Some people say…

& I watched Outfoxed last night… It was pretty amateurish, and was obviously partisan, but I think if you paid less attention to the pundits and more attention to the footage, you will get more out of the film. In all, though, I think the film is preaching to the choir of those who already think that Fox News is biased. The problem with Outfoxed is that by showing tons of snippets of the talking heads on Fox slagging Kerry while championing Bush, or treating Iraq with kid gloves, you are removing the contextual cues. It is impossible to tell the context of these clips, and therefore it is impossible to tell whether Fox is injecting bias in a clip or it is because the clip is taken out of context, unless you are familiar with all of the FNC shows and know which ones are op-ed (O’Reilly) and which ones are supposed to be pure news (Brit Hume during the week, but not on sunday). There isn’t a doubt in my mind that FNC is far right, but this movie just came off as leftie propaganda (whether it is or not).

In addition to just watching the rabble of clips they used from FNC in Outfoxed, and reinforcing my opinion of the network, what really interested me was how they made the film in the Behind the Scenes short. They had gobs of redundant dvd burners recording FNC 24 hours a day for months, organizing the DVDs in those big Case Logic CD/DVD wallets. Then they had a panel of volunteers from around the country that were assigned different blocks of programming and watched it, noting when FNC seemed to stray into the grey or red of integrity. The volunteers reported their observations and then the director and his PAs when back to their DVD archive and mined the footage out of it. Very interesting…

Like I said, the amateurish (hackish, even) nature of this film probably won’t win anybody over, but who knows… Regardless, hopefully it will be a tool used to energize those who already think that FNC is being intentionally deceitful with it’s “Fair & Balanced” mantra and begin to push back…

15 thoughts on “Some people say…

  1. I still don’t see how Fox News is any farther to the right than CNN, MSNBC and the “Big Three” are to the left. And I wouldn’t say that any of the news channels are ‘far’ left or right.

    1. You think CNN is leftist?

      In any case, journalists are supposed to be partisan and independent, and many of those on Fox are abhorrently NOT so.

      1. No journalist is non-partisan or independent. Last time they did a survey, something like 80% of the people you see or that write for the major networks and cable outlets vote democrat.

        And CNN certainly doesn’t report all the news. See my reply to Sean’s next post. They admitted after the regime fell in Iraq last year that they knew of a slew of human rights abuses and other abhorrent things going on inside the country and didn’t report them as a matter of policy for over a decade.

    2. I can’t tell, you might be honest…

      You may not see Fox as being as offensively partisan as I do, but then again, they’re telling you things that you want to hear. Part of my problem with Fox (and the right-wing radio model it follows) relates to the comments in Sean’s next post, as part of it relies on the fact that they pander to the lowest common denominator of listeners/viewers. When a media outlet churns out demagoguery, intelligent consumers can take it with a grain of salt. Most people just accept it. Has Fox retracted the story about the WMDs being found yet? It doesn’t matter, as more than a third of Americans thought they’d been found back in June.

      The talking heads annoy me more than anything, and Fox has the worst in O’Reilly. “Ol’ Splotches The Clown”, as I like to call him, has no compunctions about offering opinion as fact, and prefers to shout down those that would dare to correct him. To spread the love around, I also can’t stand Joe Scarborough on MSNBC (which, with CNN, has moved a bit to the right (just about center, if you ask me (which you did)) in an effort to jump on Fox’s financial bandwagon). There are no Liberal hosts lying out their asses on any of the big three you view as leftist. If Micheal Moore (more familiar with the truth than Fox pundits like Coulter, on par with O’Reilly in terms of stretching the truth and general stomach-turning despisability) had a talk show, then you’ld have something closer to parity.

      I don’t want parity. I want real news, but for such a network to be financially viable, we would need smarter Americans as consumers of it. For now, I’ll make do with NPR and the BBC.

      1. Re: I can’t tell, you might be honest…

        If you think NPR and the BBC is non-partisan their is no hope for you. Why do you feel that because a news source is non-commercial it doesn’t have a slant? The BBC had an entire inquiry by the British government about fabrication of stories causing several execs to resign not too long ago. And for NPR come on give me a break, they should rename the show “All things considered to the left of Mao”. In fact two of the left wing commentators on Fox News during the Brit Hume hour (Weekdays) are Juan Williams and Mara Liasson both from NPR. One or the other is on every night to balance against the conservative panelist.

