If you couldn’t tell from my frequent anti-Fox News gifs, journalism pieces and blind fury rants, I abhor the fairly unbalanced “news” network. To say I can’t stand them is to say the sun is warmish. Yet, every day, it occupies one of the four televisions 24-Hour Fitness provides its part-time citizens. Due to the unfortunate placement of my favorite elliptical, I am right in the line of fire. I’m only exposed to snippets, but it’s enough to make me feel like I need to exaggerate my I smell a fart face, so anyone who may have seen me glance at the screen won’t think I drink the Fox News Kool-Aid.
Tonight, once again, I was forced to endure what Fox News passes as journalism. On a whim, I decided to tune in fully instead of catching out of context phrases in the closed captioning. I noted the radio station the audio was playing on, found it on my iPod and tuned into Fox News for forty-five complete minutes.
It was a program I’d seen a few times, but knew nothing about. It’s called Red Eye. It’s host is a man by the name of Greg! I call him Greg! because every time someone says his name, it sounds like they’re dropping a fuck-bomb. Greg! Greg! looks like he either is not in possession of a neck or had his chin caught in his shirt collar. He was joined at his round table, situated in front of screens playing colorful screen savers, by four other people: a Republican blogger, a conservative commentator, a libertarian homosexual and a blonde woman who looked like Stifler’s Mom after a Lap-Band procedure.
I won’t bullshit you and say I went in expecting my opinions on Fox News to be radically altered, but in the short time I watched they knocked gays, women, Latinos, tattoos, piercings, the “youth,” V-necks, kindergarten teachers, New York, policemen and anyone with an IQ boasting double digits. And as a young, gay man with tattoos and piercings, who wears V-necks and looks like a Latino, I was floored. The woman on the machine next to me poked me in the arm and asked if I was alright because I looked like I was in pain.
The stories ranged from a man in New York who was not allowed to join the NYPD because he wrote on his application that all gays should be thrown in jail, to a high school valedictorian who gave his entire speech in Spanish.
The one woman on the show looked like she didn’t have a clue what was going on. This confusion might explain why she only managed to button her shirt halfway. She tossed her head back and forth, smiling and saying things like, “No, come on, guys, come on,” and, “Okay, no. No. You can’t! No! Oh, my God! Guys!” She was the brain-dead wet dream of a Republican frat boy. The homosexual libertarian was reduced to a diagram of how gay people dress and act. The other two guys were there to agree with Greg!’s thoughts. Mexicans are bad! Why is their dirty language at a graduation! Gay people are pansies! Gay-bashing is fun! Teachers are needy! Then they all laugh and circle jerk at the prospect of being a privileged, white, heterosexual man with a TV show and a six-digit salary.
When I imagine a roundtable discussion, I think of people with differing views coming together to yell at one another. This was not that. This was five people with the same view, talking about what they thought in friendly, dinner conversation voices. As far as I know, Fox News is still claiming to be “fair and balanced.” This was like watching a group of gossiping cheerleaders at a sleepover, talking about politics and economics and oh my god Obama.
Then again, Fox News isn’t meant as a conversion pamphlet. They preach to their choir. And it’s terrifying to think they have a choir both numerous and religiously devoted. I couldn’t help but catch that fact after they informed me they’re the number one news network for the sixth time. Their viewers aren’t looking for controversy; they’re looking to be affirmed. And there’s something terribly dystopian in their method. Are they even viewing the same world we are? Well, yes, but they pick fights they can win and chose stories and statistics to underline their message. It’s all clever framing. But, to someone who has never tuned in, it almost appears as if Fox News subscribes to a completely different world mythology. Something like a paranoid, drug-addict vomiting on about government conspiracies and UFOs. Reptilians and Illuminati. They coddle fears, then work those same fears into their dogma. And it’s all arranged in a way that makes it near impossible to dispute. Fox News is terrible, but it’s still good at what it does. It’s become symbiotic with its audience, with its programming feeding its viewers an amplified worldview and then having its viewers affirm its programming.
Who the hell watches Fox News anyway? Who the hell are these viewers? Well, dearest left-wing friends of mine, if you want to know who watches a show, look no further than their commercials. Companies target their advertisements to stations they know will have a receptive audience, otherwise they’re useless. You won’t see Viagra advertisements during Adventure Time and you won’t see Lucky Charms during stock market overviews. The commercial breaks of Fox News consist of Audis, gold investments, weight loss solutions, suit depots and fancy cat food. Well, there you go. Fox News is apparently catering to James Bond villains.
Fox News is infuriating, no argument, but after watching its programming, I have to wonder if it’s not the tiniest bit self-aware. I may just be a desperate stab for the sake of my hope in humanity, but I’m trying my best to believe this kind of widespread bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, racism and idiocy can’t be done without someone winking off camera. How can they still fly under the “fair and balanced” flag and then put on a show like Red Eye, where they all nod and giggle and agree with each other? There’s something suspicious in that formula. But, after six-figure Greg! and his happy, big bucks gang wrap up their million dollar production with YouTube videos of kittens in a bath, I have to wonder if they give a fuck about any political agenda.
Can we all accept that Fox News is just GOP propaganda and is frighteningly Orwellian in its authoritative decisions on what constitutes morality, human rights and, more recently, the facts?
It’s not news. It never has been. It never will be. It’s loud-mouthed bigots with a lot of money and a lot of hot air, shooting the shit. Give an idiot a television show and you’ll be surprised how eagerly people accept what he says as dogma. Fox News is a conglomerate of misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic GOP subscribers riding under the guise of FAIR AND BALANCED news.
2+2=5. And if Fox News has their way, the rats will come for your cage-strapped head. To gnaw at your lips, to burrow your eyes, to scratch at your skin and to eat you alive.
2+2= whatever Bill, Greta, Brett, and Hannity say it is. With love from the Ministry of Truth.