I’m A Conservative And I Don’t Watch Fox Anymore

Today Geraldo Rivera appeared on my screen, with tousled hair, stern countenance, mock outrage on full display, standing among some dejected New Orleans Hurricane survivors and I realized it was enough for me. I turned the TV off and have not gone back to it.

It wasn’t just Geraldo, of course. It has been coming for some time. This newest disaster to hit the American people is just the catalyst for my disdain for TV “news”. It was the final straw that broke my TV habit.

We have all seen the complaints of the coverage of news with the 24-hour cable stations pursuing that all-important story, the one we are all just dying to hear about… over and over and over again. We have heard the complaints about how those news stations beat a story to death with such relentless, constant coverage that even the news anchors find they have nothing left to say and stumble over their words trying desperately to utter anything intelligible. You will now have to count me in among that camp.

Oh, I resisted. I wanted to stay a loyal Fox News junkie. But they have beaten me into submission. Sure, when Fox fist came on I was enamored by the style, elated by the caliber of commentators and excited by the … well, the excitement of it all. I was so happy that at last we had some people on TV with which I agreed. I was also interested to see that their news services were free of the bias I was so sick of from the big three network news casts.

But, now I have lost my compulsion to watch. And it was a category 5 storm that wiped out my cable news TV habit.

Of course, this didn’t hit me all of a sudden. I have to say that my first pangs of disgust began as far back as the OJ Simpson trial. At first, after the snails paced car “chase” that OJ led us all on, live on TV, I was curious to what end it would all come. But as the days, weeks and months of coverage passed, I began to wonder just how much OJ a person could drink in?

When all was said and done, I found I just didn’t care anymore. Guilty, innocent, who cares? Can’t I just watch a nice episode of Sienfeld or Friends instead? And I began to find I was. But no, I scolded myself, I must return to the news so that I can stay “informed”.

So, back I went. To slavishly watch as a parade of child molesters, murderers, storms, disappearances, political blow ups and sports and business scandals bored holes through my skull live from New York, Washington, Tennessee or where ever.

Then I began to supplement my news with the internet, since it had become so painfully evident that newspapers had become no better than the hack political scandalmongers of the likes of a James Callender. If I wanted a left of center viewpoint, far left of center, I knew I could pick up the New York Times. And after the many scandals from within that paper, source fabrication, lies and plagiarism, it was painfully clear that they could not be trusted to report to me the day of the week much less the news of the day.

Eventually, I found my news passion drift from the TV screen. Occasionally, I would flip the dial to Fox and watch for a while after leaving my computer. But, I began to feel like rocker Gene Simmons after a tryst with yet another faceless groupie pick up. It felt like the fun just wasn’t there anymore and I felt the need to move on and quickly. Flip, flip, flip. Click to MSNBC, click to CNN, click to Fox. It was as flavorless as chewing on notebook paper. And they were all the same. Same story, same interviewees, same “outraged” protesters. Same boring tableau of misery.

Baby in a well. Girl missing in Aruba. Bush won’t talk to me. Evil, stock defrauding decorators. Bush is talking to me too much. Clinton’s stained dress. Clinton is talking to me too much. Heck, they are ALL talking to me too much.

And this hurricane coverage was just the worst. The TV people were so interested in covering the looting that it not only acted as a catalyst for more looting but it took time away from all the many, many thousands of people who were acting like civilized people. Not to mention the ones who were doing truly heroic rescue work. So, as a result we have by turns given the rest of the world ample proof that Americans are savages. We have led people to feel that New Orleans’ blacks should be excused for rampaging and murder and rape sprees because they are “poor”. And TV has given those disposed the chance to claim that the Federal government is all at fault even though the bulk of first response falls upon any given state in an emergency.

But, on the Internet things are popping. The Internet forced a CNN news chief to resign. The Internet revealed the lies coming out of Dan Rather’s newscasts and forced him to “retire”. The Internet revealed the lies of a Democratic presidential candidate about his service in war. And now the Internet is instrumental in funding and advertising a relief effort for a natural disaster the likes of which the US hasn’t seen in decades, if ever.

The Internet is where it is happening and it is where I want to be.

Thanks Fox news for all the good times. I will still tune in once in a while. I mean, Fox News Sunday is some of the best political coverage on TV. So, I won’t cancel my cable just yet. But, you are the lover I have left behind me and I feel bad for this “Dear John” letter. I will fondly recall the mellifluous tones of your coverage but my attention will be where the news is fast, current and exciting. That is right here on my computer screen.

By Warner Todd Huston

Copyright Publius Forum 2001