Unfair, Unbalanced And Stupid Is No Way To Go Through Life, Fox News

He's the most impressive- looking Presidential candidate, and Fox News has apparently never heard of him.

He’s the most impressive- looking Presidential candidate ever, and Fox News has apparently never heard of him.

I usually watch CNN in the morning, but today I decided to try to stomach “Fox and Friends” as long as I could. Fox News, as we know (or should), is often deliberately unfair to Democrats, skimps on criticism of Republicans, and enjoyed Hillary Clinton’s loss so much that the faces of many of their alleged broadcast journalists are still frozen into Joker-like smiles. Fox News is  unbalanced to the right, which means that it is intentionally trying to counter-balance the relentless leftward tilt of the rest of the mainstream media, hence the tongue in cheek “fair and balanced” slogan. Get it??? (It is constantly amazing to me how many people don’t.)

Yeah, I get it. Thus I am on notice of Fox’s biases, and indeed grateful that one network is transparent about them (MSNBC makes two.) All I ask from Fox News is that it doesn’t make me ashamed to be tuning in by being unconscionably incompetent and stupid.

This morning  I was half-asleep, so the “Fox and Friends” giggling from the couch didn’t get to me as fast as it usually does. There was an interview with John McCain, who turned on the interviewer’s (I think it was Brian Kilmeade, but frankly, I don’t want to know these hacks’ names—I have baseball statistics to store) leading question about Sec. of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s friendly relationship with Russia—the question begged McCain to agree it was nothing to worry about–to slam Russia, saying, “these people are murderous thugs.”  That was fun. But then the gang had an endless visit from a mindreader—yes, “Network” is no longer satire—as whatever dyed blonde woman  Fox had on the couch this time squealed, “That was AWESOME!,” and—I’m not making this up—interviewed a 13-year-old “historian,” as if a 13-year old could be a historian. (I wanted to ask him to explain what was wrong with Chuck Todd’s “history.”)

Incredibly, all this didn’t make me want to flee into the street, screaming. This did: The show brought in a “special report” about Trump’s options in choosing a SCOTUS justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia. The special reporter was yet another dyed blonde—the Perky-Dyed Blonde Machine has been working overtime since it was announced that Head Blonde Megyn Kelly had jumped to NBC—and this one mentioned the possibility that Senator Ted Cruz might get the job that poor Merrick Garland waited for in vain.

“You have to wonder, though…Ted Cruz is still young; he may want to run for President again, and a Supreme Court appointment is FOR LIFE!”, she said, adding a facial expression that made it seem like she was describing the sentence handed down to Charles Manson.

No, you giddy idiot, a SCOTUS appointment is for exactly as long as the Justice wants it to be. Even with recent Justices tending to stay on the bench until they resembled Statler and Waldorf from The Muppet Show, the average tenure of a Justice is about 15 years, not “til death do you part.” Arthur Goldberg, appointed to the Court by President Kennedy, resigned to become LBJ’s Ambassador to the United Nations. Charles Evans Hughes (that’s him on the left)  quit the Court to run for President against Woodrow Wilson. After he lost, Hughes became a Secretary of State, and returned to the Supreme Court in 1930 as Chief Justice.

I think Ted Cruz would be very happy to have that career arch, and could, because nothing requires him to be on the Court until he drops.

The very first Chief Justice, John Jay, ran for Governor of New York twice, finally winning, while remaining as Chief until he won. The Constitution doesn’t specify any restrictions on Supreme Court Justices running for President or any other office while sitting on the Court.

All I ask from Fox News is that it not go out of its way to make its viewers more ignorant and misinformed than they already are, and even that is too much.

57 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History

57 responses to “Unfair, Unbalanced And Stupid Is No Way To Go Through Life, Fox News

  1. charlesgreen

    I will make a public admission of stupidity here: I did not know that the Supremes were not “for life,” that they had an option to resign. Makes perfect sense, now I think about it – even kings can abdicate – but I guess I had never thought about it.

    Should I thank Fox News for educating me? Perish the thought. But at least it provoked Jack to respond, thus relieving a piece of my ignorance.

    Thanks!

