Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Rupert’s Turn

T’is the season, it seems for unflattering films about the people in power. First there was Fahrenheit 9/11, followed by The Hunting of the President. Now it’s Rupert Murdoch’s turn in the barrel in Robert Greenwald’s Outfoxed.

If Rupert Murdoch had created a news network that was overtly political, even if those politics were scarily right-wing, that would be one thing. We are supposed to live in a marketplace of ideas; everybody gets a chance to air his views, and some of us, like Rupert, get more chances than others. But Fox News is the modern mass media at its worst, pushed to its logical extreme.

Rather than politics, Fox News offers only lockstep ideology. It does not present arguments; it blends fearmongering and happy talk, rinses in red, white and blue, and pours the mixture down our throats. Instead of challenging its audience, it simultaneously terrifies and comforts them, painting a hostile world constantly in need of good, old-fashioned Republican-style American might. It shows us a busy screen of sound and fury, but devoid of all thought. It’s a nonstop thrill ride for the paranoid American body politic, and the public — at least Murdoch’s target audience — has been as delighted as kids on their first visit to Disney World. Fox News has conquered the TV news landscape so thoroughly that the other networks have remade themselves in its image. [Salon.com]

Yet another reason to get that AARP discount card for the movies.