Fair, Balanced, and Fact-Free

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ARogueTrader, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. Fact-Free News

    By Harold Meyerson
    Wednesday, October 15, 2003; Page A23

    Ever worry that millions of your fellow Americans are walking around knowing things that you don't? That your prospects for advancement may depend on your mastery of such arcana as who won the Iraqi war or where exactly Europe is?

    Then don't watch Fox News. The more you watch, the more you'll get things wrong.

    Researchers from the Program on International Policy Attitudes (a joint project of several academic centers, some of them based at the University of Maryland) and Knowledge Networks, a California-based polling firm, have spent the better part of the year tracking the public's misperceptions of major news events and polling people to find out just where they go to get things so balled up. This month they released their findings, which go a long way toward explaining why there's so little common ground in American politics today: People are proceeding from radically different sets of facts, some so different that they're altogether fiction.

    In a series of polls from May through September, the researchers discovered that large minorities of Americans entertained some highly fanciful beliefs about the facts of the Iraqi war. Fully 48 percent of Americans believed that the United States had uncovered evidence demonstrating a close working relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Another 22 percent thought that we had found the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And 25 percent said that most people in other countries had backed the U.S. war against Saddam Hussein. Sixty percent of all respondents entertained at least one of these bits of dubious knowledge; 8 percent believed all three.

    The researchers then asked where the respondents most commonly went to get their news. The fair and balanced folks at Fox, the survey concludes, were "the news source whose viewers had the most misperceptions." Eighty percent of Fox viewers believed at least one of these un-facts; 45 percent believed all three. Over at CBS, 71 percent of viewers fell for one of these mistakes, but just 15 percent bought into the full trifecta. And in the daintier precincts of PBS viewers and NPR listeners, just 23 percent adhered to one of these misperceptions, while a scant 4 percent entertained all three.

    Now, this could just be pre-sorting by ideology: Conservatives watch O'Reilly, liberals look at Lehrer, and everyone finds his belief system confirmed. But the Knowledge Network nudniks took that into account, and found that even among people of like mind, where they got their news still shaped their sense of the real. Among respondents who said they would vote for George W. Bush in next year's presidential race, for instance, more than three-quarters of the Fox watchers thought we'd uncovered a working relationship between Hussein and al Qaeda, while just half of those who watch PBS believed this to be the case.

    Misperceptions can also be the result of inattention, of course. If you nod off for just a nanosecond in the middle of Tom Brokaw intoning, "U.S. inspectors did not find weapons of mass destruction today," you could think we'd just uncovered Hussein's nuclear arsenal. So the wily researchers also controlled for intensity of viewership, and concluded that, "in the case of those who primarily watched Fox News, greater attention to news modestly increases the likelihood of misperceptions." Particularly when that news includes hyping every false lead in Iraq as the certain prelude to uncovering a massive WMD cache.

    One question inevitably raised by these findings is whether Fox News is failing or succeeding. Over at CBS, the news that 71 percent of viewers hold one of these mistaken notions should be cause for concern, but whether such should be the case at Fox because 80 percent of their viewers are similarly mistaken is not at all clear. Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes and the other guys at Fox have long demonstrated a clearer commitment to changing public policy than to reporting it, and an even clearer commitment to reporting it in such a way as to change it.

    Take a wild flight of fancy with me and assume for just a moment that one major goal over at Fox is to ensure Bush's reelection. Surely, anyone who believes that Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda were in cahoots, that we've found the WMD and that Bush is revered among the peoples of the world -- all of these known facts to nearly half the Fox viewers -- is a good bet to be a Bush voter in next year's contest. By this standard -- moving votes into Bush's column and keeping them there -- Fox has to be judged a stunning success. It's not so hot on conveying information as such, but mere empiricism must seem so terribly vulgar to such creatures of refinement as Murdoch and Ailes.
  2. I am deeply concerned about how Fox manipulates the news and I truly believe that they along with the right wing radicals on talk radio have upset the balance of politics in this country.

    I live in the south which is now dominated by the republicans. The majority of these people received no meaningful tax break. They live "hand to mouth" but because they hate homosexuals and minorities, oppose abortion, want christian prayers in the public schools etc. , they will never again vote for the democratic party unless they are forced to by terrible economic conditions.

    I think they know that poor people have nothing to gain financially from joining the republican party and yet they do it anyway because of hate rather than common sense.

    Fox regularly interviews professional right wing radicals to stir this pot of hatred, unopposed by another point of view, while crooked politicians who Fox and talk radio has helped to elect are now in control of our federal government.

    Fortunately, we still have a significant number of independent voters in this country like myself and I hope that I am right when I say that this group could send bush packing in the next election.

