Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sunday Morning Deep Thought

FOX "news" really is
(Who'd a thunk?)

My first internet stops every morning are to Crooks and Liars and Glenn Greenwald. As it happens, both sites were being rather critical of what Station Agent has dubbed the Lamestream Media (abbreviated LaMe) and I would like to call the Lamestream Mediocre, except that most of the time they don't even rise to the level of mediocrity.

Somehow my morning mind (sometimes a little foggy until at least the second cup of strong coffee) had a moment of the utmost clarity. I guess I was thinking, "how does FOX "news" get away with calling themselves fair and balanced, anyway?"

I came up with an answer almost immediately. Got a dictionary handy? Never mind, we can use Merriam Webster's online. Here's the relevant portions of their main entry for the word FAIR (adj.):
1: pleasing to the eye or mind especially because of fresh, charming, or flawless quality

2: superficially pleasing : specious (she trusted his fair promises)

6a: marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism (a very fair person to do business with)

6b (1): conforming with the established rules : allowed (2): consonant with merit or importance : due (a fair share)

6c: open to legitimate pursuit, attack, or ridicule (fair game)

9: not dark (fair skin)
So, quite obviously FOX is implying that they conform to definition 6, but really they mean that they're fair in the sense of definitions 1, 2 and 9. I would say with an emphasis on 2 (and you should really click on the definition of specious if you don't already know it) and 9. And thank Gawd for 6c, though I don't think FOX wanted to imply that definition.

In short, fair and balanced can be taken to mean, "we present you with good-looking, mostly blond newsmodels who at least have the capacity to not fall off of their chairs."

Nor has this escaped those who watch FOX with a rather more critical eye than their target audience do. Media Matters' Simon Malloy did an article on Alternet about the rampant sexism on FOX back in 2006.

A person idly watching Fox News all day, for example, has an excellent chance of glancing at the screen and seeing some partial nudity or a male Fox News personality hitting on a female colleague on the air. Scantily clad women and on-air sexual harassment are the orders of the day over at Fox News Channel.

Take, for instance, Fox News' premier business news program, Your World with Neil Cavuto. Cavuto, Fox News' vice president of business news and the worst James Bond since Timothy Dalton, regularly shows footage of Victoria's Secret runway models and Playboy bunnies -- presumably in the name of business.

Cavuto also has a special obsession with a certain football game played every year in early February: the Lingerie Bowl. Last February, Cavuto interviewed two Lingerie Bowl contenders in their -- ahem -- uniforms. As the News Hounds blog pointed out at the time, this interview was preceded by a one-on-one with Focus on the Family's James C. Dobson, who said that parents must monitor what their children are "looking at because pornography is everywhere, as you [Cavuto] know."

The hypocrisy is phenomenal. Not surprising though when you consider that the greatest consumption of pornography is in the Red States that FOX targets. And they don't really care if a few people in that audience pick up on it either. This little gem appeared in the New York Post (to whom I shall not link) back in 2007. Note the reaction.
CHRISTIAN "media watchdog group" The Resistance is all worked up over the ultra-femme anchors of Fox News. The group's leader, Mark Dice, rants in an e-mail, "I see shorter skirts on the women of Fox News than I do on the prostitutes being arrested on cop shows." Fox responded, "We're always flattered to have everyone talking about us in one form or another."
It may flatter FOX, but I wonder how the objectified newsmodels themselve feel about it? No matter, they're probably grateful for the high paying jobs they hold more for the Clairol™-enhanced outside of their pretty little heads than whatever's on the inside. How grateful? Just go to YouTube and do a search for Megyn Kelly legs" (47 videos!) "Megyn Kelly upskirt" (28) "Gretchen Carlson upskirt" or "Gretchen Carlson legs" (29 videos each.) Or just type "Hot Fox" in the search window and see how it auto-fills. "Hot Fox News Women" has a whopping 314 hits, so don't tell me their viewers aren't obsessing. Thanks to William Mark for this nice paste-up of the T&A FOX shows daily.

FOX News Exploits Sexuality
to Sell Lousy News Programming

But then, I don't really know. FOX isn't even a part of my satellite package.

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