Created by WS-71, 2015

FOX News—Essay 1


Fair and balanced, as the slogan for Fox News goes, and yet the credibility of such a statement is highly questionable. Other news channels are also biased and are behaving in a populist behavior, Fox News usually takes it to another level. It is not something uncommon that Fox News fabricates a story to cover for the supporting right-wing investors. Furthermore, studies have shown that their viewers are the most misinformed news watchers. This may translate into the fact that, Fox News distort the truth so much, that it actually harms its audience in terms of being informed about what's going on around them. Basically, if someone who watches Fox News does not watch any news at all instead, he or she is much more likely to give correct answers to easy factual questions about the American government and the events that are happening in the country, than if you watched Fox News. This serves as a quite strong indicative of the quality of news served by Fox media.

What is so bad, except misinforming the audience, about Fox News? The "We report you decide" approach, as well as the aforementioned slogan that refers to being "fair and balanced" seems like a flat-out lie. By saying that they are completely unbiased and acting in a way that so openly contradicts it, they actually might be trying to accomplish a rather sinister idea. The main goal might be that they are trying to damage people's trust in the notion of media and undermine the idea of the truth, honesty and reality in order to serve a bigger right-wing agenda. Acting just the same as a tool that "the party" would use in George Orwell's "1989", it might be that the Fox News, and its corporate giant supporters, are trying to make people believe "ignorance is strength". It may seem far fetched but its effects on Fox News audience look quite the same as the famous dystopia.

Turning our attention to how Fox news succeed in manipulating the right wing voters, I would like to give the example of the shock, a very real one, hit the the Fox audience right after the US Presidential elections in 2008. Before the elections, Fox News fed its audience with everything but the truth, constantly claiming that it will be a fairly easy victory for Mitt Romney and the audience actually bought it. When the results came back and it was official that Obama won the elections, a very large number of people were stunned and found it very hard to believe that Romney could lose against Obama. This was the result of the falsified polls and the false information that Fox News broadcasted during the presidential campaigns.

One popular example of Fox News and their biased news is their attitude towards polls. As long as these polls are in favour of their opinion it is no problem for them to actually show them. But as soon as they are being against the things that they like, the pools are getting rigged or censored. Hence Fox News is consistently censoring and hushing up the (in their opinion) bad news, but on the other hand they are putting even more emphasis on the ones that are supporting their view.

Moreover, there are also accusations towards Fox News about manipulating videos, in order to make them look good for the news they want to show. There is also a recent conflict going on between Obama/obama administration and Fox News, since Fox News keeps accusing Obama, and often tries to make him look bad. That is probaby due to Fox News being supporters of the republicans. Furthermore, there is another recent conflict.According to '20min' the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo told CNN that she wants to press charges against Fox News for harming Paris through destroying its image. She accuses Fox News for repeatingly reporting that there are parts of the city inhabited by muslims where not even the police dares to show up anymore. (http://www.20min.ch/panorama/news/story/Kann-die-Stadt-Paris-Fox-News-wirklich-verklagen—24737668). However; even though she earned a lot of appreciation for that action, Fox News will most likely not have that much trouble in case Anne Hidalgo is actually going to press charges, because there is no such thing like an insult of community in the United States.

The fact that Fox News is not only criticised by rating agencies and experts is underlined through websites which are even proposing a shutdown of Fox News, and want to have a 'Fox-free zone'. (e.g. www.turnofffox.org).

Nevertheless Fox News somehow seems to remain being popular amongst US citizens. Even though they are getting huge amounts of criticism, their amount of viewers is still one of the highest compared to other News channels. It seems like there are still enough people who keep watching Fox News, no matter what the majority of experts is saying.

For radicals, it’s not “breaking news” to disclose that Fox News is mostly comprised of misinformation or flat-out lies.  Anyone with even a shred of common sense can watch just a handful of their featured shows and see that the entire channel is nothing more than a propaganda mechanism for the Republican party.

Punditfact, a branch of Politifact, has put together profiles for CNN, MSNBC and Fox News detailing just how honest each of these networks are.  And as it is nearly impossible to fact check every single thing said on each network, it’s obviously not a completely comprehensive profile it’s a decent measure of the honesty of each.

