Sunday, October 18, 2009

Clumsily Done

I certainly applaud the Obama team trying to get their message out unclouded. If they want to refuse to go on Fox News I applaud that,too. But do they have to be so incredibly clumsy about it? What's with the whining about Fox as a "partisan" news source? Or even the bizarre accusation that there's some kind of difference between legitimate "news" sources and editorial points of view? I would have preferred the Obama people to say

"We've given plenty of interviews to Fox News and its affiliates and, certainly, as a for profit corporation they've beneffitted from it when we do. So we are sorry if it hurts Rupert Murdoch's bottom line when he can't get White House people as special guests. But we find that, generally speaking, its a waste of time to go on Fox. Its not that they are partisan, or have an axe to grind, though that's true. Its that they don't employ terribly smart people. Pretty obvious pieces of facts, and of history, simply get mangled when they go through the Fox machine--like Bill O'Reilly insisting that it was the Americans, and not the Germans, who committed the massacres at Malmedy. After a while we got tired of having ordinary viewers call us up to complain about misinformation they'd gotten from Fox News. Like those ordinary Americans, we couldn't get Fox to ever correct a false story. So we decided not to add to the confusion or leave viewers with the impression that we condoned such clumsy and misleading reporting. When they clean up their act and show some responsibility to the facts and to their topics we'll consider appearing on their stations again."

I'd prefer this approach because its more factual and more palatable to the audience--even to Fox's audience. Instead of bitching about partisanship they should have pointed to the very specific ways that the Fox audience is being divorced from reality. Of course they can't do that successfully because its as true of every other regular news show. Jon Stewart's priceless skit ending in "CNN--nobody leaves more there..." merely points that out a little more vigorously. But the kind of obfuscation and misleading coverage that the ordinary American gets from their News and Views shows suits the White House down to a T. If there was a legitimate, high powered, News station from the left the White House would also refuse to go on their shows. Not because they are "partisan" but because they would challenge the White House to defend the indefensible from the center/left.

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