25 December 2004 | scubergmu
Pretty solid case, I hope somebody is paying attention
Outfoxed does an excellent job of diagnosing why people talk so much about the Fox News network. For while Fox has some of the highest ratings of any of the news networks, it is also commonly criticized for its not so "fair and balanced" programming. It is chronicled in this film how Fox succeeds in bringing in the viewers the same way that best-selling polemics and political talk radio do, they serve up to their audience heroes and villains. This method is so effective because the major issues facing this country and the world are generally very complicated, and require a reasonable amount of background information in order to make a sober judgments. However, most people have neither the time, nor the inclination for anything like that. Most do not follow politics to learn, to be challenged, or to take action, they simply want to feed their outrage. If their anger about the world around them can be explained away by blaming the people they already have ideological differences with, well that's just awesome. So, they often take refuge in the consistent, simplified, outrage-inducing commentary of their oh-so familiar talking heads. This, to me is the essence of Fox News. From its on-air discussion groups, to its choice of stories, as well as its evening talk shows, it is all about spoon-feeding people with stories of heroic conservatives, fighting to strengthen America against its enemies, both foreign (terrorists) and domestic (liberals). The film demonstrates how Fox news achieves this through a steady feed of news reporting that is highly regulated, intentionally biased, and aligned around a predetermined ideological slant.
As far as I'm concerned, to explain the behavior of FoxNews by saying that it is simply "standing up for the conservative perspective in a sea of mainstream media liberalism" as many conservatives do, is highly misleading. I believe one can rightfully stand up for any perspective they want, just so long as they aren't forced to resort to dishonest, intentionally biased reporting in order to make or bolster their case. In Outfoxed, director Robert Greenwald makes a very compelling case that Fox News, in the interests of carving out that niche for itself, does that far more than the other news networks.
However, since it is exposing the methods of a successful conservative organization, the conservatives who hear of Outfoxed will most likely write it off as nothing more than liberal propaganda. That to me is the ultimate problem with the polarized American political scene. Just about anyone who would be interested in the subject matter of this film as politically oriented as it is, has probably already made up their mind about Fox News one way or the other.