Britain is in the middle of a media crisis at the moment. One of our most popular newspapers, News of the World, has been shut down as a result of a hacking scandal that saw its reporters tapping into the phones of unsuspecting citizens, including the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
The scandal, branded “hackgate”, also involves members of the Metropolitan Police Force, which is being investigated due to claims that its officers accepted illegal bribes in exchange for confidential information. There is also an ongoing investigation into the suspected hacking of bereaved 9/11 families. Suffice to say, the whole thing is completely messed up. So who in their right mind could possibly claim that those behind the NotW scandal are the victims of this whole debacle? Why, Fox News, of course.
Fox News (which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, lest you forget) discussed hackgate during prime time in an overwhelmingly biased segment (which can be viewed here) which saw right-wing sub-humans Bob ‘n’ Steve hold their hands high up in the air and shamelessly tell the public that they didn’t see what all the fuss was about. There are bigger issues to deal with, they said, farting the words out of their mouths as if they truly believed them. They then cut to one of said “bigger issues” that America is facing right now: the concluded Casey Anthony trial.
Fox News is an unashamed celebration of bias, fear and idiocy, preying on the weak-minded and ill-educated by showing them photographs of easy targets and then telling them to focus all of their hatred onto them, rather than taking the more difficult route of “logic and reasoning”. It’s terrifying that such a channel has managed to exist for so long. It’s even more terrifying that it is America’s second most trusted news channel.
Because of our inherent English reserve, such a channel would not see the light of day on British television: instead we have woefully dull newscasters wearing grey suits reading from the autocue like Cylons. But even though we have no flagrant imbeciles on our TV screens, that doesn’t mean that we are devoid of them completely: this is where the News of the World & Friends come in.
The now-defunct newspaper had a whole host of compadres, each as ridiculous as the next, with similarly narrow viewpoints and completely unaccommodating attitudes to intelligence. The Sun, for instance, will cunningly entice the reader with promises of sexy photos of girls with tig ol’ bitties, before slamming a misleading and wildly xenophobic headline (the most harrowing display of a misleading headline I can think of in recent memory was that of an article in the Daily Mail, which stated “Study Shows One Fourth of Sexual Predators are Muslim”, followed by photographs of Muslim offenders. So tell me – what religion were the other 3/4s? ) in their face that, if taken as verbatim, would make even the most liberal of men’s blood boil. It has consequently become a lunchtime favourite of retired, racist Grandparents and builders alike.
Fortunately the writers of these reports aren’t allowed to go on television to air their venomous rhetoric (and when they do they find themselves belittled by Steven Coogan: Video), but it seems that Fox News has got it down to a fine enough art that if anyone else in the Western World was to even think about waltzing into a newsroom with their two brain cells intent on making the world a dumber place to live in, they’d be laughed right off the stage.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a challenge: I’m perfectly content with the British idiots having their thoughts confined to paper/the internet. I’m just saying that if the dimmer of us limeys decided to prance around on television being all covertly racist and homophobic, then we just wouldn’t be able to do it half as well as the cabaret-esque O’Reilly & co. Having never visited your fine country I can only assume that you are all deeply embarrassed by their antics, but don’t worry: we foreigners view it as a side-splitting comedy routine.
A deeply sinister, hate-filled, terrifying comedy routine.