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What Hath Fox Wrought?

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Fox news, which is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary, has changed the face of television. You're watching it, even if you don't think you are.

By JAMES PONIEWOZIK

The most ambitious revolutionaries don't just topple regimes; they remake time. The Khmer Rouge started over the calendar at Year Zero. The French revolutionary government decreed a decimal day of ten hours, composed of 100 minutes, each with 100 seconds. The cable-news Jacobins at Fox News may be wishing they had rejiggered their calendar so that they could have celebrated their 10th anniversary a year ago, when they were at their ratings apex. Today, the channel is in its first ratings slump, still far ahead of CNN and MSNBC, but not by as much.

But it's still possible to divide the news calendar into BF and AF—Before Fox and After Fox. Much of what you see on TV news exists because of Fox, and not just the opinion shows. The graphics, the sound effects, the general tone of news is set by Fox. The zipper—the visual signature of the anxious too-much-information era—was first introduced by Fox on the morning of 9/11. First by moments, but in TV news, moments are everything. As with so many things, Fox was slightly quicker than its rivals to detect, and direct, the next crank of the dial in our cultural volume level.

Even with its ratings down, Fox remains the network against which competitors define themselves. And not just news competitors. After Bill Clinton got off an on-camera harangue against Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace, for an aggressive line of questioning about his administration's anti-terror efforts, the New York Times reported that prominent Democrats, from Howard Dean to Paul Begala, had begun an open campaign of attacking Fox as a covert Republican shill.

The fight was a win-win. Mainline Dems can bash Fox to win points with the confrontational Daily Kos wing of the party. (Including Clinton, whose wife is vulnerable on the left for her support of the Iraq war.) And Fox? As the Times noted, "The news channel has highlighted the contretemps on many of its programs, boosting the ratings in the process." Say what you want about Fox: in this midterm year, no one is out there campaigning against CNN or MSNBC.

So is Fox a covert Republican shill? Shill, yes, sometimes. Its opinion shows blatantly tilt right. The news plays straighter, though as I write I'm looking at a Fox News chyron that reads, "If Rumsfeld left amid criticism, would America be at risk?" Covert, not so much. The network famously calls itself "fair and balanced," but "fair and balancing" would be a better description: Roger Ailes repeatedly describes his news network as a counterweight, on the right, to the rest of the news media. His argument that nearly every other mainstream media outlet slants left is self-serving and mostly wrong. (The MSM really slant toward the institutional, establishmentarian center, which is a bias as dangerous as any other.) But while "fair and balanced" may be propaganda, it doesn't seem to be fooling anyone. Conservatives see Fox as a comfortable haven for their worldview; their opponents pretty much agree. The balance here is that Fox winks just as broadly to both sides.

In the end, that wink—that is, the Fox gestalt of insouciance, attitude, and even playfulness—has had a bigger effect on the news media than any Bill O'Reilly rant. Fox taught TV news that voice, provocation and fun are not things to be afraid of. And for better or worse, probably every TV news program outside of PBS has been Foxified by now. The explosive graphics on your newscast: that's Fox. The "freeSpeech" opinion segments on the new CBS Evening News: that's Fox, too. Anderson Cooper yelling at a FEMA official or crusading in Africa: that's Fox. Keith Olbermann ranting at George W. Bush and O'Reilly on MSNBC's Countdown: that's Fox through and through, whether Olbermann would like to admit it or not.

Fox's ratings, in other words, may have declined for its 10th anniversary. But there are ratings and then there are ratings. You may tell yourself you don't watch Fox News. But as they used to say in the old Palmolive commercials: You're soaking in it.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,...1543610,00.html

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I'm sure many of you have seen reports about this study and may have even discussed it here, but I thought it an appropriate addition to Steve's posting:

The Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland conducted a thorough study of public knowledge and attitudes about current events and the war on terrorism. Researchers found that the public's mistaken impressions of three facets of U.S. foreign policy — discovery of alleged WMD in Iraq, alleged Iraqi involvement in 9/11, and international support for a U.S. invasion of Iraq — helped fuel support for the war.

While the PIPA study concluded that most Americans (over 60%) held at least one of these mistaken impressions, the researchers also concluded that Americans' opinions were shaped in large part by which news outlet they relied upon to receive their information.

