Thursday, November 29, 2007

More on Fox News

Continuing with what I said in my earlier post about Fox News, I found a pretty neat list of things called the "Fox Network Spin". This list includes a number of ways that Fox manipulates their news. Enjoy!

When presenting hard news stories, the Fox News Channel always includes the network spin. The network uses a number of techniques to mutate reality. Here are just a few:

Method #1: Non-reporting. A news story about rising gas prices blames regional environmental clean air standards. According to Fox News, "some officials say environmental regulations are driving up prices by forcing fuel refiners to develop different blends." This is only partially true. The reporter does not mention other factors including the lack of refining capacity in the United States; OPEC holding back production; the simple economics of high-demand in the U.S.; poor fuel efficiency of U.S. vehicles; and the fact that even with price increases, the U.S. STILL has the lowest cost per gallon of gas in the world. The Fox News spin is that the only reason gas prices rise is because of those liberal environmental laws. (June 3, 2004)
Method #2: Conceptual Name Calling. A news story about global warming is titled "Junk Science." The first line of the newscast says: "The global warming treaty known as the Kyoto protocol is politically dead in the U.S. But the treaty's left-leaning environmental extremist supporters haven't given up their fantasy of creating a socialist global economy through controls on energy use." This report includes no scientific evidence of global warming and ends with the comment that "the junk science-fueled Kyoto protocol would be an economic suicide capsule." (June 4, 2004)
Method #3: Political Name Calling. The Fox News Channel makes a sharp distinction between Democrat and Republican and liberal and conservative. Network news always identifies political party affiliations. For example, a report on Congressional hearings involving Bush administration Attorney General John Ashcroft said Democrats "accuse John Ashcroft" and "Democrats kept focus on a series of memos" which lead to a "frustrated Attorney General" who did his best to stay on topic. The newscast portrayed the Democrats attacking Ashcroft who was only trying to protect the U.S. from terrorism. (June 9, 2004)
Method #4: Warped Reporter Analysis. In a report about Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry, reporter Carl Cameron's voice-over identified the public's "lagging perception in the polls that he can protect the country from bioterrorism" and the "Massachusetts Democrat as usual slammed the President for not doing enough to protect the homeland." Cameron then goes on to explain how George Bush increased the defense budget. The report then shows a poll map of states the candidates will focus on, with it clearly showing that Bush already won the election (see image to the right). Cameron ends the report with Vice President Dick Cheney attacking Kerry. Cameron says "Cheney slams Kerry" and "Cheney focused on Kerry's various positions on the Patriot Act." The report then shows a video of Cheney saying that Kerry takes "both sides" of important issues. (June 3, 2004)
Method #5: Skewed Statistics. Fox News' anchor Brit Hume said in a report that "Two hundred seventy-seven U.S. soldiers have now died in Iraq, which means that statistically speaking U.S. soldiers have less of a chance of dying from all causes in Iraq than citizens have of being murdered in California, which is roughly the same geographical size. The most recent statistics indicate California has more than 2300 homicides each year, which means about 6.6 murders each day. Meanwhile, U.S. troops have been in Iraq for 160 days, which means they're incurring about 1.7 deaths, including illness and accidents each day." Not only is this report silly and illogical, but does not take into account the populations of California versus U.S. soldiers in Iraq. On a per capita basis, these statistics make no sense. (August 27, 2003)
Method #6: Unflattering Images. When choosing pictures and video, Fox News chooses ones to serve its needs. For example, to the right are images the network used to identify political differences between John Kerry and George Bush. Clearly, the network choose a pretty bad picture of Kerry. Video clips also show lowlights of Democrats and highlights of Republicans.

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