Tag Archives: Fox News

Unofficial Fame Day: Shep Smith

We make an effort here at Culture War Reporters to not only decry travesties but to celebrate advances in art, politics, music, and media. And in this day and age, the presence of an honest journalist isn’t so much an advancement as it is a flippin’ miracle. That such a journalist should emerge from the McCarthyite dystopia that is FOX News is more baffling still.

But lo and behold-

Shep ****ing Smith.

Now granted- Smith’s been around for a while. His career as a journalist started clear back in 1985, and Shep’s been a top-rated newsman since the mid-90s. Still, it would be a decade later, during the “war on terror” that a change seemed to occur.

What (if anything) prompted it, I do not know. When exactly it happened- who can say? Perhaps it had been building for a while, but whatever it was, Shep Smith frickin’ lost it.

In the best possible way.


Now that clip was from 2009, by which time the debate on America’s use of torture (“enhanced interrogation”, to use the official term for it) had already been going on for some time. Again, the exact causes of Shep’s outburst are a mystery to me, but it really doesn’t matter.

This, people. This is the kind of stuff we need more of. Continue reading

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Shame Day: Sun News

Sun News and New Prosperity Mine

Some of you may remember the report I wrote this past summer describing the debate over the New Prosperity Mine application in Williams Lake. I attended a few debates over the mine with my mother-in-law and there was a very strong division in the room. Supporters of the mine wore blue scarves, were primarily white, and mostly discussed the economic benefits. Most of the individuals speaking out against the mine were from the reserves surrounding the mining area, where they would be most closely affected.

Why do they want to kill off these poor guys? But seriously, according to what I heard in the presentation, even losing a few grizzly would be a huge problem.

There were also several very detailed environmental reports brought forward after the general public discussion. While I wasn’t able to make every one due to work, I was able to sit in on a report by a grizzly bear specialist. They shared exactly how the mine project would harm the already threatened grizzly bear community in the area. Again, that was only one one of many other extensive environmental reports.

Continue reading

Shame Day: Megyn Kelly

If you’ve been sheltered from much of the world’s madness, you’ve probably been fortunate enough to avoid a Megyn Kelly, FOX News’ latest production in their attempt to create the perfect Aryan newscaster.

Seriously, it’s like a “Where Are They Now?” slideshow of the Hitlerjurgend…

For the most part, Kelly has been comparatively benign. Don’t get me wrong, she’s every much a part of the entertainment-news vomit-cycle as anyone else, but Kelly’s always been more or less decent about keeping an even keel (as much as you can at FOX) and she’s certainly hasn’t demonstrated the straight-up malice of pundits like Beck or Coulter.

At least, she didn’t used to… Continue reading

Terrible Moments in News Media (Not Limited to Rush Limbaugh)

Note: This is a version of a piece I wrote this with my brilliant friend Chris Hartline for our student newspaper, and am reprinting it here. Any goodness in it may be credited to him.

Most of the public is aware of Rush Limbaugh’s stupid and unfunny bit in which he referred to a Georgetown student as a “prostitute” and a “slut” for saying that Georgetown health insurance should cover contraception.

source: lifenews.com

Do not pay attention to this man. He will make you sad.

But the name-calling does not stop there: other instances of sexist slander have been just as offensive but haven’t received as much news coverage as Limbaugh’s insult. Bill Maher, a liberal comedian and amateur political commentator on HBO, referred to Sarah Palin as “a tw-t” and “a c-nt”. Chris Matthews, MSNBC host, called Hillary Clinton “witchy,” “uppity,” and claimed that she was elected to the Senate only because her “husband messed around.”

source: glennbeck.com

Looks like public discourse to me.

The state of the news media today is disheartening because the system of acidity seems to be self-perpetuating. Indeed, truculence has become a prevailing rhetorical device. Keith Olbermann had a segment on his show (and a book) called “The Worst Person in the World”. Glenn Beck wrote a book in 2009 called “Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government”.

Another clear manifestation of the deficit of trust of the media was a 2009 poll done by Time magazine. Walter Cronkite held the title (since 1974) of “Most Trusted Man in America”. Cronkite was the most visible figure in the media, which at the time provided objective discourse and information to the public, and he died in 2009. In the subsequent Time poll, voters said that the most trusted news anchor in America was Comedy Central host and political satirist Jon Stewart.

The fact is that the media is supposed to provide a momentary stay against political hostility, an unbiased source of objective information for the public, and that it is not doing this. Consequently, the public is losing their faith in the news media, and by extension the American political system itself.

The media has become tool used by political parties to influence the opinions of the public. A blatant example of this is the “Plan for Putting the GOP in the News” memo from the Nixon administration. The 15-page memo was anonymous, and has written comments on it by Nixon’s then-advisor and current Fox News President Roger Ailes.

Roger Ailes!

Roger Ailes: founding CEO of Fox News and adviser to Nixon, Reagan, and Bush. Also credited for possessing the world's least attractive set of jowls.

The memo stated that television was the best medium for political persuasion because of its imminent popularity: “People are lazy. With television you just sit – watch – listen.  The thinking is done for you.” The plan was to record prepackaged interviews with Republican politicians and deliver the videotapes to local news stations. Presently, critics say that Fox News has demonstrated their role as an arm of the Republican Party.

source: msnbc.com

All you need to know about Keith Olbermann is that he's not a pleasant person.

MSNBC, while on the opposite side of the political spectrum from Fox News, is similar in its audacious political stance. In a distasteful and recurring ending rant on his show, former host Keith Olbermann once shouted (his monologue was directed at then-President Bush), “This war is not about you … shut the hell up!”. Fellow host Chris Matthews also said after a 2008 Obama speech that he “felt this thrill going up my leg as Obama spoke.”

So it can be concluded that the media has become unabashedly partisan. Even the very fact that it is standard for each major newspaper to endorse a presidential candidate reflects a problem in the nature of journalism. It results in an overtly ideological news organization – the New York Times is liberal, the Wall Street Journal is conservative; the Washington Post is liberal, the Washington Times is conservative, etc.

A news staff tending to lean one way on the opinions page is typical and expected; however, the fear is that the ideological slant of the editorial pages will seep into the news coverage. The potential and underlying ‘spin’ of news stories becomes more important than the objectivity of the events being reported.

And maybe the Nixon administration’s prediction about the easy audience of television was prescient: political commentary television programs can be especially caustic and, at times, juvenile. They seem to appeal to the lowest common denominator of the public and of individuals. Keith Olbermann, Glenn Beck, Rachel Maddow, and Bill O’Reilly are all political commentators who base their rhetoric on the petty mockery of whoever disagrees with them – their arguments are negative, not positive, and clever insults take precedent over constructive criticism.

source: portland.indymedia.org

Jon Stewart pleads with the hosts of Crossfire to "stop hurting America." Crossfire was cancelled shortly after Stewart's interview.

The media itself has not only lost its ability to objectively inform the public of unbiased political events – it has become a tool for fostering and encouraging political contention. The role of the news media is not just lost – it has been perverted. As Jon Stewart said to the hosts of Crossfire, this inflammation of petty and theatrical bickering isn’t just bad journalism – it’s hurting America.

David Brooks said: “There’s a collapse in the public’s faith in American institutions. The media has done a poor job. We’ve become as insular and self-regarding as any [other institution].” It is no wonder, then, that there is a deficit of trust among the younger generations – the apparent disintegration of the integrity of our news sources is nothing less than repelling.