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11 words from John Oliver that expose Fox News' fundamental hypocrisy

edited April 2020 in Off-Topic
There has been a discussion of Fox News on a recent post of mine. This article discusses that topic. Here are a few excerpts:
Fox News viewers have a very different view of coronavirus -- its origins, the search for a vaccine etc. -- than do non-Fox viewers.

The truth here is that Fox News knows exactly what it's doing. It -- or, really, the late Roger Ailes -- has created a brand that revolves around its viewers' distrust in societal pillars like government, the education system and, yes, the media. Every story -- and I mean every story -- is funneled through that lens.

The most noxious part of all of this -- and it's what Oliver's 11 words hit directly on the head -- is that Fox News is covering the story this way not because it comports with known facts or because they believe it's the "real" narrative but rather because they know that covering the coronavirus pandemic this way means more viewers -- and more money to sell ads.
I find it useful to scan the "print" article headlines on the "front page" of the Fox website every day to keep up on their perspective. Most of what appears there appears to be newsworthy. And, sometimes they cover topics I don't see being covered elsewhere. The articles bear their slant. But, I am encouraged because that slant appears to be becoming somewhat less divisive in the post Roger Ailes period.

Anyway, here is the link to the article:



  • Let's hope so but their system deeds a double, triple steam cleansing. My guess is that they've got a lock on their viewers now no matter how or what they report. It would be nice to have them find some integrity.
  • Howdy folks,

    It may or may not be true but I read that FOX wasn't even licensed as a News network but as entertainment unlike the other networks like NBC CBS CNN and even MSNBC.

    And so it goes

    Peace and Flatten the Curve

  • msf
    edited April 2020
    rono said:

    It may or may not be true but I read that FOX wasn't even licensed as a News network but as entertainment unlike the other networks like NBC CBS CNN and even MSNBC

    Not true, and as this Snopes page asks, are you talking about the Fox broadcast network or Fox News?

    The Snopes piece is not quite correct either. It says that while cable channels are not licensed, broadcast networks are ("The Fox Broadcasting Company is an over-the-air television network licensed by the FCC.")

    In reality, the FCC only licenses broadcast stations, not networks. Remember Trump's bombast about pulling NBC's "license" in 2017?

    Politico: The FCC, an independent federal agency, issues broadcast licenses to stations and oversees license holders. It does not license networks.

    Forbes, quoting the FCC: We license only individual broadcast stations. We do not license TV or radio networks (such as CBS, NBC, ABC or Fox) or other organizations with which stations have relationships (such as PBS or NPR), except to the extent that those entities may also be station licensees. We also do not regulate information provided over the Internet, nor do we intervene in private disputes involving broadcast stations or their licensees. Instead, we usually defer to the parties, courts, or other agencies to resolve such disputes. [Emphasis in Forbes' piece.]

  • rono said:

    Howdy folks,

    It may or may not be true but I read that FOX wasn't even licensed as a News network but as entertainment unlike the other networks like NBC CBS CNN and even MSNBC.

    And so it goes

    Peace and Flatten the Curve


    Why can't news actually just report news instead of pretending like they have some insight that is obviously skewed by bias.
  • Haven't watched the news since I saw Network when it came out back in 1976.

    Paddy Chayefsky saw what was coming.
  • Howdy,

    Thanks msf. It smelled a bit like fake news. Shoot, these days, you just drop 10% off from either end of the spectrum and call it good. In 2016 we were on an Alaskan land and sea trip. When we got on the cruise ship, our news choices were Fox, MSNBC and BBC. The first two are so biased, we chose the BBC. feh.

    and so it goes,


  • Donald Trump has been voicing a little frustration recently about how "his" network has been behaving. I take that as being a positive sign:
  • I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry.

    “Using both a poll of Fox News viewers over age 55 and publicly available data on television-watching patterns, they calculate that Fox viewers who watched Hannity rather than Carlson were less likely to adhere to social distancing rules, and that areas where more people watched Hannity relative to Carlson had higher local rates of infection and death.”

