Monday, October 26, 2009
"Don't FOX Me In"
Over the weekend a spirited but civil debate about Obama's dislike for FOX News took place on my Facebook page. It was prompted by this comment that I posted on Saturday morning: "Obama's attempt to squelch free press through marginalizing FOX--whether you voted for him or not, don't you find this disturbing?"
Many answers, in a word, were "Yes." Here are a few other comments:
"How can he possibly take on something as fundamentally important to democracy as free press?"
"No one is forced to watch Fox, and it should be available as a choice."
"Seems there are more checks than balances."
"We no longer watch any TV. We used to be especially disgusted by news bias. We get our news from other sources."
"Journalism should cover only the facts. Let us decide whether we agree or disagree."
"I kind of like FOX being silenced."
"You may like Fox being silenced. But will YOU be next?"
"I think it's shameful that this even happened but I do think Fox News had it coming."
As for my thoughts: Regardless of whether you like FOX or not, I think what Obama tried to do is very disturbing. This isn't about politics. It's about the freedom of the press to disagree with the president. And that is why the other news organizations said "no way" to FOX being left out of the Pay Czar's interview. I doubt they have any love lost for FOX (whose ratings are often higher than theirs), but they're thinking, "We could be next."
Further, the exclusion of FOX as a perceived dissenter of this administration inherently implies that the other news organizations are saying just what the president wants. They're the "good guys" of whom he approves. You might as well boil a true journalist in oil as tell him that. Biased or not, all true journalists like to think of themselves as reporting the "truth," not what the president or any other politician wants them to report.
This brouhaha, in my opinion, has make Obama look petty at best and scarily controlling at worst. And ironically, it has only served to drive more viewers to FOX. Their numbers are soaring.
Hmm. Maybe the marketing plan for my next suspense novel needs to include royally ticking off the president ...