Obama Vs. Rupert Murdoch: Fox News' Blatant Transition into GOP TV
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As Media Matters has meticulously documented this year, there is no real difference between Fox News' Obama-hating pundits and Fox News' Obama-hating news team. They have become a seamless operation at this point.
A few years ago, the dumbed-down debate surrounding Fox News was whether it truly was fair and balanced. (It wasn't.) Today, it's whether Fox News is truly a news organization. (It's not.) Yet journalists remain way too timid in spelling out the truth. Spooked by right-wing attacks about the so-called liberal media, Beltway media insiders, who certainly understand Fox News' brazen political maneuver in 2009, continue to play dumb on a massive scale and cover Fox News as a news media organization.
There are small signs that the Beltway press corps is catching on. "The United States has two parties now -- the Obama Party and the Fox Party," Newsweek's Jonathan Alter recently noted. And in the pages of The New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg was quite precise in spelling out the extraordinary changes under way [emphasis added]:
This sort of lunatic paranoia -- touched with populism, nativism, racism, and anti-intellectualism -- has long been a feature of the fringe, especially during times of economic bewilderment. What is different now is the evolution of a new political organism, with paranoia as its animating principle. The town-meeting shouters may be the organism's hands and feet, but its heart -- also, Heaven help us, its brain -- is a "conservative" media alliance built around talk radio and cable television, especially Fox News. The protesters do not look to politicians for leadership. They look to niche media figures like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, and their scores of clones behind local and national microphones.
Too often, though, journalists have danced around the obvious. It's important that this trend now stop. The self-evident truth needs to be told, and news consumers need to understand the extraordinary forces that have been unleashed -- forces that dramatically altered the media landscape. News consumers also need to understand why it's becoming increasingly impossible to maintain any kind of public discourse regarding the issues of the day, especially health care reform, when a major so-called news organization is devoted to spreading as much misinformation as possible.
In our poll, 72% of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants, 79% of them say it will lead to a government takeover, 69% think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and 75% believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly.
Instead of telling the truth, too many journalists have ducked the issue of Fox News. That trend was especially rampant during this summer's health care mini-mobs, which were egged on by Murdoch's team. For instance, look at this passage from Newsweek, as the weekly tried to detail the anger behind the mini-mob madness while politely turning a blind eye to Fox News' central role in it:
In contrast, there is no shortage of groups, politicians, and just plain folks intent on proving that health-care reform will lead to, say, the rationing of medical treatments, and they all seem to have a Web site, blog, and/or Facebook page. Given that people who are sure that the U.S. government faked the moon landings (and that Obama was born in Kenya) can find support for their view online, how surprising is it that you can Google your way to "evidence" of all the evils of Obama-care?