. Interchanging Idioms: Should you be listening to Fox News?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Should you be listening to Fox News?


The danger in getting news from Fox News is the perception that what you hear is the truth. In April 2015, the CEO of Fox News admits they are not in the news business, but in the entertainment business.  Fox News is registered with the FCC, not as news, but as entertainment. 

There are a number of reasons for this, one being entertainment programming outperforms news programming. So, in terms of advertising dollars, Fox News does better as entertainment. But, another aspect of being entertainment rather than being news is the requirements set by the FCC. The FCC requires news outlets to be able to substantiate 45% of their news content. This means they have to employ staff to find the sources to corroborate what they report as fact on their broadcast. By not registering as news, Fox can do away with the staffing needs to substantiate what they say. This doesn't mean what they say isn't true, they just haven't done the due diligence to back it up.

According to the 2006 report by The Project on Excellence in Journalism sixty-eight percent of Fox News stories contained personal opinions. MSNBC came in at twenty-seven percent and CNN at four percent.  Even the self-described conservative, Bruce Bartlett argues that Fox News is bad for politics. In his paper titled “How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics,” he says:

"...it can almost be called self-brainwashing – many conservatives now refuse to even listen to any news or opinion not vetted through Fox, and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth."

Even emails released from with the organization point to daily influence of senior executives as to the slant of stories. There is clearly an agenda by the Fox News organization and it isn't reporting the news.

With the recent scandal of blatantly fake news reports proving to be very lucrative, it appears that Fox News is already ahead of the curve, realizing it can make more money by reporting slanted stories with no concern as to the factual validity. They have gained a huge viewership by peppering just enough actual news into their broadcast, mixed with the sensationalist stories that people find entertaining, to be a very profitable business. But, it is not news. By their own definition, they are not news.

I am in favor of entertainment, but it should be labeled honestly. Calling itself "News" is deceptive.

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