Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fear factor: Turn me on, dead man

You can sit around and watch the stock market. Or you could tune in breath- lessly to the latest hints of Obama Waffling that help Fox turn an Internet ad into a No. 2 news story. But if you're really a Fox fan, you've been stocking up on bottled water and ammunition all day as the Preacher Doll tale moved up the charts.

The headline version: Nice example of tank-town journalistic ineptitude, amplified by Fox's interest in keeping the fear furnace stoked.* This one appears to have started in the Tulsa suburbs, where a couple of intrepid news organizations took a local crank at his word and ran with the Shock Horror Outrage tale at hand: Cute cuddly baby doll proselytizes for Islam on the side! And the story was too good to check out. The Owasso Reporter bought one of the little satans, though there's no sign that anyone there listened to it. (The enterprising Reporter investigative team did apparently surf the Web and discover -- Web sites proclaiming that Baby Cuddle-Coo said "Islam is the light"! Leave your cell phone number with the Pulitzer committee, Owasso Reporter.)

KJRH "2 Works For You" posted its "parents are outraged" story without even the courtesy of an audio clip. (There's one in the version you can reach now, but if the reporter bothered to listen, he doesn't say.) picked things up in early afternoon, citing the outraged parents even when there was still only one source -- the Owasso stalwart who was alerted when a co-worker brought the doll into his office. (No indication of whether the source is a parent; that'd involve all that pesky verification and implication.)

By mid- afternoon, Fox had found some parents. At MyFoxBoston, much as at Fox ground zero and KRJH, parents were outraged. At other Fox outlets, things went a bit farther. MyFoxNewYork says the doll, "despite its sweet name, is spouting more hate than love." MyFoxKansas City puts it in writing: "Doll pulled from shelves for spouting hate."**

And the story has spread through the rest of the Tulsa market. As News On 6 reports:

Target shoppers The News On 6 spoke with had trouble understanding the doll at first, but after they were told what she is allegedly saying, they immediately changed their tune.

Hmm. Wonder why that might be.

Enough fun. You can find the official Mattel audio track at KRJH and watch the FoxNY tape above. If you hear Baby Cuddles saying "Islam is the light" (you'll note that nobody seems to be isolating the "Satan is king" part), then you are not only the walrus, but you buried Paul. Really. No kidding. And I can get you a heck of a deal on a suspension bridge. (That one over there. With the lights. Leading to Canada.) That doesn't seem to be a problem for the usual bottom-feeders. One of the implicit promises of journalism, though, is that we know better. Could we back up and try again, please?

* It'd be unscientific to suggest a link to the upcoming election; Fox wants you to hate and fear Those People all year 'round! So it's absolutely, totally a coincidence that this is appearing next to yet another story about B.H. Obama and his cadre of terrorist pals.
** Does it seem to you that Fox is subtly suggesting that "Islam is the light" is a hate message?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

apparently the man who brought the doll into the newspaper was a grandfather.

9:22 PM, October 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Point of view is everythng. You can say "allahu al kbar" and you're gonna blow us all to smithereens. But "God is great" means you're about to have peas on earth.

9:37 PM, October 09, 2008  
Blogger fev said...

In my usual ecumenical way, I'm waiting to see if other equational statements of the "[faith] is [happynoun]" nature are interpreted as hate speech at Fox.

9:48 PM, October 09, 2008  
Blogger fev said...

Anon: Tnx, hast a link?

9:56 PM, October 09, 2008  
Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

"the story was too good to check out" - that pretty much sums it up.

5:58 AM, October 10, 2008  
Blogger Strayhorn said...

"Too good to check out" - WTF? Is that this years "fake but accurate" meme?

In other news, The Onion is reporting that evolutionists are flocking to a Darwin-shaped wall stain . . .

1:46 PM, October 10, 2008  
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