Fox News: Oxymoron, writ large

November 08, 2010 by barbara

by barbara

Fox News. Fair and balanced? Fox News journalism? No. Just no. Fox News, poster organization for oxymoronic labels and pitbull tactics.

As you probably know by now, Heidi Collins totally went off on Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie in a so-called interview about the recount process. Once again, I remind you that barbara does not watch television in general, and Fox News in particular. So I missed this wretched interrogation.

The first person to tell me about this was a conservative friend who actually watches this newscast, but I like him anyway. And here's what my friend did.

He turned off the TV and called the station. Repeatedly. Couldn't get through, which he took to be a good thing. Finally was able to leave a message, saying that he's a regular viewer and expressing his outrage about the "interview." And given that he's a gentle soul, outrage does not come easily to him.

A few days later, he was contacted by the news manager (I believe that's who it was). So I award one begrudging point to Fox.

They conversed for several minutes. He spoke of the rude, totally adversarial, dismissive, contemptuous, snide demeanor of Heidi Collins (the interrogator). Cited many specifics, including her snotty interruption of Ritchie, saying, "I question, you answer. Yes?"

My friend was told something along the lines of, "Well, yeah, she might have phrased that differently." Indeed. Duct tape comes to mind.

Phone conversation continued, with vague responses from the manager. Finally, my friend said, "Okay. Let's get to the heart of this. Do you support Collins' interview? Yes or no?"


"Yes or no?"

"Yes, I support her."

"Then you have lost me and I will not watch your station any more."

I tell you this for two reasons. First to underscore the fact (and it is a fact) that there are conservatives among us who are essentially reasonable people with freak-out capabilities that parallel those of the left when something egregious happens.

Second, to remind you and myself that when we are deeply offended by the right, it is incumbent upon us to act on that. A-C-T. Immediately, politely but without equivocating. In other words, speak your truth, your outrage. Must do this!

It takes time to protest, even via telephone. But we have to do it. Have to. Mighty protests grow out of individual actions, which then morph into group actions, which eventually can make a difference.

Think Keith Olbermann's reinstatement at MSNBC. Think Target back-stroking from public outrage at its arrogant support of Emmer.

We don't need to be snotty, but we need to be loud and persistent. The days of whining to each other must become the penultimate activity. Because after we've done that (and maybe even before), we need to speak loudly and clearly to perpetrators of double-speak and clobber-speak.

I've mentioned this before, but Edwin Friedman (an expert on family systems, which can definitely translate to political systems) shares this little nugget:

- Differentiate yourself and maintain a non-anxious presence. -

Speak your truth and don't be attached to the outcome. And most of all, do not be afraid to do that. It is time.

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Jean (not verified) | November 8, 2010 - 3:27pm

I think Friedman would be proud! Yesterday at the Wellstone Action fundraiser I actually heard several speakers - among them Al Franken, Tim Walz, and Mark Dayton speak in the manner you suggest and that Friedman does about his work with congregations: "Differentiate Yourself and Maintain a Non-Anxious Presence". Try it! You'll like the results better and like yourself better too!


barbara | November 9, 2010 - 9:10am

Thanks for the advice. I'm working on it!!