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WHY FOX NEWS IS AN INDUSTRY JOKE - WELCOME TO INFO-TAINMENT TONIGHT!

"We paid $3 billion for these television stations. We will decide what the news is. The news is what
we tell you it is!"
-- alleged comment by David Boylan, station manager for Fox Tampa Bay (WTVT Ch 13) to two
reporters who are currently suing the network for firing them and censoring a story about the use
of bovine growth hormone in Florida cows.

I have no doubt that if someone intimately tied into the Fox News Channel were to read this article
they would immediately label me a seditious-evil-lying-communist-scumbag-bastard who hates
America. This, of course, is so far from reality that it's laughable. After spending some time
analyzing and evaluating the Fox News Channel, I have formed a similar opinion. The Fox News
Channel is so far from reality that it's laughable -- which is why it's an industry joke.

Relying on the Fox News Channel as your only source of news is like using MAD Magazine as a
legitimate source of news. The Fox News Channel's reporting style is so biased and skewed that
trying to obtain any real information from a news report is quite challenging. Fox News is a joke
because it provides info-tainment rather than reality-based news coverage. Fox News Channel is a
"news channel" in name only. The network is what L.A. Times Editor John S. Carroll calls
"pseudojournalism."

Although TV news in general is sensationalist, Fox News has descended so far from objective
journalism that it only provides small scraps of actual information. Like Ishmael in Herman
Melville's Moby Dick or Nick in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Fox News is a modern day
example of the "unreliable narrator." Fox News places an acute spin in nearly every story it presents
and in some cases presents untruths as truth. Fox News Channel is a running commentary on the
news rather than traditional objective reporting. To its credit, the network's style of entertainment-
journalism has resulted in a steady increase of viewers.

Though CNN is still the leader in cable news revenue, Fox News has experienced a larger spike in
viewership than any other TV news network in the past five years. The Project for Excellence in
Journalism's State of The News Media 2004 shows that "Fox News in 2003 was up 53 percent
overall (to 1 million viewers on average) and 45 percent in prime time (an average of 1.7 million
viewers) over the year before." Funded by the Pew Charitable Trust and Columbia University
School of Journalism, the PEJ studied many aspects of CNN, MSNBC and Fox and released its
report in March 2004.

"Television news is still something viewers watch mainly in a passive way," notes the report. "Yet
when the technology changes and the media converge, the advantage may depend more on which
media and which outlets have the strongest news gathering and storytelling abilities." Clearly, Fox
News has tremendous storytelling abilities. In the past year, only Fox's news programs saw an
increase in watchers. "Looking at the medians, CNN and MSNBC lost viewers in 2003, while Fox
News saw an 18 percent rise in its median monthly audience," reports PEJ.

The report goes on to say: "In January of 2002, Fox News for the first time surpassed CNN in total
viewers and held its lead . . . (Fox News at the time averaged 1.1 million viewers in prime time
versus 921,000 for CNN. MSNBC, a distant third, averaged 358,000 viewers in prime time.) . . . A
year later, in January 2003, Fox News had maintained its advantage (with 1,014,000 viewers on
average, compared with 721,000 for CNN, and 252,000 for MSNBC). And immediately after the

13 percent network)." The chart below shows the Fox News' audience spike: Prime Time Cable News Viewership: 1997 to 2003 A Pew survey asked avid TV watchers to identify their favored news source as either cable or network TV. The chart below shows how. the increase in cable connectivity across the country. Statistically.war in Iraq. still maintains the lead. it appeared in May that the network was possibly pulling farther ahead. The report mentions that the 24-hour format. American audiences increasingly favor cable over network news. over the past few years. Where People Go for National/International News When asked about which specific cable stations viewers prefer. "War was good for cable. holding onto more of its wartime audience than CNN. and the slightly younger audience can all be attributed to Fox's gains. cable news held a 36-point advantage over network news (49 percent cable. the Pew survey found that though CNN. Fox is steadily gaining in viewer preference. owned by AOL Time Warner. Additionally." said the PEJ . the Iraq War in 2003 gave cable news overall a big boost.

