NBC's Brokaw [HEART] Fox News!

THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2012

Where corporate loyalty takes us: Last Sunday, Tom Brokaw did three hours on C-Span’s monthly program, In Depth.

Brokaw has always seemed like a basically decent person. Around the 2:30 mark, he got an intriguing question from a viewer. To watch the whole program, click here:
QUESTION (5/6/12): I do have a question regarding bias in the media, and that is— You know, I watch Fox News, I consider it almost an arm of the Republican Party. I watch MSNBC, I consider that an arm of the Democratic Party. And it’s very frustrating to try to access news that comes through unbiased. And I was wonder if you would comment on that.
Oof! In the past, Brokaw has sometimes complained about the clowning on MSNBC, right there on the channel’s air. Now, he had been put on the spot about Fox News and MS!

His answer was truly awful. Here’s the way he began:
BROKAW (continuing directly): You know, I hear that a lot. For as long as I have been doing this, people have accused the press of being biased one way or the other.

Bias, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. Fox News and MSNBC, when the sun goes down, they have very distinct points of view. But it’s transparent, they don’t try to hide it. We know that Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly take great pride in their conservative principles. Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews and the others who are on MSNBC are what they like to call “progressive slash liberal.”

During the day, Fox News does a good job in covering the straight news, by and large. Sometimes you think you can see in their political coverage a kind of residue from the night before. But on big breaking stories that are non-ideological they do fine, so does MSNBC.
Say what? Two observations:

It’s absurd to say that Fox does a good job in the daytime hours—to suggest you have to look real hard to spot a residue of the channel’s point of view. That’s also an absurd account of MSNBC’s daytime programming.

Brokaw is dreaming if he thinks these channels function that way in the daytime hours. Beyond that, look what he says about Hannity and Mr. O.

It’s true! Everyone knows that Hannity and O’Reilly are conservatives; it’s true that this fact isn’t hidden. Similarly, everyone knows that Maddow is a progressive, and that Matthews is pretending to be a progressive now that his channel's corporate business model has changed.

Everyone knows the point of view of these cable hosts. But that doesn’t speak to the basic problem of their cable programs. Hannity’s viewers know he’s conservative. That doesn’t mean that they know when he hands them bogus facts, crackpot logic or highly selective presentations.

Both of these channels now traffic in bogus facts and crackpot logic. Their viewers have no obvious way of knowing when the bullshit has started to flow.

Brokaw has been paid mega-millions by the corporation down through the years. Such massive payments tend to buy silence. Can he possibly believe what he said?

As Brokaw continued, he gave us his solution to the problem of cable news—and he knew who to blame for that viewer’s dilemma. It’s time for average folk to get off their asses, he thoughtfully said:
BROKAW (continuing directly): Here’s my advice: We have to be more proactive as news consumers, everyone! There was a time when you could just be a couch potato. You get up in the morning, get the morning paper watch a little bit of the Today show—Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, I hope later Dan, Peter or Tom—and you’d be pretty well served.

Now that screen is so crowded and the voices are coming at you from so many directions that you kind of have to get up on your toes so to speak and be mentally alert to who’s trying to manipulate you, what information holds up from what source over a long period of time, what serves you well, what’s coming to you in some particular context...
Get off your aspics, you couch potatoes! It's time you did some work!

(There was more, but you get the idea.)

Friend, are you handed pure BS when you turn on your TV machine thingy? It’s time for you to stop being so lazy! You’ll have to change your way of functioning! Our guild certainly won’t!

Earlier that day, on Meet the Press, Brokaw churned some piffle-pure centrist claptrap, harmonizing with Diane Swonk. His performance there was groaningly bad.

On C-Span, matters got worse.

37 comments:

  1. "Both of these channels now traffic in bogus facts and crackpot logic."

    You jump from Hannity doing this, which is apparent, to "both" doing it. So, is Maddow, O'Donnell, Hayes, et. al. on the level of Hannity? Is even Matthews?

    "Both" equalizes. I call bs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does Maddow really have to be proven "equally" bogus before she becomes repellant?

