Thursday, February 2, 2012

Television news: The world of misinformation

The January ratings for the thirty top television news shows have been announced and, once again, unsurprisingly, Fox News dominates the ratings. The first thirteen shows listed are Fox entries. The inevitable conclusion is that most of the people in this country whose prime source for news is television get their news from Fox. Moreover, at least two scientific studies have revealed that Fox viewers are less well informed about current events than those who get their news from other sources. That explains a lot about our society and its dumbing down. Rupert Murdoch has a lot to answer for.

I don't watch Fox and so perhaps I'm not the best judge, but from what I read about the various shows, I believe that perhaps the worst offender of all may be Fox and Friends, the show that rates number 13 in the top 30, just above the first MSNBC entry to appear on the list, The Rachel Maddow Show, which I do watch. My impression is that Fox and Friends routinely and shamelessly distorts stories in the news to reflect the talking points of the right-wingers who control the network. Most, if not all, of Fox's programs apparently do this, but Fox and Friends seems the most egregious of all.

Media Matters has compiled an extensive list of the show's "Big Lies" from the previous year. For their work, the media watchdog awards them the title of "worst misinformer of 2011." Goebbels had nothing on these folks. And more than a million of your fellow citizens watch them every day and hang on every word they utter. That should keep you awake at night.

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