are hot blondes). It does seem to tell the basic news without too much of a slant; which is to say, it's slanted toward the status quo--just like all news shows. There is nothing truly excellent about it, yet there doesn't seem to be anything *exceptionally* execrable about it either.

TL;DR: Fox News is Conservative, but all network news shows ares fundamentally Conservative, inasmuch as they subtly and unsubtly validate the status quo.

What do you think?

Marley23 10-03-2012 04:21 PM

It's awful, and you seem to have selected a definition of conservative that has nothing to do with political conservatism, which is the issue with regard to Fox News.

Aeschines 10-03-2012 04:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marley23 (Post 15552703)
It's awful, and you seem to have selected a definition of conservative that has nothing to do with political conservatism, which is the issue with regard to Fox News.

I'm not trying to equivocate. It's just that, when you're really, really Liberal, they all seem pretty bad. I'm interested in hearing why Fox is worse, however, by those that believe it is.

ITR champion 10-03-2012 04:39 PM

Fox News is bad. All other cable TV news is bad, or at least the stuff that I've seen. Fox News is slightly worse than the rest. Their lies are slightly more blatant. One that I recall is they reported that Scooter Libby was found not guilty after he was found guilty. I've never seen any other network be so shameless in lying to promote the interests of their side of the aisle. I'm sure people who care about this sort of stuff can give plenty of other examples.

Further, the use of the "fair and balanced" tagline when they exist to be unfair and unbalanced strikes me as Orwellian.

eschereal 10-03-2012 04:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aeschines (Post 15552679)
There's no hidden agenda, and those shows are fulfilling a demand for that message. In any case, I don't think those shows taint Fox News itself.

What do you think?

Me? Rightly or wrongly, I think Fox proactively covered and nurtured the "Tea Party" movement, especially through the GB show. Kind of reminds me of the classic meme where the city desk editor tells his reporters, "Go out there and make some news."

Ibn Warraq 10-03-2012 04:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marley23 (Post 15552703)
It's awful, and you seem to have selected a definition of conservative that has nothing to do with political conservatism, which is the issue with regard to Fox News.

It's certainly quite accurate to regard Fox News as a "conservative network" but I often think it would be better to see it as a populist, tabloidy network.

leahcim 10-03-2012 04:44 PM

Other news stations are conservative in the way that the older demographic they pander to is conservative: they're a little stodgy about sex and foul language, and a little more reverent towards religion, and talk about new things from the same perspective that a late-middle-aged person would have: A "look at the new thing kids these days are into" vibe.

Fox News is conservative in the way that the Republican Party is conservative. Republican interviewees get softball treatment, and when they leave politics routinely become Republican commentators. They create and run programs in election season with the intention of mud-raking against Democrats. They are the voice of the Republican Party more than anything else.

Marley23 10-03-2012 04:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aeschines (Post 15552753)
I'm interested in hearing why Fox is worse, however, by those that believe it is.

Because it's an openly conservative network (I regard their slogan as trolling rather than Orwellian, if that helps) that makes no effect at objective journalism beyond that
catchphrase. The other networks save MSNBC do make that effort, however they may botch it on a regular basis.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ibn Warraq (Post 15552783)
It's certainly quite accurate to regard Fox News as a "conservative network" but I often think it would be better to see it as a populist, tabloidy network.

It is in some respects. But it's also openly politically conservative and it's not hard to find examples of Fox News giving stories a conservative slant. I recall its outrage in reporting that most poor families in the U.S. have a refrigerator, for instance.

Knorf 10-03-2012 04:50 PM

The main gripe with Fox "News" is the way the line between, as Jon Stewart put it, "opinutainment" (i.e. editorializing) and reporting is removed, and opinion and news are smeared together. Accidentally putting a "D" next to the names of disgraced GOP and that sort of thing is not the real problem

Of course an editorial board is supposed to stake out a position; that's expected. What I disagree with is constantly using the editorials to generate stuff which is later reported as news, as Fox does, and making it extremely unclear to the casual viewer whether they're watching actual reporting or rather editorializing. No other major media source does this to anything like the extent Fox "News" does.

The actual, literal "news" component of Fox "News" is only something like 90 minutes per day. But that's not obvious unless you're paying close attention. If the channel were called something like "The Fox Patriot Channel" and the part called Fox News was clearly distinguished from the opinutainment, it wouldn't be so disgusting.

sevenwood 10-03-2012 05:02 PM

Let's start off with a quick admission: I'm a liberal.

