For Fox Sake: Why Do People Still Take Fox News Seriously?
During The Daily Show's recent holiday hiatus, Roger Ailes launched an attack on Jon Stewart. Ailes did so at his Alma mater Ohio State University. The head of Fox News leveled some heavy charges against Stewart stating that "He wouldn't do well without Fox News" and also claiming that Stewart had once "basically admitted to me, in a bar, that he’s a socialist."
When I heard that Mr. Ailes had attacked my hero, Jon Stewart, I leaped into action to defend him during his time off (even though I am currently on a break, studying abroad for the summer in Brussels, Belgium.)
The first charge is essentially nothing new, according to a the Huffington Post article, Ailes made similar comments two years ago when he said that "(Stewart) makes a living by attacking conservatives." And anyone who frequents Comedy Central, Monday through Thursday, can easily attest to this claim. For those who don't, here's a quick overview:
Jon Stewart really does make his living by keeping Fox News in line. As for the socialist charge, I do protest. While obviously I can't claim to know what Stewart did or did not allegedly say in a bar to Ailes, I can cite this Daily Show clip where Stewart firmly supports America's founding fathers principles who for the record clearly were not socialist (starts at 1:33).
But as an ardent supporter of Jon Stewart, ending this article with that meager montage would not do justice to this much needed response. Also, because I don't think that Roger Ailes or Fox News will apologize to Mr. Stewart any time soon, much like Sean Hannity did here back in November of 2009:
So I chose instead to dig deeper into The Daily Show archives and highlight the battle of Jon Stewart vs. Fox News. I have selected and arranged the 10 clips that I feel highlight the arduous and ongoing battle between these diametrically opposed forces.
I'd like to begin with Jon Stewart's systematic and thorough evisceration of the entire Fox News Channel in this clip (from which I also pulled the title of this article) from October 2009:
In his classic method of using a previous clip, printed statement, or audio quote in juxtaposition with a contradictory one, Stewart demonstrates how Fox News really isn't 'news' as we think it to be. Stewart points out that Fox's major line-up, like 'Fox and Friends,' Neil Cavuto (now re-assigned) Glenn Beck, and the power houses that are O'Reilly and Hannity are -- by Fox's own words -- NOT NEWS.
But when Fox (not really) News is not busy pushing television propaganda via the airwaves, their parent company is actively influencing electoral politics by donating $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. This claim was vetted by Fox News themselves here, but hilariously here by Stewart as well:
What made this piece so irresistible was the fact that Fox News has continually harped on left-wing corporations funding Democratic politicians, while Fox News' parent company was guilty of the same sin. This simply highlights Fox News' hypocrisy on two levels, that of corporate funding and their plight against the mainstream media for not covering anti-liberal news stories.
However, Fox's pattern of tracing a money trail to instill fear and a sense of contempt into their viewers was probably best chronicled in 'The Parent Company Trap' segment, yet again featuring News Corp. at its center:
Jon Stewart, with the help of The Daily Show's pundits, illustrated how Fox News purposefully instills fear, but debates whether it is because of sheer stupidity or pure evil. The result is one of TheDailyShow.com's most watched segments with the tag of 'Fox News' with over a million views (in the interest of full transparency, about 1,000 views are from yours truly).
So what happens when the Absurdity of Fox News' statements, allegations, and opinion are put to a sort of 'auditing of truth' thanks to Politifact?
The truth is revealed. Politifact has constantly and consistently proved Fox News' claims to be patently false, even awarding them with the 'Lie of the Year' award in 2009 and 2010. Stewart has the grace and modesty to apologize for an unintentional fib, even though, especially as a comedian, he has zero responsibility to do so.
But holding the gang at Fox News to outside and potentially arbitrary standards, it is only fair to hold Fox News to the standards they both vie for and claim to adhere to:
Well, it looks as if Fox News is again left without a leg to stand on. Even by their own professed claims of ethics and standards, to never use the 'Reductio ad Hitlerum' rhetorical argument - also known as 'playing the Nazi card.' Not to mention the fact that this clearly highlighted Roger Ailes' extremely immature comments in respect to the Juan Williams/NPR controversy.
Now the case has been built, the claims have been substantiated, and the stage is set. Fox News' self proclaimed title of 'Fair & Balanced' is ripe for the decimation. How would Jon Stewart fare on one of Fox News' own shows opposite one of their biggest figure heads?
Exactly! Jon Stewart gets Chris Wallace to admit on his own show what the masses have suspected for years, that Fox News is just a "counterweight" and that they "tell the other side of the story." But of course, that never made it to air; rather, it was just filed away to the e-archives of foxnews.com. However, I found this unedited footage brilliantly mocked up to show the 'fair and balanced' editing of the full interview that took place: part 1 here & part 2 here.
Right as though it seemed the jig was up, Fox News' attempts to re-write history to nudge the status quo back in line with their pre-conceived narrative:
This is hilarious for two reasons. First, because this is exactly the frame work of Fox News having a 'preconceived narrative' that Jon Stewart was attacking. And second, because Stewart further eviscerated Chris Wallace on The Daily Show in his typical hilarious fashion. But much like my article now, Jon Stewart does not stop after this devastating blow, he continues on. He reveals the clever ploy Fox News utilizes to propagate their framing of issues. Much like Stewart depicts in this segment, I also watch Fox News quite extensively. However instead of subscribing to their narrative, I watch it to mock and make my own satirical jokes while waiting for the next episode of The Daily Show to air.
Most importantly though, Stewart's ability to highlight the most important of issues is the backbone to his genuine determination to do good in the world (3:45 into the second video really got me):
The issue of the Zadroga Bill was an issue close to me. I even wrote about it a year ago. For Fox News to be scooped by Al-Jazeera, and then to completely ignore the folks who you invoked in 9/11 references so many times that, in the words of Stewart, "if you don’t owe the 9/11 responders health care, at least you owe them royalties." Not only does he beat Fox in the realm of media accuracy, he beats them when the chips are truly down.
Lastly what I think clearly separates Stewart from the news media pack, and solidifies him as a comedic voice is ability for introspection and self-deprecating humor:
This segment was quite a thorough collection of Stewart's previous satirical impersonations. Clearly Stewart is nothing close to a racist. Thanks to his further solidifying his position as a comedian via a dildo-wheel, he is able to take jabs at both ends of the spectrum.
More recently he came to the defense of Sandra Fluke in the face of Rush Limbaugh's obscene comments. Stewart also reiterated the point of being a comedian, this claim of course bolstered by Ailes' own words at the OSU lecture. My conclusion will be quite like Stewart's (starting at 6:48):
So that's the conclusion. That's what I agree with. Fox News needs to stop acting like a big cry baby. And if you have stuck through this entire series of Daily Show segments with Stewart at his finest moments, you now see why too. Roger Ailes certainly has a reason to have a vendetta against Stewart, he constantly exposes the narrative that is the man behind the curtain at Oz. Hopefully this guide to exposing the shenanigans at Fox News will now allow those who were previously blind to see the hilarity and hypocrisy.