As the researchers explained: "The extent of Americans' misperceptions vary significantly depending on their source of news. Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average to have misperceptions. Those who receive most of their news from NPR or PBS are less likely to have misperceptions. These variations cannot simply be explained as a result of differences in the demographic characteristics of each audience, because these variations can also be found when comparing the demographic subgroups of each audience."

Almost shocking was the extent to which Fox News viewers were mistaken. Those who relied on the conservative network for news, PIPA reported, were "three times more likely than the next nearest network to hold all three misperceptions. In the audience for NPR/PBS, however, there was an overwhelming majority who did not have any of the three misperceptions, and hardly any had all three."

Looking at the misperceptions one at a time, people were asked, for example, if the U.S. had discovered the alleged stockpiles of WMD in Iraq since the war began. Just 11% of those who relied on newspapers as their "primary news source" incorrectly believed that U.S. forces had made such a discovery. Only slightly more — 17% — of those who relied on NPR and PBS were wrong. Yet 33% of Fox News viewers were wrong, far ahead of those who relied on any other outlet.

Likewise, when people were asked if the U.S. had "clear evidence" that Saddam Hussein was "working closely with al Queda," similar results were found. Only 16% of NPR and PBS listeners/viewers believed that the U.S. has such evidence, while 67% of Fox News viewers were under that mistaken impression.

Overall, 80 percent of those who relied on Fox News as their primary news source believed at least one of the three misperceptions. Viewers/listeners/readers of other news outlets didn't even come close to this total.

In other words, Fox News viewers are literally less informed about these basic facts. They have, put simply, been led to believe things that are simply not true. These poor dupes would have done better in this survey, statistically speaking, if they received no news at all and simply guessed whether the claims were accurate.

And, in addition to a fun bash-Fox-athon, I wanted to add that the PIPA study also documented that those who relied on newspapers as their primary news source were better informed than those who watched any of the television news broadcasts. The only folks more informed than newspaper readers were NPR listeners.

For a link to the full report and questionaire:

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/art...02&lb=brusc


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Filed: Country: Philippines
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I'm sure many of you have seen reports about this study and may have even discussed it here, but I thought it an appropriate addition to Steve's posting:

The Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland conducted a thorough study of public knowledge and attitudes about current events and the war on terrorism. Researchers found that the public's mistaken impressions of three facets of U.S. foreign policy — discovery of alleged WMD in Iraq, alleged Iraqi involvement in 9/11, and international support for a U.S. invasion of Iraq — helped fuel support for the war.

While the PIPA study concluded that most Americans (over 60%) held at least one of these mistaken impressions, the researchers also concluded that Americans' opinions were shaped in large part by which news outlet they relied upon to receive their information.

As the researchers explained: "The extent of Americans' misperceptions vary significantly depending on their source of news. Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average to have misperceptions. Those who receive most of their news from NPR or PBS are less likely to have misperceptions. These variations cannot simply be explained as a result of differences in the demographic characteristics of each audience, because these variations can also be found when comparing the demographic subgroups of each audience."

Almost shocking was the extent to which Fox News viewers were mistaken. Those who relied on the conservative network for news, PIPA reported, were "three times more likely than the next nearest network to hold all three misperceptions. In the audience for NPR/PBS, however, there was an overwhelming majority who did not have any of the three misperceptions, and hardly any had all three."

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Looking at the misperceptions one at a time, people were asked, for example, if the U.S. had discovered the alleged stockpiles of WMD in Iraq since the war began. Just 11% of those who relied on newspapers as their "primary news source" incorrectly believed that U.S. forces had made such a discovery. Only slightly more — 17% — of those who relied on NPR and PBS were wrong. Yet 33% of Fox News viewers were wrong, far ahead of those who relied on any other outlet.

Likewise, when people were asked if the U.S. had "clear evidence" that Saddam Hussein was "working closely with al Queda," similar results were found. Only 16% of NPR and PBS listeners/viewers believed that the U.S. has such evidence, while 67% of Fox News viewers were under that mistaken impression.

Overall, 80 percent of those who relied on Fox News as their primary news source believed at least one of the three misperceptions. Viewers/listeners/readers of other news outlets didn't even come close to this total.

