Traverse City Record-Eagle


Fox lies!

Troy Keith, The Armchair ConservativeGiven the diversity of interests within the modern Democratic party, it’s often difficult to find one consistent, unifying factor that all members of this eclectic club can agree upon.

In years past, George Bush served as a lens for the left’s collective contempt, focusing the myriad rays of misplaced angst into a laser beam of pure, unabashed hatred. The mere mention of his name was enough to start veins bulging and blood pressures rising around the dinner tables of America, but the statute of limitations is just about up on the GWB effect and the left desperately needs to find a new windmill.

With more than two disastrous Bush-free years behind us, we can no longer shake our fists with rage and decry his evil ambitions found germinating within the roots of all of the world’s deficiencies. Who or what will fill the void? Is there a new enemy to freedom-loving revolutionaries everywhere?

Rest assured, Fox News has been patiently biding its time in the number two slot of the media’s hen house for more than a decade and now stands poised to claim the thrown of liberal animosity for years to come. An absolute, unrelenting revulsion for the Murdoch empire is one thing that virtually all people of the liberal persuasion share as evidenced by the multitude of web sites and frenetic commentators bent on the complete and total destruction of all Fox News channels.

With the reign of the alphabet networks now relegated to the dust bins of television history (can anyone say Dan Rather?), many find it unthinkable that left wing media supremacy is no longer the accepted norm. Fox News jabs a searing hot poker of conservative commentary and opinion into the third eye of liberal enlightenment and thinking people everywhere have responded enthusiastically as evidenced by Fox’s complete domination of all news outlets.

The standard media response to the ascendancy of Fox has been to shamelessly smear the network and throw stones of bias from the glass towers of their corporate offices. After maintaining a one-sided perspective for decades, the hypocrisy of these charges is astonishing but not altogether out of character.

As FNC’s ratings climb and their and reach continues to expand, the attacks have grown exponentially and we now have entire organizations such as Media Matters and MoveOn devoted to the demise of Fox. Has anything even remotely similar ever been directed towards NBC or CBS?

More often than not, the charges amount to debatable discrepancies or nuanced points lost on most occasional television news viewers. A Dan Rather type of “news fabrication” incident or a Keith Olbermann style oversight would bring widespread and unrelenting condemnation that would be difficult for Fox to dismiss under such collective scrutiny.

That’s not to say that the network is without bias. Anyone thinking that Fox represents impartial journalism probably has a shoe box full of Brooklyn Bridge shares under their bed, but contrary to most competitors, their political predilection is openly noted and on display for all to see. The “fair and balanced” part of the equation comes from offering opposing viewpoints and lively debate on nearly all topics covered under the umbrella of their opinion lineup.

Bill O’Reilly has no qualms about voicing his point of view, but to his credit he also goes to great lengths to find credible guests that represent both sides of the argument. I think that’s all we can ask for in modern journalism, and I’d much rather see a network’s position displayed openly than have my intelligence insulted by a disingenuous attempt at impartiality.

In the past, whenever I’ve confronted people on the issue of Fox News, there’s no shortage of expletives to be had, but there is a consistent absence of authenticity. For a sect of our population that claims a de facto moral and intellectual superiority, I find the presence of actual facts mysteriously lacking and refer readers to this soon to be classic example of liberal thought and insight.

Jesse Watters, Producer for the O’Reilly Factor confronts a group of protesters mobilized by outside of Fox (video here):

JESSE WATTERS: Can you name an example where Fox has been unfair?


WATTERS: Can you name one?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day, we could be here for hours.

WATTERS: Name one. I have five minutes. Name one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They lied — they lied about the Iraq war.

WATTERS: What did they lie about?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They lie everyday on — Glenn Beck…


WATTERS: You can’t name an example of one lie Fox has said and you are out here calling us liars, isn’t that right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just watch the channel. Just watch…


WATTERS: I work there. Do you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don’t work there. I read.

WATTERS: OK, so you don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?

I beg your indulgence once more and ask that you also watch this short clip of a union protester recently in Wisconsin.

