October 2nd, 2007


Fair and Balanced?

I'm usually suspicious of businesses who feel the need for slogans to describe the quality of their product or service. 'Honest' John, the used car seller. “No credit? We can help!” “Get a Whiter White!” “A Fresher, Cleaner Scent!” Lawyers who advertise “We care about you!” Or how about “Guaranteed Lower Prices!” Lower than what? Lower than last week? Lower than the Wal Mart in the next town? Remember when the slogan was “Guaranteed Lowest Prices?”

Then there's the “Fair and Balanced” of Fox News.

I recently visited an old college friend who lives in Texas, the first time I'd seen him in at least thirty years. Divorced, alcoholic, 12 years sober now, and a voracious fiction reader, he's a bit of a recluse except for volunteering at the city library and with 'Meals on Wheels.' We had a good visit. To stay informed, he said he routinely watches Fox News. He feels that Fox is the only news outlet with accurate world news coverage.

From him, I was amazed to learn among other things: that global warming was just a natural climatic phase with no significant impact provided by mankind and represented no threat to our future. That there were numerous Al Qaeda training camps in Iraq before we invaded. That just prior to the invasion, Saddam shipped all his WMDs to Syria.

What? Ninety percent of the earth scientists in the world are wrong and we should be listening to a few politicians, writers, and pseudo-scientists who receive money from the energy companies. I don't think so.

What? Saddam, a dictator over a secular Iraqi government, would allow entry and give safe harbor to a group of fanatic Islamic fundamentalists with the frequently stated goal of world domination? Not likely. Saddam might have been mean, but he wasn't stupid.

What? Saddam gave all his weapons of mass destruction to Syria, a neighboring country which has repeatedly demonstrated aggressive tendencies? Wouldn't Saddam have worried about suddenly receiving them back one day?

My arguments were all futile; my friend's perception of the spoken word from a 'fair and balanced' news network was steadfast.


While I'm harping about tv slogans, There's another one I take issue with. Not surprisingly, it comes from another Fox program. "...suspects are innocent until proven guilty..." Shouldn't that be "...innocent unless proven guilty...?"