570 story segments. positive and engaging with good-looking anchors and an up-beat style. "It was especially good for Fox News . The PEJ report notes that its study found that overall. "Fox News uses this time period to showcase its panel of in-house experts (13 percent of the time. it has de-emphasized the story package's strengths. In contrast. the "Live" presentation of cable news presents an aspect of importance and immediacy to the viewers. The network uses flashy graphics and triumphant music to punctuate its programs. and only occasionally substantively updated. each morning the cable channels settle on a limited number of core stories that are then repeated. as the day proceeds. Fox News uses "talking heads" for 83 % of its new programming (this includes external interviews. CNN uses talking heads for 66 % of its evening newscasts. "The most notable finding here is that cable news has all but abandoned what was once the primary element of television news." The chart below shows how Fox News is gaining on the leader: Where People Go for National/International News. Interviews. Specific Channels: January 2002 . it's entertaining. edit and carefully choose words and pictures. The study found that "rather than covering a comprehensive menu of issues. the PEJ report noted that investigative stories only make up 11% of newscasts. reporter standups and anchor reads account for 77% of cable network news. Cable news is fast-paced and repetitive. reporter standups.report. the written and edited story. internal interviews.'" notes the study. The level of repetition on cable is enormous. The level of updating is minor. In doing so. and anchor reads). And this brings us to the juicy stuff: The content of the Fox News Channel. . compared to 6 percent at CNN and 10 percent at MSNBC). The big winner was Fox News. The stress in cable news is on immediacy and cost efficiency of the live interview and unedited reporter stand-up. ." In its study of 5. . the most notable fixture being Brit Hume's panel of political pundits on 'Special Report. This format is the backbone of Fox News. which managed to increase its lead over CNN. namely the chance to verify. In its evening newscasts. The Fox News Channel is colorful." said the report.October 2003 Why has the Fox News Channel become so popular? Basically.

appropriately. 2004 of approxi Australian-born. on. approxi the National Rugby League. or GOP (Grand Old Party). there are offices that resemble newsrooms. 31. case of broadcasting. broadc however. y with which is the ideology for which the Fox News Channel stands. annual DirecTV (U. mming. 20th Century Fox movies and home entertainment billion (including. British Sky Broadcasting/BSkyB. Papua New Guinea and the U. satellites. Australia. Fiji. Mushroom Records and more. or the viewer — as a master to be served. Since the inception of the nation. News In October 1999.S. Murdoch has created mately US$20 a worldwide empire. It is not journalism because it does not regard the reader — or. Time Magazine remarked that "Rupert Murdoch is the first Corpor press baron to be a monster of the entire world. Fox News Channel was assets launched in 1996 "as a specific alternative to what its founders perceived as a as of liberal bias in the American media" (the network stated this in the lawsuit against March Al Franken and Penguin books). the Fox News Channel has contorted the Republican Party views into ast something both strange and disturbing. is a traditionally dominant nment. however. HarperCollins Publishers. but those who reside on the far segmen right-wing of the political spectrum. FX Network. Fox Sports. ons in eight Murdoch has obviously tapped into the political and social agenda championed industr by the Republican Party." ation is a diversif The Time article goes on to say that Murdoch's "achievement is that he is the ied only media mogul to have created and to control a truly global media empire. book publish ing. and Fox News. ts: filmed entertai The Republican Party. and other. individual freedom. In the United States. Over the centuries. Murdoch heads the huge News mately Corp. and a direct strong national defense." The conservative agenda by itself is not terribly bad. The News Corpor ation Limited had The content of the Fox News Channel is a direct outgrowth from the views held total by its owner: News Corp. all of the Star Wars films). and Sky Italia (Italy) direct broadcast revenue satellite television services.. are y not the ones of the mainstream Republican Party. the and total STAR Network in Asia (based in Taiwan). satellite televisi on. the term conservative has changed quite a bit and now has transformed cable into political party focused on American superpower dominance. US$52 National Geographic Channel. That's globalization for you. but now an American citizen. the listener. Fox News. however.). Fox Sports Australia." said newspa pers. FOXTEL (Australia). wireless communications--to create first an media international press and then a television domain. He interna understood sooner than anyone else the opportunities offered by new tional technology--computers. Those who operati control the news also determine the public discourse. 175 different newspapers in the s of UK. The views of News Corp. The Heritage Foundation think k progra tank states that conservative means to promote "the principles of free enterprise. but they are not engaged in nes and journalism. TV Guide magazine. which owns the Fox TV Network. in the inserts." and entertai nment Controlling the news is obviously important to Murdoch's vision of the world. compan The Murdochian viewpoint is largely centered on obtaining money and power -. a corporate. and CEO Rupert Murdoch. The . traditional American values. force in American politics. limited government. and in those magazi offices there are people who resemble journalists. billion. the Republican televisi Party has stood for what are called conservative values. networ controlled economy and Judeo-Christian ideals. "All across America.S.

