Entertaing News

About a year and a half ago, on a cold winter day, I stood with my friend outside a Jersey train station, waiting for the next train to New York. A young man around our age, walked over to us with a clipboard in hand. Words began flowing from his lips, he asked, “What do you fear most in our society?” My friend looked up, and immediately responded: “the media.” The news is terrifying. He stared blankly at my friend, probably thinking, “How you can fear the media more than terrorism? After all you are taking a train into a city where the terror alert was just raised this morning.”

The response even caught me a little off guard, after all, my mom had put a pack of No-Rads in my backpack in case of a radioactive attack on a random New York City block. A year and a half later my friend’s comment seemed justified. Over the summer a documentary film, OutFoxed by Robert Greenwald, was released on video, and was shown at 3,500 house parties nation wide. Before seeing the film I had the opinion that Fox News was just balancing the so called leftward lean of media outlets such as: The New York Times, CNN, and CBS. Yet, my perspective changed after seeing the movies poignant attack on Fox, which clearly conveys Fox’s willingness to play the star quarterback for the Republican Party. And with the popularity of Fox News on the rise this is awfully scary.

Past employees of Fox, speaking anonymously stated that they had their journalistic integrity ripped from their hands. One employee stated, “There’s no sense of integrity, as far as having a line that can’t be crossed.” Fox constantly portrayed John Kerry as a flip-flopper, and even stated that he “looks French.” Furthermore, Sean Hannity, a Fox News broadcaster, counts the days to George Bush’s reelection on his show. The last time I checked up on journalistic norms, reporters are supposed to report, not tell us who will win a national election a half a year prior to Election Day. It is us who will decide the election, not Fox News.

At least that’s what should happen. Then, there is the almighty Bill O’Reilly. He was quoted on his radio show talking about Senate Minority Leader, Tom Daschle, saying, “We don’t have any respect for him at all.” OutFoxed has a slew of clips of O’Reilly yelling at his guests to “shut up.” My personal favorite is when he told Jimmy Carter that he should quietly give George Bush his opinion and shut up publicly about the War in Iraq. Jimmy Carter, our past president, and winner of the Nobel peace prize, was told to shut up, on the air by Bill O’Reilly.

I have a message for O’Reilly: whether you agreed with Carter’s presidential politics or not, he has earned the respect of you and everyone else. He is a noble man, and I would like to know your credentials, that you can tell him to shut up. If you have the right to share your opinion with the public so does our past president. Someone needs to inform Mr. O’ Reilly that in a functioning democracy, especially if there is a war or policy with which you disagree, you never have to shut up. Voicing your opinion about a policy disagreement is patriotic.

Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders has stated for years that he has fears of corporate ownership of the media, and in the movie he is quoted saying that “Fox is not a TV station; it is propaganda for the Republican Party.” If you still don’t believe that Fox wields any great amount of power, look no further than the 2000 election.

It was on that night in our history, that Fox News made the call that President Bush had won Florida, and hence the election. Who made that call? Well, none other that George W. Bush’s first cousin at Fox. This was pointed out in OutFoxed and in Michael Moore’s controversial documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. Then, other news channels quickly followed suit in order to gain viewers, and since news is a business, they had no other choice. Fox News had effectively influenced every news channel. Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox, makes no bones about his political views. The man who owns 175 newspapers, and 100 cable TV channels, and thus controlling a large portion of what the people are entitled to view, is a champion of the Republican Party. I recommend that everyone sees this film in order toget a down and dirty look at the power of the media.

It will give you a scare and run chills down your spine. You will cringe, and at times, be forced to laugh out loud. We, the people of the United States, depend on the media to report accurately and fairly on the world in which we live. The Fox News introductions, with the American Flag waving in the background is certainly catchy and blends in perfectly with their phrase, “Fox News, Fair and Balanced; We Report, You Decide.” I am not telling people not to watch Fox News.

I watch Fox news, and get great pleasure when viewing The O’Reilly Factor. But as you sit in your recliner, crack open a beer or perhaps microwave some popcorn, remember to value Fox News for what it truly stands for: entertainment.