Is there a better example of the stupidity of cable news than the “black Santa” episode? Frank Rich cites this example in his article about the decline of FOX News.
There ain’t no sanity clause,” Chico Marx told Groucho. There is also no Santa Claus. And there was no sanity in the Santa fracas that became an embarrassing liberal-media fixation just before Christmas. For those who missed it, what happened was this: A Fox News anchor, Megyn Kelly, came upon a tongue-in-cheek blog post at Slate in which a black writer, Aisha Harris, proposed that Santa be recast as a penguin for the sake of racial inclusiveness. After tossing this scrap of red meat to her all-white panel of prime-time guests, Kelly reassured any “kids watching” (this was nearing 10 p.m.) that “Santa just is white.” (For good measure, she added, “Jesus was a white man, too.”) Soon and sure enough, Kelly’s sound bites were being masticated in op-ed pieces, online, and especially on cable, where a passing wisecrack best left to the satirical stylings of Stewart and Colbert became a call to arms. At CNN, one anchor brought on Santas of four races to debunk Kelly. BuzzFeed reported that MSNBC programs hopped on the story fourteen times in a single week.
Of course what Kelly said was dumb. But the reaction was even dumber. Every year, Fox News whips up some phantom “war on Christmas” plotted by what the network’s blowhard-in-chief Bill O’Reilly calls “secular progressives.” This seasonal stunt has long been old news, yet many in the liberal media still can’t resist the bait. You had to feel for the NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker, who was drafted into filing a Kelly-Santa story on the Today show for no discernible reason other than that she is not white.
When this supposed “national firestorm” (as Al Sharpton inflated it on his MSNBC show) finally died down, only two things had been accomplished beyond the waste of everyone’s time.
FOX is and always has been a propaganda machine. MSNBC saw a business opportunity in going hard left and thus has become a mess. CNN has sucked for years, and adding an entertainment executive like Jess Zucker can only lead to more mediocity. Where’s Will McAvoy when we need him . . .
If you’ve been watching Fox News, you probably expected Mitt Romney to attack Barack Obama over the recent events in Libya. But of course Romney didn’t go there. Part of it was due to his strategy to hide many of his positions so he could look like a moderate, but it also had to do with the fact that the CIA was telling the administration that the events were sparked by a video.
Colbert mocks Fox’s attempt to hype this controversy.
Yesterday was a good day for those of us who want universal health care coverage. It was also a good day for those of us who think CNN and Fox both suck. The video below from Politico mashes up some of the funniest reactions to the Supreme Court decision and the massive fail by CNN and Fox News.
Fox News took umbrage at the White House’s assertion that the network is oftentimes a research and propaganda arm for the Republican Party. “The Daily Show” reveals the relationship between FNC’s supposedly non-partisan news anchors and the opinion people like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.
FNC apologists like to point at MSNBC and say that they’re just as biased the other way, but I’ve personally heard Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews be highly critical of Obama’s WH on a number of issues (torture, GITMO, the public option, etc.) over the past few months. Can Beck, O’Reilly and the hosts of “Fox & Friends” say they did the same thing when Bush was in office? And what about the hypocrisy of complaining about Obama’s WH treatment of Fox News when the same people were saying that the Bush WH should hang MSNBC out to dry? (Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino admitted in an interview on Fox that the Bush WH didn’t do anything with MSNBC late in his second term.)
Do these people realize that people are recording everything they say on television?
I recently got into a somewhat heated argument with a conservative friend of mine about Fox News and whether it was more or less misleading than the other mainstream media outlets. I pointed to the two or three Pew polls that show that Fox News viewers on average were the least likely of all the major news outlets to have a clear understanding of the facts. I argued that MSNBC may on the whole be liberal, but at least they “deal in facts” (i.e. they cite their sources and don’t just make stuff up as they go along, like Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity do). The following video is a great example. Bill O’Reilly attempts to debunk Obama’s assertion that Winston Churchill was anti-torture, even when he was under the most dire of circumstances. Notice how O’Reilly makes statements as if they were fact, with no supporting documentation, and how he distracts his audience by going on tangents that have nothing to do with the torture question. Then watch as Olbermann counters Bill O’s argument with facts and actually cites his sources.
It’s amazing to me that anyone still believes that Fox News is “fair and balanced.” What’s even more amazing is that the same conservative friend watched the documentary “Outfoxed” on my suggestion and agreed with much of what it had to say. Three or four years later, now that Obama is in the White House, that objectivity has vanished.