I find Fox news to be fine when the item they're discussing isn't political in nature. When the topic is political in nature, I often can't believe the arch-conservative slant they put on the topic.

Unfortunately, I find MSNBC to be just as bad in the other direction. Whenever MSNBC puts on Al Sharpton I run away screaming.

Docta G 10-03-2012 05:30 PM

It's not news.

asterion 10-03-2012 05:30 PM

I believe Jon Stewart had a segment a while back about how Fox News "reports" something in the morning, keep talking about it during the day, and then have the pundits at night saying that everyone is talking about this (often made-up) issue and then discussing it. Or about how the rest of the media isn't talking about it, since it's a made-up controversy.

Fiveyearlurker 10-03-2012 05:35 PM

They are very liberal when it comes to the use of question marks. They sure love to post headlines that are incredibly biased, but put a "?" at the end of it. The news equivalent of "Hey, I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin'."

I just went to their website and two of their top four stories end with a question mark, both trying to make the "other side" look bad.

jayjay 10-03-2012 05:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fiveyearlurker (Post 15552971)
They are very liberal when it comes to the use of question marks. They sure love to post headlines that are incredibly biased, but put a "?" at the end of it. The news equivalent of "Hey, I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin'."

I just went to their website and two of their top four stories end with a question mark, both trying to make the "other side" look bad.

Or, as Jon Stewart calls it, the Cavuto Mark.

madmonk28 10-03-2012 06:20 PM

Well, if you consider that Fox News viewers rank as the least informed news consumers in the nation, I think you can say it is pretty bad http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1538914.html. But it is important to remember that Fox is, in a very real sense, the propaganda arm of the GOP. It is not interested in educating its viewers.

Wesley Clark 10-03-2012 06:25 PM

The problem with fox news is twofold from what I see

1. They pretend to be unbiased, and their audience seems to sincerely believe it. I watch a lot of Rachel Maddow, but I am aware she is biased. If she told me 'I'm fair and balanced' I'd laugh. Fox news viewers take that crap seriously about fox offering balanced coverage. Fox also feeds into the paranoid ideation that all media outlets (except fox and talk radio) have a liberal bias. It creates an insular world where it is easier and easier to make/keep people misinformed. People who vote and have loud opinions.

2. Fox news fills a desire by the authoritarian right to be grossly misinformed because they like the way the lies sound. They pretend to be a journalistic organization with integrity, but they constantly misinform their audiences (who are willing participants, to be fair).

If fox changes their slogan to 'feeding half truths to people who want to hear them' from 'fair and balanced' I don't think I'd care.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Republican...publican+brain

Chefguy 10-03-2012 06:43 PM

It's bad, alright. But they do have their moments, such as the other night when Brit Hume (I think) tried to nail down Ryan on the 20% tax cut they're proposing. Ryan kept saying "it's net zero", but Hume kept coming back and saying no, it's not, and how do you propose to offset the $5 trillion hole it's going to create. I think the control room probably finally told him to drop it.

By the way "Net Zero" would be a great caption for a photo of the two of them.

2sense 10-03-2012 06:50 PM

Fox News is in the bag for the GOP. They promote Republican candidates and positions, whether they are genuinely conservative or not, and attack Democratic candidates and positions, again without respect to their conservatism. This is the problem with Fox News. They have no journalistic ethics but pretend to be a straight news source. Personally I don't have a problem getting the news from FN. I realize their slant and can adjust for it and I'm not adverse to attractive women. Unfortunately unsophisticated viewers actually believe the propaganda being spewed. This is bad for America. We need more organizations fighting ignorance and fewer organizations promoting it for their own selfish purposes.

Marley23 10-03-2012 06:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chefguy (Post 15553185)
It's bad, alright. But they do have their moments, such as the other night when Brit Hume (I think) tried to nail down Ryan on the 20% tax cut they're proposing. Ryan kept saying "it's net zero", but Hume kept coming back and saying no, it's not, and how do you propose to offset the $5 trillion hole it's going to create. I think the control room probably finally told him to drop it.

By the way "Net Zero" would be a great caption for a photo of the two of them.

Chris Wallace and "revenue neutral," but yes, that was an actual good question- something that's increasingly rare in any political interview.

Damuri Ajashi 10-03-2012 06:58 PM

Fox News perpetuates ignorance. Thats a problem.

