Today I was scheduled to take my car in for its regular maintenance visit. Today is also the day that President Barack Obama was scheduled to make a much-anticipated address at the State Department on the tumult in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled to introduce him. The intersection of these two events resulted in an interesting albeit simple and completely unscientific field study on the effect of Fox News on the human brain.
You see, as I sat down in the car dealership waiting room, the TV was tuned to Fox News. One of the broadcasters said, “coming up later, we’ll look at who is likely to replace Hillary Clinton”. At this point, a woman waiting for her car to be fixed turned to her husband and said, “John, is Hillary Clinton resigning?”
And there it was before me in a simple five-minute incident all the evidence I needed to understand why Fox viewers are for the most part misinformed at best and deranged at worst. The Fox broadcaster made no effort to put this “Clinton replacement” in any sort of context. Folks familiar with Clinton know she has said she will not be Secretary of State for another Obama term. Our friends at Fox didn’t bother to provide that context. On the contrary they floated a “coming attraction” so ambiguous that the unsuspecting viewer might think Hillary was going to announce her resignation right there at the State Department gathering for Obama.
This is typical Fox sleight of hand. “News” by innuendo, thinly veiled editorials. My heart went out to my fellow waiting room occupant. Then my compassion turned to horror as I multiplied her by one million. Think about it. One million Americans getting their “news” from a shameless, fact twisting, media wing of the Republican party. Is it any wonder why so many Republicans wondered if Obama was really born in the United States?
My little field study today convinced me of something I had conjectured for some time now. The only way to keep Fox News “fair and balanced” is to have MSNBC playing on another channel. Incidentally, when my fellow automobile drivers left the waiting room, I did change the channel and left the room tuned to MSNBC. Consider it a small victory for integrity in journalism.