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Fox News: A Whole Different Reality

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One day I decided to do an experiment.

I had been watching the news on MSNBC and CNN recently, and one Tuesday morning I found it especially fascinating. I admit it, one reason I liked it was because it made Republicans look ridiculous (admittedly not too difficult). This was an important day of hearings by the January 6 House Committee. They were providing evidence of the efforts of Donald Trump and his allies to overthrow the 2020 election, and the House had to decide whether Mike Meadows should be held in contempt for refusing to testify to the committee.

Republicans seemed to be flailing away in an attempt to discredit the hearings, explaining Mark Meadows had some kind of presidential immunity and the hearing was just a political act by the Dems to help their 2022 election campaign. Most striking of all was Republican Rep. Liz Cheney reading panicked texts from Fox News hosts and Donald Trump, Jr. pleading for the president to halt the chaos at the Capital. And it was clear that more and more evidence was pointing toward serious trouble for a number of Republican officials and lawbreakers involved with the planning of the insurrection. On another matter, talk was getting serious about suspending the filibuster rule in order to pass laws to protect voting rights, as well the President Biden's ambitious social spending plan.

That's when I had my idea for an experiment. I had left the TV to do other things, and wanted to turn on the news to catch up. But this time I thought about trying something completely different. I wanted to see how Fox News was going to report that day's events which we knew would present their friends and allies in the worst possible light. Yes, it was a big sacrifice for me, because watching this cable news network in the past has caused my blood pressure to spike to dangerous levels.

Fox 'News' Channel store in Houston airport
Fox 'News' Channel store in Houston airport
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Unlike the other cable networks, Fox News Primetime did not lead with the day's events in Congress. Host Matt Cain opened with a story criticizing Black Lives Matter:

"Black Lives Matter is asking its followers to participate in segregation. They called their mission 'Black Xmas.' And its goal is pretty simple, fight 'white supremacist capitalism.' Now you're probably wondering what is white supremacist capitalism? And that also is simple: it's any business owned by a White person."

For Fox News, anything that drives a wedge between their viewers and the "others" is good for their ratings, Black vs white: Brown vs white, gay vs straight, Christians vs Muslims, criminals vs. church-going Christians. Fox viewers are easily stirred up when it's "us" vs. "them."

The next topic was rising crime rates, and there were interviews with Republican senators Josh Hawley and John Kennedy. The problem for so much crime, of course, were the Democrats, who, as usual, were soft on crime and want to weaken the police ("defund the police."). This segment was followed with a diatribe against rival cable news network CNN, especially Black anchorman Don Lemon, and a special dig at Jeffrey Toobin, who got caught, uh, embarrassing himself during a Zoom conference.

That was followed by some news of the new COVID variant Omicron. Guest Bret Weinstein, a podcaster and author, complained about "a mono maniacal obsession with mandates especially surrounding things like vaccines and masks which do not seem to work." Weinstein added, "It is time that we stood up against these autocratic mandates." Host Matt Cain agreed. "No doubt it is time. It is time for civil disobedience." Primetime concluded with news of the latest surge in UFO sightings. Fortunately, there was no mention of "Jewish Space Lasers."

So much for my experiment. Nary a word about the January 6 investigation or the secret tweets from Fox hosts and the president's elder son. For all Fox News viewers knew, there had been no congressional hearing in the capital, and no special tweets to President Trump. But they did get to see several exciting My Pillow commercials.

Any good experiment should close with a conclusion. This is my conclusion of the role Fox News plays in the media world:

1, As the number one cable news channel (and not just cable news programs), Fox News has clout. Many people watch it and spread its message to others.

2. Fox News is not a news network, but serves as the public relations arm of the Republican Party and Donald J. Trump. They block any suggestio that the GOP and Trump are less than perfect, and makes great effort to report all the real and perceived misdeeds of Democrats, progressives, and people of dark skin.

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Arlen is a writer/blogger living in Monterey, CA. His political blog is thebigpicturereport.com. He also writes a quotation quiz "What's Your QQ?" at quotationquotient.com.

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Arlen Grossman

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Rupert Murdoch and the Fox News network have made a success of their programming, and have great influence on our political life. They make a mockery of real news. But what stumps me is: what can we do about it? They have a right to broadcast their version of reality. We once had a Fairness Doctrine and that would be helpful now. But of course, the First Amendment is in play here. Anybody have any other ideas?

