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The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart started his piece on the South Carolina GOP presidential debate by noting that it was co-sponsored by “Fox News and the Republican Party.” “Now wait a minute,” he said, “isn’t that the same thing?”
Indeed, it is. Fox News is a specific flavor of Republican thought – that of Roger Ailes. It is axiomatic in its support of the president, and it tailors the news to help him at every turn. So Fox watchers have noticed that in the world of Fox News, the U.S. attorneys scandal – the most severe scandal to hit the Justice Department in its entire history – hardly even exists, accounting for roughly 2% of coverage (about a quarter the time allocated by MSNBC, for instance). But still more telling is Fox’s Iraq War coverage. During the first two years of the war, Fox provided saturation coverage of the war – through it was mostly from talking heads on the ground in New York, as opposed to reporters in the field, and most of it was opinion journalism rather than reporting.
Today, with nearly 70% of the U.S. public viewing the Iraq War as a mistake, the Fox reaction is to play down its coverage. In the first three months of 2007, Fox News allocated 15% of its coverage to Iraq War developments – which is about half the allocation of MSNBC. Moreover, the grimmer the situation becomes, the less time Fox allocates to it. Fox News is sticking to a fixed set of principles. George Orwell’s principles.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”