Strakon Lights Up, No. 103

The limits of Fox News


Fox News frequently offers a stimulating alternative to the Red Guard news nets. Especially when Ann Coulter is a guest. The shrewd, sardonic Brit Hume is an attraction, too, even though he doesn't wear slit skirts. And none of the Goofball Bolshevik channels is likely to air a highly promoted multipart series called "Vanishing Freedom: Who Owns America?" about the regime's Commie land-robberies in the West. (That peculiar refugee in Red Guard-land, ABC's John Stossel, might give it a whirl, but he wouldn't get far.)

You shouldn't make the mistake, though, of buying Fox's "no-spin zone," "we report, you decide" bushwa. Some of its anchors, and especially Shepard Smith, can hardly report a news story without revealing their conservative bias. Smith absolutely cannot conduct an interview without doing so. David Asman runs a close second to Smith. But as the old "Saturday Night Live" character Stuart Smalley would say, that's ... OK.  I'm not looking for "objectivity" in TV news. The most I'm hoping for is a moderately consistent departure from the unrelenting toxic emissions of the other news nets. Indeed, it's something of a kick to see a right-wing interviewer take sides with his non-leftist guest and beat up on his left-wing guest. It's a refreshing mirror image of how the Bolshie thug-interviewers behave on the other nets.

The viewer in search of oxygen — or at least another flavor of air — has to endure, on Fox, a military-nationalist conservatism that hardly ever lets up ("our troops," "our plane downed in China"), technocratic neocon and neolibertarian policy droning, kowtowing to authoritarian law-enforcement "experts," Bill O'Reilly raving about the necessity of the Drug War, and an unceasing, unreflective promotion of gutter celebrities and their gutter effluvia that differs from that of the Red Guard networks only in being even more sensationalistic. But that's ... OK,  too. You learn to expect it and shrug it off. (Even though slime can be hard to shrug off.)

You learn to expect, also, that the Fox News anchors and interviewers are going to observe Minitrue's party line just as faithfully as their Red Guard brethren when it comes to certain topics of interest to paleo types, such as the dog-wagging alliance with Israel, racial egalitarianism, mass colored immigration, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, World War II, and anti-Majority Jewish influence in the American higher circles — or even the idea of there being  such a thing as higher circles in Our Democracy. During a Fourth of July feature on "great" Americans, Fox's Tony Snow lauded Roosevelt II, in vintage Stalinist style, as "Leader, Teacher, and Friend." That's OK in an educational sense: you don't have to hear an obscenity like that more than once to understand the narrow window of permissible opinion in this country, even with  Fox News included as the "extreme right wing" of the established media.


What's not  OK, at all, is the spectacle of Fox News breaking new bread with the Left, particularly on an issue that's near the top of the list with all libertarians and all brands of rightward-leaning folks except neocons. Namely, gun control, or, as I prefer to call it, gunowner-control.

In a program on the crime wave among youth that was broadcast July 1, the narrator described the murder of 16 schoolchildren at Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996 and then declared, "Britain now has some of the world's most restrictive gun laws, in response to the Dunblane shootings."

Let's try to understand how such a statement works in a climate like today's. The problem isn't just that college seniors can't place the War Between the States within 50 years. It isn't just that people don't know and don't care about anything that occurred before they attained adult consciousness. The plague of ignorance and amnesia extends much farther and deeper than that. In fact, I'm going to dub it Social Alzheimer's. To those who are well-adjusted to the prevailing culture, or anti-culture, the past — not so much their personal past but what we might call the "public past" — is continually receding into blackness. In 2001, for them 1996 is prehistory. In 2002, 1997 will be prehistory. And on and on, as people march into the optimistic future of new and better cell phones, dragging oblivion behind them. Right up there with moral degradation and cultural deracination, Social Alzheimer's is a defining characteristic of Clintonista America.

That's no accident. And it's no coincidence that children receive their best-orchestrated, most-protracted exposure to the disease in the regime's official schools. Alzheimering the population is the only way the regime and its media mouthpieces can get away with selling a downward tick in the official crime statistics or a slight decrease in divorce and illegitimacy as some sort of social resurrection. People must first be trained to forget — or avoid learning — what civilization, despite all its discontents, used to be like. They must not remember (if they're adults) or learn (if they're kids) that a few decades ago whole neighborhoods of householders in the outer boroughs of New York didn't bother to lock their doors. Or that among most white communities illegitimacy was as rare as pancreatic cancer and just as abhorred. Or that the leading "crimes" among schoolchildren were offenses such as chewing gum in class, talking out of turn, and jumping the lunch line.


So what were Britain's gun laws like in 1995? 'Way back when people with heavy brow ridges were daubing crude cave-paintings of computers that poked along at only 100 megahertz? Few thoroughly modern people would dare undertake the staggering mental task of imagining such far-distant, ill-recorded times, shrouded as they are in mist, myth, and mystery. But those who did undertake it, if they watched Fox News, might envision a Britain similar to the entertainment industry's fantasy of the Wild West, one in which all males who were out of short pants swaggered around armed to the teeth, and a bewildering variety of guns was freely bought and sold, no questions asked, at every hardware emporium, general store, and livery stable in Kensington. I can see it now: every red two-decker in Oxford High Street sporting a bewhiskered Gabby Hayes riding shotgun and muttering, "Cor' blimey!"

In fact, as we few chrono-obsessives know, by 1995 Britain's gunowner-control laws were already competitive with North Korea's. And, though it's embarrassing to point this out, they didn't prevent the Dunblane massacre. What they did prevent was the carrying of defensive arms by any law-abiding adult in the vicinity.

Whether or not Fox's blunder was deliberate or the result of careless ignorance — I suspect the latter — it operates as nothing less than ... well, the trusty old Sovs had a word for it: desinformatsiya.  Maybe I'm making too much out of what was, after all, just a one-liner. But I can't help reflecting that viruses pack a lot of punch for their size.


I need to mention something else besides Social Alzheimer's that's no accident. I've written previously about today's statist "political gravity" and how it works, more or less automatically, to shape people's attitudes. When you accidentally knock a glass of milk off the table, it heads straight for the floor; it doesn't hover in place or sail toward the ceiling. Similarly, when Fox News accidentally knocks an issue off the table, it's no accident at all — under the natural law of the present System — when it heads straight for the established ground level of statism.

Watch those elbows, Fox. You just made a helluva mess.



Kudos to Ed Cobb for reminding everyone to buy a gun on July 9, which the United Nations has proclaimed Small Arms Destruction Day.


I ended SLU #91, on the premiere of Showtime's homosexual series "Queer as Folk," by observing that "if the series does survive, and as a money-maker instead of as some sacrificially noble 'showcase drama,' we'll have to chalk it up as another battle won by the culture-destroyers — or another surrender by millions of culture-bearers."

The first-season returns are in. According to TV Guide for the week of June 16-22, "Queer as Folk" is a smash hit. In fact, it's Showtime's number-one hit. And all across soccerite suburbia an ocean of white flags are fluttering in the breeze.

July 5, 2001

© 2001 by WTM Enterprises. All rights reserved.

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