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Fox and Violence

January 11, 2011
Their rhetoric is laden with extremism. They talk about taking the country back to God. By implication their opponents are leading it away from God. They insist the president is a socialist and may have been born outside the country. They say Sharia law is already being practiced in America.

They talk of putting their opponents in the cross hairs. They believe George Soros, the financier, is “the puppet master” intent on the overthrow of the US government. They believe a one-world cabal is intent on taking over America and the planet.

There has already been a death threat against Senator Patty Murray, the Senator for Washington state, because she voted for health care reform. The man convicted of the threat was using language that came word for word from Glenn Beck, the glamor boy of the Fox network. Sharron Angle, the Republican backed by Fox against Harry Reid in Nevada, talked about whether people should use their “second amendment remedies “, that is, guns, to solve the political challenge. That is open talk of political murder.

“They” in the above are the Fox-Tea Party axis. This is a key point. They have become the one force, with Palin on the channel’s payroll and the channel urging turnout at the rallies where the sentiments described above were given full expression. The channel became the official voice for the Tea Party, all its commentators yodeling in support of their candidates in the mid-terms and reinforcing Tea Party paranoia and hysteria.

As The New York Times says, “…it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge.”

“Gale of anger” says it all.

The extremism that is commonplace on Fox has no precedent in any other mainstream media in America in the post-Civil War era.

9 Comments
  1. Vince Costa permalink
    January 11, 2011 5:59 pm

    I find it interesting how Fox news is considered the “devils’
    right wing propanganda machine. So maybe then the ABC’s stateline with Quentin dempster or any other ABC commentary is “gods” own left wing mantra we have to except the bias. I feel beaten up and humiliated by our media because I’m a conservative small business
    owner who wants to be self funded and work hard. Im not allowed to disagree with the left or greens.If Im a climate sceptic the Im
    ignorant denier. If I want lower taxes Im a greedy capitalist.
    If I want access to national parks and hazard reduction Im a uneducated enemy of the earth. Seems to me that Im not good enough
    to join the dinner party with Mr Carr and he doesnt want me there either. Works both ways Bob….

    • Deborah permalink
      January 11, 2011 8:06 pm

      Perhaps Vince Costa can provide some verifiable examples of ABC left wing bias. I’ve never seen or heard any that I can remember. And I have never come across anyone making such accusations of bias who was actually able to back them up. So how about it Vince? Just one real, verifiable example shouldn’t be too hard to come up with should it?

  2. Cassie permalink
    January 11, 2011 9:16 pm

    Gosh Mr Carr, your outrage is breathtakingly selective. Perhaps you can post some comments professing outrage about that true believer named Bob Ellis and his tax payer funded vindictive, mean and vicious bile written and posted last week on The Drum in which he sneered about John Brogden’s suicide attempt and made fun of Barry O’Farrell’s weight. I like robust debate on both sides of politics and it does not have to be personal or vicious. Where was your outrage over Marieke Hardy’s comments last year about Tony Abbott? For years the left and its media outlets such as the ABC and SMH have tolerated extremist and vicious comments about conservative politicians such as John Howard and George Bush, among them comparing Bush to Hitler. Where was your outrage about that? Fox News extremist!! Well, it is arguable that elements of the ABC is equally a bastion of left wing extremism, hysteria and paranoia, whether its about global warming, Iraq War, Wikileaks, Israel et al. Oh yes, the one-world cabal, well I have heard and read many extremists on the left who get published in the SMH or are invited on ABC panels seriously talk about the Zionist neo-cons who control the world and that Washington acts only on what the Knesset in Jerusalem tells it to do.

    What happened in Arizona was appalling and the truth will come out. I doubt very much that the perpetrator of this grotesque act was inspired by Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck. Did you post an outrage after the shootings of Fort Hood in Texas and ask the question…..what is it about Islam and violence? No, of course not. Because there is no correlation between Islam and violence just as there is no correlation between Fox New, the Tea Party and what happened in Arizona. The rush to judgment is rash and ill-informed and you should no better.

    So Bob, look in your own backyard first. Or is this that too difficult for you?