but leans closer to straight ahead attack politics. They were. no one in the pseudo-newsroom ever offers a peep of protest. . The questions focused on whether Iraq was involved with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Released in October 2003 and titled "Misperceptions. Today. invading Iraq. "it regards its audience with a cold cynicism. The study was to see the frequency of misperceptions concerning the news coverage on the Iraq War. it would be trailing a plume of rotting fish all the way to New Orleans." the researchers from Knowledge Networks in Menlo Park." Carroll's opinion of Fox News is that it is situated somewhere between journalism and propaganda -. "To the contrary. And when the audience is misled. Sevareid and others .000 respondents." One often-cited research study about the faulty news coverage of Fox News is from the University of Maryland Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) Research Center. . Carroll comments that "if Fox News were a factory situated.S." Carroll goes on to say that journalists of the past such as "Lippmann. say. conducted a poll with nearly 10. whether weapons of mass destruction have been found. and whether world opinion was for or against the U. journalists. It was the truthfulness of these commentators — their sheer intellectual honesty — that causes their names to endure. The Media and The Iraq War. Sitting far away from objective fact- based journalism. Cloaked deceptively in the mantle of journalism. today's opinion-brokers are playing a nasty Halloween prank on the public. The Fox News Channel presents sprinkles of news punctuated with interviews and commentary which promotes its own viewpoint. the audience is something to be manipulated. In this realm of pseudo- journalism." he said. Reston. the credibility painstakingly earned by past journalists lends an unearned legitimacy to the new generation of talk show hosts. and indeed on journalism itself. The reality was that no links between the Iraqi . The perversion of the Fox News Channel is that it is nothing more than a pulpit for the ultra- conservative wing of the Republican Party. are still held in high regard. Their opinions were rigorously grounded in fact. Calif. not entertainers or marketers. Murrow. foremost. Carroll in a Lecture on Ethics delivered at The University of Oregon in May 2004.Los Angeles Times Editor John S. whether Iraq was supporting al-Qaeda terrorists. in Minneapolis.

invasion of Iraq is overwhelmingly negative or non-supportive. The study found that nearly two-thirds of Americans had vast misperceptions about the war.S. a significant portion of the American public has held a number of misperceptions that have played a key role in generating and maintaining approval for the decision to go to war. The problem is that Fox News distorts the news to serve its purpose so much. Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average to have misperceptions." The problem with the Fox News Channel is NOT that it supports the Republican Party or conservative views. For example. "In the run-up to the war with Iraq and in the postwar period. in one poll. that fact and reality are lost in a sea of half-truths and innuendo. In general.government and al-Qaeda terrorists have ever surfaced and no weapons of mass destruction have been found. world opinion about the U." stated the study. 68% said they believed that Iraq played an instrumental role in 9/11. The study also noted that "the extent of Americans' misperceptions vary significantly depending on their source of news. The charts below from the PIPA study show the channel by channel viewership breakdown of those who held misperceptions of the Iraq War: .

