Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Aimed at the Sheep

 First, let me say that I like Fox News.  I really, really like Fox News.  I can see that some of the people there have a definitie point of view, and I like that they are upfront that this point of view is very pro-American.  I believe that a journalist can remain "objective" and not be neutral about the topic he/she reports on.  (Can you imagine reporters during WWII reporting on the Nazi point of view? Or, embedding themselves in the ranks of the Gestapo in order to be "fair" in their reporting of the war to Americans?).  I only came to Fox News in the aftermath of the 2000 election.  I found it OUTRAGEOUS that the other news networks, especially CNN had a definite and clear bias about the result of the election, but tried to pretend it didn't.  For, whatever its faults, Fox does present both sides of most issues and makes a reasonable attempt to get people who disagree to debate (sometimes just to shout at each other) various controversial topics.  I find this much fairer than on CNN, or PBS, where you hear one viewpoint most of the time and it is invariably on the left side.

Steven Zeitchik, writing in the Wall Street Journal about the new "documentary" Outfoxed, makes some very good points about the whole recent genre of leftist propaganda masquerading as truth-seeking documentary:
Of course, the documentary form doesn't always function this way. At its best--e.g., Frederick Wiseman's films on high schools and hospitals, the weird constellations of "Crumb" and "Capturing the Friedmans," the Vietnam-centered "Hearts and Minds"--it is propelled by a sense of discovery. Neither filmmaker nor viewer knows what he is getting into until he really starts busying himself with it.

Movies like "Outfoxed," "Control Room" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" work differently. They begin by knowing their thesis--and their audience--and operate backward. In the process, artists keen to point up the propagandistic efforts of others show themselves all too willing to take part in such efforts themselves.

Yet to call these films propaganda is also to misunderstand them. They don't seek to convince the unconvinced or herd the untamed. They aim directly at the sheep….Call them flockumentaries, movies people attend en masse, to nestle together in easy confirmation of their most cherished beliefs--to learn, really, what they already know.
I like the way he says that:  "they aim directly at the sheep".  Now, you might say that is also the reason I like Fox News (e.g., perhaps I'm a sheep on the other side of that fence)....but, I beg to disagee.  In fact I can think of several instances where hearing the other side of the argument (which Fox programs do to an astonishing degree) has actually made me rethink several issues.  Gay marriage, for example.  And, Fox has the absolute best prime time news program--Brit Hume's Special Report.

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