Thursday, February 14, 2008


People do wonder sometimes whether Fox News is worth all the attention we lavish on it around here. (Our motto: We watch Fox because Tom Lehrer is no longer gigging so you don't have to!) We tend to think it is. The matter isn't just that Fox is the eager handmaiden of the Bush White House, though that's important, or that Fox is unusually nonchalant about being caught out in that role, though that's important too. Just as interesting to watch is the sort of world you see if Fox is where you get your news, because if that view is spreading -- if the news world is becoming more Foxified, rather than more diverse, in response to Fox's growth* -- the republic is in peril.

Fox World is a strange planet teeming with threats to the American Way of Life, but purely random personal threats take up a lot of space too. If you have a school-age child, you should expect the said moppet to be either seduced, beaten or duct-taped to a chair by a teacher before the semester is out. Most women are missing. Most pregnant women have been missing for weeks. And if you're a missing pregnant mother, just give it up; Bin Laden has your number, and you're going to be shipped to a family in Aruba any day now.

Which explains, a little, the hed above, which you reach by clicking on a story that's been on the front page since morning. It's not an especially interesting hed unless you read the four-graf story beneath, which never mentions the maternal status of the woman in question. (It also calls the thing she found a "blade-like piece of metal," which is clearly not as much fun for hed purposes as a "blade.")

Is it just Fox? Have a look at the same tale (albeit second-cycled) from the Web site of the St. Pete Times. Again, a mom (all right, a "mother," if you're going to insist on formality) in the hed, but just a "woman" in the text.

Coincidence, or what? You can see why Fox would just sort of assume that all women in peril are moms, or would figure you didn't need to be reminded of such a pesky detail in the text when the Good Lord put all the important facts right there in the hed for you. But is Foxthink spreading to the once-grownup media as well?

* Which, with all due respect to John Milton, is how the Marketplace of Ideas has historically worked.


Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Well, who'd buy Pokemon candy but a mom - so it's really the children in peril!

9:59 AM, February 15, 2008  

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