Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Fox Modus Operandi

Crooks and Liars brings us this segment of Fox News host Stuart Varney (standing in for Neil Cavuto) "interviews" OpEdNews editor Steve Lesser on the question of the authenticity of the various conservative "tea parties" that are taking place around the country, especially tomorrow, April 15th. I put the word "interviews" in scare quotes because it is, in fact, a real stretch to call the piece an interview. Rather, it was Varney lecturing Lesser and shoting over him every time Lesser tries to get a word in edgewise. A real journalist should interrupt his guests only rarely, and principally to ensure that the guest keeps on topic. Yet Varney jumps in pretty much as soon as Lesser begins explaining his position on any one of the issues that Varney brings up.

Varney's counter-claims, meanwhile are patently absurd. Most striking among them is the insistence that our country's budgetary problems "only became apparent" over the last six weeks or so. Apparently, Varney failed to notice the doubling of the national debt over the last 8 years. I'm also puzzled by Varney's claim that some people are seeing 50% of their income devoured by taxes, as well as his attempt to lay the evisceration of American's retirement savings at the feet of the current administration. If your 401k is worth only half what it was worth last April, it certainly isn't Obama's fault. Indeed, the stock market is now roughly where it was when Obama took office in January. It is still some 6000 points below where it was at its height, two years ago. That 6000 point drop occurred under the Bush administration. And of course, Varney is quite content to lie about Obama's tax plans, insisting that a "vast increase in taxes... will reach down all levels of society" without providing any explanation for just how a tax increase on individuals making over $250,000 a year, coupled with a tax cut for individuals making less than $200,000 will translate into a tax increase on everyone.

All in all, this interview is pretty typical of what Fox News has become of late. Whatever thin pretense to fairness the network may once have maintained (no matter how transparently false) it has surely shed by now.

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