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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Trust FOX

According to a recent poll, the most trusted name in news is FOX.

And people used to laugh at me when I told them that the American public is fundamentally conservative. Right-wing ideology is our default mode.

The only way to combat this brainwashing is for the left to do what the right does: Invest in "think tanks" and other institutions designed to promote an intellectual infrastructure friendly to liberal values.
Not much of a poll. 1000 people ivr-ed (auto-dialled, computerized questionnaire). The reality is more likely: people willing to sit still on a land line for a 10 minute automated poll trust fox.
When Keith Olbermann (who I have not watched for a year now), had his numerous in air melt downs in the 2008 democratic primary race, his target was always Bill O'Reilly.

Olbermann would literally remind me of what one would get if the Joker and the Riddler could make a child.

Olbermann referred to "Billo the Clown" so much that I finally started looking at Fox to see what Olbermann was talking about.

Everytime I clicked on O'Reilly, he would be calm, cool, collected, everytime I clicked on Keith he would be sputtering out verbal assaults at a high rate of speed.

I kept switching back and forth a few more times, and I just could not understand what was wrong with Keith Olbermann.

Olbermann was behaving like the crack pot. In fact, the ONE TIME I saw O'Reilly get livid, IT WAS OVER THE TREATMENT THAT HILLARY CLINTON WAS GETTING FROM HER OWN PARTY AND THE MEDIA!

So, we're really screwed.
Joe, a conservative country would not have Social Security. There you go.
US is weirdly apolitical (for a world-class empire, if not economy) -- not across the board right-wing. Key demographics are certifiably reactionary (and some deranged). The disproportionate anti-gov energy pushes the political pole to the right in times of cultural or financial havoc. Clinton understood this and played a weak hand brilliantly. Some elites are getting the biggest bang for their (sizeable) buck these days. We'll see what the current WH tenant can do w/his hand...
During the Bush years, Fox was constantly telling its viewers that the administration really, really loves you and is only working to make things better and safer. People sucked it up.

Now Fox is telling its viewers that this administration hates you, is working against your better interests, and is making you less safe as a result.

Fox Manipulates. The public believes it. What more can be said?

When time is given over to birthers and those willing to paint Obama as a fascist, socialist, communist subversive, who is out to destroy the world, the public eats it up.

Until they realize that Fox is nothing more than a handy tool and a mouthpiece for all things GOP, they will buy into any propaganda that is thrown out there.

Hatred for Obama makes it much easier for them to spin this crap. Better yet, turn off the noise that constitutes "news analysis" from either side. Sanity will return.
Two anecdotes:
From the Vietnam era when there were protests just about every day. A group of students rewrote the the first 10 amendment of the Constitution in every day language as a petition and asked people to sign it. Most refused.
The second is from a few years back.
When asked their opinion on a range of subjects including gun control, with no reference to any party or ideology people answered as liberals.
It depends on who and how the questions are asked.
But when you have a cable anchor squirting his DNA down the inside of his trouser leg on air over a candidate then telling others in the business it's his job to help that president succeed, yeah, folks just might trust Fox more than anyone else.
From the article you link to: "A generation ago you would have expected Americans to place their trust in the most neutral and unbiased conveyors of news," said PPP president Dean Debnam, in the polling memo. "But the media landscape has really changed and now they're turning more toward the outlets that tell them what they want to hear."

A generation ago we only had three networks. That was the only place to go. Then CNN and soon after FOX came on board. People have more choices now.

Plus too many liberals and Democrats think that people make rational and dispasionate decisions. They don't. Most of the electorate use emotion to make their decisions, especially political decisions. Republicans (FOX) are masters at framing issues in the form of narratives and in powerful emotional terms while Democrats are scolds and keep reciting shoulds and numbers and facts and statistics.

If the left does invest in think tanks then they also need to look into the psychology of decision making and the most recent research on how the brain functions and how the electorate makes political decisions. Otherwise they will never be successful. (The exception was/is Bill Clinton. He could spin narratives and emotion with the best of them. Which is why he still loved by a great number of people.

And for all the praise he receives for his oraatorial skills, Obama does not make an emotional connection with people. Another reason he is fairing so poorly now.
tdraicer here:

I disagree most Americans are conservative. About 30% of Americans lean right, about 30% lean left, and the rest (what I refer to as the "muddled middle") are all over the place and can be won by either side. But only one side has been really trying to win them (so I agree on your point about the need for a liberal infrastructure anyway).
Fox never did get any better from the sewer they've always been. However, with GE and Saudi Arabia getting into the race of 2008, MSNBC and CNN started racing to the bottom - being at times so outrageous as to get many - not me, but many I know - to turn to Fox for balance (as Newscorp was not for the same candidate at the time).
Once installed, Obama was so arrogant, he thought he can stamp Fox - and thereby get the allegiance of his base. Of course, his war on Fox was embarrassing and had to be abandoned with apologies (who can forget his flunkies thinking they were speaking "truth to power"?)
So, as a result of those circumstances, Fox emerged looking better than it ever did - without making any effort to change or improve - just by the foolishness of the competition.
We still have junk media - nothing for me to tust. But there is a bit of schadenfreude in that tale.
The details of the poll are somewhat comforting.

Independents, and of course, Democrats, do not trust Fox, and more of them say they distrust Fox than trust it. Last time I looked, the combination of independents and Democratic Party voters far outweighs the number in the GOP.

It's only the 74% trust given Fox by Republicans (vs. a 23% trust rating that is the most they trust any other "news" org) that boosts it to the highest rating of trust. And that still is under 50% trust in the nation (although almost there, at 49% overall).

Two other caveats. The sampling was done using registered voters. This is NOT the nation, and a similar polling using the broader screen of 'all adults' would show different and more liberal results. (It always does.) The stated confidence range of +/- 2.8% points mean that even these results for this sampling could be opposite the headlined result.

Since these unmodified results do not show independents or Democrats trusting Fox by majority, so what they really show is that the conservative registered voters in the GOP trust the most conservative network, monolithicly and in lockstep (goosestep?), which is hardly news at all.

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