Outfoxed: Where is your news coming from?

Posted by Krystle On 10/14/2009
An important part of being an ethical consumer means being a media literate citizen. I recently watched Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, a documentary that talks about the censorship and biases surrounding Fox News and the other news organizations owned by Rupert Murdoch. In case you were unaware, Rupert Murdoch is the owner of an incredibly large amount of the news media. Fox News, the New York Post, Star, The Times and The Sun are just a few of News Corp’s holdings.

The film mainly centers around the issues of Fox News. When the new organization was created it was advertised to be “fair and balanced” and for many years that was Fox’s main slogan. However, just like corporations who say their “going green” and really just mean that they’re changing their colour scheme, saying that you provide fair and balanced news doesn’t actually make it the case. Fox News tends to have primarily conservative reporters and generally shows conservative leaning guests on their shows. When they do have liberal reporters or guests on the show, they are often not strong personalities and the result is that the conservative view point comes out much stronger to viewers.

Whether or not you are a conservative is actually beside the point in this case. In a democratic society, we need a strong and honest free press to keep politicians, corporations and private interests in check. Fox is known for reporting what are called “wedge” issues almost every night. These are issues such as gay marriage, abortion and religion that are naturally inflammatory to talk about. If people feel passionately about these issues, it makes for more exciting news and Fox’s rating go up. However, there is only so much time to cover that day’s news. If Fox, or any news station, chooses to leave out a story either intentionally for political reasons or because they just thought other stories would bring in higher ratings, viewers miss out on that information.

Although Outfoxed points out a lot of problems specific to Rupert Murdoch and Fox News, the movie is an excellent reminder that we need to constantly be questioning what we read, see and hear. Furthermore, we need to demand better information from our news sources. Remember, every time you buy a newspaper or even watch a new program, you are effectively voting with your dollars.

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