This is why I don’t watch TV news

“Is Wall Street worried about the Far Left hijacking the Democratic party?” 

Listen carefully.  The anchor is not making a statement, just asking a question.  A question is not news, nor does it need to be supported by evidence.  She could just as easily have begun the show by asking “Is Wall Street worried about clowns on Mars?” 

The anchor raises the question, then turns to her colleagues and they talk about the question.  For a few minutes they create the illusion that there is no other question worth thinking about.  And soon the viewer starts to wonder, “gee, is this something that should concern me?”

Then they turn to an actual Wall Street analyst and ask the question again.  “Is Wall Street worried about the Far Left hijacking the Democratic party?” and the actual Wall Street analyst looks baffled and says, basically, “WTF?” as though he just walked into the room.

So, no.  Wall Street is not worried about the Far Left hijacking the Democratic party, Wall Street hasn’t even given a moment’s thought to the question.  In fact, no one has worried about the Far Left hijacking the Democratic party except these people at Fox News, and of course, they are not worried about the Far Left hijacking the Democratic party, they would be thrilled if the Far Left hijacked the Democratic party.  Because, in fact, the Far Left has not hijacked the Democratic party; this broadcast exists solely to raise the question in the minds of the vast majority of Americans who are currently sick to death of the way the country is currently being run.

Apparently Fox News does this sort of thing 24 hours a day.
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33 Responses to “This is why I don’t watch TV news”
  1. clayfoot says:

    They definitely make it easier to pick up bias and innuendo. Those guys over at NPR are all subtle and stuff.

  2. stainedecho says:

    Are these clowns on Mars of the killer variety?

    All 24-hour news channels do this regularly. It’s why I don’t watch them in general. I only watch CNBC for Mad Money and MSNBC for Countdown, that’s about it.

    • Todd says:

      Re: Are these clowns on Mars of the killer variety?

      According to the crew at Fox News, the clowns on Mars don’t need to be killer clowns, as they are on Mars and can hardly affect us here.

  3. laminator_x says:

    It’s the same principle as a push-poll.

  4. greyaenigma says:

    Jon Stewart did a whole segment on this tactic. I believe his closer was something like, “Is your mother a syphilitic whore?” What? It was just a question!

    • Todd says:

      This is even more devious, though. They’re not asking “Is your mother a syphilitic whore?”, they’re asking “Is the Catholic Church worried that your mother is a syphilitic whore?”

      • greyaenigma says:

        I managed to get a few seconds into the actual clip — they’re incredibly shameless.

        It reminds me of the interview with DeLay this morning where he was contrasting the left-wing conspiracy against him vs. the conspiracy against Clinton, and he argued (I forget the exact wording, which was priceless) that the difference was that there really was a conspiracy against him.

        What’s the term for something that would make you laugh if didn’t also make you cry?

        • noskilz says:

          Maybe “tragicomical”? But then I just spent time poking away at a post without thinking to check back on the thread to see if it had been rendered redundant in the meantime, so there’s probably something better.

  5. gogogh says:

    Imagine a news network that airs and produces a program that tries to be funny by using racial and ethnic stereotypes and degrades the value of the Constitution. Oh right, I guess we’re talking about the same news network.

  6. teamwak says:

    Does the US not have an ombudsman of some sort, to try and keep the Networks straight?

    • Todd says:

      It used to be that a station was forced to broadcast news, at a loss, as part of the “community service” part of their broadcast license. That is, it was deemed that the airways are not for sale, are a public trust, and therefore couldn’t be used for just anything. Then the networks became powerful enough to pressure the government into handing the airwaves over to them, and news programs went from being community service to being profit centers, and all that implies. That is, it used to be that news programs had a responsibility to report the news. Now, their number one priority is to generate profits for the network. So there is very little actual journalism going on anywhere.

      I know that mine is only a partial and incomplete understanding of this issue, and if one of my better-read readers can help our our British friend, I would be in your debt.

      • dougo says:

        There is still an FCC requirement for broadcast channels to have 3 hours of educational content per week—Univision was just fined over this. But Fox News is on cable, where the FCC has no jurisdiction.

        • teamwak says:

          I have been watching Aaron Sorkins Studio 60 recently. In a recent storyline, a news live broadcast from Iraq had a soldier saying Fuck as an RPG explodes nearby. The FCC demands a 5 second delay on the news and the Network gets high and mighty about journalistic integrety. The FCC treatens to remove the transmission license.

          Was this pure Hollywood, or does the FCC have real teeth? In fact, is this news delay a topical story?

          • gazblow says:

            Ask Janet Jackson’s nipple.

            • teamwak says:

              Ah Nipplegate!

              Actually the hypocracy is staggering. Blow up a wedding party, OK. Show a nipple, bad. Hmmm

              In UK breasts make the news all the time. Theyre on page 3 of a few daily newspapers, including the one wth the largest circulation in the country, The Sun.


              I remember a news story from a few years ago when Prince Charles took Prince Harry to an African country for a state visit. Harry was probably about 13. The official celebration for them was topless dancing by traditional native dancers. The news story was whether it was appropriate for a 13 year old to see so much flesh. The news footage showed the full dance, jiggling and all to make their point. On the 6 o’clock news. lol

              You sure have a lot to blame/thank those Puritans for 🙂

      • Don’t forget the Fairness Doctrine, in which broadcasters were forced to present information pertaining to all qualified political candidates.

