Let's leave aside for now Truth with a big T, as in objective, eternal, changeless realities à la Plato's forms, or as in Christian metaphysical "Word of God" absolutes. What happened to truth that allows us simply to trust the non-stop everyday things we are told? Trust, like going to a light switch and knowing that when you flip it to on, there will be light, because that's what normally functioning light switches do.
I switch on the "news" and I expect to get events and developments reported, because that's what (I thought) normally functioning news does. I do not expect or want so-called reporting slanted in favor of one political camp against another. Fox News claims that it "reports" and we the audience can decide if that's true. And in the face of video and document-backed critiques and exposés, Fox has repeatedly claimed that its reporting is not biased. Hence the need for the slogan: "We report, you decide".
Yet in a 2011 interview with comedian Jon Stewart (in which Stewart attributed his comedic success partly to peoples' disappointment with the news media), Fox anchor Chris Wallace said: "I don't think our viewers are the least bit disappointed with us. I think our viewers think, finally, they're getting somebody who tells the other side of the story."
I may not be the sharpest knife in the butcher block, so I need a little help here. Isn't that an admission of bias? Also, if a key mission of Fox is to tell their bias or "side of the story", isn't their other slogan disingenuous? "Fair and Balanced". The implications of Chris Wallace's admission is that Fox is not presenting "fair and balanced" news, but rather news shaped to counter other views?
Fine, if the NEWS is not factual reporting (and probably never has been), then I just wish it would be called something else. When I want opinion, I read the Op-Eds. If I want propaganda I'll put my brain on coast and listen to talk radio, or watch "reality" TV and commercial ads.
At least we can get one thing clear. Wallace's admission (and I thank him for his honesty) means that we can finally stop pretending that any one news organization is simply reporting the unvarnished "facts". Maybe it would help if "news" programs would keep opinion and propaganda to a special segment:
"And now, time for, Why the Other side is of the Devil. Brought to you by, POM Pomegranate Juice. Cheat Death. Drink POM."
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