I was out playing golf the other day and came inside to beat the heat. My father and I had the silly notion that we could walk 18 holes in 90+ degree temperatures. So, when I entered the 19th hole I was a bit woozy. So, when I saw that the station was on Fox News I sat down and listened for awhile. Who knows how much I heard was reality and how much was my imagination.
The talking heads were talking about attackwatch.com. For those that haven't heard, President Obama has initiated the same rapid response idea that he used during the last campaign. The idea is that the site itself would email you (if you sign up) whenever someone on the campaign trail or in the media spreads misinformation about anything to do with public policy, someone's voting record, or anything else.
The Fox sponsored pundit said the website was a cross between Richard Nixon's enemies list and something the East Germans would have done. In the span of a moment he managed to not only prove that finding the truth on Fox News is about as likely the Astros winning the pennant in 2011, but also proving the need for the site itself. He went on to say that the site encourages people to inform on their neighbors.
This is not only untrue, but completely illogical. Why does the Obama campaign give a hoot what some yahoo from Light my Fart, Arkansas is saying about his public policy? They are more interested in finding out whether there is a MASS media source of that misinformation. See, Fox News, the whole idea of MASS media means media that is capable of reaching millions of people. Wedge Fickus in Tweedle My Ballsack, South Carolina doesn't have that capability. So, if he says that the government is injecting mind controlling chemicals into the nation's carrot supply, Obama's handlers aren't going to dispatch the secret service to make sure ol' Wedge has some sort of unfortunate accident.
Now, the funny thing is that the said pundit (can't remember his name in the heat induced stupor) is completely missing the point. You can attack attackwatch.com but you lose credibility when you mention East Germany. Politics is a lot about misinformation. Where is a concerned citizen to go to find independent and verifiable facts? The candidate themselves are usually the last place to go for those. However, the main point is something he is incapable of grasping because of who he works for.
The tradition has been that candidates make claims and the media checks them for their factual content. A scant few decades ago, that was really it. You watched the news and read the newspaper to check for accuracy. You might have had a radio program or two if you were lucky. When the internet, cable, and satellite television entered the picture then opinion became more and more prevalent. Still, there were sources that you could find that reported just the facts and they are still out there if you look hard enough.
Fox News is different and always has been. Fox News is not just simply pedaling opinion. Heck, Comedy Central and MSNBC do that. Fox News actually coordinates its efforts with those on the right. That's not opinion, that's propaganda. When a national "news" source actually propegates propaganda then all bets are off. It isn't good enough anymore to hope the media can set the public straight. The left doesn't have a network dedicated to parroting talking points. There are networks that have progressive opinions, but those opinions are their own. So, they don't need their own attackwatch.com. They have Fox News. Don't you love it when things come full circle?