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Cable News Media Bias Examples: You’re The Cause and What You Must Do

by John on 04/05/2012

Here are two more excuses to turn off cable news – for good.  Granted, there are hundreds or thousands of reasons.  Here are the two newest ways to define media bias.

The first comes from the perennial favorite when it comes to media bias and distortion – Fox News Channel.

Fox News Reporter Heather Childers raised a question on Twitter about the Obama campaign threatening to kill Chelsea Clinton if Bill and Hilary pushed the birther theory.  Here’s the post from a whacko blogger.  You can question Fox News’ legitimacy when this is the garbage they read.

When the liberal watchdog Media Matters (another problem with the media) questioned Childers, she tweeted back that she was just “looking for opinions” and Media Matters should post an article to refute the claim.

Let me give you the real-life equivalent to this media shenanigan. Imagine we’re in the midst of a large group of people – and I ask you this out loud so everyone can hear.

“I am not saying YOU are a CHILD MOLESTER … but is child molestation something you ever thought about doing?”
If you were in your right mind, you would deck me and never talk to me again.  But you would probably ask, “Why would you ask me that?”
To which I reply in Fox News fashion: “I never said you were a child molester, did I? No.”

Here’s the cable talkers’ MO.  They don’t accuse anyone.  They only infer something about you that their audience takes as the truth.

Here’s scenario Number-2.  Lawrence O’Donnell, on his MSNBC show, took issue with Mitt Romney insinuating that President Obama is really a secularist.  Romney told supporters that Obama has a war on religion.  That’s a far cry from being a Socialist-Muslim, I guess.

But O’Donnell then went on to explain that Romney has a Mormon problem.  Some polls say about 1-in-5 voters wouldn’t vote for a Mormon. 

O’Donnell then attacked Mormonism as a faith that was started when Joseph Smith’s wife caught him fornicating with a young maid – and he explained to his wife that this was a calling from God. 

Who’s painting with the reputation smearing brush now, Lawrence?  You just described millions of members of the LDS Church of basing their faith on the libido of a 19th Century farmer.  Is there any difference to Catholics saying the Anglican faith was based on the balls of Henry rather than the rock of Peter?  Or could non-Christians make the economic case that Jesus was a 30-year-old man who couldn’t find a job and he still lived with his mother.
 
Think about what Fox and MSNBC are bringing you.  Most of the information is pure spin for either the Democrats or the Republicans.

What’s worse: this stuff goes viral on the web.  It is picked up by the so-called media watchdog groups like Media Matters on the left and on the right Media Research Center who take the spin to a higher level.

Notice what all this is doing.

First, we lose time on the important issues: jobs; the deficit; the economy; and energy.  I can’t recall anyone on cable news discussing the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan.

Second, the discourse among Americans only gets less conciliatory.  How come I can see some validity to both sides of issues while Fox and MSNBC can only present one side?

Third, you are not watching news and information. You are watching entertainment.  We have turned our politicians into Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen.  Why do you think Sarah Palin was a guest host on the Today Show?   

So who’s to blame?  The answer is simple: we are.

If you watch this garbage, you’re only encouraging them.  TV executives are not stupid; they have ways to figure out what you want to see.  And you keep telling them that this is the garbage you want.  So, don’t complain about the political discourse in this country.  Look at yourself first.

The Cable news networks, the so-called media watchdogs, and the political parties are one entity similar to the NFL or other professional sports leagues.  They conduct their games and contests for our entertainment and we pay for it.

This is what I call the sports bias of news.  It’s pure entertainment that we invest in.  Don’t get me wrong about the sports leagues: I am a big fan of all sports and at times an avid viewer.  But that is sports; it’s not life and death.  These groups are making money by turning into a sport the most important issues facing us.  Think about it this way.  The Giants won the Super Bowl.  The next day we go about our lives whether we were rooting for the Giants or not.  The same thing happens with elections: someone gets elected and the next day they go back to whoever paid to put them in office – but it has a major effect on our lives.

To be fair, there are cases where cable news has been fair and honest.  Shepherd Smith on Fox News stood up to some of the insinuations from guests that Obama was not born in the U.S.  But why do you have to wade through all the garbage to find some honest material?  Frankly, it’s a waste of time.  Plus, if the cable talkers produce anything worthwhile, you will be able to see it on the web.  

So, here’s what you should think about doing.

First, turn off the cable news – especially the night time talk shows.  If you watch only one channel, then you are a partisan – a lazy partisan.  If you watch both channels to get the full story, then you are wasting a lot of time.  I can teach you how to get all the information you need online in 20 minutes compared to enduring 2 hours or more with these purveyors of nonsense.

Ironically, it’s already happening.  A new report says more than one million people have cancelled cable services and are using entertainment providers like Hulu or Netflix.

Second, if you have to watch them, then only watch the channel that you are not in sympathy with.  In other words, if you are liberal, you can only watch Fox News; if you’re conservative you can only watch MSNBC.  Learning the other side of the issue could help make you more informed.

Third, if you have to watch your brand of cable news, then do us all a favor: please don’t give us your opinions on politics and the economy.  You will be tempted to mimic the carnival barkers on cable, because it’s easy.  But if you fail to stay silent, we’re allowed to judge you as a moron.

Fourth, wouldn’t you rather watch real entertainment – a sitcom, a drama, a show on HBO or Showtime?  Personally, I think cable’s entertainment fare is pretty good.  That’s another blog.

Fifth, there is some TV news you should be watching.  Again, that is another post coming up.

Sixth, and the most important, stop being mentally lazy.  Watching this stuff is like crack.  It feels good but it’s horrible for you.  Yes, the issues we face today are complex.  They require work on our part – as citizen journalists – to try to find answers.  We may not know all the answers; and there may be many good answers.  But to trivialize the issues into simple, short-sighted, and biased responses and solutions is only giving us more of what we have today in Congress.

You won’t be seeing many more posts like this one on cable news.  I could watch cable news everyday and find egregious examples of media bias and distortion for you.  That is a waste of my time – and yours. 

Plus, this column is dedicated to people like you who want real news that will help them live, raise their kids, grow their business or job opportunities and become decent citizens and nice people.

 

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