America still lacks the human rights the rest of the western world have been enjoying for decades. Gun control has floundered; women’s rights have gone backwards; GLBTQIA have earned no more concessions than any other minority; the police are still taking pot shots at people they don’t like the look of. So what’s the answer?
The only way that any kind of change can happen, is if the laws change. For the laws to change, the lawmakers have to change. For the lawmakers to change, the electorate has to oust those who are not worthy. And the only way to achieve that, is for everyone to start watching more television.
As we all know, the media has taken over the world but, according to research, television remains the dominant way Americans get their news. The US has a sprawling network of news channels, but the two most watched are, of course, CNN and Fox. It’s impossible to ignore the fact that both these outlets are politically entrenched, and the delivery of their information is generally skewed. This doesn’t help anyone and only contributes to the current American popular pastime of increasing polarization. So is this news bias a unique US problem or are mainstream outlets in other countries equally politicized? To find out, I asked some internationals this question –
If a well known politician got caught doing something sleazy, would ALL your news outlets report it?
Countries that said Yes.
“That’s a resounding yes.”
“To get the picture, take a look at what happened to Barnaby Joyce.”
“If one of the papers didn’t, that would be the next scandal.”
“Of course they would. Lampooning politicians is a very popular sport over here.”
“No one cares if politicians have affairs; it’s practically expected. But everything else gets blasted.”
“It’s been like that for decades. As the Russians say, ‘glasnost.’
“A couple of decades ago, no, but things have changed.”
“The Prime Minister would love to control the press, but he can’t.”
“Everything and everyone is sleazy out here.”
“The people aren’t free, but the press is.”
“Up until now, yes, but the ruling party just got rocked by a series of scandals so they’re changing the law. They’re claiming it’s to control fake news, but we all know the real reason. So if you ask me the same question next month, the answer will be no.”
Countries that said No.
“There were a couple of smaller news stations that occasionally published something detrimental about a Putin ally, but never about Putin. But when the war started, the state took over the news.”
He couldn’t stop laughing.
*I appreciate I didn’t need to ask the Russian or the Iranian, but it says a lot about the company America keeps.
“Even the newspapers get bought here.”*
*Greek politicians are famously corrupt, to the point they fiddled the country’s books so they could join the Euro currency. This once fabled country has been languishing in recession ever since.
We all know the answer to this.
So the news outlets in the US are out of step with the rest of the western world. But as all news is available somewhere, how important is this?
Gallup Polls state that the Fox audience is 41% Republicans, 23% Democrats and 36% independents. That seems like an awful lot of indies and, frankly, I’m suspicious, mainly because every independent I’ve ever come across has turned out to be a die-hard Republican. I’m pro capital punishment and I don’t agree with some of the current government’s immigration policies, but even if I disagreed with an additional hundred I still wouldn’t vote for a party that’s all right with kids being gunned down at their desks and people dying because they can’t afford a doctor’s fee. So let’s call the indies ‘right inclining’, which means the Fox audience is a 77/23 split.
The same Gallup poll gives the CNN audience breakdown as 53% Democrats, 24% Republicans and 23% independents. In the interest of fairness, let’s call the indies ‘left inclining’, which means the CNN audience is a 76/24 split.
The statistics for people who watch both channels are murky, and it really is screamingly important to define ‘watch’. If I was to watch CNN for an hour, would I then spend another hour watching Fox? Hell, no. At the very most, I’d flick to see what they were headlining. But if I got asked if I watched both CNN and Fox, I could honestly answer ‘yes.’ And even if I wanted to add a time split of 60/1 minutes, there’s no box to put it.
So therefore, if only Fox are going to report that Biden got caught with a hooker, and only CNN are going to report that DeSantis got caught stealing from a tip jar, only half of us will know about each. We’re in a bubble.
Fox was the only major US outlet that didn’t initially stream the Jan 6 House hearings live. They dismissed them as a sham. I actually get my American news mainly from Al Jazeera and Reuters, and both reported on the hearings in great detail. Sky UK and France 24 even had panels when revelations were particularly startling. The world was acknowledging the enormity of an invasion on the legislative seat of America, but some Americans didn’t even watch the highlights.
There’s an aspect to Fox that’s extremely puzzling. It’s owned by the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, who’s Australian and a major player in his homeland. But the Australians answered ‘yes’ to my question. Murdoch also owns two newspapers in the UK, but the Brits also answered ‘yes.’ So the conclusion must be that only America is being ‘dumbed down.’ So does this mean outlets can get away with more here than everywhere else? Absolutely it does, as Murdoch’s Chief Executive discovered when she got arrested and dragged through the British courts for her transgressions.
Unlike its western counterparts, the American government has no network of Watchdogs in place whose sole purpose is to protect the public. These organizations may have to spend time butting heads with press freedom fighters but they do make journalists think twice before publishing blatant lies that won’t stand up in court. Organizations like these would undoubtedly have thwarted the Sandy Hook conspiracy theory the same moment it raised its satanic head.
The reason the US doesn’t have Watchdogs is because they cost money to set up and offer no financial return. So for a capitalist country, where profit is all, it’s a definite no-no. The affect of this Scrooge Syndrome is that the US media landscape resembles something out of the Wild West. News stations have nothing and no one to fear, so all they care about is their ratings. And thinking about this immorally, what’s wrong with that? After all, the country’s not theirs to worry about.
So in the meantime, while we’re all waiting for the lawmakers to get bored with living futile lives that achieve nothing, there’s only one way to get the skinny on the hooker AND the tip jar. And that’s for us all to start watching a lot more television.