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Faux news at it again

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A couple of days after four Canadian soldiers lost their lives in the American-led war in Afghanistan, Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, chief of land staff, issued a statement that the Canadian military “will have to explore the possibility of taking a short operational break.”

When Greg Gutfeld, host of an inconspicuous FOX TV show called Red Eye, heard the news, he couldn’t refrain from a few potshots. In a display of uniquely American obnoxiousness and willful ignorance, Mr. Gutfeld, along with a crew of imbeciles including Doug Benson (a comedian whose gags are about as funny as a dentist’s drill) took aim at Canada’s military. They succeeded in exposing the moral deficiency of FOX News’ personnel (as if this were a surprise). “Isn’t this the perfect time to invade this ridiculous country?” asked Gutfeld sarcastically. Benson responded, “I didn’t even know Canada was in the war.” You thought wrong, wise guy. The hopeless mission in Afghanistan has cost the lives of 117 brave soldiers.

While the pair have since apologized—not that an apology means anything from people whose jobs hinge upon their reputation—the incident has brought into question, yet again, the credibility of FOX News. You’d be hardpressed to find a more despicable media network than FOX. Guided by partisanship and sickeningly right wing, FOX has earned its ignominious distinction as the laughing stock of the corporate media. All thanks to media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who profits from FOX’s blatant agenda.

News anchors have developed a technique of baiting their “liberal” guests with questions such as, “Do you love this country?” Of course, any conservative point of view is equated with American patriotism. They consistently make childish, inflammatory remarks about Democrats such as “North Korea loves John Kerry” or “Obama sits on a board with a terrorist” (Bill Ayers). When cornered, they try to weasel their way out through ambiguous expressions like “Some people say…” or a “Everyone know that…” It’s usually unclear who “everyone” is and whether they’re reliable, but FOX personnel have no problem making reference to an imaginary majority.

Consider that just before Bush’s term expired, FOX was all for the tentative $700 billion bailout package. Right after Obama took office and drew up a comprehensive plan, the bailout became a sign of socialism—odd, considering that bailing out private corporations is anything but socialist. Obama was, of course, responsible for wrecking the economy. Back in 1993, when Bill Clinton launched an attack on Somalia, FOX guests vilified Clinton for being hostile. Eight years later, they accused him of not having done enough to fight terrorism. That feeble attack on Clinton was one of many character assassinations carried out by FOX in a manner unbecoming of a news channel whose motto is “Fair and Balanced.”

In the realm of foreign policy, FOX has reached a new low in news reporting. Their modus operandi, according to internal memos leaked by Media Matters for America, has become to toe the neoconservative line as though it were an adjunct of the Republican Party. Consider their attitude towards the Iraq war (which Rupert Murdoch admitted to misleading the public about). FOX, like the Republicans, wanted Americans to think that their troops were out there, killing a lot of terrorists, and winning the war on terror. If you happened to disagree, as actress Janeane Garofalo did, then you hated America and “Saddam must be in love with you,” according to FOX and Friends’ Brian Kilmeade.

It shouldn’t be surprising that FOX News audiences are four times more likely to believe that the U.S. has found links between Iraq and Al Qaeda, and three times more likely to believe that WMDs were actually found in Iraq. This is particularly frightening considering that FOX News is actually one of the most popular channels in the United States, holding eight of the 10 most-watched nightly cable news shows with its O’Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes coming in first and second, respectively. I would argue that FOX be reprimanded for spreading lies and misinformation, but it’s a lost cause. Corporate media is big business, after all, so we better get used to it.