by Ilyse Hogue
from AlterNet Website
The article hit the nail on the head when it comes to Beck's paranoiac propaganda.
Seddon, however, misses the broader danger of the Murdoch-owned Fox News:
Consider the facts:
So where Seddon pointed to a fabled minority audience of "not-so-bright… American citizens", Fox is instead popular among a wide swath of well-educated, contributing members of society.
Fox's audience includes your neighbor, your
cousin and the guy in front of you in line every morning at Starbucks.
It is the result of a sophisticated strategy to
gain market dominance through an almost monopolistic aggregation of media
platforms in individual markets, an aggressive strategy of cross-marketing
between entertainment and news, and a
systematic denigration by Fox News on air
of all other outlets.
Since President Obama took office, Fox has succeeded not only in spreading misinformation and lies, but also in entrenching those fictions so that its audience relates to them as irrefutable fact. One in four Americans believes "most or all" of what's said on Fox News, despite Fox's fabrication of everything from death panels to Climategate.
(Coined by Sarah Palin, the term "death panels" - an inaccurate claim that the healthcare reform bill would require end-of-life counseling - was picked up by Fox to advance the provocative and false threat that the government would,
Climategate is Fox's name for the so-called
scandal in which emails - stolen and then distorted - from the UK's Climate
Research Unit suggested that "scientists are fudging data to make their case
for global warming", when the "evidence isn't really there.")
Fox spent disproportionate airtime rallying people to join the Tea Party, the radical right group that was formed in the wake of the presidential election in 2008. Over ten days in April of 2009, Fox aired 107 ads for its coverage of Tea Party protests and, in that same time period, featured at least 20 segments on the upcoming protests.
By contrast, in the recent legislative battle
over collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin, Fox called the protesting
union supporters a "shrieking leftist mob".
What's sinister here is not the change of power
- the response of an unsatisfied American populace is, indeed, "vote another
guy in" - but the very deliberate manufacturing of that change by a force
masquerading as a reputable news outlet.
As political and opinion leaders think through what this would mean for their country, they should carefully consider not only Fox's worst instances of propagandizing, but also the potential British audience for such misinformation. And, most likely, they need look no further than their flatmate.
Seddon warns in Tribune that,
Let me end here with a counter-admonition: