Time For Ethical People To Boycott Fox News


Brian Stelter, CNN’s media critic, just played a newly-uncovered tape of the phone call to then-reporter Bill O’Reilly telling him that a shadowy figure in the JFK assassination had committed suicide. This was the same gentleman that O’Reilly, in his best selling “history” book, “Killing Kennedy,” claims shot himself with a shotgun while O’Reilly was just outside his door.

Documentation of O’Reilly lies are proliferating like Republican Presidential hopefuls, and the Fox News Head Bloviator continues to respond with bluster, ad hominem attacks and threats. In doing so, he refuses to abide by the standards he articulated—correctly—explaining why NBC’s fabulist anchor Brian Williams could no longer be trusted by viewers.

Meanwhile, Fox News has disqualified itself as a news source even for those who (completely justifiably) distrust the left-biased mainstream media. At least NBC had the integrity and professionalism to (eventually) investigate Williams’ conduct and take him off the air. Fox, in stark contrast, has issued deceitful defenses of their most profitable commentator, and continues to back, promote, and air a proven liar. (We already knew Bill was a bully, a jerk, and a narcissist.)

Fox owes its existence to the absence of an honest, objective, trustworthy broadcast news source. We could observe this again this week, as the networks largely ignored the significant developments in the I.R.S. scandal (because President Obama instructed them that it wasn’t really anything to worry about) while devoting extensive coverage to the color of a dress. This is not to say that Fox is in any way objective: its legitimate function is to try to correct the dangerously biased reporting of the news by leaning the other way. But it can not fulfill that legitimate function if it countenances lies and liars.

Until Fox takes some action to signal that outright lying by its “truthtellers” like Bill O’Reilly will not be tolerated, no responsible citizen should tune in to Fox. To do so is irresponsible and foolish—it is like continuing to dine at a restaurant whose owner’s reaction to an evening of poisoned diners is to deny they were sick.

I’m not going to watch Fox News, or cite its website, until the network makes Bill O’Reilly stop spinning his own lies on the “No-Spin Zone,” and takes some action that indicates it cares about the truth. Absent that, they remains a disgrace, and a destination to be avoided by anyone who believes in ethical journalism.

As to where to seek fair, balanced and trustworthy reporting on the current broadcast news landscape, I can’t help you there. Certainly not Fox. I’ll take pinheads over liars every time, and so should you.

And since I just linked to Newsbusters, the often useful media watchdog that only watches the Left with any suspicion, let me flag the unethical and pathetic post there by Jeffrey Lord, who argues that “the real lesson” of the Bill O’Reilly scandal is this:

“What we are witnessing unwind in slow motion is the morphing of the already bullying-style of political correctness into a rigid anti-free speech movement that seeks to forcibly suppress any and all opposition to the leftist world view. And that applies in spades to those involved with Fox News, talk radio or anyone who in anyway is either connected to conservative media or expresses a conservative view on a topic or topics of the day.”
No, Jeffrey. The lesson is that if you are going to be a news anchor or news commentator, you should tell the truth or you don’t deserve to keep your job. The motives of those who come after an untrustworthy journalist who is a serial liar are irrelevant. Or are you saying that your employer, a conservative organization that does nothing but expose liberal targets, should be ignored?Lord is either a hypocrite or an idiot. There may be a place for him at Fox.


68 thoughts on “Time For Ethical People To Boycott Fox News

  1. The ratings are solid, even blossoming, and the first stories didn’t stick. Most of America is yawning at more attempts to bring Bill down as simple sore loserdom on the part of the left. Frankly I won’t be too sorry if he weathers this storm, as many on the left have.

      • I mean, Holy Crap. They get away with lying, so I want to see everyone get away with lying? This was Bill Clinton’s major defense for Monica—“Nothing happened to Harding!!!” You shock and disappoint me. So Fox, which bases its existence on the corruption of the rest, shows itself to be even more corrupt, but that’s OK to you, because the others are still bad?

        • I got this and ME’s equally jaw-dropping “The “worst thing rationalization” is actually legitimate when we do tolerate worse things” comment within seconds of each other. I am now going to reconsider my career choice, and take a pill.

          Seriously, why do I bother?

        • I think most people rationalize this and Brian Williams and other lies of this type as:

          Well, he’s only lying about his role in things, not the things themselves…if Brian Williams/Bill O’Reilly reports that the Titanic hit an iceberg, broke in half, sank with most of it’s crew and passengers on a cold April night and was personally moved by witnessing the heroic efforts of all involved, I think most people would say “meh…he still reported what happened”…

  2. Bill’s gotta go. Again, can’t believe Fox isn’t taking this opportunity to ennoble itself. And your analysis of Fox’s reason for existing Is spot on. I will not watch Fox. Of course, I can’t, I’m stranded here in Lefty Disneyland, Europe. But the beer is great.

      • Ditto. The best is NPR. People keep complaining about the liberal bias there, but it is still the best programming available. I also like BBC.

        • NPR? NPR? The BBC? Check out the Daily Mail on line for a good analysis of how left biased the BBC is.

          NPR? NPR? Why not Communism, I mean Democracy Now?

          • What is your beef with Democracy Now? Too much #truthiness for you? It just covers the events that impact our lives that the bought and paid for media doesn’t touch with a 10 foot pole… Because they ‘re not allowed. And what exactly do you ‘mean’ by Communism?

            • I mean Democracy Now is virulently anti-American in everything it does. It’s almost Stalinist in its world view.

              • You are labeling “Anti-American” with being Critical of what America is doing. America has many faults, mostly created by a very small Kabal of very powerful, very insulated people. All Democracy Now (Keyword: Democracy) is doing is bringing it to our attention, and for doing so, they are denied the vast amount of Ad funding available by those channels (Fox included) chirping the Koch Bros. version of reality, and those who fund the Koch Bros.

                Democracy is not, and does not equal, Capitalism.

                Just because their are those of us that are Critical of our heroin-addicted, screwup of a brother, doesn’t diminish the genuine love we have for that brother, or for the hope that that brother can wean themselves from their self-abuse and vapid, bullying, “a**holishness” to where they get back on track to be a civil, caring, loving sibling.

                So, Critical doesn’t mean Anti-American.

                A few quotes:
                “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain.
                “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
                ― James Baldwin

                  • Sorry, people like Amy Goodman just want to tear things down. If there’s a policy out there that’s anti-American, she and her network are for it. I’m tired of having a president who is criticizer in chief. You can believe in that James Baldwin line or that Clemens line, but I’ve had more than enough. The constant bitching sound too much like “I love you. You’re perfect. Now change.” Like the kids in the back seat of the car saying “when do we get there, when do we get there.” Grow up. Give it a rest. Do something instead of just criticizing others. Being critical can be over done. There are just too many lefty scolds. They’re tiresome. You want to see income inequality, go to India. Of course, India is all our fault. Sorry Amy, I forgot.

                • Selection of stories, just as much as how stories are reported, are governed by just as much of the biases that lead us to prefer particular networks over others.

                  It’s cool Beth, BBC just feeds the worldview you espouse. No shame. Necessarily.

                    • BBC is right (maybe wrong word) there with MSNBC. Super lefty. America and the west are always wrong. It’s a victimization-o-rama.

                    • I think America’s lefties are more conservative on a lot of issues than other countries righties, and it skews your worldview. The BBC and the CBC lean left, but aren’t the commie propaganda machines you make them out to be.

                    • Since GB doesn’t respect free speech, I don’t see how anyone can trust the BBC any more than Fox. It is also reporting from the perspective of a socialist nation.

            • Oh Bullshit. They just have more reporters spread out because they had a god damned colonial empire until FDR made them agree to give it up in return for US help in stopping Hitler from taking over the UK and murdering every Jew and intellectual there. All those countries they report from were once part of Britain. The Brits love to travel because England is such a god damned dreary place. There’s hardly any domestic news in England, it’s the size of Pennsylvania, for God’s sake. They just cover the world as they see it as former owners. They’re not neutral. They think Jihadi John is just a victim of bullying in some part of London where he was given a free education and doubtless lived for free in council housing. Sheesh.

  3. I have to apologize. It was never my intention to cause a kaboom. Of course I don’t want to be lied to, no one does, I think we’ve all, left and right, gotten so used to either confirmation bias or demonization that we don’t even accept the legitimacy of the other side, and view something like this as a challenge from the other side which must be turned back, and don’t give second challenges a second thought, because didn’t we hear this already etc. Fox has chosen profit over principle.

        • You’re an imbecile.

          Everyone gravitates to the news source that pushes the worldview they agree with. EXCEPT for people who actively want objectivity, in which case they go to a wide range of sources. Pretending like you’ve found the “cure” and the news source that is objective just means you are blind to your own biases.

