Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fox Hires Palin to Polarize and Brian Williams has his own Episode of Rage over 'Roids

Two items of note within the corporate media that struck me today.

The first is that Sarah Palin was hired by Fox News to be an on-air commentator and analyst. While this piece of news is far from shocking, what I found interesting was that Fox deliberately hired Palin to be a polarizing figure. Here are the comments of Fox News Executive Vice President for Programming Bill Shine talking about what he hopes Palin will bring to the network:

"She is one of the most talked about and politically polarizing figures in the country...first off, we hope she brings that."

Palin will begin her tenure on Fox this evening on The O'Reilly Factor. If O'Reilly's comments from yesterday are any indication, he will be welcoming Palin with open arms in her quest to further her political goals.

Won't it be interesting to see how Fox plans to cover news about Palin's political future considering that they are now paying her?

The second media moment that struck me today is yet another reflection of just how out of touch and out-of-whack the corporate media can be. Last night on NBC Evening News, host Brian Williams delivered this introduction to NBC's lead story on the "shocking" revelation that Mark McGuire admitted to using steroids:

Because this is a family broadcast, we probably can't say what we'd like to about the news today that Mark McGwire, the home run hitter, the fan favorite from the St. Louis Cardinals, stopped lying today and admitted that he did it while on steroids. For those of us who were raising young baseball fans and baseball players who looked up to Mark McGwire, that summer of '98 was magical stuff as he and Sammy Sosa vied back and forth for the title of single season home run king. He didn't tell the truth to Congress or to his fans until, finally, formally coming clean today. He's been unable to get into the hall of fame, and apparently, even for him, the shame here was too much.

You can watch the full video of the piece here:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I was struck not just that this was NBC's lead story of the evening, but at the contempt that Williams had in his denouncement of McGuire. Charles Pierce of the Boston Globe puts it nicely in his post entitled "Brian Williams is Four Years Old":

Oh, for heaven's sake.
Apparently, Brian Williams, the anchor of the NBC Nightly News, had his widdle illusions all broke to pieces yesterday. There are two wars going on. The economy is staggering around like a BC sophomore outside Mary Ann's on St. Patrick's Day. The country is trying to reform a health-care "system" that is killing people out of sheer neglect, and this is what gets Williams -- whose outrage meter seems, well, erratic -- chewing on his own liver? Cronkite on Vietnam, this is not.

Glenn Greenwald agrees:

If Williams has expressed even a small inkling of an objection -- let alone righteous outrage -- over things like torture, lies that led to the Iraq War, chronic surveillance lawbreaking and the like, I'd be quite surprised. Walter Cronkite famously and unusually abandoned precepts of journalistic "objectivity" in order to stand up to the U.S. Government's lies over the Vietnam War; Brian Williams -- who was embedded in the Iraq War and was a reverent commentator regarding everyone involved -- does so in order to stand up to a detested, powerless baseball player. In that contrast one finds a nice illustration of what our modern press corps is.

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