"TV programmers would tell me how much they admired me, but then explained that the programs I wanted to cover were, well, 'not for us.' It soon became clear they were not for anyone [among the MSM]. (p. xxvi)
To face the truth head-on is the ultimate challenge, the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate achievement. Murrow would approve. Read Schechter's "manifesto" in the Introduction, which introduces him and his art and craft to the few readers who may not yet have crossed paths with his popular dissections.
"IT IS 5:55 a.m. in midtown Manhattan. A slightly overweight, often bedraggled figure is slowly lumbering in the dark, from bedroom to living room, in a loft he endearingly refers to as his "Museum Of Pre- Revolutionary Culture." He reaches for the cable remote. Where is it? Under the couch again, next to a book he's been searching for? It is here somewhere. It always is.
"He yawns, scratches, and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s. It's just about six in the morning; time for the day's first media fix."
There follows the first of many media dissections, pars pro toto.
In the first blog, Schechter portrays Fox News in three simple paragraphs:
"The issues they focus on are carefully selected by top executives and then broken down into highly politicized message points.
Their dominant emotion is annoyance as expressed in sarcasm and scowling; contempt is the underlying attitude.
The other side is usually not just wrong, but plain stupid, almost unbelievable in its softheaded naivetÃ© and distance from reality . . ."
Of course he is right and the dissection of polarization that follows is so on the mark my minds spins; but then when he writes
What's also not always clear to folks on the left is that Fox News positions itself as an upholder of what are, at bottom, liberal American values. Hence, their motto co-opting and championing Fairness and Balance. (They actually have more opposing views on their programs than channels like MSNBC.)
I become curious and want to experience this phenomenon. As a matter of fact, I have, and only change the channel when I realize that I'm watching Fox News. Is this a big ad for Fox?
It is a fact that Fox gave Michael Moore's Sicko a laudatory review. But Schechter probes deeper, giving Fox all the kudos it deserves for "[its] real ethos[, which] is not Republican but anti-elitist--a major reason it connects with so many Americans and annoys so many coastal elites."
There is courage here in citing compelling evidence from both sides, killer evidence. The dissector might have added that in a survey Fox audiences displayed more ignorance than any other MSM and cable counterparts.
But the finish line is a punch in the gut:
"In the end, what we have is a cruel and deceptive game that appears to be informative when it's not, presided over by professional actors and reactors.