I reached out to the original News Hounds for their thoughts on the 10th anniversary of Outfoxed and NewsHounds. Here's what Judy wrote:
Outfoxed was a break-through documentary that changed forever how people think about Fox News. When I first started watching Fox News in a systematic way, I had no idea of the right-wing agenda that drove its coverage. It had been just another cablenews network for me. Can you imagine what the world of politics would be like today had the film never been made?
At the time, people asked me what difference media bias made. Now the nexus of politics, media reporting, and elections is much clearer to the average progressive.
The documentary has also created a new field of research. How many studies have shown that watching Fox actually makes you dumber when it comes to world affairs? That research would never have been done had Outfoxed not pointed out the network’s agenda.
Another offshoot is the study of the demographics of Fox News viewers—the old white guys who are a dying breed, literally. And from that has sprung the suggestion among some pundits that progressive politicians and commentators need not pay much attention to Fox News anymore or concern themselves with responding to every attack. Fox News is being marginalized, this school of thought goes, by the fact that their audience is shrinking.
I don’t subscribe to that theory, not yet anyway. The network’s lies and distortions still have the potential to inflict too much damage to be ignored.
And for that reason, I’m thankful that Ellen has continued the Newshounds tradition!
Thanks and good luck to all!
Haven’t watched even one second of the silliness that is F&F since then. Would be easier if I believed they actually washed that couch down after each show.
Readers may not know this but she has been a big help behind the scenes, especially when I was blogging regularly at Crooks and Liars.
If you were to listen to the Fox News version of history, you would conclude that Ronald Reagan led the greatest presidency the world has ever known, that George HW Bush was a beloved president, and that George W Bush was a great and strong president. If you listened to Fox News, you would conclude that the only events of the Bill Clinton presidency were Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky and Newt Gingrich’s rise to power.
If you were to rely on Fox News, you would conclude that the presidency of Barack Obama was one of unmitigated disaster and failure. You would conclude that only unabashed far-right libertarian approaches would address any problems anyone might face.
Fox News is an important part of the right wing’s attempt to rewrite both current and past history in its own image.
Which is why the efforts of News Hounds are so important. Because it’s necessary to continually point out where Fox News is either leaving out important facts or inventing its own material in the process of rewriting that history. Left unchecked, the right wing would simply assert that its assumptions were in fact true historical facts. By constantly correcting these attempts, News Hounds clarifies not only the underhanded methods Fox News and GOP pundits in general are using but also what the actual historical facts are.
Because of News Hounds, in twenty years it will be possible to immediately counter and correct the attempts of the Bill O’Reillys and the Greg Gutfelds to play their assumptions as historical truth. It will be possible to publicly question these people as they try to act as elder statesmen/women, and it will be possible to reveal their biases for what they are.
This is a service that will be necessary and useful long after Fox News has faded from memory.
Newshounds is a great site because it allows many people to participate in pointing out how Fox distorts reality. People who try to fly in the face of reality are shot down by facts not preconceived ideas. Refreshing. Fox is despicable for nurturing the sort of blatant ignorance that can result in nurturing of fear and hence violence. While the foxy faithful like to present themselves as proud and brave, their behaviour is not that of Gary Cooper in High Noon but more like a rabbit quivering in a corner who would shoot at the shadows if it had a gun. That would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous for everybody around them.
Anyway, my deepest thanks to the original team for plowing through hour after hour of Fox programming in order to collect the data (aka facts) for the book and the film.
And thanks to the Newshounds team of volunteers for keeping us up to date on the antics of that poor excuse for a news channel.