Is this the extent of the liberal argument against Fox News? Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly stand like the three heads of Cerberus guarding the gates of Rupert Murdoch’s evil empire and this is the reasoned retort to a conspiracy of right-wing propaganda?

I’d like to challenge the Record-Eagle readers (at least the online version) who disagree with this piece to show me if this fox/dog hybrid has any teeth or just a bark of lies and deception.

Are you part of the crowd that mindlessly chants the “Fox lies” mantra or would you like to have a serious discussion about news bias and the way information is disseminated in the modern world? In the age of DVR’s you certainly have the freedom to watch anything at any time so I’d like to propose that you tune in for a week and we rejoin this conversation after you’ve actually spent some time watching these demigods of deception.

Bill O’Reilly is my personal favorite and Glenn Beck is definitely the most polarizing, so I’d suggest that you pick one of those, but anything in the news hour or the prime time line-up would be fine. Cast off the Birkenstocks of oppression and set down your glasses of Chardonnay lest they spill as you make those sweeping generalizations and show me the obvious error of my ways.

Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish ~ Euripides

  • Gene

    One other good reason to watch FOX News channel is the foxes. (Jeffo – used as a modern noun, for sexually attractive women)

    My local Fox channel was a jumping off point for Leland Vittert, who is now a FOX News middle eastern correspondent from all the hot spots, Egypt, Libya, etc.. I discovered he was named after Leland, Michigan. His parents had a summer home there, and loved the town and the name.

    • nobody

      Turn off the TV and start thinking for yourself.

  • jeff4

    TK are you a ultra right wing conservative or a libertarian? i’m having my doubts here…

    • Troy Keith

      Jeff – probably a little of both, but definitely more in the Libertarian camp these days. I usually write about what’s current in my life. After hearing someone talk gushingly about Keith Olbermann and then slam Fox News I had a conversation very similar to the Watter’s bit in the post.

      Why don’t you like Fox News?

      Because they’re hateful

      Do you ever watch the show? No? Why not?

      Because they’re hateful

      and on and on.. Media bias and the incredible hypocrisy of the left have always been points of interest for me.

      • jeff4

        I watch Bill O’Reilly and Glen Beck for the same reason I watch the Colbert Report and The Daily Show – all four are political humor. They make me laugh from the belly. The only difference is that Colbert and Stewart KNOW they are comedy, O’Reilly and Beck don’t realize they’re comedy.

        • Troy Keith

          Well Jeff, kudos to you if that’s the case, but if I had to bet, I’d guess that most of your exposure to Fox comes to you in the form of Jon Stewart or hit pieces on NPR/Saturday Night Live. Being a man of science I’m sure you’d want to have some current firsthand experience before forming an opinion so I hope you’ll at least give it a shot.

          • jeff4

            No, when i say i have watched it I mean i have watched it. I didnt mean i’ve watched it through SNL or through Stewart. I also enjoy conservative radio, rush limbaugh, and catholic radio. here where i live we also have a catholic radio station – so, if NPR has classical music on (YUCK) i tune in over there. you can’t form an opinion worth anything if you don’t educate yourself about the other side. from what you write i can see you are educated about liberal affairs and the mindset of ultra-liberals like me. that’s one reason i enjoy your column troy, same for ed. an intelligent mind offers insights that a person might not come up with on their own. I have always been VERY VERY “pro” death penalty (not sure of the libertarian stance on this), but the other day i listened to an NPR story (this american life) about a man wrongly accused who spent 21 years in prison who would have been put to death if he lived in texas and now is free because they finally found the truth. i am now struggling to reconcile my views with examples like this. its just a case of real life examples making you think – when you put PEOPLE as the context of your views it makes you re-think a lot of things. Its easy to say “I am against abortion.” but when you get down to the 15 year old girl who was impregnated by an abusive relative in a drug house … you might think twice. that’s what good blogs and good conversation do, they make you think more. just realized i am rambling quite a long time here…

  • Guest

    I pity the fool. I suggest you use the “google” and search for some of the chronicled “lies”. Of course, since the sources may not be from “Fox News” they are necessarily liberal elitist media.
    For example:
    -Fox suggests Obama’s budget contains oil subsidies, but Obama actually proposed to end these and the Republicans stopped them.
    -O’Reilly spliced footage from a place with palm trees and violent protestors in a story about the Wisconsin labor standoff.
    -Fox spliced footage from a previous CPAC in a story about Ron Paul’s victory at CPAC this year because there was more jeering in the previous year which makes Paul look like a less attractive candidate.