    • Oh, I think lots of Americans think that, and this is why reporters passing along conventional misconceptions is unforgivable. Kudos to you, Charles, for candor about the gap in your knowledge. How much better we all would be if we admitted what we didn’t know.

      • The reason it confuses many is because barring resignation or impeachment, the appointments are for life…

      • Steve

        It may be a bias or blinders, still wrong but a bit less damning. as Tex said it is for life if one chooses, barring impeachment and it may be unthinkable for some, including maybe the reporter, to step down from such a position to take a chance at running. Seeing how it worked out for Cruz this last time I think it would be a fair assumption.

        • dragin_dragon

          Just idle curiosity…and too lazy to look it up…has a Supreme Court Justice ever been impeached? And who would do it…the House and Senate, like the President?

          • Only one: Samuel Chase, an Associate Justice, was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on charges of arbitrary and oppressive conduct of trials, and was acquitted by the U.S. Senate on March 1, 1805. It is generally believed that it was not a fair charge.

  2. Charles Bagnal

    Jack… Great post, but please change “Tillotson” to “Tillerson” to make shareworthy… and this is definitely shareworthy!

  3. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Technically all Federal judges, including those of limited field like the bankruptcy judges, have “life tenure,” meaning they can’t be fired, although they can be impeached for grave misconduct. The system was set up that way, so that they would be insulated from politics. Like anyone in any job not bound by a contractual obligation, however, they can step down any time they wish. That said, those who do step down now are usually stepping down to retire after a long tenure on the bench, and don’t run for other offices. Most who have stepped down have since passed away, but Sandra Day O’Connor (who is still alive and kicking, though not much in the news) and David Souter are still very much involved in hearing cases as visiting judges. I am not sure if John Paul Stevens is, but he is 95 years old and probably not in the best of health. The only two who recently died in office were Scalia and Rehnquist, who died in September 2005 (mercifully before the advent of social media). The last Justice to die in office before that was Robert Jackson (of Nuremberg fame) in 1954. I just found all this out in a few minutes. Fox needs to spend more on research and less on blondes.

    • charlesgreen

      Great points Steve-O.

      • Other Bill

        Aren’t federal judges also offered salaries (and an office and secretary for as long as they want them) for life in an effort to insulate them from the temptation of giving in to bribery attempts? I always thought so.

  4. Joe Fowler

    Ted Cruz is apparently so disliked by his Senate colleagues that BOTH sides of the aisle are unanimous in their desire for him to be somewhere else, so he would be instantly confirmed! Rim-shot, please.

  5. Spartan

    Lots of blonde slurs going on here ….. I don’t take offense actually (I have a thick skin), just wondering why this still is acceptable.

    I was naturally a blonde, but it grew steadily darker until my 20’s. Now, it is normally a light brown ( much like the pleasant color of dirty dishwater), but I started dying my hair to a deep brown once I started practicing law eons ago. It was a deliberate decision to be taken more seriously.

    For the record, I do have a problem with the way Fox dresses its anchors — it’s repugnant, but I think the hair color should be irrelevant.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      I think Legally Blonde made the stereotype of the giggling, ditzy blonde a permanent fixture.

    • See prior posts. Fox obviously forces its female reporters to go blonde and tart up, or at least most of them. I also clearly has a beuty test for hireees. No Candy Crowleys allowed. it’s offensive to me, and should be to you, and yes, I blame the women who allow themselves as professionals to be packaged as eye-candy. It’s insulting to me, as a male, that Fox regards me as an 8th grade boy, and it should be offensive to women that the Roger Ailes era standards still reigns. Blond is irrelevant? Reporters as Barbie is irrelevant? You’re right, Spartan, this is just a coincidence:

      • Alex

        Wow, those three ladies at the bottom right are ugly. Hopefully they’re the trailblazers that will break this “tradition”.

      • Spartan

        I agree that “tarting up” is unacceptable as would Fox News making any hiree go blonde.

        My problem is with the idea that we should use blonde as a slur. Lots of women go blonde or are naturally blonde — and they keep their hair that way because they think it makes them look more attractive. They should be able to do so without people questioning their decision — or cracking jokes about being a dumb blonde.