      Delete
    2. No. I will now read her book with a supportive blurb from the leader of Fox News after reading the book with her blurb on it by a top adviser on the McCain campaign. Thanks for sorta making my point "anonymous" person.

      Delete
  2. Ugh. Geez Brokaw. That really is a groaner. And it's especially bad coming from him, a guy who, rightly or wrongly ( I say very much wrongly) look to him as an objective voice of reason, even as the last word on something. So the message from this highly prominent former news anchor is that Fox does a pretty good job of playing it straight, at least during the day and on big stories. That is just astonishing. Does Brokaw not recall the revelation that every day Fox gets marching orders on how news stories are to be played? Does he not watch and see that on virtually any story, news or otherwise, there are digs, subtle and groaningly obvious, at Obama and any position considered progressive? Fox's viewership, lied to every day, just got a big fat endorsement that they were right all along. Their beloved station DOES play it pretty straight. Even Brokaw says so!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for the garble. Should have read, "... coming from a guy who, rightly or wrongly, people look to as an objective voice of reason, even as the last word on something ....

      Delete
  3. It would be great if Brokaw's advice were wrong, but don't consumers have to search around a bit to get better info? Sure it would be great if Brokaw could influence some or any major news sources to improve their quality, but it doesn't seem that he likely has that power.

    And no, I don't agree with Brokaw that Fox plays it straight on "straight news." So that just adds to the necessity in getting off our aspics.

    It isn't that hard with the goggle and the hyperlinks and information age and all...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm not asking for Brokaw to influence any news sources to improve. Just don't state obvious groaners like the things he said about Fox.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good lordy! This was Brokaw's top-of-his-head answer to a question two hours and 30 minutes into a three-hour program.

    Let's try not to read too much into it, shall we?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you Tom Brokaw, for helping "The Daily Howler" remember there is such a thing as Fox News! =) Tom leaves out on important aspect about this kind of "journalism", it's about pandering to the basic prejudices of the viewer. And while Fox News has been WILDLY successful at it, MSNBC has largely struggled in developing it's audience. So we should also thank The Daily Howler in reminding us, liberals are better people than conservatives.
    I fear Brokaw answer, though somewhat galling in the way The Daily Howler points out, is probably the only practical solution to the problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, how dare Brokaw suggest that people, with a little effort, can be good consumers of news, and that there are a lot of ways to get good, solid news.

      He obviously doesn't share Somerby's contempt that the American public must be spoonfed their news in easily understandable and digestible bits like pablum.

      Delete
    2. What I, Anonymous, think Somerby has contempt for, and what reasonable people may think Somerby has contempt for may differ.

      Like, a lot.

      Delete
  7. Decided, Brokaw's right.

    We shouldn't try to change things & it's up to each individual to undertake a research project to get each day's news facts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, if you think using Google is the same as a research project, I'm glad I'm not your boss.

      You do realize that there is an incredible variety of newspapers and organizations that put their product online for free.

      But, oh the bother! And all that independent thinking you'd have to do with all that information at your disposal.

      Better for you to stick with Bob. He'll tell you what to think. After all, according to him, the only two news sources have to be MSNBC and the New York Times. He'll set you straight every day on what they got wrong and how they did it.

      Saves you a lot of trouble, doesn't it?

      Delete
    2. If you use Google and social media to get your news you're a freethinker. It doesn't matter if your sources have lies in them. You're a free thinker!!

      If you read Somerby, you're a sheep.

      Hope you appreciate my bountiful insights.

      Delete
  8. Brokaw suggests that the person wanting quality, fact based news can go and find it if they look around. I have found on a given story or question this does take more than a trip or two to Google, but it's still possible. Not so long ago the Daily Howler often helped, and once in awhile still does.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, don't discount the value of social media for disseminating information. People are sharing news back and forth in ways we never imagined just a decade ago.

      Delete
    2. Mostly sharing bullcrap back and forth in ways we never imagined.

      Because the internets are teh awesome, criticizing Brokaw is silly. Got it.

      Delete
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