Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Peter Jennings Coverage: New Low for FOXNEWS

I really should be finishing my will for my Wills and Trusts class, but I just have to express my outrage while it's fresh. Martha and I learned about Peter Jennings on Sunday night; right after we'd popped our video out, I saw a news flash about the Israeli Prime Minister resigning and flipped to CNN. At about Midnight EDT, they had a live report on Peter Jennings' death. It was genuinely moving; they had a live phone call from Aaron Brown, who kept it together enough to express some really classy and heartfelt condolences. Shooting completely from the hip, he humbly expressed gratitude for all Jennings had taught him and expressed his sympathy for Jennings' kids Lizzy and Christopher, telling them how proud he knew their father was of them. (This is especially classy considering CNN is not owned by the same conglommerate as ABC) We then switched to ABC, where they'd rousted Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer out of bed; I can't stand either of them, but they were appropriately human. (Charlie Gibson was still glib and wooden)

Just to piss myself off, I switched to Fox News (I had to check the sattelite TV pamphlet to even find it. Martha went to bed). There was nothing on screen or on the tape below the screen, indicating that they hadn't even heard. On the "Big Story," was still, incomprehensibly, that girl missing in Aruba. I honestly cannot bring myself to care, even though I've seen every single dance recital she's ever done and could pick her out without the aid of that stupid highlight.. (Especially after those damn dance recitals). I'm sorry for her parents' loss. No one should ever have to go through that, but seeing it every damn time I'm on a treadmill at the Y blocks my natural sympathies.

Anyway, yesterday, while I was at the Y, Shepherd Smith finally did a short report on Peter Jennings saying "he was often accused of a liberal bias, which he denied." I can't begin to comment on how inappropriate that was the day after Jennings died -- especially since FOXNEWS is the only one to ever accuse him of having a liberal bias -- but that's not the capper.

The capper is, today, on the FOXNEWS website there was a "news story" examining whether Jennings death (combined with Brokaw and Rather's retirement) signals the end of Network news and the supremacy of 24-hour cable news stations. The only source commenting in the affirmative was Fox's own Eric Burns!

Here we have a 24-hour cable news station using its own commentator to further its own interest, then calling it a news story! Regardless of how lacking in class or basic humanity it is to say something like that so soon (or at all), it is not news! How could it possibly be considered noteworthy that a FOXNEWS commentator declares FOXNEWS supreme?! My head hurts at the thought that FOXNEWS is the most watched news channel.

On one hand, we have CNN, who shows class and humanity when an accomplished man in their field, albeit a competitor, passes on. On the other hand, we have FOX who shows a missing girl's dance recitals, then, the next day, accuses the accomplished man in their field of bias. Not that I love CNN, by any means, but the comparison is startling.

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