    Sophisticated new research links Hannity’s coronavirus misinformation to “a greater number of Covid-19 cases and deaths.”
  • I vote "laugh". Good riddance.
  • edited April 2020
    Sorry folks. John Oliver himself is an hypocrite who will do whatever he needs to make a show. Don't think MSNBC and CNN are any better. They are ALL the same. The problem is comedians are not providing made up news and outrage and news channels are voicing opinions and BS. Let's not pretend one source is better than another anymore than one mutual fund manager is better than another.
  • ....So, there really is no such thing as right and wrong, truth and falsehood? I find even my own favorite, MSNBC, to be too predictable, anymore. So I don't watch news from tv. MSNBC is a separate channel, but they use NBC news. More and more of the political correctness bullshit turns me off. Nevertheless, MSNBC is in fact in touch with reality. Faux Noise lives in its own (increasingly evil) fictitious alternative universe. LIVES are at stake.
  • @VF

    >> Don't think MSNBC and CNN are any better. They are ALL the same. The problem is ... news channels are voicing opinions and BS. Let's not pretend one source is better than another anymore than one mutual fund manager is better than another.

    Jesus Christ, what a thing to write these days, much less think.
  • msf
    edited April 2020
    I did a quick search for Lysol on and in the past 24 hrs.

    I came up with only one page on Fox News, with the title Media erupt over Trump comments on disinfectant and sunlight to cure coronavirus: Here's what he said

    Most of the MSNBC search results were duplicative in the sense that they were pages with links to the same few video pieces, including: Fox headline says that this is just a media "eruption"; MSNBC headlines say that Trump's statement worried medical experts, that Trump's statement worried Lysol's manufacturer, or simply that Trump suggested using disinfectants internally.

    Fake media or false equivalency? We report, you decide®.

    Edit: forgot to add the trademark above.
  • Totally agree Vintage pertaining to media news.
  • edited April 2020
    I work in IT as I'm sure people here know. So I work with a lot of people from India. The hit job John Oliver did on Modi did not go down well with them. It's good they don't have the numbers to make a difference, but if they did I would predict Trump wins again in spite of everything he has done. Those guys presented simple facts based on just a google search which Oliver should have done. I have to say what Oliver said about Modi and the laws he has passed / repealed is utter crap.

    After that I started researching other pieces Oliver has done. I liked his show and kinda assumed he is 100% legit. I was extremely disappointed. His show no longer records on my DVR. Few months back I reached the same conclusion regarding VICE news on HBO. We just assume certain sources are legit. I've learned the hard way they are not. It's all about ratings, and the ease with which material can be obtained from external sources. They neither spend the effort nor feel the need to verify anything.
  • Oliver has always seemed sketchy, sure, at least to some, but your good research and description have nothing to do with this kind of destructive assertion:

    >> Don't think MSNBC and CNN are any better. They are ALL the same. The problem is ... news channels are voicing opinions and BS. Let's not pretend one source is better than another anymore than one mutual fund manager is better than another.
  • This is the beginning of John Oliver's bio on Wikipedia. No where in here does it mention that he is a newsman, runs a news show or is a journalist. In fact just the opposite. He's a freakin' comedian. Since when does a comedian verify anything?

    "John William Oliver (born 23 April 1977)[1] is an English-American[2] comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, and television host. Oliver started his career as a stand-up comedian, both in the United Kingdom and United States. He came to wider attention for his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as its senior British correspondent from 2006 to 2013. Oliver won three Primetime Emmy Awards for his work as a writer on The Daily Show and was its guest host for an eight-week period in 2013. In addition to The Daily Show, Oliver co-hosted the satirical comedy podcast The Bugle (2007–2015) with Andy Zaltzman, with whom Oliver had previously co-hosted the radio series Political Animal, and hosted John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show on Comedy Central from 2010 to 2013. He has also acted on television, most notably in a recurring role as Ian Duncan on the NBC sitcom Community, and in films, notably voice-over work in The Smurfs (2011) and its sequel, and the remake of The Lion King.

    Since 2014, Oliver has been the host of the HBO series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. He has received widespread critical and popular recognition for his work on the series, whose influence over US culture, legislation, and policymaking has been dubbed the "John Oliver effect".[3][4] For his work on Last Week Tonight, Oliver has won eight Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards and was included in the 2015 Time 100, being described as a "comedic agent of change...powerful because he isn't afraid to tackle important issues thoughtfully, without fear or apology."[5][6] Many have described Oliver's work as journalism or investigative journalism,[7][8] a claim both Oliver himself[9]and other journalists dispute.[10]"

    John Oliver
  • edited April 2020
    @davidrmohan I call it like I see it. These days "liberals" are hell bent on public shaming. If you don't agree with them you are either a trump supporter, a nazi, or a racist. I've never affiliated myself with any party. Perhaps that's why I feel the way I do.

