I live in Ireland and have only recently started to catch Fox news, mainly on utube or late night summaries on satellite TV. I have watched CNN and BBC World News for a long time. I would treat Fox news as a comedy channel except, as Donne pointed out above, it lies to its audience.
It should be seen as an embarrassment to journalism and the antithesis of news reporting. It is the definition of “dumbed down” television. It is so dumb because of the religious stance of its staff. Just report the news and keep religious opinions off the air.
I've always thought of it as a feedback loop. Take Beck as the extreme case: fear, scapegoating, and righteous indignation are highly marketable to pretty much all people (to varying degrees). Beck panders to these emotions because there is market demand for it. At the same time, his pandering exacerbates these negative emotions, which increases the demand for his programing.
I've never held much interest in telling Fox, or any other station how to run their programming. I do think that the term 'News' garners a certain amount of trust on it's own, and sources that abuse that trust should lose the right to use it. If they called it the Fox Opinion Channel, I probably wouldn't give a foc.
"Fox News is not the problem, merely a symptom of the much deeper issue of the failure of our society to impart intelligent and critical thinking skills to the populace. Simply put, Fox News is what happens when a societies education model has failed."
I don't think society has a responsibility to impart CRITICAL thinking skills to the populace. Where did you get that idea from? If this is something that was supposed to occur during our high school education your dreaming. We have an enormity of functionally illiterate graduates running around. Plus a drop out rate approaching 50%.
What this society needs instead of critical thinking skills is a drop of COMMON SENSE. I'll take an ounce of good ole common sense over a bucket full of critical thinking skills.
I hardly watch the news anymore, maybe the PBS Newhour from time to time, as they ALL have either a Liberal or Conservative agenda. Like Joe Friday said "Just the facts Ma'am." A true independent such as myself grows weary of the daily rhetoric eschewed by the likes of NBC and FOX.
I stated that common sense is not that common these days. As to causality, statistics, etc. requiring a supporting framework I get the impression that you think the common joe would have an inclination for such subjects. In the real world these are not concerns for your typical taxpayer.
I have been a member of this forum for a few weeks now. What seems to be a recurring issue is one of advanced education. Only a small segment of our society seeks higher education. I cannot fault the guy who leaves high school and becomes a mechanic at the local repair shop. He is certainly not interested in statistical theory or causality. But he could be cracker jack smart and loaded with common sense. His interest in critical thinking skills are not a high priority or need be.
I don't think society has a responsibility to impart CRITICAL thinking skills to the populace.
I've been thinking of starting a discussion about what society can actually do to impart critical thinking skills to the populace. I disagree that common sense by itself is a good prescription, because it (almost by definition) varies depending on the culture. The phrase is usually meant as "what everyone should know", which in itself isn't really saying much. It's more of a description than a prescription.
In fact, I think that scientific, skeptical, and critical thinking often goes against common sense, or at least it does not come naturally to human beings. Reading, writing, math, science (etc.), are not learned from natural experiences, but must be taught from structured curriculum. Same is true for critical thinking, although most of the Critical Thinking "taught" at school just comes along with the other courses taught, not in itself as a separate class.
So yeah, I'm even saying here that something like Critical Consumption of Media should be a requirement in High School. Especially in light of the growing pervasiveness of internet media.
(This does deserve it's own, separate discussion. Hope I have time to first research TA for what's already been discussed about it.)