Dan Rather on Fox

The goal in taking on Fox is not to prevent them from airing propaganda shows but to ensure that people realize that Fox is pure propaganda and does not air true news shows. The best thing to do is probably to mock them, and perhaps Democrats should refuse to appear on some of their shows. Some on the right have responded to criticism of Fox with unsubstantiated comparisons to Nixon’s enemies list or to claim First Amendment issues are in play here. The reality is that nobody support taking the types of actions against Fox which Richard Nixon took against members of the press. Dan Rather is one of many examples of liberal critics of Fox who do not support any restriction of their right to air their views. From The Dallas Morning News:

At a journalism awards luncheon at the Headliners Club in Austin, Rather was asked about cable news programs that have devolved into shows where hosts quiz opinionists about other opinionists (The question posed a Fox News trifecta: Glenn Beck quizzing Ann Coulter about Rush Limbaugh). Said Rather:

“One entertainer interviewing a second entertainer about a third entertainer isn’t my definition of news.”

Rather called the press “the red beating heart of freedom and democracy” and lamented that consolidation and corporate influence have encroached on journalism. He said four or six corporate entities control much of American journalism today – a trend that militates against its fundamental responsibility of holding powerful institutions accountable.

Rather said he’s confident Americans know the difference between the news and the infotainment on some cable news shows. And he said he would oppose any effort to curtail Fox News or any other opinion outlet on radio or TV. He said even if there were a cable station of pure propaganda – “and we may be near that now” – he would oppose censoring it in any way. Sounds like Fox News and talk radio – who warn the Obama administration wants to do them in – has a First Amendment friend in Dan Rather.

I generally agree but he might be over estimating the ability of some Americans to differentiate from real news and the propaganda presented on outlets such as Fox. We have seen too many examples which show that the more someone watches Fox, the more poorly informed they are about the issues. This even extends to Dan Rather himself. I’ve seen many blog comments from conservatives who believe that Dan Rather himself make fake documents about George Bush’s avoidance of his National Guard obligations–which is quite a distortion of the actual controversy.


  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    I have a lot of respect for Dan Rather, but he is a liberal of his generation. As a liberal of his generation, he is inclined to overestimate people rather than underestimate them and assume that his own appreciation and understanding of what he sees is average and ‘believing himself ordinary, fails to recongize that the body politick is as extraordinary as himself.’
    My view of the general public (left AND right) is perhaps more of the Bob Lassiter school of misanthropy than the Rather/Cronkite school of faith in the ordinary American. I very much wish I thought as well of people as Rather does, I’d be a lot happier.
    More seriously, I agree with his views but I join in questioning whether he overestimates many Americans and their dependence on media programming.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I wonder if it isn’t so much being a “liberal of his generation” as being a journalist of his generation. While he has worked (and continues to work on cable) while Fox has been around, the bulk of his career was before this. I wonder if someone who practiced serious journalism for years before Fox and talk radio would be less likely to take the pseudo-journalism of Fox seriously  as something people would believe. It is easy to dismiss their nonsense as something which no intelligent person would take seriously if  not for the fact that so many people to believe what they hear on Fox.

  3. 5
    Eclectic Radical says:

    I think Rather’s liberalism plays an important part in his worldview as well. His era was the last ‘great’ era of liberal utopianism, early on in his career. He was part of the great rush of idealistic reporters who followed in Cronkite’s footsteps out of their patriotic and somewhat left-wing regard for their calling.
    Naturally, as a journalist he would see through Fox and expect others to do so as well. However, I still believe there is a lot behind the notion that the liberals of his era thought a lot better of ‘ordinary people’ in general than we do now and that it is coloring his faith in viewers to see through the Fox veneer.

  4. 6
    Maria Cheeseman says:

    » Dan Rather on Fox Liberal Values http://tinyurl.com/yjk5etc

  5. 7
    Maria Cheeseman says:

    » Dan Rather on Fox Liberal Values http://bit.ly/4Cnbcb

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