An evening�s exploration of American media
By Paul O�Sullivan
Journal Guest Writer
Oct 10, 2008, 00:18
fact, fairness of point of view, balance in reporting, impartiality and
objectivity -- essential ingredients of professional journalism, right?
a friend and I sat in our living room in Cork City, Ireland, and loaded YouTube
to watch the apparently notorious and overwhelmingly popular (amongst the U.S
populace) Bill O�Reilly being �outfoxed.�
I was told, is a prime-time presenter with FOX News, a man whose journalism
practices challenges the journalistic ethics of fairness and balance -- to say
the least, the very least -- just as FOX News itself has been accused of.
this proverbial media giant (both in ratings and physical stature) interviewing
the son of a 9/11 victim who signed an anti-Iraq war petition after his
father�s death, which blatantly did not bode well with O�Reilly.
interview, controlled to a greater extent by the interviewee because he
apparently had studied many tapes of O�Reilly, cumulated in O�Reilly shouting
the teenager down and vociferously threatening to boot him off the set, his set
as he described it.
a few more, an interview with Senator Barrack Obama, a former talk-show host
with another station and Marilyn Manson, who, by comparison to Obama, O�Reilly
treated quite saccharine.
friend was largely aghast at O�Reilly�s interview techniques, bias and fondness
of projecting his own opinions, I was at a loss to comprehend how in terms of
principal a man such as Barrack Obama, who obviously possesses deep-seated
intelligence and rationality, would contemplate giving a mouth-piece of
Republican rhetoric like O�Reilly the time of day. The answer of course is obvious:
to decline is to distance from potential voters.
But what if
Barrack Obama had declined the interview, extending the nine-month period of
absence from O�Reilly�s show indefinitely and taking a stand of principal?
Could he have gained votes through good old-fashioned respect? Or are those
qualities just for molly-codgers living in the past, like me?
interest, I decided to learn a little about O�Reilly�s employer, Keith Rupert
Murdoch. Having been unable to find any information about his previous two
wives on Google, I watched an enjoyable hour-long interview by NBC�s Charlie
Rose, a kind of Mastermind meets Parkinson, enjoyable largely because the
questions put were unchallenging, allowing Murdoch to air views which could
only be voiced by a master of the world that he is.
his history in Britain led to current Anglo-American relations, culminating in
Murdoch�s view that making jokes against and drawing cartoons of George Bush
was �ignorant, ugly and wrong,� coming from a guy whose newspapers do just that
against other leading figures across the world. Murdoch continued stating there
had always been an �elite British attitude of looking down their noses at the
Americans� and the average working-class person was pro-American, that they
went to Disney World on their holidays. Murdoch, an Australian by birth, is an
American citizen and I presume Rose is too.
interview seemed a macrocosm of O�Reilly -- the acceptance of corporate
winners, and power cannot be objectively challenged. Sure, some sections of
British society might have superior views, but this alone cannot account for a
word on the street that Bush is a phoney -- a word so loudly spoken even the
Lords in their House must have heard it -- or a million people gathering on the
streets of its capital in protest of Britain�s involvement in a war
predominantly perpetrated by George Bush.
the chain of American media exploration, I watched Charlie Rose interview
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an interview Mr. Rose had to cut-short a
vacation in France
to conduct. Either Mr. Rose was annoyed his holiday time had been disrupted or
he could not conceal his personal view that Iran presently posed a significant
threat to the Western world, as he concurred with Mr. Murdoch.
I�m not a journalism expert, especially American
journalism. But I -- like most people who now and again pay attention -- can
detect a stark lack of objectivity. And it would appear to me that the very
people society depends upon to get to the core of the truth are half-doing
their job, not just in America but perhaps particularly in America where
regressive political evolution is provoking polarisation.
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