        It is okay to be attractive on TV. All women (and presumably men) wear make-up on TV. I put on make-up every day before I leave for work — no one tells me to do it, I like to do it. I don’t always have my nails done and wear jewelry, but I am otherwise pretty put together in the office. I also dye my hair every 6-8 weeks, because I like the way it looks.

        My point is that hair color is irrelevant and I hate blonde stereotypes. What I do take issue with (with Fox and media in general) is the notion that women are supposed to dress like they just walked off a Sex in the City set. That is not okay. It is hard to respect a professional woman if she is showing too much cleavage or her skirt barely covers her ass.

        By the way, I never said it was a coincidence.

        • This makes no sense to me. If all the Fox female reporters were bottle redheads who squealed, wore tight skirts, and general looked more like cheerleaders than professionals, I’d say teh same about them. I didn’t create the stereotype and cast a news room by it. It’s not my fault they capitulated and went blonde to get the job. So I can’t comment on the obvious? That’s classic political correctness, which you usually eschew.
          \
          I wrote..“as whatever dyed blonde woman Fox had on the couch this time squealed, “That was AWESOME!,”

          Meaning: Fox News women look interchangeable and behave like teenagers. How is that a blonde slur?

          I wrote: “The special reporter was yet another dyed blonde—the Perky-Dyed Blonde Machine has been working overtime since it was announced that Head Blonde Megyn Kelly had jumped to NBC”

          Meaning: “This is ridiculous! Why does Fox make every woman blonde? Why must so many of them giggle and flirt with the male reporters?” (Kelly was an exception.)

          How was THAT a blonde slur? You really think referring to a machine is unfair in this instance? You did see that composite photo, right?

          • Spartan

            This isn’t hard Jack. It is easy to critique news coverage without mentioning someone’s looks.

            It is okay to criticize Fox generally for its treatment of women, but I wouldn’t combine that with an article about coverage.

            Two different issues.

            • The post was about Fox News, and all that is productions reveal. The screaming sexism is part of the whole, and impossible to ignore. The enforced clone look is part of what makes Fox untrustworthy, and, frankly, insulting. How does one criticize a network for either only hiring cookie cutter blondes, or, in the alternative, forcing who they do hire to make themselves into cookie-cutter blondes, without mentioning that almost EVERY DAMN REPORTER OR COMMENTATOR ON FOX NEWS IS A COOKIE CUTTER BLONDE??

              • Spartan

                I had a work lunch today with two female lawyers my age. Two of us went to Georgetown and the other went to Duke. We were looking back at our law school days, specifically the 2L interviewing process. I was joking about how I initially refused to wear the navy blue interview suit and required some coaching from a counselor to ditch my (very respectable) red suit in favor of the uniform. The two women with me agreed that young attorneys only were allowed to wear navy and black skirt suits, except on Fridays when it was okay to wear a pants suit. It was the look required by every law firm in DC. We were expected to be cookie-cutter, even though we were highly knowledgeable. The enforced clone look was meant for us to look trustworthy. We also were all encouraged to get the same “DC bob” haircut.

                Sometimes, cookie-cutter is expected. Blonde tarts is the look that Fox News wants. I don’t agree with it, but I only would ever critique Megyn Kelly for what she says, not how she looks.

                Whatever its faults, Fox News is in the business of making money, and it has determined that blonde newscasters are more attractive to its audience — just like many actresses are forced to go blonde for a particular role.

                The only one perpetuating the stereotype here is you. Given that her hair might have been dyed blonde, her inane comment had nothing to do with her hair color. To use your example, what if everyone at Fox News had dyed red hair? Well, the answer is simple. The same stupid comment would have been made. So why not just critique the coverage?

                • Chris Bentley

                  Im not trying to get int the middle of the back and forth you and Jack have going on, but your commentary, and background story, on this topic have been illuminating, and I mean that sincerely. I have been VERY critical of some (many) or your posts in the past, and it is very easy to fall down into the “oh, Spartan is just a stereotypical liberal, and everything she writes is gong to be bleeding heart junk” mindset, which is a giant flaw on my part.