    This cursory search took less than five minutes. You are pulling the same incredulous act as commentators like Rush Limbaugh who just say “well, i just am not sure” and then spout off with ignorant rhetoric.

    Alright, now you can go back to complaining about getting your pensions taxed while your children move to a different state.

  • Earl

    The good thing for Troy and democrats like him, is that very little intelligence is needed to displace their anger while they villify those that dont march to their tune. The bad thing is that their ignorance impedes their ability to realize that their president is either unqualified and unable to perform his duties…or he is fundamentally trying to screw America and “even the score”

    Hey, I’ve got an idea…instead of lashing out after the thought, sight or sound of Bush, Palin, Christie etc…try keeping it to yourself for the sake of our country like those that feel the same towards Obama, Hairy Pelosi, Nancy Reid etc…

  • Gene


    You certainly can draw a crowd. I liked your Guest comment above, who suggested everyone Google for the truth. Now, Google is my favorite search engine, however it is prudent to know how the stuff gets on Google. A lot of it is the source paying a fee to get to the top of the list. Media Madders et al knows this. Your Guest evidently does not.

    • Troy Keith


      The vast resources of the internet can be used to support just about any conclusion these days but that’s the easy out.. I’m just tired of hearing such strong opinions from people who don’t know what they’re talking about (they never even watch the channel). I’m not trying to say that Fox has all the answers or that they’re always right but how can anyone know for sure until they actually tune in. It’s like arguing the budget with democrats that don’t know which party had control of congress for the last 2 years.

  • jeff4

    Yes Steve, I do not research and I like to be “told.” I think you are right about Obama too, he is not prepared. I can tell you’ve done your homework.

  • John

    How about last month when O’Rilley had an atheist on and said that he himself (O’Rilley) could never be an atheist. “You know why” O’Rilley said “… because every day the tide goes in, the tide goes out and nobody knows why.” What? Wait. The tidal phenomenon is one of the most well understood in science. His guest was dumbfounded and started to explain but O’Rilley shut him down with one of his favorite responses, “That’s just the way it is.” Not really Bill, not here.

  • jeff4

    so….. if FOX lies, does MSNBC too?
    give me the conservative/libertarian spin on this news story troy.

  • Troy Keith

    Michigan is on the verge of falling off the cliff just as California is doing.. I think drastic measures are called for at this point, but I’m troubled by the potential for abuse – just as many are troubled by Mr. Obama’s decision to allow the unlimited detention of uncharged/untried people at Gitmo and the continuation of our Rendition program. A necessary evil when faced with potential disaster or an opportunity for absolute power to corrupt absolutely?

    I’m coming back increasingly to the general sentiment that we’re screwed. The D’s would put the pedal to the metal as we race towards the edge and 99% of the R’s seem to have neither the will or the spine to make the hard decisions. Will Snyder use the power for good? Even Gandalf was smart enough to know that such power corrupts despite the best of intentions and Snyder is definitely no “wise wizard”.

    Search for the Citizen’s guide to Michigan’s financial health or Dollars and sense and you can read about Michigan’s current predicament.

  • Toni

    I know this is an old-ish thread, but….

    I think the problem with your challenge is that Fox makes a habit of embellishing and/or telling half truths that are hard to debunk in a black and white fashion, especially when you are trying to debunk them to someone that is a Fox fan. It’s like trying to argue that the color Turqouise is blue to someone that thinks it’s more green when the truth is it’s somewhere in the middle. Add to this their “creative” editing, and it doesn’t bode well for those that want to espouse them as being “fair and balanced”.

