Monday, February 28, 2005

Fox News: Anatomy of a Biased News Piece

Leave it to the self-righteous assholes at Fox News Channel to once again use scare tactics and the voice of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation to create propaganda disguised as actual news. Read the article, and I'll take you step-by-step through the process of the manipulation machine known as Fair and Balanced.

The article starts with something similar to how James Patterson, author of fiction featuring homicidal maniacs, has started his last 12 books:
"In the dark, early-morning hours of Sept. 8, 1993, Shirley Crook was awakened by a light in her hallway. The Fenton, Mo., woman was subsequently robbed of $7, bound with duct tape and wire and driven to a park, where she was shoved off a railroad trestle to her death in the river below."
I wonder what their slant will be on this issue? The introduction leaves no doubt as to the intent of the piece, but there's plenty more where that came from. And the title made the article seem so impartial to the issue.

Fox News and the slimy political zealots that polish the news into fine pieces of right-wing propaganda are experts at using language and phrasing to turn the news into a political weapon. For example:
"Christopher Simmons was sentenced to death for robbing and killing the 46-year-old housewife. He was 17 years old at the time. Simmons should have died for his crime 2½ years ago."
Wow, I can't believe they even had a trial, let alone let this case go before the Supreme Court. From reading this, I can infer that Christopher Simmons robbed and killed someone and that the person writing the article thinks he should have died for it. And that's just the 2nd paragraph. I didn't think this was supposed to be an Op-Ed piece.

But, it gets worse. Conservative folk hero and Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist: "is particularly suspicious of letting the public drive the judiciary." in apparent reference to the fact that only a very small percentage of sadistic Americans feel executing minors is a good thing. No actual quote from Rehnquist, just a statement by the author, to be taken as fact. We all know that Rehnquist serves a higher power, President Bush, but he could at least pretend that he's serving on the Supreme Court for the betterment of society.

Here's another great one:
The United States is increasingly alone in the world in its application of capital punishment. And the only other nations that subject minors to execution are Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Holy shit! She actually wrote something that is supported by something other than the author's overwhelming delusion of self-importance.

Oh, wait another quote gets her right back on track with:
"You can absolutely forgive the offender and have no issue with that person being executed," said Dianne Clements, a founder of Texas-based Justice for All. In 1991, her 13-year-old son was shot and killed by another child. "Executed killers do not harm again," Clements said. "If you execute somebody, they're deterred."
Exactly the sort of logic and compassion that I have come to expect from Texans.

Probably the crowning jewel of this turd sandwich of a news article is this nice Cleveland steamer:But if the tide shifts in the Supreme Court, prepare for more crime, warned David Muhlhausen of the Heritage Foundation. "It's something we have to fear, no death penalty at all. If they win this [Roper v. Simmons] ... the next thing they'll want is to raise the age to 25," he said.
Two points here:
1) The nut from the Heritage Foundation doesn't say there will be more crime. In fact, nothing in the article supports that concept. She put it in there to scare you! If you don't support the death penalty, crime will run rampant! The only problem with this logic is that it's been empirically denied in states that don't have a death penalty (There are 13).
2) The idea that they would raise the age to 25 is an illogical slippery slope argument. If this guy were arguing against speed limits, he would be saying "Next thing you know, they'll lower the speed limit to 25, and pretty soon, we won't have CARS AT ALL!" We all know that's not true, and that slippery slope situations rarely occur due to simple common sense.

All in all, it's easy to see from this example how Fox News adds unsupported opinion and conservative bias to news items, presents the altered facts as the news, and most people don't even notice. Hopefully, next time you stumble across crap like this, you'll be able to recognize it as such.


Anonymous said...

Fox News: We Distort, You Can't Retort.

Fox News: We Lie, You Decry.

Fox News: We Shovel Piles of Steaming Propaganda Down Your Throat, and 51% of You Say "Mmmm, Tasty! Got More? Sure Beats Thinking."

gp Amy

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