Friday, March 20, 2015

HOSTS OF FOX NEWS' "OUTNUMBERED" UN-AMERICAN FOR URGING CITIZENS TO NOT VOTE

OK, I'll admit it right at the outset -- I aggressively avoid watching Fox News. I also avoid, but to a lesser degree, watching much of what's on MSNBC.

I guess I am one of those old-fashioned U.S. journalists/editors who just can't grow accustomed to a supposedly "professional" news organization engaging almost exclusively in point-of-view "news" reporting and presentation.

So, to find out what's going on those two networks, I pretty much rely on some of the websites that I trust and regularly visit, one of which is mediamatters.org, the website for Media Matters for America, my favorite site for watchdogging and being enraged over what Fox News is doing.

In the two years that I've been writing this blog, I have seldom referred to Media Matters or made mention of the things for which it criticizes Fox News. In large part, that has been because, after all these years, few of the outrageous things that are "reported" by or discussed on Fox News truly surprise me anymore. This is because I realize everything they do and say comes strictly from a right-wing perspective and, as I have freely acknowledged before, I consider myself a liberal.

However, Media Matters yesterday (Thursday, March 19, 2015) reported on something that came up on the Fox program "Outnumbered," that I find so disturbing that I just have to say something.

I was frankly flabbergasted to learn that the show's hosts spent a segment of their program on March 19 actually urging people to NOT vote. This was done in response to President Barrack Obama's recent speech in Cleveland in which he said it would be "transformative" if every eligible voter in the United States actually turned out to cast his or her ballot. Here is Media Matters' link to that Fox "Outnumbered" segment: http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/03/19/outnumbered-hosts-tell-unengaged-americans-plea/202964

Although there has been a rush by some media outlets -- particularly Fox -- to twist what the president said into him calling for "mandatory voting," that's not what he did.

What he DID do was mention that in numerous countries, voting is mandatory and then went on to say that in the United States "it would be transformative if everybody voted" as a means of countering the wave of corporate and billionaire dollars that have flowed into political coffers in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. That action by SCOTUS lifted the limits on campaign contributions made by corporations and individuals -- a decision that has left many, including me, feeling that elections in this country are now basically a commodity for sale.

From a personal standpoint, I would be just as opposed to any effort to make voting mandatory as I am to the Citizens United decision, neither of which is what democracy is all about.

I do, however, believe that it is every U.S. citizens responsibility and duty to vote because the right to vote is what has kept our democracy in tact for more than two centuries and is the key to its continuation.

Throughout my career as the editor of a daily newspaper in several different cities, I wrote an editorial for every election calling on people to get out and vote, pointing that the anyone who doesn't do so essentially surrenders his or her right to later bitch about the results of that election or about those who are elected. I was not alone in this. Every other editor I knew wrote, or had their editorial writers write, similar editorials for every election because we all realized that voting is an important part of maintaining freedom of the press.

This is why I am particularly dismayed that the nitwits (yeah, there, I said it) on "Outnumbered" had the audacity to suggest that people not vote. OK, to be more specific, they quite lamely called for people who are "not engaged" to not vote. Sorry, but that is not the answer -- especially since I suspect that what they really mean is that anyone who is not "engaged" in believing what Fox News wants them to believe and might not cast a vote that has the Fox News seal of approval should not vote.

If Fox was a what I would describe -- in my old-fashioned ways and thought mode -- as a valid news organization, those hosts of "Outnumbered" would have urged people, regardless of their political persuasion, to become engaged, to learn what the issues are and where candidates stood on them and then get their lazy, apathetic butts to the polls and vote for the candidates who best represent their interests.

In my view, to urge anything else is thoroughly and blatantly un-American.

-30-




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