I am a procrastinator, I admit it. For some time now I have wanted to add a Rated R section to the website. It is inspired by the economic boycotts that the union and civil rights movements used so effectively in the past. I realize a full boycott is sometimes impractical and often would hurt the boycotter as much or more than the boycotted. Therefore the Rated R, as in the movie rating, “R – Restricted”. I am asking my readers to restrict their patronage of the listed institutions. Today we list our first of what will be many organizations or products – Fox News.
You are probably saying to yourself I already do not watch Fox News, what do you want to do – censor it? I realize my readers are not Fox News viewers. I am not talking about what Americans do in the privacy of their home I am talking about in public. I am a staunch believer in the First Amendment and do not advocate censorship. I am not calling for taking Fox News off the air. I view Fox News as political pornography and it should be treated as such. You wouldn’t subject your family to viewing pornography in a public place, (i.e. a restaurant or a waiting room), so why should they have to be exposed to political pornography in public places?
My problem with Fox News is not their political slant. This is America and everyone is not going to see things the same way. My problem with Fox News is that they don’t base their opinions on facts. Both sides are equally correct in the classic glass half full or half empty debate. If you are telling me the glass is half whatever when in fact it is widget that is in front of us then I have a problem. Perhaps the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan said it best, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” The recent incident that was the proverbial straw that broke this camel’s back was a discussion between Fox News’ alleged legal expert Megyn Kelly and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on his show. The topic was the pepper spray incident at UC Davis. Ms. Kelly asserted that pepper spray was, “Essentially a food product,” O’Reilly, agreed and went on to downplay the incident. That is simply untrue and outrageous.
Your thought may be who would actually believe such rubbish? The answer is apparently a significant portion of Fox News viewers. Fairleigh Dickinson University recently released the results of a study they conducted in October that tested the knowledge of current events correlated with the respondents’ news source. It found that Fox News viewers were less well informed than people who didn’t listen to the news or read newspapers. The only logical conclusion is that Fox News is feeding them inaccurate information. Watching Fox News is not only a waste of time, it is harmful. People who claimed to get their news from Jon Stewart’s comedy show were better informed than Fox News viewers. That’s correct; a comedian is doing a better job at delivering the news than an alleged news organization. As a side note, the study found people who responded that NPR was their primary source for news proved to be the best informed. Perhaps that is why the Republicans are fighting so hard to defund it.
There is an old acronym in the computer industry: G.I.G.O. It stands for garbage in, garbage out. Its meaning is that if the data you input is invalid how can you expect a valid conclusion? The pepper spray incident is by no means an isolated incident. When Fox News viewers are continually feed falsehoods how can they make informed decisions? The answer is they can’t because the information they are asked to base the decisions on is false.
Fox News claims to be fair and balanced. They are neither – perhaps that is too lofty of a goal for them. I have a suggestion for them, before you worry about being fair and balanced try being accurate.
What I am asking my readers to do is that when you go into a public place that has Fox News on the television either ask that they change the channel or tell them that you’re sorry but you won’t be able to patronize their business because of what is on the television. Every time you are successful you have helped stop the spread of disinformation.
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