Fox News is not real news

Frank Yonkof


A few months back, I wrote a column called “My (Republican) pet peeve list,” which was pretty much a pre-Christmas break rant against everything that annoyed me. As expected, a few people were not very happy, and I received some hate e-mail.


But to my surprise, everyone who e-mailed me had a problem with one point in particular in which I criticized Fox News for not being real news.


“Fox News is the most watched cable news station — more than CNN and MSNBC combined lol — in America so you just told likeee 70 percent of the people that the news they watch is fake,” wrote one angry man. “Have an awful Christmas break.”


Even the head of the Portage County Tea Party (apparently there is such a thing — I was surprised too) wrote a 1,000-word e-mail, which was partially devoted to defending Fox.


“If you don’t think that Fox is real news, then you need to find a new major. If you think, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, ABC and CBS are real news, then your major should be film studies and you can study the history of propaganda.”


Now, there were a lot of things you could have said about that column. Even though my fellow Democrats saw the column as entertaining, I can see why a Republican would be upset.


Even so, I am left to wonder why the comment about Fox News set most people off. Don’t they realize that both Fox News and MSNBC present the news in a very slanted way?


Truth be told, I find Fox News and MSNBC to be quite entertaining. Every so often, I will flip the channel to hear another one of Keith Olbermann’s rants or one of Bill O’Reilly’s ridiculous shouting matches.


Entertainment is what Fox News does best, and that is why they are successful. Instead of watching a dry interview with the ambassador from Haiti in CNN’s ”Situation Room,” most Americans would rather watch two ideologues debate on Fox News.


Unlike its top two competitors, CNN mostly sticks to a straight news format, and unfortunately, this is its ratings downfall. On most days, the news is slow and boring. Only when a major news event happens does CNN become more susceptible to higher ratings, according to the Associated Press.


Fox News and MSNBC, on the other hand, present the news from their perspective ideological standpoints, so the news is always entertaining. They often lead with stories that grab the attention of their base and have opinionated anchors who tell the viewers what they want to hear. And at the end of packages, the opinionated anchor always has the last word.


Then, they interview some ridiculous person with a crazy conspiracy theory that makes everyone watching agree with the anchor. The perfect example was when Sean Hannity brought on the leader of the New Black Panther Party to talk about the topic of exterminating white people.


Despite the fact this guy was radical and way out in left field, Fox News made it appear that what he was saying was a legitimate viewpoint held by many, when in fact, it was not.



To me, this is a serious ethical lapse in journalism. And the truth is, Fox News often does many unethical things. From a producer rallying the crowd at a tea party protest to editing old footage to make Michelle Baughman’s anti-health care rally appear larger, it is fair to say that Fox News has too many ethical lapses for comfort (and too many to list).


Perhaps I shouldn’t be too critical of Fox News. After all, they run programs that are based on political entertainment and opinion, and that is essentially what my column is. But at the same time, I do not pretend this is actually “news,” and I surely hope my readers don’t either.


Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Fox.



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{/HTML} Frank Yonkof is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].