Foxy gals and foxy criticism v4


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This was essay # 2 for the semester. It was a critique and the professor did not require additional sources. I haven't read it since getting it back but I believe the only "work" I mention is the documentary I am critiquing so, really, I don't think any citation was required. Still, I cited the documentary.

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  • The paper scored an A and that's what I got for the course.

    My rebuke of anti-Barbie critics got some frowns from classmates - but this one left some people really turned off. Eh, freshmen. I've actually a couple people from this course in other courses since then and we've all matured both mentally and in our writing skills.
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Foxy gals and foxy criticism v4

  1. 1. Wischnewsky 1Louis WischnewskyEnglish 100QuirkMarch 1, 2011 Foxy Gals and Foxy Criticism With the Industrial Revolution, the United States saw a rapid increase in high schoolgraduation rates. To no surprise, a burst of newspaper power came with a more educated society.Ironically, one particular company had an enormous market share of the newspaper industry.William Randolph Hearst had such control of what news Americans ingested that today, 60 yearsafter his demise, his name is still widely recognized. Even if Hearsts companies were not theonly one delivering the news, his empires reach certainly dictated what Americans would bereading and talking about as other newspapers, trying to compete, reported on the same stories.Hearst controlled the market at a time when foxy gals in high heels, like Audrey Hepburn andElizabeth Taylor, dominated the silver screen and men like Franklin Roosevelt and J. EdgarHoover were impervious to even the foxiest criticism. Seemingly gone are the days of the foxy gal that hypnotized the handsome rich guy. Yet,oddly enough, much of modern film is based on the same plots from the bygone era ofShakespeare that the early film industry based the love stories of those foxy gals upon. But, justas no one questioned the source of those silver screen plots, Hoovers eccentric parties, norHearsts global news empire 90 years ago, no one is genuinely questioning news sources today.Sadly, the critiques of politicians and news sources we do get are no more sly-as-a-fox incomposition than they were during the Hearst era. “Outfoxed” is not a genuine expose of “the reporter making the news.” It fails to addressthe alleged media bias that brought about the creation of the Fox network in the first place. The
  2. 2. Wischnewsky 2documentary never does give an explanation of Foxs “monopoly” of the news market.“Outfoxed” uses bad journalism to address Foxs “bad journalism.” The Fairness Doctrine seemsto apply when critics of Fox News want it to apply. And, frankly, there is an obvious disconnectbetween mainstream journalists reality and the message the audience is receiving frommainstream news networks. Denying bias exists in all forms of communication is to deny human nature. However, thevery nature of “Outfoxed” conveys that it is possible to deliver the news without bias. Whatsmore, the assertion goes further to imply that all other news outlets are able to deliver newswithout prejudice. This is inferred since only one news outlet is questioned by the documentary.Consider the history of the Big Three in news, though. The most famous instance of a news outlet delivering a biased story was when DanRather, blaming the story he delivered on the woman that produced the story, sat on Americantelevision screens during the 2000 election and told a fantastic story of a candidate lying aboutthe candidates military service. It turned out the story was fantastic for a reason. The supportingdocuments had been contrived and “expert witnesses” had lied. CBS had no option, when thisinstance of bias was so blatant, but to end its long relationship with Dan Rather. That is not the only time there has been a show of bias by the “trustworthy” mainstreamnews industry. During the early 1990s, there was the famous Dan Quayle potato incident. He hadbeen asked to spell the word potato. Potato with an “e” is, to this day, the most famous thing forwhich the former senator and vice president is famous. Fast forward to todays “fair andbalanced” media and watch current vice president Joe Bidens repeated gaffes go practicallyunnoticed. In representing a political party that is supposed to care about the weakest members ofAmerican society, one of Bidens arguably most cruel blunders is hardly known. At a rally, Bidenhad next to him a man in a wheelchair. After giving the disabled man praises, Biden carelessly
  3. 3. Wischnewsky 3insisted the man “stand up” to accept the raucous applause from the admiring audience. Sure, itis no “big fucking deal” that Biden is not as sly as a fox, but why does the mainstream mediamake a big fucking deal only when a conservative has a mental lapse? “Outfoxed” goes on to claim Fox News has some sort of monopoly on news. Nothingcould be further from the truth. The only statistic on this provided was that Fox is one of FIVEmajor networks. Having 1/5th of the market, 20%, is a suddenly a monopoly! If someone wants toblame Fox for having 20% of the market share, maybe they need to go look at the messagesdelivered by the other four networks. During the recent financial crisis, anyone that blamedToyota for General Motors bankruptcy was chastised and rightfully so. It was not Toyotas faultthey had a better products and better service quality than GM. There is no difference here. Foxcan no more be blamed for having a greater