        • For your edification, bba, “Bite me!” is a light-hearted, dismissive phrase in response to what the user perceives as a gratuitous and annoying shot. I don’t even know what it is you think I’m wrong about on this occasion. I have never been a fan of Fox News, though I am a fan of their essential role in the news reporting mix, and grateful someone is taking it on. I’m sure I’m wrong about lot; I’m NOT wrong that your paranoid Trilateral Commisssion Skull and Bones Illuminate Freemason Koch Soros Truther grassy knoll tin foil hat interpretation of current events is a paranoid Trilateral Commisssion Skull and Bones Illuminate Freemason Koch Soros Truther grassy knoll tin foil hat interpretation that leads you, and I’m sure a lot of other otherwise smart people, and a lot more silly ones, astray. Bearded, wild-eyed guys with signs have been crying, “Mark my words!!!” for centuries. Now and then they are proven right, but I like my odds.

          • Wait. What? Are you saying, Jack, that the “paranoid Trilateral Commisssion Skull and Bones Illuminate Freemason Koch Soros Truther grassy knoll tin foil hat interpretation of current events is a paranoid Trilateral Commisssion Skull and Bones Illuminate Freemason Koch Soros Truther grassy knoll tin foil hat interpretation” is wrong? Hmmmmm . . . . I just might have to rethink my world view.

            As an aside, I received an email from my son’s English teacher declaring “the end is near”! She meant the end of the semester so all of stockpiling for the Zombie Apocalypse was for naught. That guy at Walmart wondered why I was buying 1000 gallons of water and powdered milk.


  4. “Seriously, why do I bother?”

    I uttered those same exact words years ago while teaching history to a bunch of eighth graders. On an exam, a student wrote that a precedent was the head of the Executive Branch and two examples of precedents were Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin. Jack, take a pill and keep writing. These kids are adults now and need your help!!

  5. I’ve been boycotting Bill for some time. However, I will not boycott Fox News, simply because I’d like to find out what is going on. Never find that out from anybody else.

      • I guess it would be great to have an utterly reliable news source, free from bias, politics, agendas, axes to grind, stupidity, ratings driven mayhem focus (‘”if it bleeds, it leads”), consumer ‘info’ idiocy (“at 11:00 we’ll tell you how your garden hose may be killing you!”), and all the rest. But I don’t expect it; indeed I don’t think it exists. Nor has it, in this country, where there has certainly been the best chance for it historically.

        So the best course seems to be to be a news omnivore, always mindful of the source. Fortunately, this is more possible than ever.

        • Bias, politics, agendas, axes to grind, stupidity, ratings driven mayhem focus (‘”if it bleeds, it leads”), consumer ‘info’ idiocy are all indeed inevitable, and more or less unavoidable. Lairs can be identified and stopped, and consumers of the news who who won’t draw the line think and black there are asking to be manipulated and consenting to be dominated.

          • Lairs? Are there dragons hiding somewhere in the news? All silliness aside, Jack, I think you hit the bullseye with the last sentence. Unfortunately it seems like most folks sacrificed integrity for agenda around the time of Clinton. At least Nixon’s supporters finally drew the line and Reagan’s allies asked SOME questions (not that either Watergate or Iran-Contra are direct parallels, but they are the closest I can think of). However, Clinton is revealed as not only an adulterer but a PERJURER and all we heard for weeks from the mainstream media was that it didn’t matter and that this was a dirty attack on a sitting president who had more important things to do and why were we lifting bedsheets and you know the rest, because Clinton was their guy. GWB comes along and the war on terror gets underway and the mainstream media actively perpetuates lies (Bush lied) and non-issues (Valerie Plame) for the simple reason that GWB wasn’t their guy. The consumers of the news, especially in the young, urban, hip markets that the major networks want to reach, latched right onto this narrative and you will still hear it from the average looking, aging, peri-menopausal hipster with the horn-rimmed glasses that were retro-chic in the 90s and a shaving-cream-sized can of mace in her purse, still living in a shoebox in Manhattan long after most of her friends moved out to Scarsdale and had kids. Too many decide early on who their guy is, who their party is, and see and hear everything through a red or blue filter, and the networks play right to those filters.

