Like the Hatfields and the McCoys, the relationship between the factual progressive, non-profit journalism accountability group Media Matters and FOX News is an ongoing feud over what has made serious journalism mistakes in presenting the news to the American public.
In their weekly radio show on Sirius Radio, and their web site, Media Matters often has a litany of questionable factual discrepancies made by FOX in its reporting.
A search of Media Matter’s web site for February 2015 alone has seven pages of articles about FOX and its top personalities (Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Dana Perino, Stuart Varney, Lou Dobbs, etc.) as well as various other right-wing guests, who have presented slanted and distorted stories that are not part of accepted, old-school mainstream journalism practices.
Not only is this pure propaganda, but it is good business. Hannity’s net worth is estimated to be $55 million, while Rush Limbaugh has signed a $100 million, 10-year contract to be the mouthpiece for the Republican Party. Yet on their daily shows, these conservative commentators claim to speak for the average American.
The FOX Distortions
This focus on FOX by Media Matters is fertile ground for media criticism and presents a near- endless source of material for any objective citizen and watchdog media group.
The problem is that FOX was never intended to be a traditional news source like the old NBC, CBS and ABC. It was always envisioned as an incendiary, ideologically-driven, infotainment outlet with a distinctive propaganda purpose.
In the words of FOX News and Republican media advisor David Frum, the idea behind FOX was to provoke the audience “into a fever of indignation (to keep them watching) and fomenting mistrust of all other information sources, so that they never change the channel.” This fed FOX’s “liberal media” fetish as evidenced when Shawn Hannity used to look into the camera and mouth “too liberal” when his artificial liberal sidekick Alan Combs used to deliver a short rebuttal to the overwhelmingly conservative onslaught against anything remotely associated with the Obama administration.
To keep viewers near the fever pitch of indignation, FOX manipulates any news event into an attack on the U.S., the military, corporations, the Constitution, states’ rights, gun possession, law and order and patriotism. It’s also a given that the Obama administration is the paramount enemy.
All this leaves Media Matters chasing windmills since it is concerned about factual reporting and that is not even on the radar screen at FOX. Instead, FOX is the conservative political philosophies brand manager and it, along with Rush Limbaugh, essentially control the Republican Party.
As the Media Matters web site says, it “posts rapid-response items, as well as longer research and analytic reports documenting conservative misinformation throughout the media.” This is a constant job since the misinformation pipeline is always flowing full bore.
Combating propaganda with truth and facts is a thankless task. This will keep Media Matters busy for the long-term, as individual citizens watch the country overrun by false claims and misleading facts. All this makes it a sad day for democracy and traditional journalism.