market share than Toyota can be blamed for GeneralMotors bankruptcy. One of the arguments in “Outfoxed” was that Foxs punch line, “Fair and Balanced” ismisleading. Maybe that argument could be made. But if the other networks could deliver onhonesty, surely they would capitalize on Foxs “lies.” At least one of them could have amarketing moniker like, “MSNBC – where the truth is always the scale.” The reason why noneof the other news outlets take on such slogans is simple: because none of the other four networksare delivering on fairness and balance either. That is also the reason no one has successfully suedFox for “false advertising.” This documentary was unable to deliver the evidence to win a claimagainst Fox, just as Foxs competitors have yet to do. A foxy way to beat out your critics is togive them something they cannot argue. There is nothing foxy about what comes next in “Outfoxed.” Not only did the film takeliterary license with the term, “anonymous source,” it is laughable how the cinematographyfocused on recording and editing machines as countless “anonymous sources” made claims
  4. 4. Wischnewsky 4against the Fox network. The Watergate scandal demonstrated that sometimes keeping a sourceunnamed has a genuine, much needed purpose. Unfortunately, reporters have come to rely on theinvestigative tool. Nary a news story published or aired today comes without an “unnamedsource.” The significance of this is pretty obvious: whether the source is “anonymous,” “anunnamed source,” or “some people,” where is the difference? This documentary infers that Foxis making up the claims of “some people.” During the documentarys montage of “somepeoples”, one is tempted to roll his eyes just as much as every person from Fox is shown rollingtheir eyes as they stated, “some people.” Sure, Fox stars might be making up a source, no oneknows. No one knows whether or not the numerous voices on those editing machines were thevoice of the “Outfoxed” producer, either. “Outfoxed” can try to be sly like a fox, but that alone isnot going to help the film outfox a fox. Further along in this debacle, a formerly foxy gal talks about the Fairness Doctrine. Thereare two aspects of the Fairness Doctrine to consider in relation to “Outfoxed.” According to theproducers of “Outfoxed,” both sides of an issue should get equal time to argue their point inevery medium. Then there is the more specific example where the formerly foxy gal talks abouthow the Fairness Doctrine had been repealed before she ever realized it was no longer in effect.Neither situation is very sly. For not one second, much less half the documentary, did anyone give Fox News space forrebuttal. To conservatives, this is no surprise. The purpose of the Fairness Doctrine is to takeaway half the time conservative voices have to speak, pure and simple. Recently, MSNBCchanged its slogan to “Lean Forward,” admittedly by MSNBC, to reflect a “progressive” bias tonews. This could be taken as a response to Foxs, “Fair and Balanced,” but that is not what it is.Rather, it is an admission, finally, of what MSNBC has been doing all along. There has not beenany other major changes at MSNBC, and certainly no ground-breaking personnel changes.
  5. 5. Wischnewsky 5Magically MSNBC is only now going to have a progressive, liberal lean to what is reported. There is a disconnect between what mainstream media news organizations see as greatjournalism and reality. Consider comments on the Fairness Doctrine coming from ChelliePingree, president of Common Cause, a left-leaning, nonprofit advocacy group. She stated thatwhile she had been a candidate for political office, she could not recall the number of timesconstituents asked her why she had not been given equal time “on TV” (note, she does notspecify Fox News – because Fox News did not exist during the period she describes). Pingreesays that, “for years” she did not even realize the Fairness Doctrine “had been lost during theReagan era.” This is very interesting considering she was an elected politician during the Reaganera. Perhaps the reason she never had cause to question whether the doctrine was still in effectwas because its absence benefited her as a Democratic politician. More than anything, though,one has to wonder how much a home builder would be trusted if he stated in an interview, “I hadno earthly idea asbestos had been outlawed from use in housing construction.” Does hercomment reflect a professional that stays on top of all the information that affects her profession?No. A hundred years ago, no one questioned whether or not William Randolph Hearstsdomination of American newspapers was a monopoly that could be giving Americans skewedmessages. Did the fact that one out four Americans were getting their news from one source helpRoosevelt win four presidential elections? Has the dominance of three or four networks skewedAmericans to prefer one political party over another? Those questions are critical to any debateabout media bias. Instead, “Outfoxed” takes a chance to question the status quo and turns it intosomething else entirely. Media bias at large is ignored. The matter of market share ismisrepresented and blamed on something Fox does not control. That amounts to bad journalismon the part of “Outfoxed” at a level even the Fairness Doctrine could not address. All things
  6. 6. Wischnewsky 6considered, nothing has changed much over the last one hundred years. Foxy gals in high heelshave moved from the silver screen to the local news, but theres still no foxy criticism of thegovernment or the media it sponsors.
  7. 7. Wischnewsky 7 Works CitedOutfoxed. Dir. Robert Greenwald. Ryko Distribution. 2004. DVD.