Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Illogic and Illiteracy That is the Fox News Channel

For those who think the Fox News Channel is T double E double R double R double I double F double I double C-C-C-C-C, you need to have your heads examined.

Just when you thought Sean Hannity's selective editing of President Obama's press conferences to make him look bad wasn't obscene enough, the alternative news web site presented its Media Putz of the Week award to Fox News for another cardinal journalistic sin: mislabeling misbehaving Republicians as Democrats. In bestowing this dubious distinction on them,'s editors explained:

This week's Media Putz award is brought to you by the letter D, as in Democratic, the letter R, as in Republican, and the letter F for Fox "News" that can't seem to tell the difference between the letters D and R.

Those of us who have gone through the third grade remember that a D can be made with a straight line and a half-circle, and an R is a P with an extra right leg sticking out.

To be fair, perhaps the folks at Fox "News" suffer from a highly unusual form of dyslexia, where they go to write the letter R and it comes out like a D. For example, in a classic Monty Python sketch "Travel Agents," Eric Idle's character can't say the letter "c," instead he substitutes the letter "b." Michael Palin's character suggests he say the letter "k" instead of the letter "c."

The good news for Fox (and bad news for us) is that their illness comes and goes. Fox "News" only has this problem with Republicans go bad, the latest example was Gov. Mark Sanford from, that's right, R-SC. That is R for Republican.

Credit: Democratic Underground

There have been other moments of non-lucidity. When Rep. Mark Foley had his problems, Fox "News" declared him a D instead of a R. There is even a screen capture when Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) defeated Lincoln Chaffee (R-RI) in the Senate race in 2006. In this graphic, the parties are switched around, as if Fox couldn't believe someone named Whitehouse would belong to the Democratic Party.

Credit: Democratic Underground

Being in denial is not much of a way to go through life, and it's a really lousy way to run a news operation. But Fox is only pretending to be a news operation: "we have anchors, we have opinion shows, just like a real cable news operation."

When Republicans do poorly, FNC tries to hide the facts. When Democrats do poorly or okay or even great, Fox finds a way to spin it in a different direction. That's not news; that's propaganda.

But it's clear that Roger Ailes and his flunkies at Fox "News" are starting to swallow their own propaganda: "Republicans, good; Democrats, bad." So when a Republican governor goes up to confess that he has a mistress in Argentina, he should be identified as Mark Sanford (R-SC), not (D).

As Stephen Colbert put it, "When someone misbehaves, it's natural to assume he's a Democrat, even when he is the head of the Republican Governors Association." (emphasis mine)

This isn't to say CNN, Headline News, or MSNBC don't have screw-ups in their screen crawls. The sad truth is that people with too much work on their hands in all elements of the media don't have the time to make sure what is being presented has been spell-checked or examined for grammar issues. But the other cable news outlets don't have a pattern to their mistakes that is ideological; their screw-ups are just that: scre-wups.

You have to wonder what the punishment is at these places when there is a screw-up of this type:

Regular cable news outlet: "How could you make that mistake? You made us look stupid and foolish! Pay more attention next time!!"

Fox "News" Channel: "You know you put a D instead of a R in front of Mark Sanford's name. Just for that, I'm forcing you to take the last doughnut and take the rest of the afternoon off with pay. And I don't want to see your face around here until tomorrow morning!"

The MSM loves treating FNC as a legitimate news outlet, but we know better. At some point, passive/aggressive behavior, subconscious behavior, well, isn't. The Fox "News" continuing pattern of "deliberate" screw-ups in a specific fashion is part of the master plan, the masquerade of disguise as a news operation. For once again putting propaganda before news, we award Fox "News" the Media Putz of the Week award.

Needless to say, many (myself included) don't call it the Faux News Channel for nothing.

And while they're at it, they should save the labels for

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