Category Archives: Fox News

O'Reilly, Clemens and the San Francisco zoo

Comments on three mostly unrelated topics.

O’Reilly–of Fox News said on his program Wednesday night while interviewing his frequent guest who is a blogger for Fox News I guess, and he turned directly to the audience saying very clearly “Now I want you all to understand this, whatever you read on the blogs is not true, just don’t believe it, it is not true. If you want to know what is true, turn to the mainstream media.”  That is not his exact quote but it is very close to what he said. I just about laughed out of bed. Yeah right, the mainstream media–O’Reilly and Fox included–clearly never have an agenda that leads them to report anything or state anything that isn’t true. His very statement undermined his point, of course. What a hoot.

Roger Clemens and the Zoo–I commented earlier that both of them are dealing with serious reputation issues but the zoo was handling it better. They suggested calmly and quietly that the victims of the tiger attack may have taunted the animal before it attacked. Attorney Geragos went nuts loudly protesting that the zoo should not be attacking the victims. I saw on the news last night (on the crawl actually) that at least one of the victims admitted to being drunk and provoking the tiger. Good job zoo. You did this right and earned respect and credibility in the process. As for Geragos, attacking those who politely defend themselves doesn’t work. Get a new schtick.

Clemens–well, I’ve said enough on this. Mitchell presented why Clemen’s trainer had more reason to tell the truth than lie, and more reason to tell the truth than Clemens did and does. Me thinks the pitcher protested too much.

Here come the videos

One phenomenon I’ve been watching with interest is the growth of video as means of mass/individual communication. I’ve commented frequently on how effectively the Coast Guard uses video as part of their public affairs operation and other companies, such as Starbucks and JetBlue have used video effectively as key part of a crisis management response.

My thoughts on this this morning were further spurred by watching yet another political video. I won’t provide a link to it because that would make this blog more political than I want. It showed a mock ad on a Fox news program promoting a drug that will help you get over your symptoms of ambivalence over one prominent candidate.

The point is not the particular ad–it is video and its increasingly pervasive, creative, powerful and ubiquitous use in today’s communication. Video production has become democratized. New easy to use video capture, editing and publishing tools are emerging rapidly. (To prove this point, I just made a quick video on my Mac laptop, uploaded it and here is the link to the Quicktime version.)Video conferencing via web is being built into all laptops and is part of the increasingly popular meeting applications. YouTube and other video publishing sites are spurring on the use of video with surprising rapidity.

This political season is being driven to a remarkable degree by online videos. Some candidates like John Edwards are leading the way in terms of use of YouTube as well as videos on their websites. And since politics is mostly driven by those who detest particular candidates, the opponents of specific candidates are filling the Internet with all kinds of videos–like the one referenced above–demonstrating their animosity as well as creativity.

Politics once again provides leadership in adapting to and innovating new means of communication. Those in business or organizational communication ought to be paying close attention to what is happening in these campaigns. Because what candidates face today particularly related to those who hate them or oppose them, is what you will face tomorrow from your activists and opponents. Business competition may look like this. Activist action will undoubtedly look like this as it increasingly does today. And just plain old every day communication between boss and employees, between CEO and the leadership team, between a company and its customers and an organization and its stakeholders will look like this.

If you aren’t ready for video, look out. It is ready for you.

Congressman Wexler video on how to lose an election

One of the more popular videos on YouTube right now is a replaying of Congressman Wexler’s interview on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Colbert tells the Congressman since he is unopposed in the election he can’t lose, but suggests some things for him to say that could lose him the election if he was opposed. So on camera, and with considerable coaching, he gets him to say, “I enjoy cocaine because it’s a fun thing to do,” then “I enjoy prostitutes because it’s a fun thing to do.” Yes, the good Congressman, with a slightly uncomfortable smile actually says those things.

But that’s not what the YouTube posting is about. It is about Fox News’ coverage of the statements. Clearly the video poster is outraged that Fox News would cover this and then demonstrate their extreme rightwing bias by actually editing the Colbert Report video to skip the prompting and coaching. Colbert asks the question and Wexler answers.

My comments. First of all, it is pretty funny and Colbert shows his ability to entertain through the outrageous. Second, it was a very silly thing for the Congressman to do. Of course, when you go on Comedy Central you want to go along with the fun, but certainly he ought to be media savvy enough to know that anything captured on video tape can and likely will be used completely out of context. That’s why one of the first lessons of media training is when the cameras are rolling and the mike is on, don’t goof around. Reagan’s offhand comment about launching the missiles ought to be warning for everyone.

Third, what a hopelessly naive young man who posted that video and commented about Fox’s coverage. His complaint was that they edited it. Well, duh. That’s what news people do. Do they edit it in ways that shows the story they want to show? Of course, that is their business. Is Fox the only one who does this? Yeah, right. Is this only done against Democrats by right wing media? Yeah, right again.

The real lesson is this video poster may watch news coverage all day long and not notice the bias and storytelling that is at the heart of all edited news coverage until it conflicts with his own political leanings. None of us are unbiased, none truly objective. But our viewpoint almost always is, we are the balanced, objective, truth-only ones and anyone who doesn’t see it our way is either ignorant or malicious. This interesting clip tells far more about the outraged young editor who is attempting to unmask Fox than it says anything about Fox or the rest of the media–including bloggers.