Friday, May 02, 2008

Unfair and unbalanced and that's just the beginning

Last night we watched the O’Reilly Factor on Fox (a.k.a. “Faux”) News.

Now, to be clear, I hate both Bill O’Reilly and Faux, (and I'm not the only one), but O’Reilly was interviewing Hillary Rodham Clinton and, well, how can you not be curious about that? It’s the political equivalent of watching a caged fight between the Montagues and Capulets.

Must see TV, indeed.

I’m not her biggest fan, but I will say that Senator Clinton handled herself well. She stated her positions clearly and eloquently and appeared calm and good-natured throughout the interview. (I have to give her huge props for that alone because I don’t think I could sit with the very rude and arrogant Bill O’Reilly for more than two minutes without smacking him in the head).

Now comes the problem. Faux News’ “analysis” of the Clinton interview has been running non-stop since it aired.

And by analysis I mean, “A right-wing commentator squashes Clinton’s opinions and ‘sets the record straight’ by explaining just how very wrong she is.” Lather, rinse, repeat throughout the day.

When I first heard about Clinton’s interview on Faux, I was trying to decide if it was a good campaign move or not. On one hand, it would expose her to a new audience. Maybe some of Faux's more moderate viewers would be won over.

On the other, O’Reilly’s style of interviewing often includes interrupting, correcting, and shouting down anyone he disagrees with. And appearing on the show gives it credibility and weight that it does not deserve.

With the interview over (to O’Reilly’s credit, he didn’t shout, though he did interrupt her numerous times), I’m left with a bad feeling. Clinton has handed Faux the gift of her positions tied up in a pretty bow and from here on out they plan to repackage them over and over to suit their own agenda.

With rights to all that footage, Faux can replay it ad nauseum and have one Faux-sanctioned commentator after another critique Clinton’s viewpoints, appearance, demeanor, style and intelligence all under the pretext of “analysis,” from now until November.

With no one there to represent the Democrat’s viewpoints, Faux is sure to make mincemeat of – regardless of what you think of her – this very smart woman’s statements, watering them down, tearing them apart and spinning them all in the name of “protecting” the conservative way of life in America.

Fair and balanced? Clinton joked about the news organization’s infamous slogan, but as a former journalist, I can’t do it. Faux is a propaganda machine, and a good one that. And Clinton just played right into its hands. I’m really quite surprised she couldn’t see this coming.

Or maybe she just thought they’d take the high road for once. Hope you’re not too disappointed, Senator, because I am.



Blogger Amanda said...

Great post!

9:54 AM  

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