                  My apologies for coming across as setting a low bar, but reading you write things such as “It is okay to be attractive on TV”, “It is hard to respect a professional woman if she is showing too much cleavage or her skirt barely covers her ass.”, or that you acquiesced to “playing the game” with regards to unwritten gendered dress codes and hairstyles because sometimes you do what you need to (within reason) to get ahead when you’re just getting started, show me that while we may slightly more alike that I would have previously thought.

                  I’ll go back to criticizing your posts tomorrow.

                  • Spartan

                    Thanks for the reprieve. It would be nice to have more back-up on this site — it gets exhausting!

                    • Chris Bentley

                      Im sure it does…I don’t envy you, Deery, Charles, or Chris. Mostly, because I’d hate to align myself with that ideology, but also because of the back-up thing. 😉

                  • Pennagain

                    “oh, Spartan is just a stereotypical liberal, and everything she writes is gong to be bleeding heart junk” mindset, which is a giant flaw on my part.

                    Living in the heart-and-mind-land of liberalism, I had a good belly-laugh over that one, thanks.

                    She herself may not agree, but I think Beth is about as close to centrist (tempered perhaps by motherhood and a pragmatic idealism) as one can get these days, all on her own, and without straddling any line. Exchanges between her and Jack are welcomely civil and highly personal (or emotional: something else people often mistake for being liberal), more like conversations between friendly adversaries — one of the things that makes this blog unique. She is not always successful trying such exchanges with other commenters, but at least she tries. I wish I had her (their) patience.

                • This has been declared discriminatory for airplanes, and it is less excusable for the more demanding job of reporter. I don’t understand your defensiveness on this score at all.

                  The blonde requirement, and it obviously is one, creates a hostile work environment, in my view, is damaging and degrading to every woman in broadcasting. I am deriding the way the women are made to dress, look, and present themselves on Fox News. And yes, I fault them for submitting to it.

                  • Spartan

                    You are mixing arguments again. My point is that you could have written this essay without once mentioning that she was blonde. You keep trying to excuse it.

                    • I “excuse it” because it’s a genuine issue, it’s part of the Fox tawdriness, and unless people point out what’s wrong with it, it will continue. This is part and parcel of the culture the Ailes created. I’ll consider watching Fox when they have a natural distribution of normal-looking women chosen for their skill. (And when they get rid of Hannity and O’Reilly.)

                    • Spartan

                      I keep forgetting about all the ugly female broadcasters on other networks…

                    • Not tons, but some…including some older reporters.
                      You do realize that was “everybody does it,” Right?

                  • Spartan

                    Pointing out facts is not a rationalization Jack.

                    And whether everybody does it or nobody does it, the fact that a reporter is an idiot has nothing to do with whether she is a natural blonde or a real blonde — or a brunette. (You keep skipping over this point because you don’t want to acknowledge that you perpetuated a stereotype.)

                    Attractive people can be just as smart as people who are ugly and/or fat. Generally, attractive people get put on TV. Broadcasting schools (my university had one) teach this — similar to acting schools.

                    If you had a daughter who was not considered attractive, would you encourage her to go into broadcasting? I would, but I would (as gently as possible) steer her toward radio or print journalism.

              • dragin_dragon

                I note that Harris Faulkner, a reporter for Fox for whom I have the greatest respect, is not pictured.

                  • dragin_dragon

                    Sadly, he’s a she, very attractive, and very black. Strangely enough, she’s also conservative. I’d still marry her in a heartbeat. Beautiful and smart to boot.

                    • Chris Bentley

                      Im with you there; I’d be a lucky man to have her hand in marriage.

                      And if you go to her Twitter page, and look and the replies that she gets, she’s almost universally lauded, and a large number of her fans are white, which is odd, since conservatives are supposed to be racist and all. In fact, its a bit shocking how few black people post replies on her page.

                      Well, maybe not shocking, but sad.

                    • They only say they like her so they can preface all their racist comments in their day to day conversations with “I like one black person, but….”

                    • There are downsides of my personal boycott of Fox… this is obviously one.