  3. Chris Cudmore permalink
    January 12, 2011 7:36 am

    I happen to agree with the thrust of Bob’s comments. I also acknowledge that bias is “in the eye of the beholder”.
    Contributors to Bob’s blog might be interested in another view of this subject from an American Christian group. I have posted the link here for those interested in “balance”

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/tuscon-tragedy-reveals-fruits-courage-seeds-darkness

  4. Rebecca permalink
    January 12, 2011 6:55 pm

    Cassie – are you really comparing one or two comments from oddballs on the fringe, like Bob Ellis and Marieke Hardy, to a relentless, full blown campaign by the Murdoch global machine? I’m certain if Ellis and Hardy had the ability to influence the outcome of elections, support for war, and the public opinion of tens if not hundreds of millions of people, we’d be hearing the outrage from all sides. Their comments may have been hateful and I’m not defending them. But let’s get some perspective! Below the belt sledging, sure. Ripping apart a nation? Hardly. And I’m sure you meant that Mr Carr should “know” better.

    • Cassie of Sydney permalink
      January 13, 2011 11:35 am

      Yes Rebecca, I did mean “know” however it was late at night and I wrote quickly. The facts are coming out about the assassin in Arizona and his politics are probably a hash of both extreme left and rightwing lunatic opinions. In other words, a hash of conspiracy nut job theories. As for being inspired by Sarah Palin and Fox News. I don’t think so. Police have discovered Mein Kampf and Das Kapital in his home. I say both books are as bad as each. Did reading these two books incite his murderous crime last week. No. What incited him was probably stuff going on in his head. He is probably psychotic. He had a history intimidating fellow classmates. Several classmates at his college complained about his intimidating and creepy behaviour and yet the police could do nothing because you can’t arrest someone unless they have committed a crime. The facts are emerging and it is becoming clearer by the day. So Bob Ellis is an “oddball” on the fringe. Well the ALP seemed to have employed this “oddball” over the years and have good use of his writing skills. In one of Mr Ellis’ many lives he has been employed as a speechwriter to the likes of Robert Carr and Mike Rann in South Australia. I don’t regard either Bob Ellis or Marieke Hardy as oddballs on the fringe. I don’t think that the ABC regard either as oddballs given that Ms Hardy in particular is often given prominence on several ABC tv programmes among them the book show “First Tuesday Book Club”. Would the ABC give a rightwing “oddball” similar prominence. I say not.

      So okay, let us turn the table. The ABC, some of its programmes (particularly Q&A) and The Drum website are often full of hostile invective against conservative politicians. It is taxpayer funded (unlike Fox News). So, if some young nut case reading Bob Ellis’ hostile bile last week against the Liberals and Marieke Hardy’s vicious rants against Christopher Pyne last year felt motivated and incited to go out and attack some conservative politician, would you be outraged? Were you outraged when John Howard had shoes thrown at him? So, using the Fox News and Murdoch global machine analogy, this person was “influenced” to do this by the ABC, SMH, The Drum, Bob Ellis, Marieke Hardy or Catherine Deveny et al. Would the excuse that the person was “influenced” by the ABC be acceptable to you. I don’t think so. And it is not acceptable to me either. That young man in Arizona was no more influenced by Sarah Palin than he was by Bugs Bunny. The US Democrats are not innocent in using extremist language either. They have used the “gun word” to their advantage before. And there are also many conservative US politicians who have received death threats. I don’t think any of this is acceptable. As I said in my first post, I like and respect good political debate which is robust and for it to be good, it does not have to be vicious or venal such as attacking a person’s religious faith. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of that here in this country particularly emanating from the ABC and SMH with their snide remarks about Tony Abbott’s Catholicism. I don’t like left or right wing extremism.

      Fox News is no more extremist than the ABC . It has a political bent just like the ABC has a political bent. You might not like the politics, so be it, you can switch off. Thankfully, we live in a democracy where there is choice. Choice at the ballot box and choice in channels.

  5. Thaddeus Du Fresne permalink
    January 12, 2011 7:31 pm

    All politicians exploit the politics of fear. Roger Ailes was responsible for the famous Willie Horton ad in 1988 which cooked Michael Dukasis’ goose.

    I recall Bob coming out of the darkness promising to keep us safe in 2003 ads as well.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      January 12, 2011 8:30 pm

      That was 1999 and it was a good-natured ad that featured our clean-up of the police and tougher knife laws. If you want a case-study in fear re-examine Brogden’s campaign for mandatory minimum sentences. We took it on and turned the issue around, thus spelling the end of crime panics in state politics. I’m proud of that.

  6. January 14, 2011 10:49 am

    Just listened to “Stasiland” on ABC Radio where Anna meets this diabolical character Herr Von Schnitzler – what makes people become like that? He was a master of propaganda. In USA both sides of politics have mastered this game. But extremists will ultimately shoot themselves in the foot. In the meantime we just need to prevent them from shooting others.

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