Watched some Al Jezeera and some Fox News over the weekend in my Chiang Mai hotel. Interesting stuff.
Al Jezeera is nice presentation, altogether subtle and apparently neutral. Sometimes, rarely, a gentle agenda can be seen. There was a lot of coverage of a commercial plane crash in Iran. It was an ancient Boeing 727, more than forty years old. Al Jezeera did dwell with artfully concealed glee on the reason that Iran was still flying these ill-maintained death traps. The American led embargo, of course! Since 1979 it has been hard for Iran to buy new planes or spare parts. This is an explanation, but it is not an excuse (a distinction that judges like to make when you try to explain a problem with your case). The embargo is a reason for them not to have new planes, but it does not excuse them for having sent people up in these tired old things.
Fox News is always entertaining, especially if you enjoy getting very angry. This weekend the big news was the shooting in Arizona of a congresswoman and lots of other people. Boy, that was one talented shooter right there, what a score he ran up! If he had practiced reloading more diligently he could have set some kind of record.
He’d been complaining about the whole “Big Government” thing on the Internet, bitching about immigrants and “ignorance,” Jews, and “them.” He belonged to some kind of organization, “American Renaissance” or something. Where have I been hearing stuff like this for years?
Fox News immediately went into heavy damage-control rotation. The kid, they said, was obviously a lone nut job who could not have been influenced by political rhetoric because of his insanity. Geraldo called the shooter a “drug-addled lunatic,” based on the fact that he had failed a drug screening when he tried to join the Army. It was reported that he had attended a rally for the congresswoman in 2007, offered as proof that he could not have been influenced by the last two election cycles. With their best straight faces on, the Fox news readers reported that “the Left” was trying to make political capitol of the incident by claiming that “Conservatives” were somehow to blame.
This painfully obvious deluge of exculpation only drew attention to the connection between this shooting and things like, “lock and load,” targets superimposed on politician’s faces (including that of this congresswoman when Sarah Palin targeted her for defeat by a Tea Party candidate), “don’t retreat, re-load,” and the nonsense about Second Amendment remedies. Not to mention the lurid conspiracy festival that is Glen Beck, et al.
I’m glad that I don’t have daily access to Fox News, but it’s okay sometimes to be angered by them. The faces they make! So earnest, so heartfelt, so desperate to appear intelligent. If it weren’t all so dangerous, it would be funny.