        1. Hooray for not reading what I wrote

          I would never claim that NPR was non-partisan, it’s just an outlet I can stomach. The BBC I listen to (basically just their World News segments) is great, and I’ve never detected a bit of partisanship.

          Way to invoke The First Corollary to Goodwin’s Law, douche; calling something “to the left of Mao” is just as stupid as throwing around “to the right of Hitler”. Additionally, you are wrong. While NPR certainly has a liberal tilt, it is nowhere near as vitriolic, preachy, (or blatantly false) as Fox.

          Are you honestly defending Fox as a legitimate news source? I mean, they run headlines like Qaeda Ties to Iran, Iraq Still Murky (I just grabbed it off their main page). Murky? Well, not exactly. The Senate Intelligence Committee and the 9/11 panel have already debunked this. The article says as much: “However, the report says, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein never had an Islamist agenda, and bin Laden had been sponsoring anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. A collaborative relationship never developed, the report found.” If they stopped there or expounded on the lack of any kind of relationship between Saddam and Al Qaeda, it would be fine. Instead, they offer this gem: “Still, five days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz sent a memo to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and wrote that if there was ‘even a 10 percent chance’ that Saddam had a role in the attacks, ‘maximum priority should be placed on eliminating that threat.'” That the Bush administration had a hard-on for Saddam isn’t justification for getting the whole Islamic world more mad at us than they already were. Saddam was a bad guy, but he had little to nothing to do with terror (which this war was supposed to be about, remember); the way we went about deposing him has only made the terror threat worse.

          All of the media treat W. with kid gloves, because his handlers have kept the press on a short leash. Where is this ‘Liberal Bias’ in media I’ve heard so much about? There isn’t one. There is, however, a commercial bias in media – the news outlets are in business to make money, and delivering real news is an afterthought.

          1. Re: Hooray for not reading what I wrote

            Where do I start? Actually, if you listen to Roger Ales, the guy who runs FNC, they build the evening lineup on the principal that most people who are going to tune in at night to watch cable news already know the hard news of the day from a variety of sources (newspapers, websites, radio) and would be bored to tears by a Ted Koppel style rehash. This is why FNC has a lot of “news analysis” shows. I fall into this category; by the time a guy like O’Reilly comes on I have already read half a dozen different news sites that day including the NYT, CNN and others. So I already know the news, I’m looking for some interesting back stories and people’s opinions. However, O’Reilly will often run non-headline stories in the second half hour that don’t get touched by the other news outlets, this also goes for Special Report with Brit Hume.
            As for your even keel analysis of the 9/11 commission finding, they also said there were ‘high level contacts’ between Al’Qaeda and Iraq. The findings by the commission were only scoped to 9/11 itself so collaboration with Palestinian groups, i.e. 10 grand a head for the families of suicide bombers, training for varous islamic terrorists groups by Iraqi intelligence, ties to Ansar al-Islam operating out of Iraq which was nabbed in a ricin poison cell in London. BTW many in the ‘elite’ media say that Ansar was not related to the Iraqi government and was a rouge group out of Saddam grasp. However, Christopher Hitchins, of Vanity Fair / Slate, reported a long time ago that Ansar al-Islam had a villa in downtown Baghdad; he was actually had gone to the villa while he was in Iraq before the war. This does not even touch on the assignation attempt by Iraq intelligence on the president of the US, George Herbert Walker Bush, or the helping of Ayman al-Zawahiri after we blew his leg off in Afghanistan. Would you rather wait for a collaborative relationship? All the left leaning news outlets can do is confuse the issue of an Al’Qeada – Iraq relationship with a Iraq – 9/11 relationship. As if one can’t exist without the other or as if supporting splitter groups like Ansar al-Islam is just as bad as supporting Al’Qeada.

            1. How much more of this Bilge, B-i-l-g-e, can we take?

              Would I rather wait for a collaborative relationship? Shooting first and making up reasons later is no way to wage a war. Not only is the war in Iraq an enormous fiasco, but the stated justifications for it are nonsense. We have much more reason to being going after North Korea and Pakistan (really do have WMDs, and have supplied them to countries that support terrorism) or Saudi Arabia (where we support a Monarchy that the populace does not, and serves as ground zero for terrorist sentiments (we are looking at another Iranian-style deposition soon, if we don’t do something)).

