Thursday, October 20, 2005

Don't FOX with Local News

What Ailes America
Fox News Channel's political agenda is coming to a television station near you.

Former GOP operative Roger Ailes, the architect behind Fox News Channel's rightward tilt, is now remaking 35 local television stations -- reaching into nearly 40 percent of America’s homes -- in the image of his dominant cable network.

According to a recent report in Variety, Ailes plans to replace local news on News Corp. stations in dozens of domestic markets with the blinkered infotainment that’s become a hallmark of Fox News Channel.

Coming to your town
He has already moved oversight of the local station group to Fox News headquarters in New York and flown in local news personalities for retraining on how to deliver the news Fox-style.

This month, he replaced station programming with "Geraldo at Large," a show produced out of Fox News’ studios. Geraldo is just the beginning. Other Fox News Channel programs -- a lineup that includes Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity -- are waiting in the wings.

Media consolidation made Ailes’ takeover of local news possible. News Corp. owns both a Fox and a UPN affiliate in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago -- the country’s three biggest markets -- and other duopolies in six more of the top 20 markets, including Dallas, Minneapolis and Washington. (Click here for an interactive map of Fox-owned stations.)

As I write this, News Corp.'s lobbyists are schmoozing officials in Washington to further loosen regulations that prohibit one company from owning even more local news outlets. Instead, we need to break up the big media conglomerates and get higher quality news and information in return for free use of the public's airwaves.

In the coming months, the Federal Communications Commission — the agency charged with regulating the number of TV stations one corporation can own — will reconsider media ownership limits.

The loosening of ownership caps would unleash a new wave of media consolidation. At the local level, we could see a single firm own the majority of media — daily newspaper, TV and radio stations, cable TV systems.

Such concentration not only violates the premise of a competitive marketplace, it makes a mockery of the notion of a free press enshrined in the Constitution. The implications are clear: media conglomerates such as News Corp. would have the power to put their footprint on political discourse in a manner never seen before.

To stop the "Fox Effect" from invading more hometown news markets, Free Press has launched a national campaign, asking its more than 220,000 activists and others to tell Congress, News Corp. and local stations: “Don’t Fox with my local news.”


Anonymous said...

What makes this trend so dangerous is that Fox panders to and nurtures emotionalism over reason. It also emphasizes "enemies" and "evils" -- as defined by the right wing -- and urges its audiences to take political action.

This trend in broadcasting has help drive America far to the right and might well lead to the rise of fascism in this country. Some would argue that it already has.

Anonymous said...

The Fox effect--if indeed it is such--is one that counterbalances, perhaps zealously, the unconscionable leftward canter of the Bigfoot sms. The smugness of 'anonymous' and the author of the Fox-crit mediacitizen piece is curious, give the exponential juggernaut of popularity that non-left media are experiencing, cycle after cycle. Do the whingeing idea-free demo-leftists not smell the coffee, even in their torpid angst and rage against the successes of those who reject their unworkable, untrue rubbish-for-thoughts? I have been a dem all my so-far life, and resent the hijacking of neutral reality evidenced by the Cindy Sheehans and the Al Frankens and the Soros-based apoplectics that I run to affiliate with anyone countering their alarmist hate-America, abide-with-the-nasties so-called philosophy. What I note with disbelief most of the time: "Liberal" used to mean tolerant, but I see illiberality and intolerance in these avatars of Hate-the-Other (e.g., any and all GOP voters)(codeword: Bushies). Whatever became of listening and civil discourse? The best news I heard is in China, where emotionalism is entirely absent in every broadcast, there are no bells and whistles, and while few outside China are given more than a minim of time to state their cases, they are rpesented moderately straightly. Still, they were a pleasure to hear, if only because their packages did not ceaselessly toy with listeners, did not recycle ad infinitum, and they omitted the cavity-inducing cutes and glad-handing I find so offensive on nearly all US-based media.

Michael McClung said...


Whimsy said...

"The best news I heard is in China"??? This is what conservatives call irony, right?

Speaking of that dastardly left-wing MSM, have you ever scanned the entire radio dial, left to right, AM and FM? Have you ever counted the number of conservative shows vs. the number of liberal? What, maybe 50-to-1?

Anonymous said...

I say bring it on-- if there's one thing blogs should teach us, it's that we shouldn't be afrid of point-of-view, as long as they are transparent about it.