Is Fox News full of BS?

With the departure of Jon Stewart from The Daily Show there’ll be one less voice calling out Fox News for its bullshit. Was Stewart really justified in his constant criticism? I came across How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics, a paper on the Social Science Research Network by Bruce Bartlett discussing the impact of Fox.

Bartlett starts by discussing the liberal domination of media in the sixties and into the nineties, and how the abolition in 1987 of the Fairness Doctrine by the FCC increased the scope for partisan broadcasting exemplified by Rush Limbaugh who was an early arrival:

There are many reasons why conservative talk radio worked so well. One is that conservatives finally had a news source that fed their philosophy. Another is Fumingthat conservatives viewed themselves as outsiders and were attracted not only to the philosophy of conservative talk radio, but its tone and articulation of outrage toward liberals that many listeners themselves had long felt.

Then Roger Ailes convinced Rupert Murdoch to let him build Fox News.

It should be noted that Murdoch has long been a conservative ideologue and Fox News fit into a larger conservative empire he built over the years that includes the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal. Although the Journal has long had a conservative editorial page, prior to Murdoch gaining control in 2007, its news pages were free of bias. But soon after, a conservative tilt began creeping into the news coverage.

[Read more…]

Critical Thinking

There has been a lot written about Jon Stewart’s decision to quit The Daily Show after 16 years as presenter. I’ve been catching up on his last few shows. One of the recurring segments on the show has been interviews in which people often make what seem to be completely outrageous statements. Apparently viewers have been asking whether these interviews are real or faked: “Why would anyone appear when they are made to look dumb?”

Well, it seems that these people didn’t mind, and to demonstrate the point Daily Show regular Jessica Williams re-interviewed some “stars of the past”. One such was Dr James David Manning, a pastor, who had compared Barack Obama to Hitler. He doubled-down on this assertion by saying that he now regarded the US President as a “son of Satan”. This was bad enough, but at the end of the interview Jessica asked the good doctor about his claim that Starbucks were using semen to flavour their lattes:

JW: You think that they’re using semen to flavour their lattes?
DJM: I do, yes.
JW: What empirical evidence do you have that Starbucks is using using semen to flavour their lattes?
DJM: What empirical evidence do I have?
JW: Yes.
DJM: I think if you’re asking for that, you may not be able to find my explanation suitable to meet the empirical standards, but let’s just say, I know.


Just Mercy

I’ve just watched the 16 October edition of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The special guest for the day was Bryan Stevenson.

Mr Stevenson was being interviewed because he has a new book about to be released, Just Mercy, about his work as a lawyer defending the poor and underprivileged in the USA. Towards the end of the interview he said this, which I think is worth noting:

We’re all more than the worst thing we’ve ever done… … I believe if somebody tells a lie, they’re not just a liar. If they take something that doesn’t belong to them, they’re not just a thief. And even if you kill somebody, you’re not just a killer. And we’ve got an obligation to respect that other thing you are.

Land of The Free (7): The Lady Vote

I picked this item up from watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Republicans have started a new campaign that compares voting to choosing a wedding dress. Here’s one of the ads:

The ad is mind-boggling in its inanity. I can’t believe that anyone would not see these ads are offensive, demeaning and patronising to women. But apparently the College National Republican Committee who paid for it doesn’t think so.

Here’s a link to the Daily Show piece. It’s on the ComedyCentral UK site, so quality is pretty crappy.