Wednesday, July 21, 2010
We Distort, You Abide
I'll make this really quick.
Rachel Maddow mentioned this last night on her show, and it's a really great point to make and hammer home: Fox News bears much more of the blame in the Shirley Sherrod debacle than Andrew Breitbart does. Breitbart's a showman, a professional provocateur; it's expected that he'll chomp on a potentially incendiary item like a bass, without taking the time to consider things like context, ramifications, etc. He's in the business of throwing raw meat to the dogs and has made it clear that he's not willing to play by the rules (which can be translated into: he's not willing to be the least bit responsible and fuck you if you ask him to).
But Fox? Despite what we all know about Fox News, it still bills itself as a reputable news organization, one with an enormous microphone and a hell of a large cable audience. It not only tips its hand to the fact that it accepts that it's expected to be a respectable outlet by constantly hyping how "fair and balanced" it supposedly is -- it also pushes its willingness to break and perpetuate stories other networks haven't as proof of its responsibility to the public. After it aired what from the onset appeared to be a conspicuously misleading clip of Sherrod spouting racist rhetoric, it took Bill O'Reilly less than eight hours to declare openly that the "scoop" was proof of Fox's television news dominance. But it wasn't. Fox now has egg on its face -- egg that it wouldn't be scraping off today if it had behaved the way any responsible news outlet is expected to behave. If it hadn't put the rabid drive to claim a partisan scalp and score political points above being fucking journalists.
As Maddow said, this is why the White House was right when it argued months ago that Fox News shouldn't be treated like a normal news organization. Because it's obviously anything but.