I’m very conservative. That’s not the same as being Republican. There’s a difference.
As a conservative, I lament the lack of serious conservative news sources. That’s one reason I started this blog – I wanted to provide a reliable news source for true conservatives, or for young people trying to find their way in this confused political world.
Sorry, but most of our “conservative” talk radio hosts would be laughed at outside of America. It’s not just that they are bombastic, loud-mouthed and jingoistic – they are also frequently wrong in what they say. They make a lot of factual errors. I’m always left with the impression that they are not very well informed.
The same goes for Fox News, where people are constantly shouting at each other and where “experts” on almost every issue are voluptuous young blondes, the cameras invariably taking in their legs, as well as their faces.
When I want to listen to “talk radio”, I prefer NPR, where they at least take news seriously even though they have a liberal slant. When it comes to TV news, my preference is the BBC. A 30-minute program of world news is broadcast on most PBS stations every night. Again, on many issues there’s a liberal bias, but there’s no yelling and their international news coverage is second to none. (They have more international correspondents than any other news service.)
If I’m in a hotel room, I will watch CNN if I can’t find the BBC. Overseas, CNN International is better than the US version, with Richard Quest on finance (he’s hilarious even in the midst of an international financial crisis!) and Christiane Amanpour on the Middle East (she really knows what she’s talking about!)
Don’t get me wrong – I am thankful there’s a conservative voice on US television, but, I also feel, that Fox could do a lot better. Part of the problem in America, is that ratings are the determining factor. They’ve built up their audience by giving people a news service, which is entertainment, mixed with serious news. The first time I ever saw Fox News, they were following a car chase out west – an hour later, they were still following the same car chase! I realize it’s not like that all the time, but I just don’t feel I can rely on the facts, as presented. This is because there’s little attempt to separate facts from commentary.
Part of the problem is that many loyal viewers are not interested in hearing an alternate viewpoint. They watch nothing but Fox and appreciate the slant. They also have little interest in international news, so Fox obliges by not giving them much.
As I said, they could do better. Rupert Murdoch’s News International owns Fox. He also owns “The Sun” newspaper in Britain, which is one of the worst newspapers in the world. Somebody once unkindly pointed out that it’s not just a coincidence that 20% of the British people read “The Sun” and 20% are illiterate!
But Murdoch also owns “The (London) Times”, “The Wall St Journal” and “The Australian”, all three of which are great newspapers. The WSJ is the #1 paper in the US. Unlike the “New York Times”, it has a conservative bias and has been an excellent source of well-researched articles faulting misleading claims made by the current US Administration. It also has excellent international news articles. Readers of the WSJ will be well informed on all international issues, if they take the time to read the “World News” section.
Murdoch also owns “Sky News”, a 24-hour news channel in the UK, which is decidedly better than Fox and, again, has more international content. I’ve often wished “FoxNews” (USA) would broadcast just one hour of “Sky”, even at 3 in the morning!
Fox does have some good presenters. I don’t like Bill O’Reilly’s style, but I’m currently reading his book, “Killing Lincoln”, which is well researched and enlightening.
But I find it rather disturbing that some people will spend three or more hours per evening watching Fox, when all the presenters seem to reflect the same viewpoint.
Doesn’t it make more sense, if you want to be well-informed, to vary your sources? Also, is there really a need to spend hours keeping up on the news? Thirty minutes with the Wall St Journal would keep you better informed.
My personal preference would be for Fox to become more like the Journal. Considering their common ownership, this should be easy to achieve. But the reality is that they are aimed at two different audiences. And that comes back to advertizers and money – so nothing is likely to change.