Fox News likes to call itself fair and balanced, and it might well be. However, its quality of news reporting and their commentary is very, very shoddy.
Witness the umbrage they took over the fact that 5000 protesters were on hand in Ottawa to meet the President of the United States as he made his state visit to Canada. Lots of pictures covering the arrests, cameras focusing on the most uncouth people they could find, and then giving time to a nutbar who’d wrapped himself in the American flag and called all the protesters “communists”. They seemed to miss the shot the CBC captured of one Canadian stopping another from burning the American flag.
What was particularly galling was the holier-than-thou attitude Fox took, with one commentator apparently claiming that without the United States, Canada would be just like Nicaragua, only colder. (Update: this comment actually came from CNN. So, shame on them as well.)
Never mind the fact that the protest was overwhelmingly peaceful. Never mind the fact that the United States itself has seen protests a hundred times larger than what took place in Ottawa. Never mind the fact that we once got eight times that number to show up in Kitchener to shout at Ontario Premier Mike Harris, who wasn’t even there (I was). Never mind that twenty times that number showed up in Ottawa for the September 11th memorial (albeit for quite different reasons). Never mind that Fox commits the simplistic mistake of equating all protesters to a one as representative of the viewpoint of Canada as a whole. None of these facts were ever pointed out during the news and commentary, but never mind all that. The last time I checked, peaceful demonstrations were a legitimate means of voicing one’s dissent and concern, and having concerns about the presidency of George W. Bush is a legitimate point of view. We are entitled to that opinion even if we can’t defend it, and most of us can defend it.
That’s not to say that there weren’t incidents of rudeness at the rally, or that the people who were arrested didn’t deserve to be, but that’s not the way Fox sees it. To them, loud disagreements over Bush’s policies equate to rabid anti-Americanism. To them, you can’t criticize a president without spitting on a country, and so they decide to spit back.
I will not say that Fox’s attitude is evidence of the conservative bias in the media. I’ve said all along that the media in general do not have a political bias, and I still believe it. This is, however, a corporate bias in mainstream media in general and in Fox News in particular. Fox News does not care about the quality of its journalism so long as it attracts eyeballs.
Fox is a private business, after all, and their first priority is to make as much profit as possible, and more power to them. Unfortunately, like the rest of mainstream media outside of NPR, they appear to be trying to make profits by making their news coverage as senationalist as possible, doing as little research and due dilligence as possible. They could well be playing to a specific clientele, refusing to challenge assumptions and playing to stereotypes, giving people what they want to see but not what they need to hear. It’s just the same lax attitude to journalism that brought us the Dan Rather memos.
And it is unfortunate that Fox should choose to spit on my country all in the name of profit, but after this post, I’ll let the matter slide. In the end, it’s only Fox.
You’re Welcome II
While visiting Canada, George W. Bush was kind enough to pay a visit to Halifax to thank the Canadians there who sheltered tens of thousands of Americans stranded when all planes were grounded following the September 11th attacks. Overall, it was nice to see a pleasant visit. Maybe we can get the border opened to our beef, and maybe, if we’re very, very lucky, he might see sense in the softwood lumber dispute.
What can I say? I’m an incurable optimist. :-)
See more about the visit on the CNN overview.