Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Fox Portrays a War of Good and Evil

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Fox Portrays a War of Good and Evil

"Osama bin Laden, according to Fox News Channel anchors, analysts and correspondents, is "a dirtbag," "a monster" overseeing a "web of hate." His followers in Al Qaeda are "terror goons." Taliban fighters are "diabolical" and "henchmen."
Ever since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, the network has become a sort of headquarters for viewers who want their news served up with extra patriotic fervor. In the process, Fox has pushed television news where it has never gone before: to unabashed and vehement support of a war effort, carried in tough-guy declarations often expressing thirst for revenge." (Rutenberg, N.Y. Times, 12/3/01).

No other event in recent history has so changed the rules of engagement as the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Even the most pacifist-minded of groups were riled up by the horrible, mind-boggling events of that day, in which nearly 3000 civilians lost their lives-- a day that started out simply as a bright, sunny Tuesday morning in September.

With the American public's anger at the terrorists at full throttle, Fox News Channel gave the green light to its anchors and analysts to NOT hold back their tongues in a journalistic effort to be politically correct. Instead, they were encouraged to go after a "no-holds barred" approach to news of Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Needless to say, this type of emotional, name-calling, flag-waving approach to telling the story is not what is taught at Columbia's School of Journalism.

Since its inception in 1996, Fox News Channel has always had a reputation of being politically conservative. But after 9/11, Fox correspondents went over-the-top in displaying their patriotic fervor, all while being given the stamp of approval from their bosses at Fox. Emotions were allowed to triumph over objective reporting, in a way never before displayed by the so-called media elites.

As Roger Ailes, the Fox News chairman said at the time, "Look, we understand the enemy- they've made themselves clear; they want to murder us, We don't sit around and get all gooey and wonder if these pople have been misunderstood in their childhood, If they're going to try to kill us, that's bad."

While many Americans seemed to go along with the Fox approach, as demonstrated by the growing audience of Fox News Channel (some days larger than that of CNN), critics of the Fox approach are not hard to find, particularly among students of journalism. You would think that Fox correspondents would "cool their jets" somewhat and not join the ranks of yellow journalism, or would you?


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very good post. A thoughtful discussion of the material.

The popularity of Fox news is significant. The brand of news they sell is a hit with Americans. What does this mean? Are they giving the people what they want?

5/07/2007 10:58 PM  

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