...And the loss of the Public Airwaves.
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2004, 11:48am PT  

(Blogged on the road by Brad...)

Blowing back in a southerly trajectory towards L.A., I came across a review of OutFoxed in the Eugene Weekly I picked up at the motel. I never got around to posting a full "review" of the excellent documentary here. Now that it's making the unheard of jump from DVD to Theater-Near-You, I oughta get around to it.

But not for the moment. Instead, a quick thought on Lois Wadsworth's review in the Weekly. She pegs Fox News' Carl Cameron as a "bootlicker" in regards to the ass-kissing he's overseen committing with Dubya on the "feed" prior to his "Fox News Exclusive" with Bush during the 2000 campaign (Cameron's wife worked for the Bush Campaign at the time, no conflict apparently for Fox's "Chief Political Correspondent").

This is not a pretty picture, but it is a cogent commentary on the state of Fox News. The "deregulation" of television began back in the Reagan administration, aided and abetted by Oregon's own bad-boy Republican Senator Bob Packwood. Prior to that time, news organizations were required to provide free, equal time to candidates to rebut the slanted messages candidates with money could buy. If this topic is ancient history to you, Google it. You may be surprised to learn the airwaves used to belong to the people.

Imagine that.

(Another, carbon-based way to learn more about the unravelling of real "fair and balance" on the people's airwaves is The Control Room : How Television Calls the Shots in Presidential Elections, a book by Martin Plissner. It's an excellent pre-2000 examination of the breakdown of the "equal time rules" on television, and how the structure of today's Presidential Elections in America are virtually 100% the product of the News Media.)

And, of course, you can still purchase the OutFoxed DVD for $9.95 online if the film is not playing near you. Or you'd just like to have a copy to pass around to those "Fox Fans" who may need a reality check.

One other point that I'd been meaning to discuss since watching the film, is the study they document showing that people who watch Fox News regularly are far less informed than those who get their news from other sources. The study shows that Fox News viewers get an inordinate amount of simple, fact-based questions --- like, "Was Saddam Hussein responsible for 9/11?" or "Did we find WMD in Iraq?" --- completely wrong.

That survey synchs up with one a few years back (I believe it was a Pew study, can't look it up from the road for now) showing that while Rush Limbaugh listeners thought they were the most informed, it turned out that they were instead amongst the least informed of those who followed current events.

Makes sense. At this point, to be a Bush supporter, one would have to be either uninformed or misinformed. And that's exactly what Fox News, Rush and Team Bush are all counting on.