13 July, 2008

Watching FOX News with the sound off

Location: the gym
Mood: shocked

At the gym, sometimes I like to subject myself to the likes of Bill O'Reilly or Hannity & Colmes, so that I can get my agitation going. But other times, I get there, I am just decide to listen to my music on headphones instead of becoming annoyed. And what inevitably happens is that I watch the "news" program, without hearing what they're saying.

And what I have discovered is that, in some ways, you can learn more about what the FOX News agenda is by watching with no sound.

This Friday, the programming on FOX News was Hannity & Colmes, and the topic, for the second day in a row, was the comment that Jesse Jackson made on a "hot mic" in the FOX News studio (meaning a microphone that he did not know was turned on). What Jesse Jackson said, was something to the effect of:

"Obama is talking down to black people about this faith based [something or other]. I want to cut his nuts off."

Jesse Jackson said this to a black news anchor on FOX, and the news anchor was looking sort of amused. All we hear is what Jesse says. We do not hear what the news anchor said before, or after the comment. And FOX News has proceeded to show this day and night, and they are trying to drum up some type of sense that maybe there is dissent in the black community about Obama's candidacy. H&C (Hannity & Colmes) had Al Sharpton on the air, and of course, Hannity tried to bait Sharpton into saying something bad about either Jackson or Obama. But Sharpton is not that dumb. You then see them interviewing any conservative black person they can find, who will come on their show as an "expert" and say that Obama should be concerned or that Jesse Jackson must have a problem with Obama. On and on it goes.

And when you watch it without the sound, what you see is footage (subtitled) of Jesse making the comment "Obama is talking down to black people" over and over and over again. Almost in a loop. Who knows what the voiceover was. Not me, because I had the sound off, the second day. But the video loop kept going and going and going. And then occasionally they would cut to some random footage of Obama getting off an airplane, or Obama waving to a room full of people with American flags, etc.

And what this all adds up to is that FOX News is trying to find ways of subtly (or overtly) marginalizing Obama. Obama did not actually do anything here. It was Jesse Jackson. And for all we know, Jackson might have been set up. We don't (or, I should say, I don't) know what that news anchor said to Jesse Jackson, but he might have been baited.

I don't know. I got really excited about this three days ago, and now I am writing the blog. And I am tired. And maybe it is not as exciting as I thought it was.

As an aside, or perhaps, more importantly (in the context of this blog), I am not a huge fan of Obama's candidacy. I did not vote for him in the primary. Actually, I did not vote in the primary, because I am a slacker, and I have no excuse. But had I voted, I would have voted for Hillary. That said, I don't think Hillary Clinton was a good choice for the Democrats either. In both 2004 and 2000, we put up candidates that should have been able to beat Bush. I would argue that we made a huge mistake in 2000, and that was to have Lieberman as the running mate, but that's just my take on things. The point here is that two good candidates were unable to defeat Bush (in the face of media manipulation, and vote fraud). Now we have McCain, who is far less horrifying than Bush was. And we have a Democrat (Obama or Clinton, take your pick) who is less electable (whatever that means) than Gore or Kerry were. The Democratic Party needed to choose a candidate who could not lose on simple demographic issues. And they didn't do that. Obama will not win, because of his race. We have only elected what? One non-Protestant in the history of our country? Or at least in the last 100 years? I could be mistaken. But I think JFK was the only Catholic to become President (oh yeah, and they killed him). And forgetting about Obama's religion, because that's not my point - he may be Protestant for all I know - and I am not even going to look, because a) I don't care, and b) it's not my point - if we cannot even get people to look past religion, how can we get them to look past race (Obama) or gender (Hillary)?

Answer: We can't.

Bet me. It's a bet I am dying to lose.

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