Accuracy in Media

Cable news seems to have dropped the Natalee Holloway case-at least for a while. Hurricane Katrina’s victims have taken center stage. But how long will it take for cable news to change the subject back to Holloway? My Media Monitor on “The Decline of Fox News” because of its obsession with Holloway, generated some interesting responses. I thought you would be interested in some of them (the senders’ names have been omitted and some messages have been edited for space reasons):

  • “I can barely watch O’Reilly any more, almost never watch Hannity & Colmes, never watch Greta…but do find news on Lou Dobbs…actual news sometimes…but real news has gone the way of the dodo…and was sent there by dodo’s…these people get any worse and they can go into politics…”

  • “I’ve been training myself to wake up at 3 a.m. to catch John Batchelor’s news on our local ABC talk-radio show. Sometimes I’ll listen to it over the net at 7 p.m. as well. It’s the only show on radio or TV that I really care about for in-depth news. Fox is the best of them all and only for about 8 minutes. All the rest is just filler.”

  • “My thoughts about Fox News exactly. I hope Greta, Sean and Alan follow Rita. I have traded Fox for the Discovery and History channels-the “News” programs have lost the meaning of news.”

  • “I knew Reed (Irvine, founder of AIM) and in his grave he must be wondering what has got into the media. Below are some comments on the Natalee fiasco: FLASH: Aug. 23, 2005.  This just in! After draining a lake and excavating a garbage dump in Aruba, Fox News has made the decision to drain the Caribbean Sea in the search for Natalee Holloway.  FOX will carry this live, and Greta van Susteren will remain in Aruba supplying commentary.”

  • “I’ve been thinking the same thoughts as your column?I’m a former network affiliate reporter/photographer from 25 years ago? I’ve noticed the same redundancy of coverage of missing persons and the missing person/probable murder in Aruba (with no justifiable, real breaking events in the case) that Fox offers and it’s awfully stale.  Another item: police car chases in California, or anywhere one can be found.  They just have to stop too.” 

  • “It’s a shame but you are right.  One by one the so-called news shows are destroying themselves.  I have given up even on my local stations except for the local news and weather.  I watch Dan Abrams quite often but he is the only one on MSNBC that I will tune into.  I gave up CNN long ago.  When these stations hire the likes of Begala, Carville, Reagan, Chris Matthews, etc. they have no substance.  I know Fox has been guilty of continually airing the Aruba case but I do like Greta and I have the remote if I’ve had enough.  When I watch television I do not want to listen to personal diagnosis of what’s going on in the world.  I can do that myself.  My biggest complaint of Fox is the repetition of the daily stories-over and over and over.  But-I have the remote and believe me it’s been turned off quite frequently of late.”

  • “I’m afraid you are correct.  My favorite Fox media person, Bill O’Reilly, has sunk to the tabloid cesspool with endless drivel on Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson, and now the Holloway case.  Sadly, topics appear to be driven by ratings and ultimately by the almighty dollar.  There are so many more issues that affect all of us more directly such as gasoline prices.”

  • “I quite agree. I used to be the biggest fan but am slowly moving to other channels. Even their stupid commercial that says ‘YOU this and YOU that’ is irritating. That may work in sales of Kirby vacuum cleaners?but my friends find it nauseating. O’Reilly is beginning to ‘spin’ more than any other talk show. They do, however, have some great ones but they seem to be following the tide?”

  • “I just finished reading your ‘decline of Fox news’ editorial and thank you! I love Fox too.  But the Aruba thing has gotten out of hand.  I am glad that they are keeping the pressure on big time, but does this really have to be reported minute by minute?  And the past two days it has been hurricane non-stop on Fox.  We need a break…is there not anything else going on in the world?  Being a Floridian, I certainly know the heartbreak, tragedy, and everything else connected to any hurricane…but they need to give everyone a break…and viewers are ignored who write in, like me, and ask them why they are doing this.  Even CBS is doing other stories as well.  I stopped watching CNN almost totally after the elections-their liberalism is sick. The only reason I watched it then was to stay up with what they were doing and saying.”

  • “I just read your piece on Fox News and could not agree more. I could never watch Greta when she came to Fox. I never cared much for her at CNN. The only light in the tunnel was that Joe Scarborough came on at the same time so I could switch over to him while Greta was on. Then Joe became just like all the rest of the alphabet media. It is as if he has been converted over to the liberal side. Now Hannity and Colmes, as well as O’Reilly, are now heading the same way. I sure hate to see the demise of Fox News. I travel a lot and spend many an evening in a hotel. Lately I have just put the TV on mute and listen to Rush Limbaugh on my laptop.”

  • “Great article.  I thought I was the only one leaving Fox.  I’ve gone back to C-SPAN.  The call-in shows are rough but at least on the seminars you actually get some depth.”

  • “You are right on the money.  It seems that a program on Fox should be dedicated entirely to ‘Missing Persons.’  The greatest anchor example on Fox is Hannity.  Once upon a time he was ‘rock ribbed;’ now I expect him to break into tears at any mention of the Holloway case.  He approaches members of that family as if they were ‘kissing cousins.’  The repetition is boring and uninformative.  Perhaps it has taken Katrina’s impact on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast to change the subject.  We’ll see.”

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