Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

An excellent example of how difficult it is to fix a cultural balance once it’s broken

leave a comment »

Our social constructs—organizations, work groups, interpersonal relationships, committees, municipal government—are really rather fragile, it seems to me. A few bad actors can affect the dynamic in a ways that things become unbalanced and spin out of control—the corrupt sheriff who corrupts the judge and prosecutor and soon the town’s culture starts to resemble a feudal arrangement of powerful exploiting powerless in many ways. Or even the smoothly functioning committee that falls apart because of frictions caused by one borderline personality on it.

Look at what Fox News has done to the news industry, for example. This excellent column by Sophia McClennen in Salon is well worth reading:

Jon Stewart has been on the interview circuit to promote his new film, “Rosewater,” but many of his comments have turned to partisan politics and the pundits who encourage them.  Interviewers have not been able to resist the urge to talk about Stewart’s thoughts on the midterm elections, on immigration, and on the legacy of Obama.  But what has been really interesting to watch is Stewart’s comments on Fox News and on commentators like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Stewart explained that most of Fox News is about fear.  Fox News viewers, he explained, operate in a world where they have a high sense of being persecuted, and this is why, for instance, we will soon see pieces on the “War on Christmas” with commentators standing next to 60-foot-tall Christmas trees.  But not all Fox News commentators are equal in Stewart’s eyes.  He considers O’Reilly to be more like a “Kennedy Democrat” who comes by his views honestly.  Not so with Hannity, whom Stewart describes as “probably the most loathsome dude over there.” He describes Hannity as espousing “pure cynicism”: “Everything is presented in as devious a manner as it could possibly be presented.”

It’s worth remembering that from the moment that Fox News was founded in 1996 the goal was to offer a partisan view of the news.  David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt in “The Fox Effect” explain in detail how Roger Ailes turned the cable channel into a propaganda machine.  And once the channel launched, all other cable news responded. Few recall that Ann Coulter used to work for MSNBC before Fox was founded.  It’s hard to imagine it in the blue versus red world we live in now.

Three years after Fox News used the slogan “fair and balanced” to promote a channel that had no intention of being either, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 November 2014 at 2:01 pm

Posted in Business, Media

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.