    Only a percentage of the news is absolute. If someone gets shot on the streets of Chicago, that’s absolute. They died from a GSW. However, trying to get to the bottom of WHY they got shot might be more subjective. A lower quality news source might take small pieces of information and hydrate it into a conspiracy of some sort when in reality it was just because of a black market Easter Peeps deal gone bad. However, the conspiracy story sells more airtime, and really who knows the EXACT truth, so our version isn’t less correct than your version.

    They are by no means the only news source that does this, though in my opinion they do so more blatently (I suffer through their programming 2-3 times a week at random times). One example of the half-truth that I can think of right off the top of my head is Karl Rove’s assertion a couple months ago that U.S. troops have never been under control of a foreign military leader. I was watching at that moment, and it seemed like something that didn’t seem correct. I Google’d it instantly and found that not to be the case (you Google it now and you get tons of references to Rove’s statement and debunking, and I’m too lazy to weed it all out). This is actually an example of an outright objective lie. Rove says he fact checked it…well, so did I from my couch with a $1000 laptop and found it not to be the case. Maybe Fox should hire me to fact check.

    My example above goes beyond my original assertion that Fox spins half-truths that are hard to debunk in black and white. Turquoise is blue is green is not is blue. This is why they can’t be trusted and why you have to research what’s important to you and educate yourself. Having said that, subjecting myself to a channel that is known to embellish and or be disingenuous on a regular basis is not something I’m interested in spending my free time on.


    • Troy Keith

      Wow, that is going back a bit.. I agree that it’s hard to have a conversation about media bias when speaking to someone that comes from the opposite side of the political spectrum. You can pull one statement from a guest on Sean Hannity and I could counter with one from someone appearing on Rachel Maddow or Hardball but my guess is that one example would be rationalized away while the other would stand as a monument to the unforgivable bias of a particular network – and that’s what we’ve been reduced to as partisans in the modern age.

      I watch Morning Joe just about every day (the “fox friends” morning team each seem to bring new meaning to the term dufus) but when it comes to the evening lineup, I’ve found the bias of MSNBC to be so over the top that it’s no longer even a source of amusement. Half-truths would be a welcome move towards accuracy given much of what I’ve seen on there lately.

      If nothing else, the point I was hoping to make was that truth and accuracy in media will generally rest somewhere in the middle. Dismissing Fox News with a sanctimonious wave of the hand has become instinct for most on the left but I’d bet that the vast majority of those people have never actually watched or experienced for themselves firsthand. It’s one thing to read a Media Matter’s hit piece and quite another to listen to a debate between several guests of all political persuasions and form your own opinions.

      • Toni

        Wellllll…..I’m not sure that WAS your point. You do say Fox is not without bias, but then your challenge amounts to an end to that sentence in the form of “, yeah, but just show me what they’ve said that’s a lie, bet you can’t!” Clearly you’re a Fox-ite. Most of what you write seems like it could be written for FNC, lock, stock, and barrel. I will point out again that I did give you an example of a lie, by Karl Rove, an FNC contributor.

        You watch Morning Joe. Haha. Joe Scarborough is as much a typical MSNBC talking head as Alan Colmes was on FNC.

        Let me flip this around on you. I’m thinking you’re going to think this is easy. Name something Rachel Maddow has said on her show that is a lie.

      • Toni

        Wellllll…..I’m not sure that WAS your point. You do say Fox is not without bias, but then your challenge amounts to an end to that sentence in the form of “, yeah, but just show me what they’ve said that’s a lie, bet you can’t!” Clearly you’re a Fox-ite. Most of what you write seems like it could be written for FNC, lock, stock, and barrel. I will point out again that I did give you an example of a lie, by Karl Rove, an FNC contributor.

        You watch Morning Joe. Haha. Joe Scarborough is as much a typical MSNBC talking head as Alan Colmes was on FNC.

        Let me flip this around on you. I’m thinking you’re going to think this is easy. Name something Rachel Maddow has said on her show that is a lie.

