Thursday, July 22, 2010

Out of Context

The big story in the news right now is Shirley Sherrod, an employee of the USDA and an African American, resigning under pressure after Fox News showed a videotape of a speech she made where she seems to admit to showing prejudice against a white family she was supposed to help when they were about to lose their farm. The one problem is Fox edited the video before showing it. If you viewed it in its original form you find out the incident she’s talking about happened over 20 years ago and the whole reason she was telling the story was to illustrate that she realized her feelings were wrong. She changed her mind and did help the white farmers and not only saved their farm for them, but became life-long friends with the now elderly couple.

I was wondering how Fox News would feel if say, MSNBC, showed video about them, only they edited it first to, oh let’s say LIE to the public. I think it would go something life this:

In an interview night time gas bag Sean Hannity says “I’m a Dickensian scholar. Charles Dickens’ writing has guided my life”, but MSNBC airs Sean saying only “I’m a Dick.”

Prime time bag o’ shit Bill O’Reilly had this story to tell: “I was in Vegas recently. You know I’m not an easy sell, but I was knocked off my ass by an amazing show starring a clown with a monkey. There is no doubt this lends clowns new credibility in the industry.” But this is what MSNBC airs on Countdown: “I’m an ass clown with no credibility.”

Let’s say Glenn Beck was doing one of his unfunny comedy routines where he compares everything he doesn’t like or agree with to the Nazis. Instead of showing his performance as he filmed it, MSNBC put on the screen a still picture of Glenn with his arm in the air and behind him they played the soundtrack to an old Nazi propaganda movie with the crowd repeatedly shouting “Sieg heil!”

What if there was a story about the plethora of blond Stepford wives that read the news throughout the day on Fox and one of them is quoted as saying: “We got our jobs because we made Rupert Murdoch see how hard we work.” What if MSNBC re-edited that and broadcast her quote as “We got our jobs because we made Rupert Murdoch hard.”

While all of these examples would be hilarious, the fact is that doing this would be unethical and an affront to journalism. The problem is that no one at Fox News knows what the words “journalism” or “ethics” mean.

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