I hadn't seen Eric Burns, the president of Media Matters, on TV previously, but he appeared on Countdown with David Shuster yesterday, and finally said what has needed saying for some time:
Fox News is not a news source. It's a political propaganda operation. And it needs to be treated that way.
Shuster and Burns were launching off Fox's most ludicrous recent endeavor to smear the Obama administration, by using videos of schoolchildren to charge that Obama wants to "indoctrinate" them. As they discuss, this is so hypocritical and absurd that it's hard to believe anyone actually is buying it:
SHUSTER: So explain to me, why is it indoctrination when kids sing about President Obama, but it's patriotism when kids sing about President Bush and FEMA?
BURNS: Well, David, it's not indoctrination to anybody except Karl Rove, Josh Bolten, Roger Ailes -- the rest of the Bush administration in exile over at Fox News, because they are trying to push a political agenda. And they're trying to destroy this administration, and they'll use any means necessary to do it.
And just to give you a little example of this, James O'Keefe, who is the author of one of the suspect ACORN videos that there have been a lot of questions surrounding, told Chris Wallace recently on Fox News that he was employing tactics that would, quote, "destroy his political enemies." So that's what this is about.
There's nothing abnormal about folks talking and children learning about their president and learning to be -- learning about their democracy through talking about the president. I did it when I was a kid.
Then they got to what this is really all about:
SHUSTER: And is that the general theme here with the right-wing media, I mean, undermining the president by manufacturing controversies, because many of the actual Obama policies are favored by the majority of Americans?
BURNS: Absolutely. We've seen it day after day. You know, Glenn Beck is the smearer in chief over at Fox News. And we see new charts, you know, documenting some new vast conspiracy theory every day, new attacks, and it's a constant barrage.
And I'll tell you, this right-wing noise machine has been ginned up. It's never been more ferocious, and their goal is simple -- as Rush Limbaugh stated at the beginning of the year -- they want Obama to fail. Roger Ailes said that this is the Alamo for conservatives and that Fox is the voice of the opposition.
So, this is no longer a news organization. This is a political organization, and their aim is to destroy a progressive policy agenda. They'd rather win in the ballot box than see any sort of real debate on health care. It's a real shame.
Every liberal who even considers going on Fox to act as props for their propaganda machine should stop and think again.
Moreover, every consumer of the news -- conservative, centrist, or liberal -- needs to understand that Fox is not a reliable source of information.
Mainstream media in general have become less reliable, but most of them strive to be factually accurate, even if they skew ideologically somewhat. But this skew has more to do with framing and news selection than the actual reporting.
This is not the case at Fox. It deliberately broadcasts falsehoods and fake information to serve its ideological agenda.
No doubt this makes the Kool-Aid drinkers of the right happy. But for anyone else -- particularly anyone who relies on accurate information for their business or occupation or the livelihoods -- Fox News is a wasteland or outright disinformation that anyone with smidgen of intelligence will avoid.
We need more people like Eric Burns making this point.