When my cable company put Fox New Channel in the lineup a few years ago, I was thrilled. Finally I could get news without the bias and spin of the broadcast networks and CNN. Yes, I knew people criticized Fox for being biased in the other direction, but I felt that FNC generally played the news straight, giving both sides of each story and allowing viewers to make up their own minds. "We report, you decide" - that was their motto, and I thought they lived up to it.
And this quality of evenhandedness, along with a willingness to tackle issues that the other networks wouldn't cover, gave Fox an air of seriousness. Sure, they had a lot of blonde babes in short skirts, but the babes were smart and the news coverage didn't suffer. I was happy.
I'm not happy anymore.
It pains me to say it, but Fox News Channel is no longer a serious news operation. It has become a tabloid joke. It's Hard Copy, not for a half hour a day, but 24/7.
Today I turned on the news at 3 PM. As I was switching to FNC, I thought to myself, "Hey, time to get an update on that girl in Aruba!" This was a humorous aside. A mere jest. So FNC comes on, top of the hour, and the lead story is ... the girl in Aruba.
I can't even make fun of these folks anymore! Truth is stupider than parody.
Look, I'm sorry this girl is missing and (obviously) dead. It's a family tragedy. But it should not be the number-one news story on a national news network for the last four (or is it five?) weeks. I mean, this is ridiculous. This isn't news coverage, it's exploitation. It's not providing information; it's serving up titillation.
So I did the unthinkable. I switched to CNN.
That's right. CNN. The Commie News Network. The Clinton News Network.
It was surprisingly easy to do. One click of the remote. CNN is directly ahead of FNC in my cable lineup. Instead of watching Channel 26, all of a sudden I was watching Channel 25.
And they were broadcasting ... news.
Actual news stories of national and even international significance. The situation in Iraq. Gasoline prices. Bush's upcoming speech. His declining approval numbers.
There was a ten-second mention of the girl in Aruba. That's all. Ten secs, then back to ... news.
CNN, you are still probably biased as hell. You were founded by a leftwing nutjob with some kind of maniacal anti-religious fixation (Ted Turner). You irritate me in ways large and small. But you are still, by and large, a news outfit, and for that I say: Bless you.
Welcome back, CNN. Welcome back into my home.
And, Fox - well, I'd like to say it's been real. But it hasn't. And that's the problem.