Chefguy 10-03-2012 07:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marley23 (Post 15553218)
Chris Wallace and "revenue neutral," but yes, that was an actual good question- something that's increasingly rare in any political interview.

Well, I had the channel right. :smack:

davey264 10-03-2012 07:32 PM

Yah its awful, a network news that actually reports all the news.. It used to be that both sides of an argument would be reported. Hard to find on NBC.

TonySinclair 10-03-2012 07:37 PM

I don't see how anybody could watch Fox and say it's not biased. It's obviously biased, but that wouldn't be so bad if

a) they didn't claim they were fair and balanced, and

b) they didn't make shit up, or persist in reporting false stuff long after they know it's false.

MSNBC is NOT the same. They may be as biased to the left as Fox is to the right, but they don't claim to be fair and balanced, and they don't make shit up.

Disclaimer: I only watch the big guns, i.e. Matthews and Maddow on MSNBC, and O'Reilly and Hannity on Fox. I guess it's possible that Shep Smith may be less biased than Al Sharpton.

Marley23 10-03-2012 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by davey264 (Post 15553336)
Yah its awful, a network news that actually reports all the news..

The Republican side AND the conservative side!

The Second Stone 10-03-2012 08:05 PM

Fox News is Bullshit Mountain.

Boyo Jim 10-03-2012 08:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Knorf (Post 15552811)
...Accidentally putting a "D" next to the names of disgraced GOP ...

They have been doing this for years, I lost track of how many times. They do it when someone is indicted, convicted, or even just loses an election.

Once is a mistake, twice might be if the bias doesn't show. But AFAIK they've never mistakenly ID'd a Democrat in a favorable light, or a Republican in an unfavorable light.

Sitnam 10-03-2012 09:02 PM

Fox News is a cancer, it weakens the intellect, ignores nuance, unfairly portrays just about everything, and is an affront to critical thinking.

It makes political compromise difficult for both sides, and this is a time in our history we sorely need compromise.

Alley Dweller 10-03-2012 09:10 PM

Here is a 26 second youtube clip of Fox News during the 2008 election campaign
It is of a reporter taking a survey in a Pennsylvania diner.
Notice the laughter after he "reports" the results.

brickbacon 10-03-2012 09:34 PM

I think the worst crime Fox News is responsible for is making the news business less focusing on news and journalism, and more on "business". The Fox News heads would be just as happy putting out liberal nonsense if they made more money doing that. That, to me, is a worse problem than them being overtly partisan. They've led a race to the bottom that leaves all viewers less informed.

Chessic Sense 10-03-2012 09:48 PM

I watch Fox News all day at work, as my desk is next to the TV. As a conservative, I absolutely hate the channel. It's not that they lie. I don't think they do. It's the news items they decide to cover. For example, Obama really did say he was for wealth redistribution, but that was years ago. They amp up any story that says the economy is bad and they downplay anything that says it's doing better.

Second, when they want to say something biased, but they realize it'd be too obvious, they just get a conservative "expert" like Judge Napolitano to say it for them. The anchor 'interviews' them by asking an into question and letting them go on a rant for 3-5 minutes.

The only decent, even-handed person on the station is Shepard Smith. He always hammers Republicans as much as Democrats. Earlier today, he wouldn't let a Romney spokesman stop talking about the 47% comment, no matter how much he wriggled.

So biased? Yes. Liars? No.

Measure for Measure 10-03-2012 10:13 PM

When Fox News started up, I supported the concept. I have no problem with a news network with a point of view, even a conservative one. There are some silly mainstream conventions that I thought could be challenged. Basically I was expecting wall to wall Shep Smith.

No, the problem is they get their facts screwed up. And that unsurprisingly their audience does as well. Cite. Broader citation. Obligatory followup.

Media Matters for America notes how Fox consistently messes their facts up. MMA also takes a hard line on bigotry and general nuttiness. Modern conservative analogues to that operation make a different argument about the New York Times, et al. They say the latter is biased. In other words, they hurt the feelings of those with sensitive dispositions. Very different critique.

Recent example: discussion of middle class incomes
http://mediamatters.org/research/201...ack-oba/190302

A little older:
8.6 > 8.8. Who knew?
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/pol...ke_a034063.php
http://mediamatters.org/blog/2011/12...-charts/185162

More bizarre charting:
http://mediamatters.org/blog/2010/06...all-day/166862

You would think modern conservatives would care about being willfully misled. You would think wrong: they love it because they crave reassurance more than they want to be informed. To that extent voluntarily watching Fox News is a pretty reliable indicator of weak character.

