Friday, August 05, 2005

Portrait of the Media as a Biased Beast: Outfoxed

Fox News and the empire of Rupert Murdoch remain a bastion of ultra conservatism.

The baron Rupert Murdoch watches over his empire, an entertainment dynasty masquerading as a fair assessment of worldly events.

Get real.

Well, at least that is the point driven home in Outfoxed, a vehement documentary I watched last night.

One thing is for sure: Murdoch is a ruthless businessman, having transformed one single newspaper into a media juggernaut through a steady diet of acquisitions.

For example, the 1996 creation of the FOX News Channel, for which Murdoch had to get American citizenship.

That phyrric conquest quickly sent CNN's market share to the cleaners.

Fox has as high as 78% more viewers than rival CNN.

Such victories have turned Murdoch into the --albeit villified -- consummate media proprietor.

In Outfoxed, Fox gets attacked on all corners for its idolization of President Bush.

Fox gets similarly berated for being a right-wing propaganda machine that prosecutes everything that comes in its ideological path.

The centerpiece of the film isn't even Murdoch himself, but Fox's rudeboy Bill O'Reilly, who's portrayed as the draconian boom camp instructor from hell.

Still, the film's main point is certainly not a novel one.

Orweillian-like, media corporations in America decide what they will and won't air.

It's just the nature of the beast.

I guess someone forgot to tell the filmmakers that news organizations are first and foremost businesses.

Businesses exist to make a profit.

Even so, Outfoxed is a sharp wake-up call to the ways in which corporations compromise our right to know.

At its root, democracy is supposed to embody the power of choice as well as the necessity of informed decision making.

But in Murdoch's universe, these are just ideals subordinate to corporate convenience.

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