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Current news – the Fox affair.

September 7, 2016

In advance of the NBC “Commander-in-Chief Forum”, you might fairly say that a political op-ed blog is likely to have a slow news day.

Well, the day is still young, but in the momentary lull, it seems like a good time to address a few other trending stories.

One of those is the shake-up at Fox News.

First a confession.  I actually do watch more than just Fox News. It’s kind of hard to write about politics in general and only have one source in the public media field.

That being said, there aren’t a lot of non-liberal cable and broadcast television outlets from which to choose.

For a while you had the Glenn Beck show for the ultra Conservative hard-right crowd, and BloombergTV, NBC,CBS and ABC for the mainstream liberals. And then there was Fox.

Fox bills itself as “fair and balanced” and that’s kind of what independents want.

Did Fox have a conservative right tilt?

Undeniably, yes.

But it did at least strive to give liberal guests face time, sometimes a lot of it, and for all intents and purposes it was the only somewhat reasonable alternative to the liberal media.

My personal favorite is “Special Report.”  Both Brit Hume and his successor Bret Baier seem to have a more journalistic approach than some of the other on-air personalities.

If I wanted the ultra conservative lean, there was always Sean Hannity, who has had some really good guests on occasion, and is more than capable of conducting a competent interview when he wants to do so.

Even Bill O’Reilly, whose love affair with himself  gets downright annoying at times (OK, most times)  has had some terrific pieces on American history as it actually happened, not as revisionists would like to portray it.

If you like an openly cynical and amusingly snarky take on the daily news you could always catch Shepherd Smith.  For a guy who professes to love working in New York, his take on tourists with skyscraper awe gone walk-about was always good for a smile, even if it probably made the New York C of C wince.  And once in a while, he shows flashes of being a really good reporter.

Along about the time that it became obvious that DJT was going to be more than a passing fling with voters, there was a very subtle, almost imperceptible shift.

Some on-air personalities clearly weren’t in love with Trump.  It wasn’t necessarily what they said but more the occasional flash of what a popular cat litter commercial calls “stank-face.”

OK, so what?

WTH, fair and balanced means there’s room for two sides to every argument.

Just before Gretchen Carlson left the network and filed her sexual harassment lawsuit after purportedly silently enduring more than a decade of sexual misconduct, you could sense there was something going on, some sort of philosophical shift.

Some conservative guests, particularly Trump supporters, were unceremoniously cut off in mid-comment with the ever popular “sorry, there’s a commercial break coming up” even when said break didn’t occur for another two minutes.

If it is that obvious to a casual viewer, it must  be really tense in makeup and the green room at times.

Of course the whole thing broke wide open when Roger Ailes resigned.

No one but the principals involved knows what really goes on behind the scenes at any business, and news channels are not any different.

Show me an employed woman who has never endured a sexually toned comment or a wolf whistle or even a misogynistic supervisor and I’ll show you a hermit.

Given that all of the people doing most of the talking are well-versed in the science (or is it art?)  of manipulating public opinion, what you see on-air and in print on any channel probably needs a boxcar load of salt before you swallow it hook, line, and sinker.

There is open speculation that Fox is about to become what one newscaster called “more mainstream,” and what others might call liberal.

That would be a disservice to the American viewer. The country needs to be able to access all the sides of an issue.

For some of us, the incessant drumbeat of what some call political correctness and others call naked brainwashing requires a counterbalance.

It’s hard to say if Fox will be another casualty of the 2016 election.  With the rumor mill rife with speculation of the unconfirmed variety, I, like the rest of you will sit back and watch the show.

One thing I do know.  You don’t have to like Fox News, but the country needs it or something like it, or at least what it started out to provide.

From → op-ed

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