so I can't comment on specific instances of deceit.Certainly. The majority of experts or interviewees on the Fox News Channel are in line with the network's views. Reagan and Bush Sr. He cites only Bill O'Reilly's opinions and an old push poll that purports to show that more Fox News viewers believed things that were not true about Iraq and the War on Terror than did viewers of other outlets. Ailes has worked as media consultant to Republican Presidents Nixon. Carroll cites not a single example of what he calls 'pseudojournalism' from our actual news coverage. Mr. Fox News uses the "talking head" format for 83% of its evening broadcasts. Usually. these experts hold an opinion in line with the network's pro-Republican Party bias. The network can choose its own "experts" to comment on the news. there is a seamless blend between "expert commentary and analysis" and the so-called "hard" news . allow me. However. The Fox News Channel works in the following ways: • As shown in the PEJ investigation. but Fox News sits embarrassingly at the top. • Because the use of talking heads is so pervasive throughout their broadcasts. In response to the LA Times' John Carroll. The ideological leader of Fox News is CEO Roger Ailes. I would be happy to expose how the Fox News Channel's techniques of fact twisting and non-reporting contribute to the network's deceptive news coverage. It is Ailes vision of a pro-Republican news organization that has given rise to the Fox News media spin. I did not watch Fox News during the buildup to the Iraq War. they are always outnumbered by speakers holding the Fox News viewpoint. the network uses many methods which are commonplace throughout its programming. the data indicates that watching other networks can also foster misperceptions." Well. Ailes wrote in the Wall Street Journal editorial page that Carroll "deliberately confused our highly rated news analysis and opinion shows like Bill O'Reilly with our hard news coverage. Though "liberal" or Democratic Party representatives may also appear as talking heads. Ailes. But he cites no instance of our having reported any of these things. Mr. and was the head of CNBC before taking the helm at Fox News.

Though Fox News offers full coverage of the life and times of Britney Spears. • The majority of Fox News Channel coverage is focused on politics. "some officials say environmental regulations are driving up prices by forcing fuel refiners to develop different blends." (June 4. white and blue in both the text and backdrops. the focus is the Republican Party. The Fox News spin is that the only reason gas prices rise is because of those liberal environmental laws. Network news always identifies political party affiliations. Fox News always places the United States in the positive light..S." Cameron then goes on to explain how George Bush increased the defense budget. with it clearly showing that Bush already won the election (see image to the right). the U. But the treaty's left-leaning environmental extremist supporters haven't given up their fantasy of creating a socialist global economy through controls on energy use. STILL has the lowest cost per gallon of gas in the world. The Fox News TV screen is filled with red. and the fact that even with price increases. When presenting hard news stories. reporter Carl Cameron's voice-over identified the public's "lagging perception in the polls that he can protect the country from bioterrorism" and the "Massachusetts Democrat as usual slammed the President for not doing enough to protect the homeland. 2004) • Method #4: Warped Reporter Analysis. The newscast portrayed the Democrats attacking Ashcroft who was only trying to protect the U. In a report about Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry. The report then shows a poll map of states the candidates will focus on. • The Fox News Channel uses patriotism to sell its newscasts. from terrorism. (June 9. The network uses a number of techniques to mutate reality. OPEC holding back production. vehicles. stories. the simple economics of high-demand in the U. most of its news stories have some connection with political issues. Once again. A news story about rising gas prices blames regional environmental clean air standards.S.S. a report on Congressional hearings involving Bush administration Attorney General John Ashcroft said Democrats "accuse John Ashcroft" and "Democrats kept focus on a series of memos" which lead to a "frustrated Attorney General" who did his best to stay on topic.S. poor fuel efficiency of U. 2004) • Method #2: Conceptual Name Calling. With a digitized American flag constantly flying in the upper left corner of the screen. The reporter does not mention other factors including the lack of refining capacity in the United States." This report includes no scientific evidence of global warming and ends with the comment that "the junk science-fueled Kyoto protocol would be an economic suicide capsule. 2004) • Method #3: Political Name Calling." This is only partially true. The network's intention is to make the viewer feel patriotic for watching the network." The first line of the newscast says: "The global warming treaty known as the Kyoto protocol is politically dead in the U. (June 3. According to Fox News. Even written/edited/voice-over news stories include commentary by the reporter during and at the end of the report. the Fox News Channel always includes the network spin. For example. A news story about global warming is titled "Junk Science. Cameron says .S. The Fox News Channel makes a sharp distinction between Democrat and Republican and liberal and conservative. Cameron ends the report with Vice President Dick Cheney attacking Kerry. Here are just a few: • Method #1: Non-reporting. Jennifer Lopez and Brad Pitt.

