Fox News apparently feels the same way about the quality of their on-air programming as many big corporations do about the quality of their manufactured products. In other words, people have no right to question their ingredients. No matter how substandard or even harmful they may be.
Lauren Ashburn, who, with Howard Kurtz, co-hosts MediaBuzz (Sundays 11AM-12PM/ET) “to discuss the state of the news media and the media’s shaping of current events and their role in politics, culture, business, technology and sports,” said yesterday that, “it’s just not fair” to blame Fox News for misinformation presented on their programming:
(Speaking of misinformation and media buzz, there have been some questions about Ashburn’s own credentials, though I am certain none of that is the fault of Fox News either. They can hardly be blamed for what they tell you on air.)
That’s right. Fox News is not responsible for its own content. The buck stops…nowhere.
Specifically, Ashburn was whining about fallout from her network’s recent miscue surrounding the capture of Benghazi suspect Ahmet Abu Khattala. You’ll remember that Khattala was inconveniently and suspiciously captured on June 17.
For no reason I can discern other than because Obama is black and it was a Tuesday, Fox News immediately suggested the timing of the capture was almighty convenient for Hilary Clinton, coinciding as it did with the release of her new book, Hard Choices (published June 10) and book tour (which also kicked off June 10 at the Union Square Barnes & Noble store in New York City).
Justin Baragona discussed Fox News’ reaction to Khattala’s capture on June 17:
Over at Fox News, the network both downplayed the news and provided commentary suggesting this was either a distraction or a way to help Hillary Clinton’s book sales. On Fox News’ panel discussion show Outnumbered, contributors Kennedy (of MTV fame) and Peter Hegseth both suggested that Clinton’s book tour and potential 2016 Presidential run provided the impetus for Khattala’s capture and this news being broken now. Fox News anchor Jon Scott also questioned the timing of the capture and wondered if the United States could have brought in Khattala at any time but decided to wait for the most politically advantageous moment.
So even a Fox News anchor isn’t responsible for what he says on-air? Then who is? And don’t forget Limbaugh:
Of course, El Rushbo had to chime in and offer his two cents. Rush Limbaugh not only claimed that the timing was peculiar, but that Obama would make Khattala claim that the anti-Mulsim video that sparked protests across the Middle East was the cause of the Benghazi attacks, therefore ‘vindicating’ the administration.
Ashburn’s defense of Fox News strains credulity almost as much as Fox News itself:
[T]he more outlandish the comments, the more the websites are going to say ‘oh my gosh, Fox News said this, and they made this point,’ and it’s funny because Fox News didn’t say that, those individual contributors said that. It’s just not fair to do that.
Ashburn has some peculiar ideas about fairness. Besides the presentation of her own credentials, there is her disturbing fixation with President Obama shopping habits.
You seriously have to question the acumen of a person who turns President Obama’s purchase of pink sweaters for his daughters into an accusation, saying Obama has “got to learn to take his lumps.”
I do think Ashburn forgot the saying about people living in glass houses.
I absolutely do not think it is Obama who has to learn to take his lumps, but clearly, Fox News (and by extension, Lauren Ashburn), ever so sensitive to criticism of the shoddy quality of its content.
Back in December 2013, Dave Weigel at Slate opined that Ashburn “has almost nothing to say about anything.” He is right that she has nothing meaningful to say, but consider if you will that she works for a network that questions why anyone would bother to tell the truth about anything when it can just as easily make up outrageous lies instead.
And look, it is hardly surprising that a network that prefers lies to facts would shy away from taking responsibility for those lies when, inevitably, they are questioned.
Ashburn’s complaint that her network not be held responsible for the content it airs not only contrasts unfavorably with our president’s willingness to accept personal responsibility, but it is yet another nail in Fox News’ self-made reality bubble, which can more reasonably be thought of as a coffin full of angry old white people eager to embrace irrelevance as the price of doing business.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.