Monday, February 03, 2014

What Watching Only Fox News For A Month Does To You

John Haggerty wrote My personal Fox News nightmare: Inside a month of self-induced torture "I'm a card-carrying member of the ACLU. Here's what happened when I watched 3 hours of Fox every day for a month"

"Thus, on Oct. 1, 2013, I sat down on my couch and, armed with nothing but a remote, vowed to consume three hours of Fox News programming a day for an entire month, while strictly abstaining from any other sources of information about current events. I couldn’t sample all of Fox’s wares, of course, but after looking at its lineup, I chose three shows to concentrate on—”Fox & Friends,” because it seemed like it might be representative of the network’s populist, aw-shucks conservatism; Shep Smith’s News Hour, because Smith has a reputation as being the straightest shooter of the Fox anchors; and, of course, the network’s browbeater-in-chief, Bill O’Reilly."

"But now I was aware of Fox’s role as a purveyor, not only of right-wing information but of right-wing ignorance, and I began to examine my mind for things that I hadn’t gotten any information about in the past month. The most notable items that were missing, I realized, were people from other countries and poverty. Aside from the times when picturesque destruction video was available, there was essentially no coverage of foreign affairs. On the poverty side, programs like food stamps and welfare were generally referred to as handouts, and the only time poor people were mentioned was when they were a source of malfeasance. One prominent “Fox & Friends” story, for example, cited a woman who, because of a computer glitch, managed to buy $700 worth of food on a food stamp debit card with a balance of $.47.

The effect of this is interesting. Even in my short time watching Fox I found poverty fading from my mind as a problem. I was surprised one day when, during a discussion of deficit reduction (something that they talk about almost constantly), I found myself nodding in agreement that there was room to cut social programs that had already been radically slashed. Fox couldn’t convince me to care about the issues they are obsessed with (Obama’s treachery and the deficit, mostly), but by simply failing to mention a topic like income inequality, it managed to make me stop caring about the things it would prefer that I ignore."

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