Jun 20 2011

The real criticism that should be leveled at the media.

Published by at 5:55 pm under Americans are stupid!

Was explained very cogently yesterday by Jon Stewart, and ironically it was explained in the place where news goes to die-the Fox Noise Machine.

If you haven’t seen this interview between Chris Wallace, you should. Its a tour de force take down of the people at Fox News. There are so many great slams by Stewart its hard to relate them all, but I will try.

A lot of people evidently missed this yesterday-probably because they were so up in arms about the Pledge of Allegiance in front of the US Open. ( What the hell is the Pledge doing at the beginning of a golf tournament anyway? Especially one where a 22 year old is playing so far over his head that he is 15 under going into the final round-talk about misplaced priorities.) But if you did watch this telling interview you would have heard this very true statement:

Stewart: I’m given credibility in this world because of the disappointment the public has in what the news media does.Wallace: I don’t think our viewers are the least bit disappointed in us. I think our viewers think finally they’re getting someone who tells the other side of the story.

Stewart: And in polls who is the most consistently misinformed media viewers? Who’s consistently misinformed? Fox. Fox viewers.

Fox News-News broadcasting for the learning impaired. Headlines for stupid people.  Watch the whole interview-but if you are in a hurry just skip to the 14:30 mark and watch Jon Stewart crush Wallace with his strongly worded statement above. Rather than try to come back to that-Wallace tries to change the subject.

Stewart handles the whole interview in a careful and measured fashion-but still manages to lay telling blows on his opponent.  And he echoes a point I have been making for a long time here at Skippy-san HQ, there is no such thing as a main stream media.  And if Fox News is going to use that term-they sure as hell better include themselves in the group because of their size. No, what Stewart points out is that we have a lazy media-that long ago abandoned the principles of detailed research and telling stories in context. There are a few exceptions of course-such as Kiplinger,  The Economist, NPR, and some of the smaller cable news outlets like Bloomberg. The rest-as Stewart points out- jumped in the slime pool looking for sensationalism. Edward R. Murrow would be disgusted with what he saw now at his old network, CBS-whose news division has become a slave to CBS corporate. Much as Fox News has become a slave to Rupert Murdoch and his lap dog Roger Ailes.

An added bonus is the way Stewart deflects Wallace’s criticism that he too has an agenda, pointing out a very big difference between him and Wallace: As a comedian he is supposed to have an agenda, and its a false equivelance to suggest that Fox and Comedy Central should be compared to each other.

As I watched the interview-I actually felt sorry for Wallace. He appears to be a reasonable man, who-however nice-appears to have willingly given himself to the service of the devil. And is not bashful about repeating the devil’s propaganda. Stewart takes Wallace to task for that:

If you see nothing else (after the 30-second embedded intro ad), watch the three and a half minutes starting around time 6:45. What is most striking is Wallace’s either feigned or genuine inability to grasp the main point Stewart is making, and making not once but about ten times. Stewart seems genuinely appalled by Wallace’s “moral equivalence” riff between Fox News and Comedy Central. “You think we’re the same?” Stewart says with real animus. And he goes on to lay out the difference between an operation whose goal is principally satirical, but from an ideological perspective, and one that is principally ideological and is satirical or comedic only as it helps toward that end.

The point is not really that difficult, and Stewart tries to illustrate it this way: “What am I, at my highest aspiration? Mark Twain? Or Edward R. Murrow?” Wallace correctly says “Twain” but seems not to register the larger point Stewart is making. Maybe that’s him; maybe it’s a for-the-team game face. (The same “can he believe what he’s saying?” issue comes up with Wallace’s insistence that he was shocked and offended to have to watch South Park and didn’t consider it funny.)

Watch too the claim that Stewart makes about Wallace being unable to understand a comedic satire- ” You can’t understand because of the world you live in….”. True for Wallace-and true for the Fox Nation, who have yet to grasp the the real world doesn’t work in black and white-or red and blue-just one big shade of grey.


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10 responses so far

10 Responses to “The real criticism that should be leveled at the media.”

  1. Spikeon 20 Jun 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Fox News is of course garbage. But not 100% garbage and the proof is that they allowed Stewart to come on and say what he did. Unfortunately in the future they will point to this as evidence that they are “fair and balanced” although this brief piece represents probably a whopping 1% of the dissenting opinions that they allow on air.