    News channels do not report news or have any journalistic integrity any more. They are all op-ed pieces. NY Times and Washington Post can claim to have higher "morals" than Brietbart, but they really do not.

    You are entitled to your opinion. I'm entitled to mine. And because I don't like anyone attaching any "label" to me or accept it, I don't get offended by anyone who doesn't share my opinion. To each his own.

    The difference between CNN and FOX is crap and utter crap. On any given day they switch the level of crap AFAIAC.
  • For someone who doesn't like labels you sure do toss a bunch to them around. Just my opinion.
  • edited April 2020
    @Mark I have to toss labels to explain labels tossed at me. That's how it goes. None of us is just a human any more. And I'm still not getting offended. It is hard, but I'm succeeding.
  • @VF,
    How you see it is crap and I bet you secretly know it in your heart. You are way too smart and considered to believe this. Not one word you say is accurate except for the shaming part, so maybe that's it.

    I have no party, lots of people don't, but anyone such in their right mind who watches the news or reads the papers knows that your take is wrong. Ignorant, uninformed.

    More important here, it is so wild given all your other posting. Maybe your smart kids can explain it to you. NYT and WaPo like Breitbart? CNN and Fox swappable? Christ on a crutch.

    I think you better sell all of your holdings and go hide somewhere.
  • @davidrmoran I'm still trying. One needs to ask oneself why someone like trump got elected in the first place. Superiority complex is not superior, at least not in the eyes of the electorate. I still think Trump wins again, for all the wrong reasons. People are going to stay home.

    On another note, I stop getting bullied when I was 12 and have still have scars on my knuckles. I don't find online bravado intimidating. Just like I'm trying not to get offended, you can keep trying to do so. Someday one of us will win. Either ways it will be a bad day.
  • Believe me, offending you is not the point, never has been,

    nor is showing superiority, nor intimidation, nor winning.

    Indeed I say these charges of yours are as unfair, wrong, and wack as your media takes.

    (I think the times have made your brain soft.)

    As for the "president" and reelection, there are no non-wrong reasons.

    But I'm done here. If you seriously maintain

    >> Don't think MSNBC and CNN are any better. They are ALL the same. The problem is ... news channels are voicing opinions and BS. Let's not pretend one source is better than another anymore than one mutual fund manager is better than another

    then I got nothing. And if you think (if I'm reading you right) Trump's defeat will be 'a bad day', less than nothing.
  • @davidrmoran Yes you are misreading. You are assuming only FOX news is bad. OR at least CNN / MSNBC are better. That is a low bar. They are all BAD. The choice we have is between poop and crap. Like I said, everyone is entitled to their opinion. You have yours, I have mine. We should stop convincing each other to change it.
  • I'm not sure there was ever a time when journalism was without some bias. It's just easier to fact check in the era of the internet.

    Think yellow journalism:

    But there is a difference between interjecting bias surrounding the facts vs making up (or presenting blatantly false facts). For example, stating 2+2=4 & debating whether "4" is good or bad is not the same as stating 2+2=frog & then giving an opinion about that.

    Trump is so outrageous in what he says publicly &/or tweets that anyone reporting about him appears to be equally as outrageous. It's totally exhausting as well.

    Interestingly, IMHO, it was the media that created Trump & had a large part in his being elected. The coverage he would get after each of the republican primary debates was mind boggling to me. Though to be fair, it always amazes me just how any of these post debates (republican or democratic) are covered.

    Regarding balanced reporting, I would recommend the AllSides website:

    The print copy of The Week also will have coverage from multiple sides but their online content is more left leaning (it's where I get to catch John Oliver on Monday mornings).

    John Oliver's show is thought provoking and might make me want to look further into a subject. But he does not pretend to be the news and most definitely does not take himself seriously (unlike multiple other commentators). He's on par with other late night comedians.

    The news business is about selling & people consuming (like anything else).

    An interesting take on the history of our desire to consume is presented in the book, Packaged Pleasures.

    "From the candy bar to the cigarette, records to roller coasters, a technological revolution during the last quarter of the nineteenth century precipitated a colossal shift in human consumption and sensual experience. Food, drink, and many other consumer goods came to be mass-produced, bottled, canned, condensed, and distilled, unleashing new and intensified surges of pleasure, delight, thrill—and addiction."

