Tuesday, March 22, 2011

If you can't beat them, smear them

Fresh off the major butthurt Fox News has upon discovering that when people actually want news and not some hot blonde chick or paranoid middle-aged dude screeching about unpatriotic non-Fox types, they tune into CNN instead, Fox has decided the best way to compete and boost their ratings is to do some more screaming about unpatriotic non-Fox types. Namely, CNN's foreign correspondents, and their annoying habit of actually trying to go out and report on a story instead of lounging around in their hotel rooms waiting for someone in the studio back home to tell them what to say.

Which is why Nic Roberston had to step up and lay the smack down:

I mean if they had actually been there - Steve Harrigan, the correspondent here, is somebody I've known for many years. I see him more times at breakfast than I see him out on trips with government officials here.


And seriously, good on him. Even though I tend to go online for my news, ever since I lost cable CNN has been on more often when one feels like receiving the news in a more mindless and passive manner. Which, admittedly, can turn into a snark fest because it's still CNN (did you catch CNN's trenchant analysis the other day about reporters who report on things? They even cut to Sanjay Gupta to see how he feels about reporters reporting on things. It was riveting). But overall, I've been pretty impressed by CNN's coverage of the uprisings in the Middle East and the earthquake in Japan. It's not really a surprise, as one of CNN's strong points is that they have a large international network to work with, and employees that actually studied things like, you know, journalism, and it helps that their network stars will actually get on a plane once in a while to do some reporting on location.

So basically, these guys have been working their butts off the past few months, and then the laziest name in news decides to suck on some sour grapes and accuse them of being shields for Gaddafi because they are fully kicking their ass at this whole "news" thing. I think if anything, Robertson held himself back pretty well. Not that it will stop the screeching, however, because now it's the delicious "Never mind that I hit him first he hit me back and that's just meeeeeeeean" whining and that's pretty much Fox's bread and butter. And yes, Steve Harrigan did just respond to Nic Robertson's awesome and totally deserved burn by basically calling him a boring old pussy. Because Fox is too lazy to even figure out how to insult people in a meaningful way.

Fox News can gloat about their successful business model, because it has worked well for them. The majority of the time, people are going to go to them merely because they can fabricate a major-threat-to-the-way-of-life-as-old-white-people-know-it-so-be-overly-paranoid-and-watch-Fox-all-day story out of pretty much anything, like Michelle Obama looking at a fat kid all funny. But this type of model has a price; People aren't going to utilize Fox News for something like the earthquake in Japan for the same reason that they wouldn't utilize the Daily Show for it - because they have shown themselves useful at providing entertainment based on the news, but not so much useful at providing the news itself. All Fox ever really does these days is editorialize instead of report, so in a situation where there's really no editorializing to be done (except for, perhaps, how awesome nuclear power plants are), there just isn't a lot that Fox has to offer. They don't have reporters. They don't have journalists. All they have are pundits. And yes, eventually that's going to cause your credibility to take a hit.

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