What is Acceptable?

Last February FOX News edited one word out of a video of Michele Obama’s speech. That edit made it seem that she meant something other than what she actually said. The nuance was changed. Then the Right-Wing Wacky-Sphere, Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, Sean Hannity, and their clones beat her over the head with the club FOX News made just for them. They said she was “Un-American and O’Reilly got to say the word “lynch.”

I called three journalism professors at the University of Washington, and an anchor at a network affiliate station here in Seattle, and asked them what would happen in the newsroom, or the classroom, if anyone edited a quote to change its meaning.

They responded:

Changing that one word drastically alters the meaning … It’s an ethical violation. Obviously not a mistake.

I teach my students to Never Alter Quotes. If I found out about it … I’d flunk them.

I have never worked anywhere where that is acceptable

There would be Severe Consequences. In the newsroom I’d outright can his/her ass

But they all prefaced their remarks with variations of, Oh … that’s just FOX. What do you expect? in the same dismissive tone of voice you’d use saying, “Oh Well … Boys will be boys …” when describing the zany antics of guys in a fraternity house.

Media Matters reported earlier this month:


“On the July 2 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade labeled New York Times reporter Jacques Steinberg and editor Steven Reddicliffe “attack dogs,” claiming that Steinberg’s June 28 article on the “ominous trend” in Fox News’ ratings was a “hit piece.” During the segment, however, Fox News featured photos of Steinberg and Reddicliffe that appeared to have been digitally altered … Steinberg’s teeth have been yellowed, his nose and chin widened, and his ears made to protrude further … Reddicliffe’s teeth have been yellowed, dark circles have been added under his eyes, and his hairline has been moved back.”


“Neither Steinberg nor Reddicliffe were reachable for comment Wednesday. But Times Culture Editor Sam Sifton called the Fox photo work “disgusting,” and the criticism of the paper’s reporting “a specious and meritless claim.”

“It wasn’t a hit piece,” Sifton told E&P. “It was straight news. This was a hit piece by Fox News. It is beneath comment.” Asked if the paper planned to respond to Fox’s actions, he said no: “It is fighting with a pig, everyone gets dirty and the pig likes it.”

This is what drives me crazy. FOX puts out doctored photographs of NY Times reporters … they’re just like the cartoon caricatures of Jews that Goebbels and the Nazis distributed all over Germany in the 30’s, but instead of slamming FOX … The NY Times lets them slide.

But FOX gives a positive warp to the news when covering John McCain. Last Friday FOX reported on a campaign stop John McCain made in Ohio … but instead of playing video from that event they used an 8 year-old video clip from the 2000 primary campaign. John McCain will be 72 this August … he was 64 in the video.

Just more madcap clowning around from those cut-ups at FOX News.

And let’s not forget George W. Bush’s cousin, John Ellis, that wild and crazy guy at FOX who called the Florida vote for Bush on election night 2000.

FOX might be Broadcasting’s Bad Boy … but they’re not fooling around … They play for keeps … and they’ve changed history.


“In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States.”

“… the Florida Appeals court claimed that the FCC policy against falsification of the news does not rise to the level of a “law, rule, or regulation,” it was simply a “policy.” Therefore, it is up to the station whether or not it wants to report honestly.”

But was FOX alone in wanting to preserve their right to lie to the American Public?

“What is more appalling are the five major media outlets that filed briefs of Amici Curiae- or friend of FOX – to support FOX’s position: Belo Corporation, Cox Television, Inc., Gannett Co., Inc., Media General Operations, Inc., and Post-Newsweek Stations, Inc.”

But we can fight back … right? There are many Internet sites that track the lies and distortions that spew from The MainStreamMedia … Right?

Media Matters, Project Censored, The Center For Public Integrity, Crooks & Liars, Democracy Now, TV News Lies and … and …

And who cares.

The guy that just sent me another forwarded ad nauseam email filled with Right Wing Republican hate-filled drivel isn’t the sort of person who gallops off to Snopes.com to fact check the propaganda.

Since The Fairness Doctrine was axed, there hasn’t been a MainStream venue to refute the lies of the Right-Wing Noise machine. For those who care … there’s the Internet and Sane Talk Radio. But the sad fact is that the majority of Americans don’t care enough to find out if the news that comes out of their teevee, radio, or newspaper is really news at all. And if they’re not aware of that sordid little court ruling in Florida … how would they know if they should even question it? CBS isn’t going to tell anybody they edited the latest McCain interview so he doesn’t sound completely crazy. And if you only get your news from CBS … you’re just like all of us mushrooms; kept in the dark and fed manure.

We’re all in the same boat. Gotta get to work, gotta keep the job, gotta pay the bills, Jesus Christ my house isn’t worth what I paid for it, price of gas, price of food, price of everything going through the roof and

Rinse and Repeat.

The Nazification of America is happening right before our eyes and because we’re too busy to pay attention … it might as well be just another episode of Hogan’s Heroes.

So what if 22 Americans and 88 Iraqis got turned into dirt last week. That’s “Over There” someplace. We’re doing all right as long as you don’t look too closely at anything. Things only start to slip a little when someone with a hate-filled head courtesy of Michael Savage, Limbaugh, Hannity, and FOX tips over and grabs a shotgun.

When the slip turns into a greased slide and builds to an avalanche … that’s when the fun will really get started. We’ve had 20 years of Limbaugh and 12 years of FOX telling The People that Liberals ruined this country and are the root cause of what’s ailin’ you. The enemy is within and you can tell them by their Obama bumper sticker.

But everything’s going to turn out all right because Obama’s going to be The Next President and he’ll fix everything.

So what’s acceptable to MainStream America as engineered by the MainStreamMedia? Through indifference, forced ignorance, or choice … Oh … just about anything.

Edgar Allen Poe wrote of people protected from the outside world … so they ignored it.

And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night.And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall.… And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.

Reason 747 of Why I Don’t Get Invited To Parties.

What is Acceptable? July 29, 2008


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