    Unfortunately, the southern states are lost to the hate mongers for the rest of my life time unless the left wing counters this hate mungering with their own news networks.

  3. Yes I too have had a hard time finding a left-wing news network. After searching for months, I've finally come up with a short list of alternatives to Fox news that meet the liberal criteria. (in no particular order) Try ABC, PBS, CNN, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNBC, World Report, BBC, Bloomberg.

  4. One of the countless.

    24 Mar 2003 02:25
    Huge Iraqi chemical arms factory found-reports


    "Fox News and the Jerusalem Post, which had a reporter traveling with the U.S. forces, cited unidentified Pentagon officials as saying the facility was seized by the First Brigade of the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division as they advanced north toward Baghdad."

    "Fox News reported from the United Nations late on Sunday that U.N. weapons inspectors had been unaware of any factory in the area of Najaf that might be capable of producing chemical weapons, citing a spokesman for the inspectors."

    This "major find" was plastered every minute on the Fox news even some of the more skeptical channels picked it up. FOX News was going wild with it.

    The truth later and very low key:

    The Pentagon says that reports of a "huge" cache of chemical weapons being found by allied troops south of Baghdad are ``premature'', although the US is "looking into sites of interest".

    No. 18, 22 - Najaf - Chemical weapons facilities bombed 1991.

    Inspectors Knew of the site, and it was destroyed long ago......

    Not sure if Fox recalled the initial statements..

    also see http://www.elitetrader.com/vb/showthread.php?postid=225199&highlight=Fox+AND+weapons#post225199

    hmm... what happened to all them warmongering chickenhawks
  5. BOoooo HOOOooo Hoooooo:( :(

    For decades the liberals owned the press in print and tv.....now Fox comes along and offers an alternative to their left wing slants and they cry !!!!!

    BTW: Myerson above is a Left wing columnist who has been writing propaganda for years about the right.....but now he's upset because another point of view is being heard????

    Hoo: You should be applauding a strong right wing program so there ARE different opinions and views....but I'll challenge you and others on this:

    Fox has Greta, Geraldo and Colmes on their nightly news/opinion line up.....

  6. TriPack

    I take it that you agree with the rest of my post?

  7. Yeah the left doesn't do that.....like when all three major liberal networks ( CBS was first) announced that Gore won Florida at 8:05 ....and then went on to say how that was basically it and that GW would have to win every single state now...blah blah blah.....and also ignored the fact that some parts of Florida were still open for voting in the pan handle because they are on Central time....I mean, that election was decided by about 1500 votes yet they were confident enough to predict that early???
  8. Chalk it up to talk radio too. There are something like 300+ conservatives in syndication and under 10 liberals. None of the opinions expressed in these one-horse shows comes under scrutiny, so people accept it as fact after awhile.
  9. Maverick74


    What on God's green earth are you talking about? Is this thread for real or some kind of joke? Do you have any idea how many freaking liberals there are on the Fox News Network? Do you? Answer please.

    Next, please give me one show on the Fox News Network that does not have liberal guests on every single night. Name just one. Just one, come on.

    Also, please give me one example how Fox manipulates the news. Just one.

    You guys can't just come in here and post articles from die hard liberal columnists and then add your own .02 like yup he's right without backing it up with cold hard facts.

    The bottom line is the mainstream media has been very liberal for 50 years. Tom Brokaw admitted as did Peter Jennings as did Dan Rather. All three of them agreed that the media in general has a liberal slant.

    So now we have one network, just one, that instead of perpetuating the liberal propaganda that the left spews, they offer a differing opinion. That's right, a differing opinion. They don't change the facts, just the way in which information is presented. And thank God they are.

    I swear, the stuff that get's posted on this board is mind boggling. We have a very large community here of very intelligent traders and it just blows me away some of the stuff that gets posted.
  10. Here is right wing perspective in a nutshell.

    Q: Mr. NeoCon, is Fox guilty of presenting slanted news to bias the viewers?

    A. The liberal media controls all the other stations.

    Q. Is it right for majority of the media, which you claim to be liberal in their bias, to attempt to report the news in a slanted manner to support their political bias?

    A. Yes, that is the problem, on principle it is absolutely wrong for the media to have a bias.

    Q. Then if it is wrong for the media to present news with a bias, isn't Fox wrong for presenting news with a right wing bias?

    A. Fox isn't biased, they are right.

    Q. I am confused, you say it is wrong to be biased on principle, but that if Fox does so it is OK because they are right. That sounds hypocritical, doesn't it?

    A. Clinton is hypocritical, we are right.

    Q. It sounds like what you are saying is that you are always right because the left is always wrong.

    A. Exactly.
    #10     Oct 23, 2003