Monday, October 19, 2009

Is this Venezuela Now?

Tibor R. Machan

It doesn't matter if Fox TV News is unbalanced, biased, partisan or whatever. All newspapers, magazines, journals and such have leanings--they are produced, managed and edited by individuals who have agendas and however much they wish this had no influence on them, that just isn't realistic.

Of course, even if a news reporter, producer, editor or such is allowing his or her political, religious or ethical ideas to make a difference in the materials being reported, the report need not be useless, even distorted. All those many religious radio stations around the country are perfectly able to give objective, nonpartisan reports of the facts that they regard important to report on. It is their selection of their materials that is biased, not the reporting itself. And that is certainly not objectionable--a free country would naturally have a media that's full of diverse viewpoints.

Do you believe that The News Hour with Jim Lehrer is non-partisan? Bunk. The guests being selected to comment on world and national affairs indicate clearly what the programs producers want people to learn from watching them. Do you think having a bunch of reporters and commentators with lukewarm ideas, without an edge to their spiel, does not contain a perspective? If you do you need a lesson or two in the immense variety of ways that people can approach human affairs.

For the White House to actually attack Fox TV News is tacky, to say the least. How scared must the president and his team be to stoop so low as to single out Fox TV for special notice? (Never mind that such is the way to making Fox even more popular and rich than it otherwise would be.)

I watch news all the time; I read it in papers ranging from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Orange County Register all the way to some of the small throwaways around my neighborhood. None of the agendas they push influences me one bit at this time of my life. Now and then some columnists may convince me of a small point. Reporters, however partisan they are, manage only to inform me but, of course, selectively, which is the way of humanity. All of us have values and ideas of right versus wrong, in ethics, politics, art, and so forth, and when we discuss things, even as fiercely non-partisan scientists, we show how we stand on certain matters. As noted, this is so if only because what we focus upon and thus show we deem important will vary greatly, even if after that our reportage is meticulously accurate.

It is folks like Venezuela's demagogue Hugo Chavez, and such predecessors of his as Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and Mao, who have been most intense about censoring news reports, science, and education, because the truth, however, messy it might be, threatened them to no end. Are we to come to this conclusion about President Obama and his White House staff? Are they really scared about the bit of diversity Fox injects into the largely hegemonic mainstream media? Has Mr. Obama gotten so spoiled by his massive electoral victory that he will not abide the barrage of opposition opinions broadcast on Fox?

Again, the news on Fox is no different from the news on any other media outlet, only perhaps not so refined and thus not so sneakily biased as on NPR. (And while I am mentioning NPR I should point out that that organization is far more insidious in its partisanship than Fox could ever be since they actually use taxpayers' funds to support their welfare statist propaganda, while Fox is not operated by means of confiscated, extorted funds.)

If Mr. Obama wants to disspell the idea that he is pushing the country toward becoming a socialist state he ought to lay off Fox immediately, indeed, volunteer to go and be interviewed there ASAP. Otherwise it will be evident to nearly everyone that he is in fact aspiring to become a socialist dictator. He will no longer be able to ridicule those who charge him with this, nor will his supporters be able to placate the opposition as mere right-wing fanatics. They will have been proven correct through and through.

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