    Though published around 2014, it does not go into the phenomenon of the internet, social media, etc. Which has taken these desires to dizzying new heights.

    But isn't that what the stock market & economy depends on, people consuming.

  • edited April 2020
    By Heather Cox Richardson, April 24, 2020

    "t was notable that Daniel Dale’s article in CNN discussing today’s about-face was titled, “Fact check: Trump lies that he was being ‘sarcastic’ when he talked about injecting disinfectant.” Media outlets have been uncomfortable calling out Trump’s lies, instead using words like “untruths,” but Dale has fact-checked every Trump rally and speech in real time and regularly uses the word “lie” on Twitter. That the word is showing up more in news media suggests editors are rethinking how best to cover this president.

    Their problem is that everything a president does and says is newsworthy, but reporting what a lying politician says without identifying it as false puts the media in the position of amplifying the skewed message, rather than delivering accurate information. This tactic was pioneered by Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. He would accuse people of being communists and spread lies about them in press releases—which got covered by newspaper reporters—then move onto another story as reporters, trudging in his wake, discovered he was lying. But the fact-checking never got the headlines McCarthy’s extraordinary accusations did, and the accusations stuck.

    McCarthy’s right-hand man, New York City attorney Roy Cohn, was Trump’s mentor, and it is perhaps no accident that Trump has always used this tactic to great effect. Essentially, he has made the media his accomplice in spreading disinformation.

    Aware that this tactic gave Trump more than $5 billion of free airtime in the 2016 election cycle, media figures have tried to figure out how to cover Trump in 2020 without making the same mistake. This is especially important now that his coronavirus briefings have taken the place of his political rallies, making it hard to cover them without amplifying his political message.

    As reporters have tried to fact-check him, he insists they are illegitimate. Yesterday, when Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker asked him to clarify his suggestions about alternative treatments for coronavirus, Trump responded: “I’m the president and you’re fake news.” After Trump won the 2016 election, CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl asked him why he continued to bash the media. He replied, "You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.”"
  • Vintage,

    Although certainly not in all cases, I find davidmoran's attitude rather typical of liberals - they simply cannot understand the fact that not everyone thinks the same as they do! Why is it so hard for them? They are the self proclaimed "intelligent" ones.

    If they can't win you over, they make it personal as in this case by reverting to name calling (soft brained). He even tells you to go away and hide. And claims offending you was never the point! Laughable.

    Since I am in the minority at my work place, I refuse to discuss politics for obvious reasons. Even so, I have been pressed to the point of harassment and this despite the fact my company has a policy of not discussing politics or religion. I have literally had to tell coworkers to leave my office several times for preaching to me.

    In case you missed the link zenbrew provided, it validates your claim that Fox, MSNBC and CNN are in the same boat. There are some fairly neutral media organizations though.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion.
  • Very clearly, people approach issues bringing (very) different assumptions. This accounts for a great deal of the consternation around political discussions and debates. These assumptions never get expressed or mentioned. I read a great book not long ago examining the different prior perspectives brought by conservatives and liberals to x or y or z. I wish I could recall the name. It didn't solve anything, but it clarified that side of the Big Picture. One type brings a trapezoidal frame into which the matter at hand is supposed to fit; the other type brings a rhombus. Or you could say, "apples and oranges." And yes, that other frame makes no sense at all to me, often because the particular frame I carry around with me is imbued with my most deeply held convictions. THERE'S the rub. Which is why political debates on tv, particularly at the national level, are nothing but a spectacle. Each side cheers when their candidate scores a "gotcha" on the other ones involved.

    I'm convinced by now that it takes a dramatic event, or someone new, who suddenly introduces a world-shaking, different approach to everything, in order for "the leopard to change his spots."

    Jordan Peterson is a genius, though I have major A PRIORI disagreements with him. Yet he's correct about this--- in the same sort of way that Max von Sydow expressed it to Ethan Hawke in "Snow Falling On Cedars:"
    "People generally don't change unless a traumatic event occurs in their life which triggers the brain into new action." I was actually looking for something ELSE from him which is even more germane, but that will do. I do wish that logic is all it took to reach agreement, but that's not enough. Which is a big reason why the country and the world are so screwed-up. It's not about logic. It's about protecting vested interests. Alas and alack.

  • edited April 2020
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