Friday, October 23, 2009


• I’ve most likely covered this before, maybe even more than once, but after the recent White House attacks on Fox News (and the multiple mindless, and oddly identical, defenses of the network by conservative bloggers), I think it needs to be said again:

Either Fox News is a fair and balanced network, or it’s a refreshing conservative alternative to the liberally biased mainstream media.

If it’s the first, then it’s a lie. Fox is not fair and balanced. It’s owned by Rupert Murdoch (who Seth MacFarlane said “is a capitalist first, a conservative second”) and run by Republican strategist Roger Ailes.

If it’s the second, then it proves Fox viewers care less about the tenets of journalism than simply being reactionary to perceived (and false) biases of other networks. It is not a news network’s job to dish out viewers want to see and hear, or to overcompensate for its competitors. Such activities are ideological in nature, or even cynically calculated (as I said about Murdoch...).

• Why does every top right-wing host always sound like an angry bully? Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, even Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin — all of their voices and/or choices of words suggest they’ll beat you down at any minute. Isn’t one of the things we’re taught early in childhood that bullies use bluster to hide an inadequacy of some sort? Guess what, kids? That doesn’t change when you’re an adult. In fact, you can often find it in the very same types of people. Ever notice how Rush, Sean and Ann look like playground bullies, being any combination of towering, thick and smug? I doubt it’s an accident.

Glenn Beck represents the flip side of this equation: a crybaby blowhard. He’s the skinny kid in the Saturday morning milk commercials who everyone picked on, but who then drank milk and worked out, just to show them, then didn’t, and then reverted to his previous waah-waah persona. Then he spent his early adult years smoking all the pot in Mexico and letting go. Now he’s trying to make a name for himself, becoming the latest in a long line of sports/morning zoo guys making the step down to conservative punditry.

• I’ve been shopping for a new Internet service provider on the free market and now I think it’s time we reconsider communism. Yes, I had a ton of fun sifting through the legalese of dozens of different providers’ bait-and-switch policies, but in the end I realized that the offers are far more alike than different. And not in a good way. One offered a decent rate, but jacked it up by almost a factor of five after the trial period ($72/month in the fine print of the fine print). Another one required a technician to come into your home, and yet another reserved the right to bill you for the vague notion of “excessive hourly use.” It’s almost as if all of these ISPs are wholly owned subsidiaries of AT&T and exist only to make their parent company look tolerable by comparison.

Now I wish Springfield had municipal broadband. At the very least, it would require these companies to flex their atrophied muscles a bit.

On the other hand, it IS fun to shop for the most competitive deal among dozens of businesses, and the tremendous amount of time and legalese required is like swimming in a pool of freedom. I look forward to the day when government steps out of the free market and I get to repeat this exciting process with health care and everything else!

And those higher prices? Pursuit of happiness, baby.


NOLA Progressive said...

Glad to hear you're all laptopped out now. I'm jealous. Love to have a new macbook.

I think it has truly come to a point where no one can truly justify Fox as a "Fair and Balanced" news source. The best they can do is ad hominem the whole thing by bringing up Olberman or Maddow. The problem is that Fox isn't a joke because of its opinion pundits like O'Reilly or Hannity and co. It's a joke becuase their "news anchors" fake attendance numbers and coach "grass roots" protesters to make more noise and get fact after fact completely wrong. It's truly pathetic and transparent.

Ian McGibboney said...

Also, their graphics note Republicans in trouble as Democrats. That almost has to be done on purpose.

And yes, promoting the tea parties is completely out of bounds of ethical journalism. If MSNBC promoted a gay-rights march that way, their license would probably be in jeopardy over the outcry.