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 22, 2021 at 9:07:03 AM

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No confirmation bias in that piece. lol

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 22, 2021 at 10:43:02 AM

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Reply to Paul Smith:   New Content

Good point, Paul. How can I compete against the true facts, integrity, unbiased reporting and absolute fairness from this respected news network? What was I thinking?

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 22, 2021 at 2:02:47 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Reply to Arlen Grossman:   New Content

"What was I thinking?" You haven't been, apparently. No matter, you'll always have Rachel Maddow to help you figure it all out.

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 22, 2021 at 2:32:25 PM

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content

That's true. Rachel Maddow is one of my favorites. She is smart, knowledgeable and truthful, unlike the mentally deficient hosts on Fox News. Of course, you think differently, and that's why this country is such a mess: two different realities.

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 22, 2021 at 5:39:35 PM

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don curry

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Reply to Arlen Grossman:   New Content

Yes, imagine you have been souring your stomach on FOX and you return to the real news of your favorite Rachel Maddow:

.youtube.com/watch?v=f0krkHRBaVI&t=318s

We were subjected to four years of , "panic in the white house," "the walls are closing in!" "The noose is tightening" covered as the real news.

He was not slow to disavow David Duke. He did not lampoon a reporter's disability. He did not call white supremacists very fine people.

It's just that you are so dumb.

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 22, 2021 at 6:41:27 PM

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David Weaver

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Apparently you're not familiar with the court case regarding Russia Madcow. Her winning defense was "reasonable people would never believe what she says"! (F)ucker Carlson used the same defense in his court case and also won. So did the DNC and DWS! They're all full of crap! And liars. If these cable network are what anyone depends on for true, in depth, in context news, you will be misinformed at best...

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 28, 2021 at 7:56:14 PM

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Reply to Arlen Grossman:   New Content

"Fox viewers are easily stirred up when it's "us" vs. "them."

You can substitute CNN or MSNBC for Fox and the statement would be just as true. The reality is that broadcasters in general are after eyeballs. Rachel Maddow can shade the truth in support of a chosen narrative as well as any talking head, but she stands above with facial expressions and snark. Truth is optional, as the judge who let her off in a defamation case ruled.

As for representing a political party, CNN does a great job for the Democrats, wouldn't you admit?

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 22, 2021 at 11:48:05 PM

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Arlen Grossman

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Not the same thing at all. Fox goes out of its way to support its right-wing agenda. Falsehoods, lies, fake news are acceptable to them and encouraged if it helps their cause.

Sure, CNN and MSNBC lean left, but they at least try to keep to the truth and will retract something if not true. You won't find them reporting preposterous news like Fox does. For example: "Trump had his election stolen." with no evidence. Or "the recounts in certain states are legitimate." Or "January 6 was a lot of tourists wandering around the capital" or "it was Black Lives Matter and antifa that were responsible for the bad behavior.." Try to find the equivalent crap from MSNBC and CNN. You won't.

Submitted on Thursday, Dec 23, 2021 at 2:22:14 AM

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I suppose it varies according to the head that's talking, but the line that's taken can veer away from truth on your preferred networks. For example, just yesterday I heard one spouting the lies that Rittenhouse took an illegal assault rifle across a state line. That's three debunked lies in one sentence and should have been retracted long ago.

You seem to think your media sources are pure -- or at least a lot purer than Fox. It's your definite opinion, so carry on.

Submitted on Thursday, Dec 23, 2021 at 3:58:44 AM

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Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

You are correct, David. MSNBC and CNN make mistakes and screw up every once in a while. But my point is that Fox News and similar outlets go out of their way to make up stories about major news events if it fits their agenda. I've already mentioned the "stolen election" and the dismissal of the January 6 insurrection. You won't find anything like this on the other networks. And yes, it is my opinion, but I have plenty of evidence to back it up.

Happy holidays! (we can still be friendly)

Submitted on Thursday, Dec 23, 2021 at 6:47:08 PM

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Sticking with the Rittenhouse story, your favorite guys went out of their way to make up much of it --- and then keep repeating it as fact. The "stolen election" story is similar in its persistent dishonesty, but it's less personally damaging. I'm sure Rittenhouse is remorseful about his choice to take a lethal weapon to a riot and its terrible consequences, but he has good reason to be outraged by the false and defamatory story spun by the left wing media. You're giving your guys undeserved credit for honesty.