Really Not All That Bright 10-03-2012 10:14 PM

Yeah, Shep Smith is the one great thing about Fox. Give that guy his own channel.

Aeschines 10-03-2012 10:31 PM

K, I'm hearing you guys. Thanks for the insights!

tomndebb 10-03-2012 10:43 PM

I would not be surprised to discover that in cases of bank robberies, fires, or the local weather, Fox News is about as competent as their competition. So it is possible that one could stumble across their shows, from time to time, and not see the bias.

However, when anything resembling politics is presented, they are totally corrupt.

The frequent "accidental" mislabeling of corrupt Republicans as Democrats strikes me as awfully "convenient."

They deliberately manufactured the story of the "WTC Mosque" in order to whip up furor and fervor among their audience for political gain.

Even after President Bush was admitting that Iraq had no involvement with the WTC and Pentagon attacks, Fox was playing nonsense from Cheney along with enough innuendo that a majority of Fox viewers thought that Iraq had contributed to those attacks.

Recently, Fox News announced that unemployment was at 14.7% when it was only 7.8% in 2009. Of course, they failed to note that the 2009 figure was not using the same basis. The government publishes two separate unemployment figures each month, one lists the number of people who were unsuccessful in finding permanent employment in the previous month, which they used for the 2009 figure. The other number counts the of people who were unsuccessful finding permanent employment, plus those who have given up finding any work plus those who have accepted part-time employment. The second number was the one used for the 2012 figure. Had Fox used similar numbers, the rates would have been either 7.8% vs 8.1% or 14.2% vs 14.7%, still a negative trend, but not the nearly doubling that Fox claimed.

This sort of nonsense goes on persistently.

drewtwo99 10-04-2012 02:00 AM

Yeah, the tea party thing is a huge "credit" to Fox News. They almost singlehandedly helped create "the tea party"

You have to remember, than when that all started, it was just "Tea Party Protests", groups of people gathering to complain about taxes. That was it. There was no "Tea Party" in and of itself, no "tea party candidates" or anything like that. Now, of course we understand that the Tea Party is not an actual political party, but it did become a legitimate wing of the Republican party, with its own caucus in the senate and house. This is largely because of the reporting championing Fox News did.

There are literally video clips people have shown where the Fox News reporters actively encouraged cheering at these rallies, and such. It's despicable. Fox News really did help create the very ultra conservative faction of the republican party that we call the tea party now.

I agree that Shepard "WE DO NOT TORTURE" Smith (and to a somewhat lesser extent, Chris "we present the other side" Wallace and sometimes even Brit "mumbles solemnly and hilariousness" Hume) is the bright spot on the channel.

Add to all this that it is well documented that the RNC often shares its talking points with the anchors at Fox News, and all the pundits and such just echo the same BS that the republican party wants them to echo. I've never heard of anything like that happening at the other networks (mainly because MSNBC is probably even too left wing for the Democrats to want to fully embrace)

Kobal2 10-04-2012 02:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Damuri Ajashi (Post 15553228)
Fox News perpetuates ignorance. Thats a problem.

Merely perpetuating it would be a step in the right direction. What they really do is generate, develop or otherwise spread new and improved ignorance. Higher grade ignorance. Weaponized ignorance.

Vinyl Turnip 10-04-2012 04:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by davey264 (Post 15553336)
Yah its awful, a network news that actually reports all the news.. It used to be that both sides of an argument would be reported.

We still get a lot of that in the media, actually, and often to our detriment. Every argument may have two sides, but sometimes one of those sides is complete horseshit.

Fiveyearlurker 10-05-2012 02:41 PM

Hey, the unemployment rate dropped! That should be good for the US, no?

Not in Foxland (title of the article about the unemployment rate):

"Jobless Rate Dips Under 8 Percent... But is the Number Real?"

Sicks Ate 10-05-2012 02:49 PM

When I used to watch TV news, 10-15 years ago, I would flip back and forth between Fox News and CNN. I haven't watched TV news regularly for several years, but I think the current Fox News simply ain't what it used to be.

It seems that 15 years ago, Fox News was actually more fair and balanced. After all, they did have Colmes on with Hannity, and he even got the last word plenty of the time. You had O'Reilly, but he is a blowhard with some center leanings.

