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Fox News Continues to Hallucinate About a Socialist/Fascist Menace -- And It's Causing Real Damage

Fox news' insane rants about the impending onset of socialism/fascism has trickled into mainstream media. This is extremely dangerous.

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Missing from all the crowing is any meaningful reporting that provides context for our current economic situation, or analysis of changing public attitudes about increased government oversight of businesses like the banking sector.

Journalism: the Cause or the Cure?

All of this cable news hyperventilating comes at a moment when journalism is in deep crisis. The migration of news audiences to a free-flowing Internet has led to declines in circulation, subscription and advertising revenues for traditional media.

Falling revenues translate directly into budget cuts, which in turn mean more layoffs. More layoffs mean fewer journalists, and a lower-quality product as evidenced by the torrent of fear-mongering above.

Newsgathering institutions may die off or evolve over time, but one thing must endure: We need to sustain a corps of qualified working reporters who can earn a living delivering the real news and information that is the lifeblood of a healthy American democracy.

That's right, I said "American democracy."

If the so-called journalists of cable news really want to protect us against totalitarianism, real or imagined, they'd do well to follow the examples of better reporting that are a part of our long history of newsgathering -- instead of simply aping the latest scare tactics at Fox News Channel.

Timothy Karr is the author of MediaCitizen, a weblog about the future of America's media. He is the campaign director of Free Press. From September 2003 through February 2005, Karr was executive director of MediaChannel.org and Media for Democracy.