The term ‘fake news’ is not new, but during the 2016 campaign season it reached a new low. Individuals created stories about both candidates which were entirely false. Using social media, stories were spread quickly; some with the goal of financial gain, and some with political intentions. The American people are lazy; they accept what the see and read without question. Seeking the facts is not an option for most.
The beginning of fake news occurred in 1996. Newspaper magnate Rupert Murdoch is a major supporter of the Republican Party. He hired Roger Ailes with the goal of creating a network which would appeal to a single audience; FOX Noise was born. As president of the new network, Ailes was not concerned with facts or the truth, his philosophy was ‘ratings at any cost.’ As viewership grew, it was obvious that FOX was nothing more than a propaganda machine for right wing politics. FOX personalities were encouraged to say anything which would incite an emotional response from viewers. Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity were encouraged to offer their personal opinions and those of the Republican Party.
The result of the success of FOX Noise and others such a Rush Limbaugh on conservative radio created a divided America. Those who chose FOX as their primary news source refused to consider any other opinions, and were convinced that liberals were all evil and hated America. It’s called “brainwashing.” By gaining trust, and telling one group of Americans ‘what they want to hear,’ FOX began changing the face of America. “Red” states and “blue” states became a reality.
Recently respected journalist Ted Koppel interviewed FOX number two celebrity, Sean Hannity. Hannity was allowed by the fake news network to openly support Trump during the campaign. The interview revealed Hannity’s ignorance and arrogance.
One of Hannity’s initial statements asked a question; does Hannity believe what he tells his viewers, or is this simply ‘acting’ on his part?
“We have to give some credit to the American people that they’re somewhat intelligent and that they know the difference between an opinion show and a news show,” Hannity said. “You’re cynical,” he added.
Koppel’s response was “yes, I am.”
“Do you think we’re bad for America? You think I’m bad for America?”
“Yeah,” Koppel responded. “In the long haul I think you and all these opinion shows are.”
Hannity told Koppel it was “sad” he felt that way.
News is not news if opinions are involved. Real journalists are taught that their responsibility is simple; offer the facts as clearly and concisely as possible to the people, and allow them to form their own opinions.
There is an enormous difference between Hannity and revered journalists including Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, John Chancellor, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.
Unless you are an ‘old fart,’ like me, you don’t remember how television network news began. In the beginning of television, there was no news. Congress mandated a one-half hour broadcast nightly to offer information to the American people. Initially this time slot lost money for the networks. As the popularity of these half-hour broadcasts grew, and advertisers spent their dollars to support network news, producers and presidents of these networks witnessed an opportunity.
Here we are in 2017, and television news has become entertainment instead of actual news. Opinions abound, whether they are verbal or with the use of facial expressions. The tough questions are avoided by their guests. Bias is obvious. Television news is now the most profitable broadcast on the networks. Former journalists, who have become celebrities, are paid millions of dollars a year to pretend to inform the American people.
FOX Noise began the trend. All networks now follow the formula created by Roger Ailes. Sensationalism sells advertising, and facts are often omitted from their stories.
Prior to November 9th, 2016, I began my day watching “CBS This Morning.” I have always appreciated the interview style of Charlie Rose. I knew Nora O’Donnell from NBC. I assumed that Gaily King was added to interview guests outside of the actual news venue. During the campaign season, Mr. Rose, and Ms. O’Donnell failed to be fair. When Hillary Clinton’s supporters and campaign staff appeared on the show, they constantly questioned them about Hillary’s e-mails, and her “likeability.” They never asked questions regarding her platform. When Kellyanne Conway, or Mike Pence appeared, they allowed them to veer ‘off topic’ and make a campaign speech for Trump, while telling obvious lies. Hillary was held to a far higher standard than Trump.
The bottom line is that I no longer watch television news; local or national. I do not trust them to tell the complete truth.
FOX began the downtrend in television news. Today we cannot trust a single major network.
You can trust me.
By James Turnage
Photo courtesy of Peabody Awards
Follow me on twitter; @jamesturnagenov