Friday, March 6, 2009

Fox News has Found Their New Strategy for Ratings

I think most would agree that critical journalism that examines issues in detail is not only necessary, but fundamental to a healthy and functioning Democracy. Asking the tough questions and holding our elected officials to account should be a staple for journalists and enabling citizens to have an open and fair discourse on the issues is a responsibility that falls upon the shoulders of those who fall into the important role of host, journalist, and analyst. It is not a shock that we do not have this in what is called the "mainstream" media. What this country has is a corporate media that chases ratings points so that they can sell advertising dollars, even if it means the quality of the content suffers. (Coverage of the Octomom anyone?)

This brings me to Fox News. They have found that criticizing Obama (by calling him a "Communist" and a "Socialist") has boosted their ratings. Glenn Beck has been a prime example of how this formula has led to a ratings boost. Beck had a two year news program over at CNN's "Headline News" and has recently moved over to Fox at 2pm. He believes that this country is on the march to socialism and communism and regularly does things like this:

This is not the ranting and raving of one television host, but rather the way in which the network's chief executive, Roger Ailes, wishes to proceed against the current Administration. Take what Ailes had to say in a recent LA Times piece:

But before Beck could say anything, Ailes shared a message of his own: The country faced tough times, he said, and Fox News was one of the only news
outlets willing to challenge the new administration.

"I see this as the Alamo," Ailes said, according to Beck. "If I just had somebody who was willing to sit on the other side of the camera until the last shot is fired, we'd be fine."

Do you think the other hosts on Fox have taken notice? Check out this intro to Sean Hannity's show "Hannity's America" from a February broadcast:

This is what happens when ideology and increased ratings hide behind slogans like "fair and balanced" and "we report, you decide". This is not holding people to account, it is ridiculous segments and video montages that sensationalize and distort as opposed to educate and get to the truth.

Recently Glenn Beck held a special edition of his program (called the "War Room") in which he drew up random future scenarios and their potential dyer consequences. It was as ridiculous as it sounds and Stephen Colbert spoofed it on The Colbert Report recently. Ironically, the spoof gives you a better angle on the truth than Beck's program on a "news" network. Enjoy:

Part One:

Part Two:

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