2004. U. which means they're incurring about 1. Using the method of non-reporting. (August 27. Another victory for the ACLU in its war on Christianity. However. Meanwhile." Mark R. Levin. Tony Snow and others are all conservative Republicans.6 murders each day. as a guest on FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes that evening: "Somebody needs to check this guy's medication. The Fox News regular talking heads always present a pro-Republican political view. On a per capita basis. border on the ludicrous. troops have been in Iraq for 160 days.S. Bill O'Reilly's comment for the day started with "Hi. Brit Hume." Not only is this report silly and illogical. 2004) • Method #5: Skewed Statistics.S. host of FOX News Channel's DaySide with Linda Vester. which means that statistically speaking U. however. (June 3. soldiers in Iraq. on May 26: "It looks as if Al Gore has gone off his lithium again. David Asman. as a guest on FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes on May 26: "And half the country thinks he's [Al Gore is] a mental patient. including illness and accidents each day. This combination of news and commentary is the standard on Fox News. which means about 6. Clearly. Media watchgroup Media Matters for America did a rundown of the Fox News Channel coverage/opinions about a speech given in May 2004 by former Vice President Al Gore." The report then shows a video of Cheney saying that Kerry takes "both sides" of important issues. which is roughly the same geographical size. Charles Krauthammer. Sean Hannity. Some comments. to the right are images the network used to identify political differences between John Kerry and George Bush. 2003) • Method #6: Unflattering Images." In fairness. "Cheney slams Kerry" and "Cheney focused on Kerry's various positions on the Patriot Act. The most recent statistics indicate California has more than 2300 homicides each year. commentary and opinion is the most used convention of news transmission on Fox.7 deaths. For example. Bill O'Reilly. Fox News' anchor Brit Hume said in a report that "Two hundred seventy-seven U. Video clips also show lowlights of Democrats and highlights of Republicans." That day. says O'Reilly.S. but does not take into account the populations of California versus U. For example. Rarely is any reporting objective or reliable. This guy has got a problem. Fox News chooses ones to serve its needs. I linked . the Fox News Channel broadcasts failed to mention the ACLU's involvement in Michigan where the group sued on behalf of a Baptist minister who was unconstitutionally denied a permit to conduct baptisms at a lake operated by the Department of Natural Resources. actually. on May 27: "Some pundits have said they thought he went off his meds. on FOX News Channel's Special Report with Brit Hume. the network choose a pretty bad picture of Kerry. soldiers have less of a chance of dying from all causes in Iraq than citizens have of being murdered in California. soldiers have now died in Iraq.S. I'm Bill O'Reilly. The ACLU has also joined The Christian Defense Coalition in Virginia in a similar case. the ACLU is "part of the anti-Christian cabal in America that sees the Christian majority as oppressors. .." Oliver North. Thanks for watching us tonight. on June 3. Nearly every report on the Fox News Channel includes some method to help manifest its political views." Linda Vester. Fox aired three other commentary-style reports about the case all accusing the ACLU of hating Christians. When choosing pictures and video." His comment was about how the American Civil Liberties Union was able to get the cross removed from the county seal of Los Angeles and. They think he should go back to the dayroom he came out of.. these statistics make no sense. Fred Barnes.