    • Other Bill

      Sparty, Sparty, Sparty. You really have a problem with Jack saying Fox diminishes itself by insisting almost all its newsreaders and commenters be standard issue primped up bleached blondes? You really read this post and thought he was making fun of blondes?

      • Spartan

        No. But I think it was gratuitous of him to make the numerous blonde slurs. It is no different than someone pointing out that CEOs often are rich, fat, and white. How does referencing a stereotype add to a story in any meaningful context?

        • dragin_dragon

          Sadly, Spartan, I think Jack may be right on this one. Specifically that Fox requires, or at least encourages, blondes…bottled or otherwise…and short skirts. Even Kennedy, who is clearly not the most beautiful or blonde is required to flash some thigh. Personally, I’m looking for smart and fearless, like Harris Faulkner, but Foxes fascination with blondes is well-documented.

          • Spartan

            Yes, it is well documented. So what? Are you saying that the reporter’s statement was stupid because she was blonde? That a brunette would have been smarter?

            • dragin_dragon

              Absolutely not! I do not believe in DBS (Dumb Blonde Syndrome). However, I DO believe that Fox picks it’s female reporters for looks rather than intelligence. In several instances, they have gotten lucky (Megan Kelley, for instance) but that’s all it was, luck.

            • For reasons I cannot determine, you are being deliberately obtuse. The clear points was that Fox is hiring female reporters (not male ones, god knows) according to characteristics having little to do with their skill at the job involves, OR are forcing women they do hire to hew to a sexist stereotype, That is an indication of incompetence and an unprofessional attitude. I’m sure, certain, that you can handle a complex thought, like: Here was one more of what appeared to be another alleged reporter hired more for appearance than skill: Evidence of the lack of skill: she misinformed the audience. Proof of hiring for other reasons: she was one more chirpy Fox blonde. Here’s the Fox News interview from today: http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/01/17/wednesday-fox-friends-ainsley-earhardt-interviews-donald-trump

  6. Alex

    Personally I like it when people who reach the pinnacle of their careers (be it President, Supreme Court Justice, CEO of a multinational conglomerate, etc.) they stay there for an appropriate period (4/8 years, while they are still an asset to the organization) and then retire quietly, maybe going to academia and becoming a professor or just leaving their industry and spending time and money on philanthropy, or thego personal hobbies.
    When they do that they appear like wise elders stepping aside for the new generation to rise, and have the respect and moral authority to opine when the circumstances require it.

  7. Wayne

    Well I kind of like Ted Cruz being on the Supreme Court because he’s mean, smart, and a Texan as well as being thoroughly disliked by most of Congress. The likelihood of him ever becoming president is infinitesimally low although he could run again.

    • dragin_dragon

      And I suspect he will. You and I both know he’s like a bulldog once he gets an idea in his head…he never lets go.

  8. Christopher Henley

    Presume you’ve read The Brethren, and it’s heartbreaking account of Wm Douglas’ clinging to involvement after resignation. Scalia and Rehnquist were unusual in their dying office; most resign. I had the great privilege of meeting Chief J Rehnquist at Gunston when he and his wife came to see my Hamlet in 1991. He was very gracious — and very shy!

    • He was a nice man, and a theater lover. Remind me to tell you, when you ask me out for a beer, about the time he came to a dress rehearsal I was running and it resulted in a 6 hour catastrophe. And I kept apologizing for the mess, and He kepts saying. “Hey! It’s great!”

      By the way: “The silence confers consent” was a “Man for All Seasons” reference, just for you, and I never followed up. Of course, More was executed because his silence meant defiance, and everyone knew it, but his point was valid: one can not be ethically punished for what one doesn’t say.

      • Christopher Henley

        Your allusion to AMFAS was rich. (One might even say Richard Rich.) But, speaking of Chief Justices, do you go by “Jack” to avoid confusion with a previous Marshall?

        • NO! Both my Dad and I were and are real Jacks (I’m Jr.) There are a lot of Jack Marshalls, but most, like the composer of “The Munsters” theme, are really Johns. I’ve found two other real Jack Marshalls—it’s a club. (Now that I wrote all this, I realize I should have said that my real name was “Thurgood.”)

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