19 Feb 2011

“I Walked Downstairs, Wiser”

Conspiracy, Politics, Ron Paul 14 Comments

I can’t remember the exact line, but I’m referring to Ralphie in A Christmas Story after he decodes the commercial for Ovaltine. (Incidentally, the best argument against democracy I have come across is that this movie gets only 8.1 out of 10.)

In an earlier post I was aghast at the Orwellian behavior of Fox “News” when it flipped the footage from the CPAC convention, to paint Ron Paul in an embarrassing light. I got two general reactions:

(1) “Bob Fox does this stuff all the time. Why are you shocked?”

(2) “Bob you are insane. This was obviously a mistake; Fox said it was a mistake. You Paul fans are paranoid.”

Well the (1)’s have it. I hadn’t caught this Jon Stewart bit before; it seals the case in my mind. (And for those who still think it was an honest mistake: Isn’t it funny that when the interns at Fox screw up, they do it in a way that helps Michele Bachmann and hurts Ron Paul? Maybe this is a topic for behavioral economics or something, where people subconsciously do things that will make their bosses happy.)

14 Responses to ““I Walked Downstairs, Wiser””

  1. Daniel Kuehn says:

    1. and 2. are not mutually exclusive, I should point out. Fox strikes me as a combination of sloppy, ignorant, and deceptive. And in the midst of all that there are some really good reporters on there too, surprisingly! Chris Wallace is one of my favorite media personalities. I’m sure there are one or two others… Shepard Smith is pretty good. But big picture, I think there’s a pretty good chance of both 1. and 2. being correct on any given story.

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        Isn’t that a reasonable analysis? Is their argument about why Ron Paul can win a straw poll with a much higher share of the vote than an actual election or primary unconvincing to you? This seems like good analysis whether you like Paul or not.

        • Dan says:

          Let me see if I got this straight. Fox news says Ron Paul got a mixed reaction with audible gasps and boos from the 2011 CPAC. You said in the previous post on this topic “So – yes – I, like you, would have prefered that they use the 2011 video and given Paul the cheers he deserved.” So did the entire network just make an honest mistake when they were talking about the mixed reaction with audible gasps and boos? It’s funny how you overlooked all those “good analysts” repeating the lie they were exposed for and had to apologize for.

          Didn’t you say that Fox strikes you as sloppy, ignorant, and deceptive? Is your position that they are all of these things except when it comes to their good analysis for Ron Paul?

        • Dan says:


          Why do you think all of their shows were asking all of their analysts to explain away Ron Paul’s win? Why the negative spin?

          You wrote, “Glenn Beck has said of Paul ” I think we’re pretty close to lockstep on many of the things that he believes in the economy”.

          You notice he didn’t bring an agreement on foreign policy? Has he ever said that Ron Paul is a good candidate? Fox tries to spin Ron Paul as a good guy when it comes to the economy but someone who is unelectable and dangerous on foreign policy. They always talk about how it is just the youth that likes him. They do this to give the impression that the youth don’t know any better and aren’t being practical. If the youth was lining up and voting for Sarah Palin do you think they would still deride the youth vote?

  2. Daniel Kuehn says:

    Just read your last comment where you said I can’t have it both ways.

    I don’t know, it’s not like this is a hive mind – it’s not like one person makes all these video decisions. I don’t see why they can’t sometimes be sloppy and sometimes be intentional.

    Do they prefer the Bachmann/Palin style? Sure – it’s more culture-warry 1990s Republican belligerence that they sell well. I would definitely believe that Fox has a bias in favor of that sort over Paul. I could imagine them saying “hey – let’s use that bigger rally picture cause it’ll make her look better”. I’m really not sure what tihs slip-up does though. It really doesn’t seem to be that big of a slap in the face, which is why I think Gene and I are guessing this particular switch was just sloppiness.

    Glenn Beck has said of Paul ” I think we’re pretty close to lockstep on many of the things that he believes in the economy”. There’s Stossel and Napolitano too. I would certainly believe that Fox is more in the Bachmann/Palin camp but I don’t think they’re so aligned against Paul that they’re going to try to sabotage him, and if that was supposed to be sabotage it was pretty weak.

    • Jeremy says:

      How do you explain Fox denying Ron’s participation in their primary debates back in 08?


      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        Probably more likely that one was someone trying to keep Fox in line with establishment Republicans, wouldn’t you think?

        That’s tough though. In that 2008 case I think Fox’s biases were very, very likely to have driven the incident. But that early Ron Paul was much less known than he is now. The same thing happened to Kucinich. Was that a hit-job on Kucinich or were they just running what they perceived to be the likely dominant candidates? Not totally clear, but I’m guessing in this case someone at Fox wanted traditional conservatives.

  3. Desolation Jones says:

    I still think it’s pretty far fetched that Fox would pull the stunt right in front of Ron Paul knowing it was the wrong footage. Ron Paul could have easily called them out on it. It is Fox we’re talking about though so it probably was done on purpose. Eitherway, I agree with Kuehn that it’s pretty inconsequential. He was still given a good interview afterwards and anyone who liked his message won’t care about the boos. In the end, the interview did more good than harm for Paul.

    • Dan says:

      My friends dad is a die hard republican. He loves Ron Paul’s views but always says too bad he can’t win. He tells us we need to vote for someone like Mike Pence or Mitch McConnell who has a chance. This is why Fox puts up videos that downplay Ron Paul’s support. There are a lot of republicans that like what Ron Paul has to say but won’t vote for him because they think he can’t win.

      Also explain why CNN showed the correct video but clearly changed the audio for the crowd? They probably made a honest mistake and accidentally changed the audio, huh?

    • Ricardo Cruz says:

      It’s possible Fox wanted Ron Paul to contradict them and state the positive response he got, so that he would look like a loony.

    • Ricardo Cruz says:

      Anyhow, I do agree with you. My first reaction is that the host does seem to be under a misapprehension, and so surely is the producer and other contributions. At most, there’s some nasty principal-agent problem going on within the team.

      But it should be pretty straight-forward to figure out whether Fox was deceitful or incompetent. Did they release an apology?

  4. Anon73 says:

    My good pal Bob, you have just learned the lesson of this episode:


  5. Lenny says:

    This whole thing reminds me of a great cynical song from The Boomtown Rats (from the days when print still dominated) “Don’t believe what you read”. The lyrics are online but you really need to listen to it.

    In short there’s no compelling evidence that Fox is either better or worse than the other large networks. They all make plenty of “mistakes”, which – surprise, surprise – tend to be skewed toward the editorial bias of the day. That editorial bias is as fluid as the shifting sands in the desert, blowing with the wind….

    And with a very large network like Fox – the 10:00 AM bias is different than the 10:00PM bias because it’s different audiences. That’s the entertainment business and we should be wise to it and adjust expectations accordingly.