In other words, Fox News viewers are literally less informed about these basic facts. They have, put simply, been led to believe things that are simply not true. These poor dupes would have done better in this survey, statistically speaking, if they received no news at all and simply guessed whether the claims were accurate.

And, in addition to a fun bash-Fox-athon, I wanted to add that the PIPA study also documented that those who relied on newspapers as their primary news source were better informed than those who watched any of the television news broadcasts. The only folks more informed than newspaper readers were NPR listeners.

For a link to the full report and questionaire:

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/art...02&lb=brusc

Fox has a long track record of inaccuracies in their reporting...

Here's something else that made Fox News different:

From the beginning, Fox News has had a heavy emphasis on the visual presentation of news. Graphics were designed to be colorful and attention grabbing, and to allow people to get the main points of what was being said even if they couldn't hear the host, through the use of on-screen text summarizing the position of the interviewer or speaker, and "bullet points" when a host was giving commentary.

Fox News also created the "Fox News Alert," which interrupted regular programming when a breaking news story occurred. Each News Alert was designed to be attention-catching with a swooshing graphic filling the screen and a piercing chime instead of the regular news music. At the beginning of FNC, the Fox News Alert was used fairly rarely, giving the chime more cachet, but currently it is used regularly to announce scheduled events or repeat existing news instead of only breaking news stories, with Fox News Alerts sometimes several times each hour instead of just a few times a day. The network has also created modified versions of this alert, including a "Mideast Alert" and "Business Alert", to create a more subject-specific oriented alert. In fact, Your World with Neil Cavuto begins almost all of its broadcasts with a "FOX News Alert", usually on the stock market changes of the day.

Fox News was also the first network to put up the American flag after the September 11, 2001 attacks, a feature in the upper left-hand corner that has persisted to this day.

To accelerate its adoption by cable companies, Fox News paid systems up to $11 per subscriber to distribute the network. This contrasted with the normal practice, in which cable operators paid stations carriage fees for the programming of channels. When Time Warner bought out Ted Turner's Turner Broadcasting, a federal antitrust consent decree required Time Warner to carry a second all-news channel in addition to Time Warner's own CNN. Time Warner selected MSNBC as the secondary news network, instead of Fox News. Fox News claimed that this violated an agreement to carry Fox News, and Ailes used his connections to persuade Mayor Giuliani to carry Fox News and Bloomberg Television on two underutilized city-owned cable channels, which he did.

New York City also threatened to revoke Time Warner's cable franchise for not carrying Fox News.

A lawsuit was filed by Time Warner against the City of New York claiming undue interference and for inappropriate use of the city's educational channels for commercial programming. News Corporation countered with an antitrust lawsuit against Time Warner for unfairly protecting CNN. This led to an acrimonious battle between Murdoch and Turner, with Turner publicly comparing Murdoch to Adolf Hitler while Murdoch's New York Post ran an editorial questioning Turner's sanity. Giuliani's motives were also questioned, as his then-wife was a producer at Murdoch-owned WNYW-TV. In the end, Time Warner and News Corporation signed a settlement agreement to permit Fox News to be carried on New York City cable system beginning in October 1997, and to all of Time Warner's cable systems by 2001, though Time Warner still does not carry Fox News in all areas.[3] In return, Time Warner was given some rights to News Corporation's satellites in Asia and Europe to distribute Time Warner programming, would receive the normal compensation per subscriber paid to cable operators, and News Corporation would not object to Atlanta Braves baseball games being carried on TBS (which normally would not happen because of the Fox television network's contract with Major League Baseball).

As of August 2006, the bug on the lower right of the screen above the Fox News Ticker shows weather forecasts for U.S. cities (during Fox & Friends and Weekend Live), sports scores (during Fox & Friends on weekends only), and rotating stock market displays for the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P (weekdays only).

http://www.answers.com/topic/fox-news-channel

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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Canada
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Fox is nothing more than a reflection of a large part of America. Fox did not invent the Neocon movement, it's just playing off of it. Fox's owner, News Corporation, is run by a man who is considered to be very far right of center. I think Ted Turner once called him dangerous. One thing you can not fault him for is the uncanny ability to buy a second rate property and squeeze more money out of it than was ever thought possible by anyone else. In America, the smart business, however ugly it may be, is the business that makes the most money. Fox News, is just a better business than CNN. Just as Wal-Mart is a better business than Macy's.


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