This scorecard shows the ratings for statements made on air by Fox, Fox News and Fox Business personalities and their pundit guests. Rulings do not include statements made on air by politicians or paid spokespeople. Result is that Pundifact  found Fox News to have only told the truth 18 percent (15 of 83) of the time for the statements they checked.  And even of that 18 percent, only 8 percent of what they said was completely “True.”  The other 10 percent was rated as “Mostly True.” A staggering 60 percent (50 of 83) comments were found to be either “Mostly False,” “False,” or “Pants on Fire.” The other 22 percent were rated “Half True.” Essentially well over half of what Punditfact has fact-checked on Fox News has been a lie and only 18 percent has been deemed factual. To compare, CNNwas found to have been honest about 60 percent of the time, while only having 18 percent of their comments found to be false.  As for MSNBC , they were found to have been honest about 31 percent of the time, while 48 percent of the comments they had fact-checked were deemed untrue.

So no matter that MSNBC’s numbers aren’t exactly worth bragging about, they’re still far better than the “fair and balanced” Fox News. After all any conservative who might run across this article, or the Punditfact profiles, would simply reject the conclusions as “liberally biased misstatement.”

As long as anything that’s not approved by Fox News or some other right-wing media source is noticeably “liberally biased propaganda.” Which is really a fantastic piece of rhetoric. Fox News, and other right-wing media informants, can lie as much as they want. If suddenly any other source debunks the nonsense they’re spewing, the conservative media simply dismisses it as “lies perpetuated by the liberal media.”

That is how conspiracy theorists manipulate their sheep.  They perpetuate some kind of asinine conspiracy, then when it’s completely debunked, they claim the information debunking it is “all a part of the conspiracy.” And that’s exactly what the right-wing broadcast does. Which is why tens of millions of conservatives believe that Fox News is a “fair and balanced” beacon of truth, despite the fact that Punditfact found only 18 percent of their comments to be factual among a fairly large sampling of 83 relatively signficante statements made on the web.

A severe conflict between Barack Obama administration and Fox News Channel has been arisen since 2009. On 20th of September, 2009, Obama showed up to all the main stream news media (CNN, MSNBC..) except Fox News. This incident was somewhat his method of giving a penalty to Fox News regarding their badly conservative style of broadcasting toward Obama’s Healthcare Bill and directly to himself as well. At the end of that September, the senior advisor of Obama, David Axelord, tried to arrange a meeting secretly to ease tensions between the both ‘sides’ but it turned out to be not effective at all. There was no significant progress from each other for a while. After two weeks, the White house claimed that the Fox News Channel is not a real (truth worthy) news network. Anita Dunn, public relations manager at the time, said that “Fox News often serves as a research institution or public relations agency of the Republican Party”. Then Obama stated that media’s operating as a talk radio format and as a news outlet is entirely different meaning. Moreover, White house Secretary General Rahm Emanuel has also strongly appealed his opinion that it’s a good thing that CNN and other media outlets are not following the footsteps of Fox news.

Furthermore, there exists a strategy so called “Six Steps” for Fox News to keep viewers and manipulate their ‘right-oriented’ opinions. In their book, " The Fox Effect : The Book That Terrifies Roger Ailes And Fox News”, Brock and Rabin-Havt claimed that through ‘Six Steps,’ fox effect could reorganize the thoughts and viewpoints of the public.

The first step to produce fox effect is that to make conservative activists pass on false information to the public. Then, spreading a tremendous amount of this false information and story by a wide range of broadcasting is the second step. Third, Fox news starts to attack and criticize the media, outlets and news agencies aggressively which do not report such crappy news. Finally, the media will report the false information in order to keep the credit and reputation as a mass media. From that point, false information is not false anymore and Fox News is recognized as the one who has reported this “facts” for the first time. Finally, the false information is immediately forgotten from the public after the whole consumption.

To sum it up, Fox News is harming its viewers knowledge and understanding of the world, instead of educating them about the American and worlds events. Contradicting their slogan "fair and balanced", Fox News pushes their agenda on their viewers, giving them an unrealistic view of the world, for example the American Presidential elections in 2008, when Fox News viewers were certain that Mitt Romney is going to with the Presidential elections. Furthermore Fox News uses only specific information, which suits their case, when reporting news, ignoring everything that might contradict their theory. Fox News way of presenting news even angers foreigners, for example mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, for spreading wrong information about the police force in Paris being scared by the muslim population in certain areas.

Another incident involves the President of the United States himself, who did not appear on Fox News out of protest, while the White House has labeled Fox News as an untrustworthy news channel.

Punnditfact reports, that only 18% of the statements made by Fox News are true. Although not a single news station is telling the truth 100% of the time, a number as low as 18% is still staggering. Fox News even goes a step further by not only lying but also labeling everything and everyone as “liberally biased propaganda”, that tries to call out Fox News.

The sad part about Fox News is, that despite all the misinformation and flat out lies, it is exactly what the people want to see, otherwise it would not be one of the most watched news channels in the USA.