7.19.2010

Fox News: They Report AND Decide


By Ashahed M. Muhammad

I watch the Fox News Channel. It is purely for intel purposes. I don’t find the Fox News Channel particularly entertaining, however, listening to Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove when they appear provides you with White America’s upcoming talking points. This can be helpful if you are in the news business, or are in any way an opinion shaper. Listening to Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, you are able to get into the troubling mind of White fear and paranoia, which has now reached levels of menacing danger—for the entire human family.

White fear and paranoia has the United States government hated by a majority of the people of the Earth, and immersed in deadly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with what appears to be imminent future military aggression directed at the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The only show that can keep my attention for any period of time because of its structure and pace is The O’Reilly Factor. Although he is very skillful in the way he presents information, I still find his show to be performance based, and don’t typically watch beyond his Talking Points delivered during the first five minutes of the show.

I also am not a Nielsen box holder, therefore I do not help their ratings. Additionally, I am not their target audience. (I think we all know who their target audience is.)

Millions of people like me are statistically insignificant to the “powers that be” at Fox News. That being the case, even without my viewership, and millions of others not tuning in on a regular basis, Fox News consistently defeats their cable news competitors CNN and MSNBC. Again, in their world, many are inconsequential.

With that being said, why am I writing this? Because you need to know if you didn’t already, that Fox News is not primarily trying to report the news to you. Reporting slanted news coverage is one aspect of what they do, however, in my view, their primary mission is psychological warfare for propaganda purposes. Almost a psyop—a psychological operation—with the desire to:

1. Remind their viewers that there is a Black president when things go contrary to the conservative Right Wing worldview.

2. Make their viewers forget that there is a Black president when the Right Wing’s view of what American exceptionalism should look like is challenged or threatened.

3. Act as a communications hub for the Right Wing. (As a case in point, as I am typing this, a Fox News on-air personality just read former vice-president Dick Cheney’s statement regarding his heart health and the left ventricular assist device that was recently inserted in his heart at a Fairfax, Virginia hospital. Did you know Cheney has had five heart attacks? (Ok maybe you don’t have to watch Fox News to know that.)

4. Act as a propaganda wing of the Republican Party.

5. Manipulate the masses who believe what they see at face value and lack the time, energy or desire to look beneath the surface of what is being reported.

All of these various goals have been on display since the beginning of the 2008 presidential election that signaled the initiation of the “Black boogieman strategy” in which the world witnessed a contrived media controversy involving then-Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack H. Obama, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Minister Louis Farrakhan and at times, Rev. Michael Pfleger and William Ayers, even though they are White.

This proved to be a reliable and very effective strategy. Individuals were denounced, statements renounced and associations were terminated. Even until this day, heated discussions erupt still dividing America in many ways when discussing the above-mentioned topics.

Additionally, an internet search still produces thousands of new articles repeating the same discredited lies that surfaced on extremist Right wing news websites and blogs during the election as if they were verified truths.

Most recently, the disproportionate, incredibly biased and sensationalistic reporting involving Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz and the New Black Panther Party demonstrates an easily observable strategy:

1. To perpetuate the “Angry Black Male” caricature allowing it to remain firmly in the psyche of White people. This is necessary because at every turn they are being forced to confront Black excellence that defies stereotypes.

2. To scare “moderate” Blacks away from following leadership that would lead towards self-determination.

3. To turn all Black leadership into milquetoast integrationist clones.

I watched how Megyn Kelly and Geraldo Rivera tried to force Atty. Malik Zulu Shabazz to condemn the words of one of the NBPP’s members, the individual charged with voter intimidation, whose words at a Philadelphia street festival have been repeated over and over again on Fox News. They want him to condemn words that have not been acted upon while there are two cases of death in which justice remains elusive? I am referring to the death of Oscar Grant III in Oakland, California and Anthony Hill in Newberry, South Carolina.

Case in point, how does one make a huge news story out of a voter intimidation case in which no voters filed any official complaints that they were intimidated?

It was reported in Newsweek, (who partners with MSNBC for news content) that one of the top “witnesses” in the case against the New Black Panther Party in the Philadelphia “voter-non intimidation” case was Bartle Bull, a White former aide to Robert F. Kennedy. Mr. Bull reportedly called the incident in Philadelphia on Nov. 4, 2008 “the most blatant form of voter intimidation I have encountered in my political campaigns in many states, even going back to the work I did in Mississippi in the 1960s.”

Are you serious? Worse than Mississippi in the 1960s? The governor of Mississippi in 1960 was Ross Robert Barnett, a segregationist known for seeking to bar a Black Man from attending the University of Mississippi in defiance of a Federal court ruling.

I am not an individual that believes that media is free of bias. There is an inherent bias that exists in all news reporting. All reporters, news analysts, gatekeepers—such as editors—all bring pre-conceived ideas, notions and opinions regarding most people, places, things, ideas and policies. All sides should be presented, and then the people (readers, viewers) should be given the opportunity with all available information to make a decision on what they believe to be the truth.

This, Fox News clearly does not do.

Their predictable line-up of like-minded conservative commentators such as Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, and Juan Williams are credentialed, consistent in their views, polished, well known and good at what they do. Their opinionated news anchors, to me, typified by Mrs. Kelley, (whose bias at times is obvious) do ask tough questions of their guests, and will blast someone if they say something that appears to be a blatant lie.

I do think the shows hosted by Greta Van Sustern, Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera are weird, and I think you should too, unless you are someone who believes Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston being engaged is news.

They are all accomplices and propagandists on different levels, and this can be seen when you know what to look for. Don’t expect a balanced news report and modify your expectations. While I am sure there are some among the millions who watch Fox News looking for “news,” many millions are looking for comfort and reassurance that they are not “crazy,” and that Blacks and Latinos are not taking over the United States.

However, what is the solution? Instead of complaining about Fox News, support independent news alternatives, and then link up, speak out and amplify your voices in order to have your views heard.

(Ashahed M. Muhammad is an author and researcher, and the executive director of The Truth Establishment Institute.)
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