Who’s Number One?


The slogan under Fox News’s icon is “fair and balanced.”  As most Americans know, anchors on this channel are anything but fair and balanced in the way they report news.  Data and facts are often skewed or falsified to make conservative Republicans look good.  The image below is a prime example of this.  

Image courtesy of Media Matters for America

The last two points measuring unemployment under President Obama are not equal, yet lie on the same horizontal line.

The true graph would look more like this (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics):

Image courtesy of Media Matters for America

I get frustrated when people blatantly lie about facts, because spreading incorrect information slowly but surely makes people less intelligent.  Having an opinion is one thing, but lying to show you are correct is morally wrong.  News channels in general are either too biased in one direction or try so hard to show “both sides of the story” that they don’t present the facts at all (i.e. climate change).

In HBO’s “The Newsroom”, protagonist and anchor Will McAvoy sets out to reverse the trend of news channels as of late.  The series begins with him sitting on a panel in a lecture hall.  A girl walks up an asks why America is the greatest country in the world.  McAvoy’s response can be found in the video below.

He states a lot of figures, some of which upon further research are slightly off (i.e. U.S.A. is 25th in math).  In a previous blog post, I mentioned how we spend more on defense than the other top countries combined.  The underlying message to this rant is unnerving and powerful; America isn’t the greatest country in the world anymore.  Our freedom doesn’t make us unique and they way we hail people who act stupid is abhorrent (I’m looking at you, Snooki).

Consider this: we as a nation have gotten so far off course that there is now a program on HBO dedicated to showing how bad it is.  News channels are either too afraid to present facts without also giving the other side of a debate or are too biased to care.  Maybe this is simply an outpouring of the times, but that doesn’t mean we should sit back and hope for these problems to go away.  Americans need to start taking the initiative to learn the facts around issues.  Only then can we get on track to be the greatest country again.

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6 responses to “Who’s Number One?

  1. The Pew Center does good surveys on people and the press. Here, in 2010, they do a lot to break down different qualities of different media outlets’ audiences. Jon Stewart had a field day pointing out that Fox News viewers were way behind other media outlets. For example, among Fox News viewers only 20% answered four questions rightly. Print sources and radio (Rush Limbaugh!) got more right. Politfact pointed out that Fox News viewers did better than the US average of all the population which was only 14%. Ok, guess that is something.

  2. Who is the woman holding up the sign? Plus, could we ever have such a good interlocutor?!? I mean the guy on the panel who pushes McAvoy?

    I am amused (and partially agree with) his criticisms of the “liberal” and the “conservative.”

    He sure makes sociological imagination a lot funner than Mills did! “McAvoy says we need to know the problem….”

    • The woman holding the sign is McAvoy’s ex who also ends up being his executive producer (it occurs within the first 1-2 episodes). It really is a great show in my opinion!

  3. Im not surprised about this at all. It just goes back to the point that we have to be informed and critical viewers. We have to ask questions and investigate ourselves. We can’t just accept everything we see. All forms of media have an agenda. They want you to see and believe one thing or the other. Thanks for the post!

  4. I have been captivated by The Newsroom since the moment WIll McAvoy’s “rant” crossed my television screen this summer. Everything he said resonated with me and, even though it was part of a script, it came from somewhere. People feel that way. The Newsroom cast is dedicated to giving Americans the news they need in order to be informed citizens and place less emphasis on ratings than content. This doesn’t happen anymore. Very rarely do you find news networks or even television shows that base success on ethics not finances or rating. This viewpoint is a breath of fresh air.

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