Relying on the Fox News Channel as your only source of news is like using MAD Magazine as a legitimate source of news. The Fox News Channel's reporting style is so biased and skewed that trying to obtain any real information from a news report is quite challenging. Fox News is a joke because it provides info-tainment rather than reality-based news coverage. Fox News Channel is a "news channel" in name only. The network is what L.A. Times Editor John S. Carroll calls "pseudojournalism."
Although TV news in general is sensationalist, Fox News has descended so far from objective journalism that it only provides small scraps of actual information. Like Ishmael in Herman Melville's Moby Dick or Nick in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Fox News is a modern day example of the "unreliable narrator." Fox News places an acute spin in nearly every story it presents and in some cases presents untruths as truth. Fox News Channel is a running commentary on the news rather than traditional objective reporting. To its credit, the network's style of entertainment-journalism has resulted in a steady increase of viewers.
Though CNN is still the leader in cable news revenue, Fox News has experienced a larger spike in viewership than any other TV news network in the past five years. The Project for Excellence in Journalism's State of The News Media 2004 shows that "Fox News in 2003 was up 53 percent overall (to 1 million viewers on average) and 45 percent in prime time (an average of 1.7 million viewers) over the year before." Funded by the Pew Charitable Trust and Columbia University School of Journalism, the PEJ studied many aspects of CNN, MSNBC and Fox and released its report in March 2004.
"Television news is still something viewers watch mainly in a passive way," notes the report. "Yet when the technology changes and the media converge, the advantage may depend more on which media and which outlets have the strongest news gathering and storytelling abilities." Clearly, Fox News has tremendous storytelling abilities. In the past year, only Fox's news programs saw an increase in watchers. "Looking at the medians, CNN and MSNBC lost viewers in 2003, while Fox News saw an 18 percent rise in its median monthly audience," reports PEJ.
The report goes on to say: "In January of 2002, Fox News for the first time surpassed CNN in total viewers and held its lead . . . (Fox News at the time averaged 1.1 million viewers in prime time versus 921,000 for CNN. MSNBC, a distant third, averaged 358,000 viewers in prime time.) . . . A year later, in January 2003, Fox News had maintained its advantage (with 1,014,000 viewers on average, compared with 721,000 for CNN, and 252,000 for MSNBC). And immediately after the war in Iraq, it appeared in May that the network was possibly pulling farther ahead, holding onto more of its wartime audience than CNN."
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