Friday, March 11, 2011

Fox News Lies, And It Hurts America

The watchdog group Media Matters for America has released a video that is pretty good at showing the overt lies from Fox News regarding the workers' rights protests in Wisconsin. It's important what Fox News says, because, as they say, they have more viewers than any other cable news network. If Fox News intentionally lies, which they have been shown to do time and again, they are intentionally skewing the views of a large portion of American voters. Americans assume that a news organization tells the truth, or at least if they realize they had the facts wrong, issues a correcting statement. Fox News doesn't do this. So most viewers will accept the lies from Fox News, because they don't have the time to do the fact-checking we expect news organizations to do before making public statements.

When will we stop calling Fox News a news organization? Or when will Fox News be forced to do so for misrepresentation? The press is referred to as the fourth branch of government because it provides further checks and balances on the three branches of government. I think it may be time for the other three to provide some checks and balances on the fourth.

I truly believe that the main reason this nation is so polarized is because many in this country are deliberately misinformed, and Fox News isn't the only culprit. We can add radio personalities such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck. For example, a poll published last month found that 51% of Republican voters think Obama is not a U.S. citizen. This, even though the Hawaii newspaper of record from 1961 has his birth listed, and the state of Hawaii has issued certified letters of birth which is exactly what any Hawaii-born citizen has. Somehow either this information isn't being passed to 51% of the Republicans or additional information is being concocted to add doubt. This is one example, but a very telling example. Nearly 25% of this country think our president is not a U.S. citizen, contrary to fact. Other studies have shown that Fox News viewers are the most misinformed on various issues, and this journalist agrees with me, calling out CNN as a contributor as well.

This falsification or fabrication of facts will inevitably stall progress, because we can't have genuine debates if the people we're debating with base their views on misinformation, particularly if they're not willing to listen to reason. It's the Republicans at the top who encourage and spread the fabrications that are the cause for the majority of progress's stall. They're the people the Democratic leaders have to negotiate with. However, I believe they do this, because they can always go on Fox News and say such things without a hint of rebuttal, and the misinformed believe the Republicans are correct. If the Republicans didn't have such a large venue to spread their fabrications, they would have to accept reality.

It's time to call Fox News what it really is, just Fox. That's how I'll refer to this media organization until they become a news organization, if they so desire. But more importantly, we have to loudly call out those who intentionally perpetuate myth as fact, and politely help those who are victims of misinformation get the correct information.

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