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Fox News – Yellow Journalism At Its Finest

Reported by Chrish - July 1, 2007 -

Note: Guest blogged by Priscilla

Yellow Journalism is defined as “journalism that features scandal-mongering, sensationalism, jingoism or other unethical or unprofessional practices by news media organizations or individual journalists. It has been loosely defined as "not quite libel.” William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pullitzer, whose publications provided the template for yellow journalism, would be proud, indeed, of Fox News which has brought yellow journalism to new heights.

Last night’s Big Story 6/30/07 was hosted by Greg Jarrett, one of Fox’s resident lawyers (no mention of his law school in his bio’s, whose career should have been in theatre as he is a such a “drama queen.”) His reports are punctuated by sighs, grunts, and modulating voice levels which provide emphasis to the story. Last night was yet another Tony Award performance as he provided us with emotional coverage of the foiled Glasgow terror attack. The performance, in the best tradition of the Fox Fear Factor, was yellow journalism at its finest.

Fox wastes no opportunity to vilify Islam and this recent incident provides them with a perfect opportunity to continue that theme. During Jarrett’s interview with Simon Marks, of Feature Story News, Jarrett noted that “we talked to (airport) passengers, at least Sky News did, and one of the passengers emerged from the burning vehicle yelling “Allah, Allah.” In referencing the description of one of the suspects as “South Asian,” Jarrett asked Marks what, in British terms, that meant. Marks explained that it could mean someone from Arab countries as well as non Arab Asian countries. At the end of the interview, which touched on other issues, Jarrett again mentioned the van’s passenger who was “as Simon Marks indicated, yelling Allah, Allah, of South Asian descent.” (Comment: Clearly, Mr. Marks did NOT state that the passenger was saying anything. Score one for yellow journalism and Islamophobia) Jarrett went to break saying, with a great big sigh and grimace, “very grim details.”

After the break, Jarrett lead the segment with “there is terrorism in Scotland.” (Comment: throughout the entire show, the same footage of the burning car was shown over and over on the right side of the screen). He described the SUV ramming into the airport where “witnesses say they saw suspects pouring gas over the SUV before it pummelled the gates and one suspect, covered in flames, tried to keep police at bay by fighting back and apparently yelling Allah, Allah.”

In introducing former ambassador Mark Ginsberg, Jarrett dramatically said that “this is a not so gentle reminder that we’re still in a very difficult war on terror and Americans could be in the crosshairs next?” Not surprisingly Ginsberg said “no doubt” and proceeded into a discussion of the “resiliency of the theology of the jihadist” which is “contagious.” Ginsberg noted that the radical imams were appealing to policy issues like the war in Iraq (Comment: ya think!) Jarrett said the response of a British MP to Jarrett’s question of why more wasn’t being done to work with those Muslim leaders who are preaching hate was that the British have all kinds of civil liberties which prevent them from doing so. (Comment: things would be so much easier without those damnable civil liberties!) Jarrett complained that he wasn’t “hearing more Islamic leaders shouting down this culture of death.” (Comment: Fox doesn’t listen to American religious leaders who are critical of the war in Iraq brought to us by “the culture of life.”)

In discussing the attack, later in the show, Jarett, once again, described the suspect as “engulfed in flames as he exited the SUV shouting Allah, Allah.”

Comment: In such a highly charged atmosphere, especially after another terrorist attack, one does wonder if the bystander was being entirely accurate especially given the noise level in the airpport. AP reported that the witnesses referred to the suspect as speaking gibberish. But Fox’s use of this aspect of the situation reinforces the notion that Islam, as a religion, is evil and to blame for all the troubles in the world while the US foreign policy is sacrosanct. And while Jarrett was asking about Islamic religious leaders denouncing violence, I asked about all those evangelical leaders who never denounced the hateful rhetoric of Jerry Falwell and Pat Roberston (who advocates the assasination of Hugo Chavez). During a commercial, I turned over to MSNBC where the very informed and professional David Shuster was reporting the incident – no graphics, no facial tics, no emotive vocalizations, no bigotry. It was like a breath of fresh air after the fetid pollution of the yellow journalism of Fox News.

Note: Guest blogged by Priscilla