Created by WS-71, 2015

Critical thinking about Fox News


The following text is about one of the biggest News Channels in the United States of America: The Fox News Channel, which has its headquarter in the Rockefeller Center in New York, is the most viewed news channel in the USA at the moment. The news channel is conservative and is part of an Australian media corporation, which belongs to Rupert Murdoch. Our text will shortly introduce the Fox News Channel and furthermore present and analyze a more critical view on it.

After founding the Fox Broadcasting Company in the late 80`s, Rupert Murdoch announced in 1996 that he wanted to found a 24- Hour- News-Channel, which was launched in October '96. In comparison to their competitors Fox News mainly relied on the phenomenon of "infotainment". Today the number of spectators per day count 1.2 billion and makes the Fox News Channel the top viewed news channel in the USA, as mentioned before. Due to that fact it has quiet high average costs for the consumers but also provides much money for their program. The daily program consists mainly of news reports and shows, which debate political issues. These shows seem to have a quiet conservative orientation. For example "Glenn Beck", a show that ran till 2011, which heavily criticized the Obama- Government assuming several conspiracies against the United States.

Displaying themselves, Fox News claims that their journalistic coverage is rather political neutral and independent. In using slogans like: “Fair and balanced" or "We report- you decide" Fox News reinforce this opinion.

Contrary to this point of view, not only a lot of scientists and critics from competing media corporations, but also the politicians of the Democratic party claim that they see a clearly vivid growing sympathy for the Republic party and the political right wing of the channel. This political trend became very intense during the Iraq War. Additionally this increased especially from the beginning of the presidential election campaign and the official takeover of Barack Obama in 2008. According to this allegations, the Fox News Channel explained in a statement that not themselves take sides with the political right wing, but the whole remaining media landscape of the United States of America being leftist. Furthermore Fox News content that they consider the conservative point of view with the same respect as they do with the liberal one.

A study, published in 2007, by the Rasmussen- Reports, which researched the opinion of the American citizens about the political tendency of the Fox News Channel, shows that 31 percent of the interviewees think that the channel shows bias with the conservatives. However 36 percent consider that they are unprejudiced.

It is interesting to mention that another study from 2009 by the Pew- Research- Center shows that, although Fox News is the daily most viewed news channel in the US, more and more people seem to recognize the conservative line. This impression is underlined by the study, which says that 47 percent of the respondents agree with the 36 percent of the study from the Rasmussen- Reports. Also only 24 percent still think the channel is unprejudiced.

Furthermore in 2004 a film documentary which is called: "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" produced by Robert Greenwald, has been released. It deals with the complex of problems mentioned above. It analyses the development of media in the USA with special consideration of the Fox News Channel. The documentary criticizes the manipulative news coverage in the right wing's favor. For example Fox News usage of journalistic tactics like beginning interviews about scandalous rumors with the phrase: "Some say..." to put pressure on their interview partners. Another important point of criticism is Fox's employment of unprofessional and disclaiming moderators such as Bill O'Reilly or Shawn Hannity, who insult and interrupt their guests. A significant case of this is shown by the movie when O'Reilly interviewed Jeremy Glick. Glick's father is one of the victims which died in the terrorist attacks from 9/11. During the interview Glick complained about the war- politics from George W. Bush and mentioned that the United States of America supported Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein in the past. Reacting to this, O'Reilly replied:"...that is a bunch of crap..."; "...you keep your mouth shut..." and didn't let him get a word in edgeways. Later in another interview Glick stated that they sent him rudely out of the studio. According to this O'Reilly reacted contrary to the truth and said Glick asserted George W. Bush to be responsible for the terror attacks of 9/11.

Former Fox News employees reported manipulative instructions, letting Republicans shine in a brighter light than Democrats. Rejecting the charges and trying to take legal actions against the documentary, the Fox News Channel argue that on the one hand some of the respondents never worked for the channel and on the other hand some had been laid off for being incompetent. The film results in the fear that Fox News could get a monopoly over the media industry and so corrupts the democracy.

Beside that several major Democratic Party presidential candidates such as Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Bill Richardson boycotted a lot of events and debates hosted or sponsored by the Fox News Channel as an act of demonstration against those.

A current report by Fox News caused quiet a stir in France. The news channel talked about so called "No- go- Areas" in which Muslim people capture the control about whole city districts of Paris. This zones shall even be avoided by the Parisian police men according to rumors. The mayoress of Paris Anne Hidalgo reacts with juristic sanctions because she thinks the image of the city is being damaged by this. Additionally Fox's safety expert Steve Emerson says in a show that there are cities like Birmingham which are completely Muslim and Non- Muslims don't even try to enter those. After the British Premier David Cameron called Emerson a "complete idiot", Emerson denied his statement. Meanwhile Fox News also dissociates themselves from the report about this Parisian "No- Go- Areas" and apologized in public.

 

At least we want to give a last example of a study from the Fairleigh Dickinson University, which says that the audience of Fox News is more badly informed as the viewer from other, comparable channels and that they even got a lower knowledge about political events, as Americans, who don’t watch any news.

 

Our personal Opinion about Fox News is that it is very sad, that they have such a big influence on the American citizens with their low quality coverage. Fox News give their audience a contorted representation of the world’s situation and is partially responsible for the low educational background of some American people.

Sources:

-       http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_News_Channel

-       http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/paris-verklagt-fox-news-a-1014086.html

-       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BAFb97L3KU

-       http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outfoxed

-       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_News_Channel_controversies

-       http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/01/14/five-facts-about-fox-news/