2004. in the world of Fox News. We have dominion over the plants. dozens of foreign citizens have been killed or abducted." In April 2003.S. forced to simulate sex acts and assume humiliating and painful positions. see and hear. exceeding everyone's expectations – certainly exceeding the doomsday scenarios of liberals. . former BBC Director Greg Dyke presented an accurate analysis of the media situation in the United States and in particular. Rape it. Fox News. too few people own too much . Essential to the success of any news organization is holding the trust of its audiences. ." I guess Coulter did not look up the word "fabulous. kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. 2000: "The swing voters---I like to refer to them as the idiot voters because they don't have set philosophical principles. Commercial pressures may tempt others to follow the Fox News formula of gung-ho patriotism. Fox News host O'Reilly said: "Well. "It's not how big you are. we are still surprised when we see some of the attitudes the U. and the war went very well. ." said Turner.com and watched the Gore speech. He said journalists in Great Britain were surprised at the pro-war stance presented through U. 2001 she said: "God gave us the earth. The media is too concentrated. networks have to covering the war. attached to wires. this man raped a woman. attacked by dogs. an American was sensationally beheaded.' we are surprised. networks wrapped themselves in the flag and swapped impartiality for patriotism . 'Earth is yours. military personnel. If Iraq proved anything. Take it. June 4. the animals. This man molested interns in the White House. Gore's passion is insanity. . head Murdoch a "warmonger" who "promoted" the war.'" and then on Beyond the News. Coulter appeared on Hannity & Colmes where she said: "I think [calling Bill Clinton a scumbag] is factually correct. the Fox News Channel consistently puts a positive spin on the Iraq War. Fox News was so pro-war. and presided over by smiling U. thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed. "Just because your ratings are bigger doesn't mean you're better. . Coulter writes: "The invasion of Iraq has gone fabulously well." In fact.S.S. Coulter's appearances on the Fox News Channel are great theater. "As broadcast journalists in the UK. ." Dyke continues that after September 11. God said. naked. I don't think you could win a slander suit on that. there is no point in the BBC. it's how good you are that really counts . If we lose the trust of our audiences. "When we read that some network executives say that their coverage should be influenced by 'patriotic duty.S. It's yours." Coulter epitomizes the Fox News Channel point-of-view. It was well written and passionate speech. and photographs of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad surface showing them hooded. On May 20. it was that the BBC cannot afford to mix patriotism and journalism. In an interview in October 2003. that media mogul and CNN founder Ted Turner called News Corp. . A Fox News Channel regular is mentally unstable columnist Ann Coulter." . Truth is a defense . However. Overall. television. on Sept. "many U. There's really five companies that control 90 percent of what we read." said Dyke. 12." Coulter is the columnist that was thrown off the National Review Online for writing. but for the BBC this would be a terrible mistake. You're either a liberal or you're a conservative if you have an IQ above a toaster. It's not healthy. I think Fox News Channel was lucky because we were less skeptical of the war. . and then he lied about it and committed felonies. June 20. So we won.over to C-SPAN." In her column of June 3. but devoid of reality." but I don't think it applies when more than 800 Americans are dead. 2001: "We should invade their [Muslim] countries. On Hannity & Colmes. the trees.

. General Electric. should not be trusted. Its method of seamlessly combining commentary and news reports has transformed its style of TV news into nonsensical jabberwocky. Viacom. all have agendas through which their news organizations are bound.not reality.. The Fox News Channel style of exploiting political pundits as commentators. The corporate owners. in general.Fox News Channel does not provide any reliable information. anchors and reporters presents an agenda -. Disney and News Corp. Fox News Channel exceeds all expectations in the realm of news distortion and corporate control. Yet. Television news.