10-12-01, One of the most interesting effects of this crisis on our media is that the crisis put all networks to the test, showing who could step up to the plate, and who just babbles propaganda.
For the last month CBS News and CNN have excelled in their coverage of the WTC crisis and the reaction in the Middle East. They had good resources, on-location reporters, excellent video feeds, terrific collaboration with other networks worldwide, and anchors quite up to the task (Dan Rather has been THE BEST, indeed). Other networks like MSNBC and ABC came in second, as some of their limitations showed, and were forced to fill empty hours with political drivel and mindless interviews.
The worst of the lot was indeed Fox News. The Fox News channel, which Murdoch founded as a right-wing propaganda bullhorn, demonstrated over the last few years how a TV network with basically no resources could make a lot of money broadcasting scandals and innuendo. You don't need a lot of cash to put on the screen rabid right-wing wackos bashing Clinton 24/7. That was the entire Fox News media strategy: bashing a Democrat and creating scandal and innuendo 24 hours a day.
When we had a real crisis of tremendous magnitude and world consequences, Fox News was caught naked, unable to compete with real news channels who actually had the resources, personnel, and strategy to cover such event. It was clear for many of us that Fox was, all of the sudden, OUTED as the right-wing propaganda machine that it is. The crisis has proven that Fox was established only to cover political sex scandals. They have been unable to properly cover the events of the last few weeks.
What has Fox done to cover for their lack of resources and professionalism? Here are some samples:
- Since they couldn't compete with real news networks, they tried to "out-patriot" them by filling the screen with computer generated American flags.
- They engaged in a flag-pin controversy, forcing all of their anchors to wear them in their lapels, then accusing other networks of "lack of patriotism."
- Since they didn't have the resources to properly cover this international news event, they filled their time with endless hours of right-wing debates, viewers calls, and interviews to right-wing personalities. Even their own Fox journalists had to interview each other just to fill time (O'Reilly has been interviewed by all of the Fox anchors over the last few weeks, almost daily).
- Fox also engaged on what they do best: creating a political SCANDAL. Since the tragedy took place, they have made strong efforts to pin blame on the Clintons. Everyone at Fox has gone the extra mile to find ways to stretch the truth in order to artificially pin the blame of this on the Big Dog. They are failing miserably, since they are unable to change some basic truths from our recent history: Clinton and Gore tried to fight terrorism, but were constantly limited and ridiculed by the Republican Congress and Senate.
- Fox, lacking on-site reporters, even had the audacity of stealing a reporter from CNN who was assigned to Afghanistan. Not only Fox showed they had no resources, but no ethic standards when dealing with their competitors.
When it comes to scandal and right-wing triviality, Fox demonstrated they can get the ratings. But when they are called to do a serious, professional job, they end up looking like complete idiots. In the real world, they would be out of business within a month, but we wouldn’t be that lucky. We all know that “sugardaddy” Murdoch did not create this network to compete with others, but to propagate his right-wing agenda.