The Hounds Cry Wolf About Fox

Code words. Secret meanings. Hidden agendas. When paranoia strikes deep, the gals from Outfoxed never sleep.

When the newshounds (another fine product from the Outfoxed syndicate) aren't rewriting quotes, contradicting themselves, or flat out making things up, they still have a few arrows left in their quiver. One of their favorite tactics is to take some words or phrases used on Fox and then pretend that these are "proof" that the network is slanting the news.

The archetypical example of this is the phrase "some people say", which in the Outfoxed video is held up as a prime example of bias. And the hounds themselves keep invoking this notion, pouncing on every instance of "some people say" as if it had been trademarked by News Corporation.

But does it tell us something about FNC? It might, if it were not a phrase used by anchors, reporters, and writers from just about every news source. Just a few examples, found in five minutes of Googling:

NBC - Katie Couric: you know some people say Hollywood folks should stick to acting."
PBS - Elizabeth Farnsworth: Some people say this is the greatest American play.
PBS - Jim Lehrer: Well, some people say that it doesn't look like to the innocent observer...
CNN - Elizabeth Cohen: And some people say, look, when you look at the statistics...
CNN - Nic Robertson: Some people saying yes, they're dead, ashamed that the coalition forces killed them
MSNBC - Joe Scarborough: Well, Dee Dee, some people say that Richard Clarke doesn‘t have a political agenda.
NBC - Matt Lauer: Some people say that's what you've done.

Their latest attempt to create bias where none exists takes Fox to task for using code words in describing the War in Iraq:
Whether it was Quinn & Asman discussing the story, Lauren Green reading headlines, or Cookson & Baier filing their reports, all used the same phrases repeatedly, describing Muqtada al-Sadr as a "radical cleric", "outlaw cleric" or "radical Shiite" & using the word "shrine" to describe the Imam Ali Mosque [comment: is this to downgrade its status, so it won't seem so significant when our military blows it to smithereens?].

Courtesy of three minutes spent at yahoo's news search site, we found scores of examples; here are just a few:

the phrase "radical cleric": used by Reuters, The Times of India, ABC News, Deutsche Welle, the International Herald Tribune...
the phrase "radical shiite cleric": used by CBS News, the Albuquerque Tribune, the New York Times, the Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Associated Press...

And the phrase which the curs so cleverly deduced was a semantic trick designed as double-secret off-the-record propaganda:

the word "shrine" to describe the Imam Ali Mosque: Reuters, CBS News, The Christian Science Monitor, ABC News, Time Magazine, The New York Times, BBC News...

When the hounds are ready and eager to cry "wolf" over and over, based on this kind of flimsy "analysis", can anyone take them seriously?

posted: Wed - August 11, 2004 at 04:29 PM       j$p  send