Fox News was caught flagrantly deceiving viewers in a smear on Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
On Superbowl Sunday, Bill O’Reilly asked President Obama what he and the rest of Fox News Channel (or “FNC,” as O’Reilly likes to call it) could do better. “Just give the American people the facts,” Mr. Obama replied (or should I say, squeezed in between interruptions). Given that O’Reilly likes to refer to his show as “the no-spin zone,” it doesn’t seem like the task should have presented much of a challenge.
But it presents a monstrous challenge, because Fox News regularly manipulates its information with half-truths and straight-up lies. Mostly these are philosophical partisan differences raked over the tautological coals with each side walking away from the article feeling just as “right” as they entered it. But now, Fox News, caught in an indisputable, visual display of deceit, has irrefutable (and ‘irrefudiatable’) evidence of their lies to be dragged out all over the web—liked, tweeted, and re-tweeted.
TX Congressman Ron Paul won the CPAC “straw poll” for 2012 presidential favorite for the second consecutive year in 2011. In 2010, Ron Paul supporters were blocked from entering the announcement hall at CPAC, because it had been filled by Mitt Romney supporters. In 2010, when Ron Paul’s win was announced, Romney’s supporters booed vociferously. In 2011, however, when Paul’s win was announced, the audience cheered, and cheered loudly.
Last night Fox News hosted Ron Paul to discuss his second win at CPAC. But in relaying the footage from CPAC, Fox News switched the tape, playing instead the 2010 footage with Paul’s name receiving boos. Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer then asked Paul, “Who was in the audience booing you? Did you get an ID on those people?”
In reality, the only people booing Paul were Fox News themselves—there was no booing of Paul other than the booing they fabricated. Why would they do this? Because Fox News favors a particular type of conservative right-wing lifestyle and candidate, and Ron Paul does not fit the bill.
Recently an ex-employee of Fox News made headlines by calling the network “a propaganda outfit.” This journalistic deceit is likely what he was referencing. Ironically, “propaganda” is the exact term that FNC cronies like Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck regularly bandy about in referencing their political adversaries—liberal “extremists” like NBC, or, god forbid Al Jazeera, who are basically all dedicated jihadists in the eyes of Fox.
The Fox News smear against Ron Paul goes to show how far the network will go in attacking its own ostensible allies—Paul is a Republican, and a fiscal conservative, after all—in championing its chosen candidates. But also given how blatant this distortion, it also raises the question of how often Fox News engages in this kind of blatant deceit. For every time the network gets caught lying to distort reality, there are likely countless more transgressions that slip under the radar, and into the unconscious slipstream of Fox viewers.
That Fox even counts as a legitimate news network is scary, especially with the 2012 presidential election looming closer every day.