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Wednesday 21 July 2010

What The Fox? – 2

Right now, over in the USA, a substantial storm is being forcibly brewed up in a relatively small teacup. And the forcing is being done by an organisation well known to anyone reading this blog: yes, it’s our old friends at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).

The story that Fox are pushing at present – another example of trying to frighten its overwhelmingly white audience with overhyped tales of fringe black groups – is another example (remember ACORN?) of the network taking a non-story, talking it up out of all proportion, then beating up on the rest of the broadcast media for (rightly, in this case) ignoring it. Fox can then claim to be fearless, investigative, trusted, and otherwise wonderful.

So what’s the story? Well, back at the 2008 elections, two members of a fringe group called the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) were hanging around a polling place in the city of Philadelphia. One of them was carrying a nightstick. The police were called and escorted the two off the premises. Subsequently, the one with the stick was served an injunction by the Department of Justice (DOJ) but the case was then dropped for lack of evidence.

So that’s it? Well, yes and no. For Fox, the narrative is clear: this was a case of voter intimidation. Worse, the DOJ has a problem – or is that some kind of Obama administration policy – with prosecuting black people. From this follows the suggestion that the Dems are behind some kind of vote rigging exercise. What has followed is that a disproportionate amount of airtime has been dedicated to the NBPP, with its leader occasionally brought on as a kind of pantomime villain.

The affair has been the making of Fox newcomer Megyn Kelly (she’s blonde, but aren’t all Fox women?) and has been used to kick the rest of the broadcast media by Bill O’Reilly, the “acceptable face” of Fox, recently restored to top of the ratings after a drop in viewing figures for the increasingly wayward Glenn Beck.

From this, we have the sad sight of the reliable and trusted faces of more mainstream channels having to justify why they haven’t been hammering this non-story like Fox. And, Megyn Kelly and Bill-O, if this is about voter intimidation, how about doing some proper journalism and finding a voter who got intimidated?

Because, if there isn’t a voter who got intimidated, there’s no story. Unless, of course, it’s just race baiting.

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