Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Has Fox News Become Irrelevant?

Fox News continues to dominate CNN in the cable news sweepstakes. Fox hosts like Bill O'Reilly continue to kick ass in their time slot. Any lead CNN had during the election has eroded and we're back to the way things were before the Dems had a fascinating primary battle and ultimate victory.

But has Fox News become irrelevant?

Can you be irrelevant when you dominate the ratings? If today's "tea revolution" silliness is any indication, then perhaps the answer is yes.

Fox was all over this sorta-kinda story. This is invented news at its best. Astroturf. PR gone partisan. Fox looks desperate, kinda like the only guy at a party without a hookup -- the one who sits on the couch and pretends not to notice every other guy has a girl attached to his face. That's Fox, the lonely guy on the couch, muttering to himself.

In the world of what people know, there is a certain "preaching to the choir" feel to Hannity and all the rest of the Fox guys today. No real persuasion, because the relatively few folks who turned out for these things or who watched it on TV were already in the choir and singing the Limbaugh tune. That's cool. That's fine. I'm not making an ideological/partisan argument here, but rather that when it comes to the political debate, there is a sense that Fox has left the reservation -- especially when it comes to economic policy. The pros at this all give the Obama folks decent to good marks on their approach, while the Fox guys and gals sit alone on the couch, muttering, a silvery line of saliva slipping out of the corner of their mouth.

It's sad to watch.

Fox (and the Republicans, and there is a difference, though minor) need to get their act together and this madeup bs pr event is not the way to do it. The intellectual heft of the GOP seems to have been shoved aside in favor of something whiny and tinny and soooo 1990s. And for those who want good, solid political debate, the clashing of real ideas and the resulting compromises that make for good policy, this is bad news indeed. Earlier today I pointed to a blog about the polarization of elites and the sorting of Americans, and truly this crud today is a perfect example. A sad one at that.


Concerned Citizen said...

Everyone is welcome to their opinion. Personally, I take everything on television with a grain of salt, but I find that Fox news is no more bias toward right than the other networks, such as CNN, are to the left. Yesterdays reporting (can we really call it that?) on the Tea Party where the so called CNN 'reporter' chose to argue with the protester vice actually report the news is an excellent example of the corporate bias at CNN. So call journalists on CNN and others have been snickering for the past week talking about this event and calling it “tea-bagging.” How adult and professional. No bias there? As for your characterization of the Tea Party as "whiny and tinny", you apparently miss the importance of the event. Everyone is welcome to their opinion. In this case, if you look at who attended these rallies to voice their's, they were not the left over unwashed hippies of the 60's or the natural material clothing Birkenstock crowd, the Code Pinks or Che Guevara types. The folks there were, by and large, hard working Citizens, many middle age and middle class, conservatives. They are simply fed up with a Government which is spending trillions of dollars we do not have and which I expect my grandchildren will be paying back. We need Government to set the stage for Capitalism to flourish and generate the jobs and GDP necessary to help us recover. Provide the conditions for companies to flourish and jobs to be created. Giving away money and generating debt not the solution. You say "the pros at this give the Obama folks decent to good marks." Well, there are just as many smart people who will give them failing grades. From my perspective, the majority of the so called experts who are giving good marks are theorists and academicians like yourself. And those on the other side of the fence tend to be people who are skilled and actually understand how to run companies, generate income and create jobs. Perhaps you would have a different perspective if you challenged yourself and stepped foot out of your classroom at UGA and into real life for a while.
And your "crud" comment at the end is just simply insulting to people who are exercising their right to speak and have their voice heard. I have been told that you are fairly neutral in presenting to your students. Your writing here raises my doubts. I could have lowered myself to applying an insulting label here, but you have the right to your opinion and I respect that.

Hollander said...

Perhaps you would have a different perspective if you challenged yourself and stepped foot out of your classroom at UGA and into real life for a while.With a wife, mortgage, car payment, kids in public schools, a mom and mother-in-law who need my financial assistance, and a backyard to finish mowing today -- I got your real life right here.

I don't doubt many who attended the "tea parties" were there honestly, but Fox News has no business being a part of this. Cover it, yeah. But the network is quickly finding itself so marginalized in the national debate that it risks no longer mattering except for a few crazies. That's not the GOP I want.

Concerned Citizen said...

Yeah, perhaps the 'real life' jab was a bit out of line. But will you agree that your view of current events is significantly different from someone outside of academia?

Why focus on Fox. Do you honestly believe that other media are more balanced. CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times - they all exhibit a bias beyond 'reporting' news. They are attempting to drive the news and by extension public opinion.

Perhaps it would help if I was the one in your class… ;-)

Hollander said...

No problem. I'm just bitter about having to spend a nice afternoon mowing my stupid yard -- after I finish cleaning limbs from our recent storm.

Fox talks about the news more than it reports the news. That's brilliant from a marketing standpoint, but journalistically it's not even in the ballpark of even CNN, which isn't what it used to be. The NYTimes breaks stories every day that others follow; they put people all over the world, at great expense and danger, and simply put no one does it better except in some areas, the Wall Street Journal or perhaps The Financial Times.MSNBC is as loonie to the left as Fox is wacko to the right. Olbermann scares me.

The news audience has shrunk. It's smaller, more partisan and ideological, because most Americans locate themselves somewhere in the middle and find all this silliness, well, er, silly. They've tuned out. CNN at least struggles to not be a mouthpiece for one party, to put guys like Lou Dobbs on, to not set up straw men like Hannity and knock 'em down with a feather, and it's not sponsoring a set of rallies that is GOP-in-no-disguise.

So my main thesis remains unchanged, that Fox risks becoming irrelevant in the coming policy debate. I'm hoping the GOP doesn't do the same.

Concerned Citizen said...

I find them both wanting in ture journalism, but Fox reports (or presents) topics that I find speaks to my own thoughts and positions. Hannity is an entainer first and foremost, but again tends to speak to my positions. Fox may become irrelevent, but only if the left learns to listen to the folks who are actually paying the taxes to support the kept population the left targets for support. I will stop by from time to time and see what is on your mind. I enjoy the exchange. Not tomorrow though, I have to cut the grass and do a bit of maintenance on the cars.