Democrats & Liberals Archives

'A Megaphone For Fraud'

At this point, only a highly sought after Fox News Channel viewer would not have noticed the ‘tabloidization’ of CNN and MSNBC, as they lurch from the 24/7 coverage of only one sensational story to the next. And, no doubt, those same Fox viewers would be oblivious to the fact that this is all being done for their benefit, as well.

As I've previously mentioned on my blog in February, CNN lost 21% percent of its viewership compared to the previous year, while MSNBC lost 18% percent of its viewer base. In stark contrast, Fox picked up 15% percent in the same period. I proudly attributed these results as the frustration of the Kerry Minority voters abandoning the complicit cable news networks for more substantive pastures - the Internet. And, I soon found confirmation of my theory.

Every Monday, the New York Times' Business Section publishes a Media & Advertising roundup of the previous week's charts, such as the Billboard music charts, Nielsen cable programming ratings, movie box office receipts, etc. This past week, the chart tracking visitor hits to the websites of the cable news networks told a very different, off-air story. CNN.com placed first, with 17 million hits for the week, and MSNBC.com placed second, with 15 million hits.

Fox News.com was not even in the Top 5.

During the recent coverage of the Atlanta Courthouse murders on CNN, I was angered by the constant placement of the menacing mug shot of the Black male suspect, on the lower left-hand part of the screen. On the other hand, during the Schiavo cable news coverage, the unsettling images of her current condition soon gave way to more empathetic photos taken before she was stricken.

Such imagery works very well with the one-sided coverage of this travesty, currently being driven and exploited by the 24-hour cable news networks. However, I find no need to chronicle the complicity of the MSM (Murdoch Seduced Media), when you can find it in detail at Media Matter.org, or laugh at its hypocrisy and absurdity with The Daily Show.

But, I want you to remember the words of the constantly disheveled curmudgeon/scribe Christopher Hitchens, who verbally bitch-slapped MSNBC's Scarborough Country's blatantly, biased coverage, for being a 'megaphone for fraud'.

Though, my main point here is two fold. Such slanted coverage that I just described, is aimed directly at one single group of viewers - a group that makes up all that is left of the total, potential cable audience, for Fox, CNN and MSNBC to do battle over.

This is an audience that demands the news coverage they watch be driven by the emotionality of the story, the facts be damned. The adversaries need to be drawn in simple, partisan terms, their motivation and justifications framed as starkly as 'savior' vs. 'murderer'.

Yet, as the Schiavo tragedy may have illuminated, there may be a difference between what they will 'watch', and what they will 'believe'. I find it hard to accept as true that with the distortions of the Republicans, the pro-Life Conservatives and their media co-conspirators, an overwhelming majority of Americans stood fast to their opposition to such intrusions into personal, private matters.

It's almost enough to restore one's faith in the American people.

Posted by Bert M. Caradine at April 1, 2005 2:43 AM