        • Troy Keith

          Well, I was initially going to go down this road, but decided that it only led deeper into the forest. Since you used the example of a guest on the Sean Hannity show, a guest on Maddow’s stated in April:

          “Democratic Rep. Scott Randolph claims future speaker has had only one election”

          In December Rachel said: Fox News “said the New Black Panther Party decided the election for Barack Obama.”

          In Feb we have: “Rachel Maddow Lies to Leno About Republican Campaign Contributions”

          If you were able to Google the bit about Rove, I’m sure you can find other examples..

          BTW, I like Alan Colmes too although I seldom agree w/him, he is at least willing to confront the issues – interesting that both Colmes and Scarborough merit your criticism.

          • Toni

            Well….OK….let me take it one by one, keeping in mind my statement was “Name something Rachel Maddow has said on her show that is a lie.”

            The Randolf statement: Rachel Maddow didn’t make the statement. Surely you don’t mean to hold her accountable for everything a (non-paid-contributing) guest says on her show? I’ll note that she was “Wow” in response to the statement that he has only had one election, which in most circles equates to “Gee, I had no idea that was the case.”

            New Black Panther’s story: OK, so Politifacts determined Maddow’s statement was false. This is a very very very hazy example. I happened to watch 2 or 3 instances of Fox coverage of this very issue. I will be willing to admin that on the absolute letter of her statement, it may be a stretch. However, as with much racial baiting, there was definitely an intimation by Fox to this end. And that’s what I listened to directly, not what I read. We both know it’s possible to race bait without directly race baiting, just in tone and manner. I find this a poor example, and definitely in the Turquoise color block.

            The Jay Leno contribution issue: uh, that didn’t take place on her show. It was definitely an error however. I’m not convinced one way or the other that it was intentional.

            I browsed through some of the other links – nothing was compelling. I suspect it would be compelling if I hated Maddow and wanted to find it compelling. I could do the same think with just about anything Hannity says. The ball rolls faster downhill when you push it.

            I wasn’t actually criticizing Scarborough an/or Colmes. I was more making the point that you watching Morning Joe doesn’t really qualify you as watching “liberal” content on MSNBC anymore than my watching Colmes on FNC meant that I was a conservative Fox fan. I actually don’t mind Scarborough most of the time. He’s not a rabid republican. When he Most of the time I see Colmes as spineless and weak, which is probably why it’s not Hannity and Colmes anymore.

          • Troy Keith

            The example you had used was a guest on Sean Hannity’s show, albeit a regular contributor, so I wanted to find at least one example that was similar. Whether we’re talking about turquoise or shades of gray, the truth of our perceptions will often be an individual experience. If you’re a fan of MSNBC, the stack of “lies” or misrepresentations originating from their camp will be rationalized away just as Fox viewers will do for those on their side. As stated before, the truth generally lies somewhere in the middle and we could go back and forth with all of this for some time. If you are a regular (or at least occasional) Fox viewer, then the original post wouldn’t even apply to you as it was directed towards people like those in the Watter’s piece or in the included video, or those of the mindless mass that take their cues from Media Matters without even testing the tainted waters of Fox for themselves.

            My wife used to try to jump out of the car if I tuned into Rush Limbaugh but now we listen just about every day (I know, but let’s not go down that road either). The point is that 10 years ago her opinion was based only on what she’d “heard” from other sources. She says that she didn’t understand the intended humor (or sarcasm) until she actually listened and was able to put the media’s derogatory sound byte’s into context with what was actually being said on the show. It’s the same for Fox. Some of the opinion line up can be over the top but the vast majority of their programming at least attempts to present all sides and I think people have responded to that as evidenced by the network’s soaring popularity. Given the one sided monopoly of opinion that has been owned and spewed by the alphabet networks for the last 30 years, it’s actually heartening to see such a response. Could it be that Fox is more often hated because of their success rather than their shortcomings? Are many angered more because they’re forced to confront their own hypocrisy or is it simply that Fox is nothing more than a hateful mouthpiece for the Republican party and they should be silenced at all costs?


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