Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Consistently Misinformed

Dear Madame L,

I have a friend who watches Fox News all the time, and repeats to me so-called "news items" that simply can't be true. I don't want to argue with my friend, but I'm getting sick of hearing this stuff. It's not that I believe my local newspaper is completely unbiased, but it reports the news in a completely different way.

How can I get through to my friend while maintaining our friendship?



Dear Flummoxed,

Madame L also has friends, work associates, and relatives who disagree with her political views. These friends and family members include self-described Tea Party members, libertarians, Ron Paul supporters,  federal employees, retirees, recipients of state and federal aid, and so on.

Madame L has observed that many of these people also, like your friend, get most if not all of their views about the current state of the U.S. and the world from Fox News. 

Note that Madame L did not say these friends get their "news," but their "views," from Fox News. This clip from The Daily Show skewers the whole idea of "news" from Fox News:

By the admission of Fox News President Roger Ailes and other executives in the organization, Fox News does not exist to convey news but to purvey propaganda. Its purpose is not to inform but to reinforce stereotypes and to stoke the fears of people who are uninformed.

Madame L simply does not argue these issues with these people. It appears to Madame L that arguing politics with them will simply antagonize them and reduce the life of the friendship. She thinks they're good people even when they disagree with her, and she doesn't think it's her place to try to change their opinions, any more than she appreciates it when they try to get her to change her own opinions.

Would this work for you --- simply avoiding political and other controversial topics? 

If not, maybe you can get your own gospel choir to back you up, as in this Jon Stewart clip:

(Note: The gospel singer and backup choir come in around the 3rd minute. Warning: This hilarious clip includes some vulgarities which, however, have been bleeped out.)

If this doesn't work for you, which Madame L supposes may be the case, can you ask this friend not to bring up issues about which the two of you disagree? If not, Madame L is sorry to say she doesn't have any other suggestions.

Good luck,

Madame L

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

I have friends and relatives that give me their extreme left-wing views and their extreme right-wing views.

It's reassuring that these "extremists" are a relatively small minority of the people I know. I just patiently listen to them, sometimes question some of the more patently self-inconsistent things they say.

I've also noted these things:
1. Fox News is not news - it's right-wing views dressed up as bimbos.
2. CNN is not news - it's "infotainment."
3. MSNBC is not news - it's rants and logic attacks against Fox News.

I enjoy the rather pungent critiques of The Daily Show - the only organization that criticizes the excesses of all three main American mis-categorized "News Channels."

When I want NEWS (real information) I go to BBC and Der Spiegel.

Surprisingly, Al-Jazeera (English) has more real information than just about any other media source - they have *actual reporters* out getting shot at to get the real truth of what's going on - though with a focus on the Middle East. You don't hear of American reporters getting killed - but Al-Jazeera's reporters are getting kidnapped and killed all the time. (Iran and Syria REALLY don't like their coverage).