For several years, I’ve used this space - and others - to condemn Fox News. Or, more appropriately - FAUX NEUS. Real, fact-based reporting has not been a part of the networks claim-to-fame since Rupert bought it.
But, now the boys and girls exhibiting their talent-less efforts on the screen - radio, too - have gone so far over the fairness and unbiased reporting line that not even Diogenes could find an honest soul among them. The network is now just a far right mouthpiece. “The truth is not in them,” as my Grandma Lou used to say.
The disparate collection of pretty faces and handsome readers has surrendered completely to the dark side. The whole operation has become nothing more than a swamp of misinformation, distortion and downright lying on behalf of anything or anyone with a far-right bent. It’s now nothing more than GOP-TV. Not to mention, of course, being the sexual abuse capitol of broadcast journalism.
The network’s current torrent of journalistic B.S. aimed at Special Council Mueller is exhibit “A.” The similarities of speech between Faux Neus voices and GOP members of Congress are like echoes in the Swiss Alps. You’d swear there was a co-authored news release of baseless charges and unfounded bilge-water handed out from Murdoch, McConnell and Ryan each day at sunrise.
Mueller has been given a thankless legal task. Find the connections - if any - between the Trump campaign and Russia. The “if any” clause is probably inoperable now because, between what we know of what Mueller’s team has already uncovered and some outstanding reporting from major legitimate news agencies at home and abroad, proof of those connection(s) is overwhelming.
The reason Mueller’s task is “thankless” is because, no matter the outcome of his research and the publishing of the end document of findings, people will be unhappy from coast to coast.
If he ties Trump and Putin together, the Trumpeteers will screech like banshees that the whole investigation was a “plot of the left, the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton” from the getgo. If Mueller’s report clears Trump and his minions of any punishable criminal activity, the rest of the audience will say it’s a “whitewash” and he didn’t dig deep enough to find the truth.
If you research Mueller’s background, you’ll find he probably doesn’t give a damn how anyone else views his labors and those of his talented crew. He’s about as “straight arrow” as they come, has a lengthy public background of being a first-class prosecutor and was given the job by a Department of Justice Republican appointee. He faithfully served administrations of both national political parties for years without a hint of favoritism or scandal.
But, to hear the faux outrage at Faux Neus tell it, Mueller has far exceeded his original charge, has used illegal means to gather emails and other evidence, has overcharged we taxpayers for what he’s been doing, is somehow a servant of the Clinton’s and had something to do - even they aren’t sure what - with Benghazi.
Journalism is a valued, legitimate profession. The names I honor most - Bradlee, Broder, Cronkite, Jennings, Graham, Murrow, Pyle, Trout, Reasoner - all spent their lives trying to report fact, doing their best to do so independently and fairly and left a legacy of work that likely won’t be equaled.
Media today is not the media of times past. Reporting today is not the reporting and editing that used to be. But, there still exists - in most cases - a desire to “get it first, get it right.” Because there are so many sources from which we now get our information - many unedited and unchecked - there are far more opportunities to fall short. There are way too many political mercenaries in the business that shouldn’t be but most others keep trying.
All of which makes Faux Neus an outlier. (Maybe that should read “outliar.”) From Murdoch on down, the blatant prostitution in writing, editing and reporting borders on the criminal. The obscene pandering to the far-right, the mouthing of “stories” based on collected garbage, the vilification of those with other points of view, the broadcast demonizing of responsible thought, factless facts repeated ad nauseam, the devotion to bias and rumor-mongering - all have made Fox a pariah to responsible, fact-based journalism.
What had been, in the past, irritatingly bad at Fox has now become outright disrespect for truth with no effort made to report without adulteration.
We can be thankful many viewers are tired of being lied to and the formerly high ratings Fox enjoyed are now sliding down the charts.
What’s needed to balance the scales of honest journalism is not a new, left-leaning media reporting outlet. The same balance point can be reached by the single elimination of Fox News.