A pop quiz. What do all these quotes have in common?
"Once again, the lefties are seen cheering terrorist victories and seem to be pulling for the wrong side."
-- John Gibson
"I've known John Kerry for over 35 years. Unlike me, he is a combat veteran, so he gets some props. But in the last 35 years, I've seen a hell of a lot more combat than John Kerry. And for a smart man like that in a political ploy to set a date certain only aids and abets the enemy, and the Democrats are at their own self-destructive behavior once again."
-- Geraldo Rivera
"By the way, if [Jack Murtha] did get fragged, he'd finally deserve one of those Purple Hearts."
-- Ann Coulter
"I see that pretty much every day, that there is a group of people who are invested in America's defeat in one of the most important conflicts in our nation's history."
-- Laura Ingraham, on journalists in general and Helen Thomas in particular.
"According to the lefty zealots, the white Christians who hold power must be swept out by a new multicultural tide, a rainbow coalition, if you will."
-- Bill O'Reilly
OK, it's a trick question. Possible answers could be that they're all partisan lies, they're all incredibly stupid, or they'd all be good answers for a 'Things Jackasses Say' category on Jeopardy.
But the answer I'm looking for is that they were all broadcast on FOX News Network. Rush Limbaugh once said, "People say I should be balanced with equal time - I am equal time!" See, the argument is that the rest of the media is so biased toward the left, conservatives need counter-bias to be fairly represented. FOX apologists say the same thing about that network - when they admit it's biased at all.
What would America be like if every network were actually as partisan as FOX? An Associated Press story suggests a possible answer - it'd be like Iraq.
A television station flashes a headline announcing that "terrorist militias" stormed into a Sunni family home in Basra, killing a husband in front of his wife and children.
Turn the channel and another station is reporting that Shiites in a Baghdad suburb are being brutally attacked by Sunni extremists and implores security forces to rescue them.
Such is Iraq's flourishing broadcast media, where stations owned by political parties - Shiite, Sunni, Kurdish and Turkomen - dish out news with a decidedly sectarian slant. Some analysts fear the stations are deepening the sectarian divide at a time when the country instead needs to unite to curb Shiite-Sunni violence.
"I don't think it's especially helpful to have stations that need to draw distinctions between Iraqis," said Jon B. Alterman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, who studies Arab media.
I'm sure someone out there would argue that lefty media are just as biased - and, of course, they'd be absolutely correct. The difference is that, for the most part, that bias is admitted up front. No one picks up a copy of The Nation or The Progressive, no one opens up Daily Kos or Think Progress, no one listens to Air America or Democracy Now! without expecting to see or hear liberal opinion. Even the few truly liberal newspapers left in the country either limit their opinions to the editorial pages or clearly mark the articles 'analysis'.
The difference is that FOX doesn't do any of that. In fact, the network goes out of its way to hide its bias. "Fair and Balanced," FOX's slogan, doesn't exactly suggest a conservative slant. Bill O'Reilly claims to be a fair minded moderate, staking out the sane centrist position, while delivering opinions that only a raving rightwing lunatic would hold. Hannity and Colmes pretends to offer both sides of every issue, with the extremely conservative Sean Hannity 'balanced' with the somewhat liberal Alan Colmes. But the guests on the show are almost exclusively conservative, usually leaving Colmes outnumbered 2:1 in any discussion. Even then, he doesn't put up much of a fight. Alan Colmes' reason for existing is to provide an appearance of 'balance'. Other than that, the show doesn't have much use for him.
So it's not much of a stretch to say that, if every network were as partisan as FOX, the country would be much more divided than it is now. People who watch FOX are, for the most part, convinced they're getting the truth. That 'truth' is that democrats are in cahoots with terrorists, hate America, and despise christianity so much that they'd abolish Christmas. FOX would have you believe that the left wants to destroy marriage, get pregnant women to abort, and turn children in public schools gay.
If the left were led to believe similarly crazy shit about the right, it'd be hard to avoid riots, if not civil war.