Looking at FNC today, it feels completely different. I actually feel kind of foolish for defending it for a while after I quit watching, because it's defninitely not the same channel it used to be. Give 'Hannity' or 'Huckabee' their own show and claim to be fair and balanced? Nuh uh.

jayjay 10-05-2012 02:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sicks Ate (Post 15560548)
After all, they did have Colmes on with Hannity

Meh. As Senator Franken wrote, "HANNITYandcolmes".

Baracus 10-05-2012 03:28 PM

For at least a few days now FoxNews.com has had a "Bias Alert" section on their front page. Now the top story is that Andrea Mitchell pushed Sununu on if he wanted to walk back his "lazy" and "not that bright" comments about Obama. Bizarrely, the next "bias" story is Gore's lame altitude excuse for Obama's debate performance. Has Gore made any claim to not being biased?

Chimera 10-05-2012 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chessic Sense (Post 15553840)
ISo biased? Yes. Liars? No.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Selected quotes from tomndebb (Post 15554053)
They deliberately manufactured the story of the "WTC Mosque" in order to whip up furor and fervor among their audience for political gain.

Even after President Bush was admitting that Iraq had no involvement with the WTC and Pentagon attacks, Fox was playing nonsense from Cheney along with enough innuendo that a majority of Fox viewers thought that Iraq had contributed to those attacks.

Recently, Fox News announced that unemployment was at 14.7% when it was only 7.8% in 2009. Of course, they failed to note that the 2009 figure was not using the same basis.

Chessic, you can't make shit up and deliberately distort the truth and not be lying.

Fox New LIES.

jayjay 10-05-2012 04:34 PM

Hell, they went to court to protect their right to lie.

Enlightening Meditation 10-05-2012 06:52 PM

Fox News' standards at times are stunningly low for journalism regardless of political perspective:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8bPfzIF8Qg

For better or worse (depending on who you ask), Fox News has heavy slant toward Republican mainstream conservative views. Much of the time, it's a megaphone for the GOP. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that from a free speech perspective, but it's deceptive for FN to pose as a 'fair and balanced' news outlet.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MoWJnvYFDg

Fox News will give plenty of airtime to the Democrat's scandal (Anthony Weiner photos, Eric Holder alleged role in 'fast % furious' weapons trafficking), but not say a peep about some GOP scandals (John Ensign's affair with his own staffer + hush money, David Vitter's brothel visits, David Rivera's shadow campaign fraud).

Fox News' selective out-of-context editing of Acorn videos created completely false reporting on some incidents. As far as I know, FN never announced a correction or apology for these errors or any others for that matter.

Fox News seems much more aligned with the GOP establishment than the ring wing talk radio crowd who are far more critical of the Republican Party and DC insider establishment. The talk radio are more loyal to their declared conservative principals and ideas than the GOP party.

I don't have much praise for the other domestic TV news outlets either. The rest are very monolithic it seems. There's bias at all of them, but Fox takes it further.

cosmosdan 10-05-2012 07:03 PM

They are consistently and intentionally dishonest. If they did as they claimed and made clear lines of distinction between opinon programs and objective fact based news, no problem. I believe we need honest intelligent conservative voices. That's not what they do.

eenerms 10-06-2012 11:06 AM

Their local affiliates are ok.

Patty O'Furniture 10-06-2012 12:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fiveyearlurker (Post 15560511)
Not in Foxland (title of the article about the unemployment rate):

"Jobless Rate Dips Under 8 Percent... But is the Number Real?"

I'm actually surprised they didn't use two cavuto marks after that one.

Here's a recent one. Is this news or opinion?. What could even be the point of "reporting" the results of such a poll?

Bryan Ekers 10-06-2012 01:29 PM

Well, they're profitable, showing the American appetite for being spoonfed a well-purified blend of patriotism and outrage.

Boyo Jim 10-06-2012 01:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers (Post 15563090)
Well, they're profitable, showing the American appetite for being spoonfed a well-purified blend of patriotism and outrage.

"What kind of TV programs do they play here?"

"Oh, BOTH kinds -- patriotism AND outrage!"

eschereal 10-06-2012 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jayjay (Post 15560930)
Hell, they went to court to protect their right to lie.

TBCF, Newscorp did not "stand alone" on this issue. They had direct and/or tacit support from the other media giants. If you doubt this, go to the major news sites and search for "Jane Akre", there is nothing. I mean really, the story does not exist.


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