  6. No, I won’t be boycotting Fox News. I like van Susteren and Kelly too much, and just last night, I had some good impressions of a couple other Fox News program hosts or leads whom I shall not name. I still watch all the other main prop- er. biased, axe-grinding, politicized, ratings-driven and sometimes stupid channels, networks and programs. It is amusing to see what they and their favorite politicians want me to think. Well, I will go on thinking what *I* want to think, anyway. [flips middle finger at the world]

    I will say that I feel now about Bill O’Reilly as I would have felt as a kid if Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Green Jeans, Dancing Bear and Bunny Rabbit went on the air all together, dumped a box of my favorite sugary cereal into a trash can, and said, “YOU don’t want to eat this stuff, because WE don’t want you to eat it!” My sadness, anger, disappointment and sense of having been betrayed is now as it would have been then, and what I would have said then I am sure is the same as I am saying here and now: “Go choke on raw carrots, poopy-heads! *I* will decide what I want and like to eat!”

        • God, I hate how this blog is making it look like I misspell stuff carelessly. YOUR YOUR YOUR YOUR YOUR YOUR previously expressed views on boycotts.

        • I didn’t call for a boycott. I don’t do that. I just said I wasn’t watching Fox any more, and ethical people shouldn’t support news networks that justify lies and liars. And they shouldn’t. Calling for individual decisions to individually boycott a dishonest news network is not an organized boycott.

          • “Calling for individual decisions to individually boycott a dishonest news network is not an organized boycott.”


            Aren’t boycotts calling for individual decisions to individually boycott something.

            At what point does a cluster of individuals doing the same thing count as corporate behavior?

            • When you organize it. When you take action, not words. I don’t think ethical people are acting on their principles if they watch a news organization that proves that lying is acceptable to it. I’m not calling for a boycott, organizing a boycott, announcing a boycott. I’m saying, I am personally boycotting Fox as a matter of principle, and I think anyone also holding that principle ought to do likewise. If anything, you can take issue with teh concept of an individual boycott. I may want another word.

  7. I assume the boycott call is to get management to implement and execute a zero tolerance policy for those that purposefully mislead the public to advance the reporter’s bona fides or other agenda.

    So by boycotting all of Fox News you send the message that you will not tolerate a network that countenances liars. OK I get that. However, if you really want to effect a change then you must only boycott the liar. If ratings drop then the liar is replaced; and only the liar.

    If we assume that everyone heeds your call to boycott and the management does not immediately knuckle under what ethical consideration should be given to the plight of the modestly paid others that work then cameras, clean the green room, or serve as grips? Are we willing to make them financially whole when they are caught in the crossfire?

    Personally, I gave up watching Bill O’Reilly regularly months ago when I got tired of his self aggrandizing schtick. I never considered him to be a source of news but merely someone that editorializes on current events. I don’t consider him a reporter because he uses the same people to interview on routine subjects. Anyone who thinks these are the people in the know on every issue have some serious critical thinking problems themselves and should boycott voting as well. Furthermore, when a reporter injects him/herself into the story then if your BS meter does not go off there is a problem.

    What I find detestable is that we are ignoring the elected who mislead us daily and instead focus our outrage on private organizations that cannot negatively impact us unless we let them.

    There are enough lies being told to us by the ruling elite that we should spend our time ferreting out those lies and not whether or not some reporter did this or that. If they are found to be telling tall tales we can ignore them and anything they say. Conversely, when our elected leaders lie to us to retain power then we are truly at risk.

    So based on the theory that we should boycott anything related to the countenance of lies, should we also boycott all laws and regulation promulgated by a group of people that lie on a regular basis with the full support of the political faction to which he/she belongs?

    • Well said, Chris. Precisely what I was thinking. If the goal is to get BILL fired, (and I hope it is…he’s a smug, self-righteous prick…”I’m looking out for the folks”, indeed), then let’s go after BILL, not the entire network. I understand Jack’s idea, and if a selective boycott doesn’t work, I’d say expand it, but not until then.

  8. I have a feeling of disappointment over this even though I have stopped watching Bill a while ago as time is limited and I found I prefer the Kelly files. Here is a question for you, if Bill wouldn’t have continued to perpetuate the lie and owned it, would that salvage him ethically? Is there anyway in which he can come back from this?

    • The problems are 1) O’Reilly’s own words, saying that this is unforgivable from an “anchor or commentator.”
      2) His ad hominem response 3) The subsequent revelations 4) Fox’s denials. That’s 4 strikes, and 3 is too many. If he acknowledged the first, asked for another chance, didn’t attack Mother Jones, apologized, suspended himself, AND nothing else came up? Yeah, I’d say he could be allowed back.

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