Submitted on Thursday, Dec 23, 2021 at 8:25:05 PM

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Arlen Grossman

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Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

No comparison. The stolen election story is like amphetamine to MAGA voters. Millions of of them jump aboard that train and center their political life around something that Donald Trump claims is real but has no evidence to back it up.

And right now, Rittenhouse doesn't look too damaged, being made a hero by the right and cheered everywhere Republicans gather because he killed a couple of left-wing demonstrators. And the January 6 insurrection was clearly a treasonous attempt to overthrow a duly elected president and install Donald Trump. Of course you won't get that analysis from right wing media, any more than many who still think Covid is a hoax, and masks and vaccines are a government plot.

Sorry, I don't see the eqvalence. I won't pretend left-wing media don't have their biases and imperfections. But Fox News and other right-wing media are willing to lie and make up or ignore stories if it fits their agenda and gets Trump and the GOP back in power.

Submitted on Friday, Dec 24, 2021 at 12:56:12 AM

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Robert Gormley

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"And I hate to say it, but Fox News' success is very much a reflection of this country's vast ignorance and gullibility. That is the most frightening thing of all." This is a true statement.

I can't watch FOX news either, it raises my blood pressure.

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 22, 2021 at 5:24:04 PM

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Martin Gustavsson

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So you go from one ugly media outlet to the next, like a donkey between buckets of manure. However, I must admit Tucker Carlson is an exception on Fox, and the others might catch on soon. Tucker even let Robert Kennedy Jr on to tell the truth about Fauci. Fantastic. We never get such stuff in Sweden.

Submitted on Friday, Dec 24, 2021 at 6:13:45 PM

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As soon as I saw the first line "I had been watching the news on MSNBC and CNN recently..." I new this column would be my laugh of the day. Good job starting out with a line like that!

MSNBC and CNN are nothing more than the leftist version of Fox News. They are just competing with each other to see who can be the most outrageously left.

CNN was once a news station but that is simply no longer the case. They are one more editorial giant that occasionally publishes some news, when it fits their agenda. Sure they bring on a few faux conservatives like S.E. Cupp to try to show they are in some way "balanced". They fail.

With virtually everything you said about Fox, right wing and Republican, just replace those words with MSNBC (or CNN), left wing and Democrat, and you have just as true statements with regard to their biased viewpoints.

I especially liked the comment about Rachel Maddow as "smart, knowledgeable and truthful". That was funny. I'm curious of your stand on cool headed former hosts like Keith Olbermann and the late Ed Schultz, or the polite and respectful gentleman Jim Acosta. Please share!


Submitted on Sunday, Dec 26, 2021 at 3:02:08 PM

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Arlen Grossman

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It is amazing to me that so many righties think MSNBC and CNN is equivalent to Fox News and that ilk. There is a big difference. MSNBC and CNN reported the truth about Donald Trump and his crazy MAGA friends. That doesn't make them left-wing, it just shows that they were reporting the truth.

If you unable to notice that Donald Trump is mentally ill, ignorant, a lousy businessman who doesn't pay his bills, clueless, self absorbed, racist and unable to tell the truth, then you are in serious denial. Oh yes, Trump is also the most successful con-man of all time. You can't deny that Trump is an extremely flawed human being. And when CNN and MSNBC report what he says and does, they are only telling the truth, which Fox News doesn't.

Fox News does the bidding of the Trump Republicans. They lie, fabricate, cheat, and ignore Trump's ineptitude. They are all about getting Republicans back in control and promoting Trump's agenda. Surely they can't be described as serious journalism.

MSNBC and CNN have their biases and faults, but don't abuse that responsibility like Fox does. A stolen election hoax, the January 6 insurrection, and Covid misinformation are serious falsehoods from Fox News and other MAGA outlets that undermine truth and reality., and make a mockery of journalism.

Submitted on Sunday, Dec 26, 2021 at 5:06:13 PM

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Reply to Arlen Grossman:   New Content

"If you unable to notice that Donald Trump is mentally ill, ignorant, a lousy businessman who doesn't pay his bills, clueless, self absorbed, racist and unable to tell the truth, then you are in serious denial. Oh yes, Trump is also the most successful con-man of all time. You can't deny that Trump is an extremely flawed human being. And when CNN and MSNBC report what he says and does, they are only telling the truth, which Fox News doesn't."

Bingo!

Submitted on Monday, Dec 27, 2021 at 6:35:40 AM

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