  7. toliverchap says:

    Straw Man

    yeah that sort of rhetorical BS goes on in all forms. Most of the “news” channels are all commentary crap filled with those kinds of questions with a premise that is never questioned and therefore considered legitimate. I don’t know where you go to find news in the form of uneditorialized facts about events but I’m certainly skeptical about anything where more than 2 or 3 adjectives appear in the article.

  8. robolizard says:

    The capturing of that terrorist who looks like a Ralph Steadman doodle always felt to me like a fake, a plant. Not only is he responsible for every well known act against America from some as big as 9/11 [Osama-who?] to the killing of Daniel Pearl, but his photo looks like they dressed up a moldy piece of poop.

    And now that I think about it, Fox News is probably government sponsored. One of the more intelligent ideas for propaganda…

    • Todd says:

      Fox News is not directly sponsored by the government, but it has been made abundantly clear that they are endorsed by it.

      I read in the news that the Steadman guy confessed to a whole bunch of crimes during his interrogation at Gitmo. The news was supposed to make me say “Hooray! Then the gutting of my civil rights has been worth it! Let’s go buy something!” but all I could think was “Well, yeah, sure, torture a guy enough and he’ll confess to shooting Archduke Ferdinand.”

      • robolizard says:

        Just how technical is torture in the 21st century? Which Bond movie can we compare it to? The chair scene from Casino Royale, or that infamous one where he’s tied to a metallic table as a laser heads toward him?

  9. craigjclark says:

    This is why I don’t watch Fox News

    Insane Woman: Pat, is this on the radar screen of investors?

    Sole Sane Expert: I… don’t think it is actually.

    In a 4:13 segment, it takes three whole minutes to get to the one guy who actually sounds like he’s reasonably informed about the issues. Crazy how that happens.

    • Todd says:

      Re: This is why I don’t watch Fox News

      And you can tell that he wasn’t invited to the staff meeting where they all decided to formulate this leading question.

  10. urbaniak says:

    Such thundering mediocrity. Which I guess is an oxymoron but it really is a special, rarefied level of mediocrity, mediocrity that deserves a superlative.

    Here’s an amusing retrospective of that network’s fine history.

  11. noskilz says:

    Fox is also currently having the vapors over why people seem to think they’re some kind of right-wing organ.

    I think one of the saddest aspects of the current state of news affairs is that there has probably never been a period in history where so much information available for so many people who apparently mostly couldn’t seem to care less. It wouldn’t be hard to call the talking head on his claim, but I suspect many won’t bother to(and many others wouldn’t wish to.)

    I’m sure there many factors at play – not least of which is probably that many people seem to prefer a story that makes them happy than one that bears any particular relationship to any objective reality – but I think one of the worst is the way the news programming(and I don’t mean just FOX – simple whoring for the GOP covers many of Fox’s offenses: Murdoch didn’t have any problems tailoring his stuff for the chinese government, I assume he hitched his wagon to what seemed to be the most likely prospect at the time) has to play to ratings and ad revenue. Comparing the shift from the 70’s through to today is rather depressing: fluff seems to be the rule for quite some time with more subtantial matters slipped in only when it can’t be helped – I suppose the bright side is there’s a lot of material readily available online, but unfortunately most people still get their news from television, at least viewers that follow the news at all. When FOX’s approach seemed to be paying off for them, CNN and others followed suit – they’ve got whack-job pundits, we need them, too. Remember when headline news was around the world in 30 minutes? Now it’s more like 15 minutes – is less happening now than back in the 80’s?

    • greyaenigma says:

      there has probably never been a period in history where so much information available for so many people who apparently mostly couldn’t seem to care less

      I fear that the majority always failed to give much of a damn, we’re only discovering how little of a damn they give.

      Of course, there’s the dramatic flipside where people like my parents think they’re being well informed by listening to FOX. And yet when any information that conflicts shows up, they immediately dismiss it with a contempt which is really quite staggering.

      • Todd says:

        If there is one thing Fox News is good at, it’s teaching contempt. Just look at that clip again (I mean that figuratively — you don’t really have to look at it again, it’s exceedingly painful) and feel the contempt simply rolling in great waves through the camera. These people know they’re lying, just making up wild shit in order to push their political agenda, and they just don’t care. And I’m sure they all go home to their families at the end of the day secure in the knowledge that they’re doing a good job, or at the very least they think that they certainly aren’t the problem.

        • noskilz says:

          That points up another aspect of this cotton candy and bullsh*t diet Fox and venues aping them seem to be encouraging: the destruction of news credibility in general.

          If events of the day are mostly presented in terms of insinuation, sloppiness, and artificial equivalencies rather than objective and detailed sourcing, everything will tend to take on a he-said-she-said cast. If no one is particularly credible, then it is even easier to slide into just believing what ever suits one, or just breezily deciding they’re all liars and not bothering to figure out who is playing fast and loose with the details and who isn’t.

          And it occurs to me that if brevity is the soul of wit, I’m something of dork, since I can’t seem to get the hang of this “concise” thing.

          • Todd says:

            Fox’s definition of “fair and balanced” means that if a fact is reported, it is their duty to balance it with a lie.