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  2. Richardon 21 Jun 2011 at 7:49 am

    I know that when Olbermann was at MSNBC he ALWAYS had on folks that did not agree with him..oh wait….
    Look, the problem is that when we talk about bias what we MEAN is opinion/punditry NOT straight news, which Fox also does…
    But of course he’s right about our perspective/cogent abilities and the way we process information is reflected on the way we view the “outside” world..who doesn’t know that?
    The PROBLEM is that is that there are certain things we react too based mostly on EMOTION and not reason..there is actually some pretty exciting research, ongoing, on how we think etc etc…of course, its funded by our Galatian(sp?) overlords, who I am SURE, only have our own best interests at heart.
    (thats sarcasm Skippy)

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  3. Richardon 21 Jun 2011 at 7:59 am

    Born into life—we bring
    A bias with us here,
    And, when here, each new thing
    Affects us we come near;
    To tunes we did not call
    our being must keep chime.
    —Matthew Arnold, “Empedocles on Etna” (1852)

    to wit

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  4. Skippy-sanon 21 Jun 2011 at 9:44 am

    Richard,

    But one of the points that Stewart makes is Fox has less and less “straight” news and what they do have is scripted to build the crescendo for the pundits in the evening. E.G. their new broadcast will cover certain events in a way designed to highlight inconsequential facts-then you will get Cavuto saying: “I’m not saying Obama is a Muslim, but is he a Muslim”, followed immediately by Beck jumping head first into bats hit conspiracy theories.

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  5. Richardon 21 Jun 2011 at 9:54 am

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2011/06/actually-fox-news-viewers-arent-most-consistently-misinformed/39064/

    NEVER let “facts” get in the way of rhetoric..sigh…
    All of us, yeah, EVEN me, are prisoners of our brain’s biology….we become.,on certain subjects, ossified and no matter WHAT the facts are, we rarely change our minds….Think the “Earth is Flat” etc etc…The only hope we have as individuals is to recognize that and make adjustments…
    now excuse me while I surf for some more red haired, green eyed, left handed Japanese/Ainu Porn…….No where did I put that Kimchi….

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  6. Skippy-sanon 21 Jun 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Let me tell you-based on my having to endure Fox News addicts every day at work-THEY ARE THE MOST MISINFORMED AND STUPID PEOPLE ON THE PLANET.

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  7. Richardon 22 Jun 2011 at 7:13 am

    Obviously you have never taught High School or Community College….
    There was a time when I was a young lad, that Mao among others was a “hero”. and the Cultural Revolution was justified and necessary, and this was on a University campus..having seen the ignorance on the left, lets see if we can agree that folks in GENERAL are pretty ignorant…WILLFULLY ignorant and the saddest part is nowadays its so easy to BE informed with the only issue being getting the correct/true facts ..
    By the way, is it possible that some of these “stupid” people are considered that by YOU because they don’t agree with you on certain issues?
    After all YOU can never be wrong eh?

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  8. medulla oblongataon 22 Jun 2011 at 1:06 pm

    The lady doth project too much, methinks!

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  9. Skippy-sanon 22 Jun 2011 at 2:49 pm

    As I matter of fact I am wrong-but it is such a rare occurrence that it falls within the upper and lower control limits and therefore does not require me to redo my process. ( My brain is too full of Six Sigma right now.)

    Ignorance is ignorance whether willful or unintentional -and the thing that Fox News does is perpetutate that by driving discussions into narrow corners without providing context. More importantly-the truth is not easily divined in most cases, which is why most of the conspiracy theories of our tea-bagging friends do not hold water.

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  10. Richardon 22 Jun 2011 at 5:41 pm

    But ignorance is curable NOT stupidity…..yeah, remember the conspiracy theories on the left as to why we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and the WTC et al. ad nasuem…..
    The first indication of an enligtened mind is the recogniton that we can’t know everything and that what we do “know” might not be the “truth”
    Now whats that phone number again for THAT bar?
    of course, with my luck they will make Viagra illegal and the fake stuff(which is abundant in the Land of Smiles, makes you impotent FOREVER!!!!! Sigh…..

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