              Aside from the fact that you support Bush’s Quixotic quest to finish what his father started, you haven’t addressed my points, that while most news is sub-par because they’re commercial (if it bleeds – it leads, sex sells, etc) FNC stinks because it offers opinions instead of facts (and, oftentimes, despite facts). Your defense of Fox offering analysis instead of news is that you’re an intelligent consumer. Sure, that works for you, but I take issue with the fact that a majority of FNC viewers are as aware of the days news as you are. If that were true, we wouldn’t have people who thought Iraq was directly involved with 9/11, and that they had WMD.

              If their analysis strokes you the right way, fine, enjoy the show. But wouldn’t you rather they were honest with you? I can’t really enjoy Micheal Moore’s punditry, because he glosses over or completely overlooks facts that indicate something contrary to what he beleives.

    1. I don’t think they mentioned how many they had, but you can ballpark it… You’d get about 3000 hours of footage in 4 months, assuming 2 hours per DVD, that’d be around 1500 DVDs, but since they had two recorders recording simultaneously (for redundancy) it was probably in the ballpark of 3000 DVDs.

      My burner does double-layer discs, but the DL media is too expensive (~15 bucks vs .50 cents) In addition, the max write speed of DVD+R DL is 2.8X, where as I can burn single-layer discs at 8X. So unless you are trying to backup a movie and don’t want to recompress the video to squeeze it onto a single layer, it really isn’t worth it to use the Dual Layer burners.

  2. Bias is an excellent book that chronicles Bernie Goldberg’s 25 year career in CBS news and how the main stream news services (ABC, CBS, NBC, NY Times…) have such a consistent left leaning political view shown in many polls of reporters. I agree with his analysis almost completely. He does NOT blame this condition on some kind of malicious and premeditated acts but on more sociological reasons. Most of the major news outlets like the NY Times get reports from a very narrow source, Ivy League journalism schools. These reports spend I ton of time in similar geographic areas i.e. Manhattan and LA. Additionally these reporters spend a lot of time interacting to each other. He believes this has the effect of creating a ‘group think’ condition within these circles that accounts for the polling skew to the left between the general population and mainstream journalists. Perhaps if a reporter was surrounded by people every day, some who are colleagues others he/she respected their achievement in senior editorial positions all agreed with him/her on many of your political positions. One might be temped to believe these ideas are not even in dispute. Add to that a metropolitan complex that you fee a little more enlightened than anyone not living in a metropolitan area and you have a recipe for a complete disconnect between many news outlets and the public. Fox News capitalized on this condition in my opinion and they have the ratings to show for it.

    1. Let’s assume, for the sake of this comment, that the Goldberg’s opinions presented in “Bias” are fact (I’m not disputing his points, I’m just stating they are opinion). So the media leans left and doesn’t even know it thanks to “group think” and “echo chamber” effects. To me, bias in the media is something that should be avoided, and his accusations should be taken seriously. If there is some inherent lean in the media than the news organizations and editors out there should be working to correct this lean.

      Contrast that with Fox News going out of their way to peg the biasometer to the right, purposefully working to present a “right justified” (lame pun, but it made me laugh) view of the world.

      Given these two scenarios, I know which I’d prefer (even if “prefer” isn’t the best description of my sentiment). But when I consume news I juggle all of the sources (Fox News, CNN, local, newspaper, radio, etc.) and do my best to interpolate reality from those sources.

      The thing is, that I don’t agree with Goldberg’s opinions.. I don’t believe there is an overall left lean to the media. If this was the case, then Clinton would have had a much easier ride, Gore wouldn’t have been handled with kidgloves (as opposed to showing him as the idiot he is), etc. Even if there is a left lean, it is vastly overshadowed by the sensationalist lean. (And what is the source of the sensationalist lean? IMHO it is the repeated consolidation of the media and the increasing profit-orientation of the news business. Should news organizations lose money? Of course not, but they also should be worrying about more important things that maximizing profit…)

      1. A lot of your points are brought up in the book, including the arugment that it can’t be left leaning because they don’t give democrats in office a break. Goldberg sees the lean more in terms of issues than people. It manifests in the stories that a carried and the ones that aren’t and how often. No one can deny, and the polling on the subject is pretty conclusive, that the mainstream media has a much higher voting rate for democrats than the coutry at large and agrees with the liberal side of issues at a higher rate the the general population. Everything from foreign policy to crime and punishment to taxes have been polled in this regard. It is a good thing to get news information from a variety of outlets and I do.

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