The Media is the Message

I didn’t think the Fox News Channel could give us anything funnier than Laura Ingraham’s desperate attempts to garner ratings by insulting LeBron James, but the news that Fox has given another unlistenable wingnut radio host, Mark Levin, his own show—which begins tonight—is more hilarious than Redd Foxx in his prime:

As previously announced, the hourlong program hosted by the nationally syndicated radio talk show personality will “explore the fundamental values and principles undergirding American society, culture, politics, and current events, and their relevance to the nation’s future and everyday lives of citizens.”

This weekend’s first episode will feature an interview with American economist and George Mason University professor, Walter Williams.

Walter Williams? Oh, that’s must-see television, right? They should rename the show Life, Liberty, Levin and Low Ratings.

Of course, say what you will about Rupert Murdoch, the late Roger Ailes and Fox News host Jeanine Pirro’s guest last night, all three men understood that influencing the political narrative in the United States is virtually impossible without influencing the media narrative in the United States; progressives have made strides in this regard, but when it comes to the power of partisan media, the playing field remains titled in a right-wing direction.

What’s worse, mainstream-media entitles have become ever more obsessed with the idea of “balance” instead of truth. The constant slobbering over those who damaged this country by voting for Trump is bad enough, but the following examples are just as disturbing:

As Miles Grant observes, the mainstream media’s malfeasance on the most important issue facing our civilization is beyond outrageous:

Many journalists still falsely cling to a now-disproven line that no one extreme weather event can be connected to climate change. First, scientists are now directly connecting weather disasters to global warming. Second, there’s plenty we can say right now about today’s weather:

Global warming is dramatically increasing our odds of record-breaking heat. Over the last year in America, 2.22 high temperature records were broken for every 1 cold record, according to ClimateSignals.org. As recently as the 1950s, it was still close to even at 1.09/1.

Global warming is loading the dice for extreme weather, worsening heat waves, strengthening storms, deepening droughts, and adding fuel to wildfires.

So what should these stories say? Here’s a line that’s true & relevant for any extreme weather story, any time of year: “Scientists say this kind of record-breaking extreme weather is exactly what we can expect more of as manmade carbon pollution warms our climate.” That’s it! Easy!… If you’re a reporter with national ambitions, why would you talk about global warming? As Media Matters has documented, national TV networks ignore climate science almost completely.

Four years ago, Senators Bernie Sanders and Brian Schatz lambasted the major American broadcast networks for their failure to focus on the climate crisis: in response, Meet the Press, Face the Nation and This Week stepped up to the plate with coverage of the consequences of carbon pollution. What will it take today to get the Fourth Estate to place facts and truth over “balance”?

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.