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Super Sleaze Me (and Super Piss Me Off!)

Reported by Melanie - April 13, 2006

Every once in a while - maybe every six months - I see something on Fox that absolutely infuriates me. Fox does something that is so immoral, so unethical, or so deceitful that it sends me into a rage. I start to shake. I tell my husband what happened while I pound the counter and yell. I begin to type, whipping out an almost incoherent post until I realize that I need to stop, get a glass of wine, sit out on the deck for a few minutes (like, sixty), and try to calm down.

Today was one of those days.

At the end of the "Fox Stox" segment on Fox's "premiere business news" program, Your World w/Cavuto (April 13, 2006), Neil Cavuto reported that McDonald's has hired a PR firm to serve as a "truth squad" to combat the negative press it will get when the movie, Fast Food Nation, is released later this year. Immediately after "Fox Stox," Cavuto introduced "the crew" from his Saturday morning "business news" show, Cavuto on Business, for a roundtable discussion about, "why we try to tear down successful American companies."

Cavuto opened the segment with this:

Well, it seems, certainly, that American icons like Wal-Mart and McDonald's are constantly under siege. Why is that? And why is that when these are big American success stories?

The panelists had some, ah, interesting thoughts:

Jim Rogers: "It's just simply greed. They're hoping for a payoff. It's also terrible envy." "Lots of people in America" and around the world "are very angry that they're not as successful so they want to rage at people who are successful."

Cavuto: "What disturbs me the most...is when Americans do it because these are American icons."

Charles Payne: "You're absolutely right. But, in America, it's always been an us versus them...what's good for these companies isn't always good for the mainstream." For me, "it's the underlying feeling" that "rich companies are getting rich at the expense of the common folks."

Meredith Whitney: "The reality is that Wal-Mart is a net hirer and a net employer of the United States and has only brought prices down for the end consumer."

Cavuto: People were "going after Microsoft and GE and now, I guess, the latest targets are Wal-Mart and McDonald's. What's going on?"

Whitney: "These people...want to actually justify their mediocrity by attacking the big successful evolutionary giants. It's crazy."

Rogers, to Payne: "How can you say Wal-Mart's not good for America, man? Maybe you don't shop there. Maybe you don't eat at McDonald's, but there are lots - millions and millions and millions and millions and millions and millions - of people who love both of those things so how can you sit there and condemn them?"

Payne: "I'm not condemning them. What I'm saying is that if you're a publicly traded company you want cheaper labor, you want layoffs sometimes" and "people outside the realm of the financial world sometimes look at that as a negative. I don't agree with it, but I can understand how they see it that way, because they're uneducated."

Cavuto: "To the global community, these are icons." Why "are we Americans bashing what works?"

Rogers: "It's pure envy..."

Cavuto, interrupting: "You're right."

Rogers: "...Once upon a time when America was on the rise and everything, everybody, was in it for the same purpose. Now, of course, many people are descending and they're unhappy and so they're blaming it on the successful people. The successful people are what's made America great."

Payne: "It is troubling...when Americans don't appreciate American success."

Comment: OK. Put aside all that we know about how Wal-Mart exploits workers (both here and abroad), destroys neighborhoods, and forces small business out of business. And never mind, right now, that McDonald's food is loaded with fat, particularly trans fat which has been called "metabolic poison" and is banned in Denmark.

And never mind, for now, the sickening corporatism and elitism and raw, arrogant bashing of "the little people" - who also "made America great," by the way - that rippled through this segment. What bothered me the most while I watched was something that wasn't mentioned: That the book, Fast Food Nation was published by HarperCollins, a publishing company owned by Fox's parent company, News Corp., and the movie, Fast Food Nation was produced by, and is being released by, Fox Searchlight, a company that's also owned by News Corp.

Fox has no shame! It spent four or five minutes praising corporations who demonstrably do bad things to our society. It bashed those who point that out and those who don't necessarily agree that all corporations are benevolent caretakers, motivated solely by hard work and love of country. Still, preachy Fox didn't have the decency to tell its viewers - the "just folks" it claims to care so much about - that its parent company is precisely the "person" the roundtable was bashing. Fox and News Corp. are rolling around in the dirt just like all those greedy, envious, angry, unsuccessful, crazy, unhappy and uneducated people News Corp. hope$ will go $ee Fa$t Food Nation.

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