Thursday, September 04, 2014

A very proper proposal: boycott Fox News — and not just them

The only kind of fox thinking people should pay attention to.
Photo Red Fox #3 by Rylee Islit Photography. Used under Creative Commons licence.

Last week, the satirical site The Daily Currant ran a story saying conservative ranter Ann Coulter recommended that the US government purposely infect refugee children who arrive at the border with ebola.

It was a satire, sure, but it was shocking partly because it seems only a little more extreme, stupid and disgusting than the things Ann Coulter has already said. Like “…college campuses serve as sort of internment camp for useless leftists in wartime. We know where they are, this way. And, as General Patton said, 'I love it when they come out and shoot at me because then I know where they are and I can shoot the bastards.’” (Source:

Coulter never advocated (at least publicly) deliberately infecting people with Ebola, just shooting them.

The far-right crew spouting regularly on the Fox network and similar outlets has a habit of making comments and suggestions that collapse under the weight of their own stupidity, let alone a single fact.

Sean Hannity: “Here you are, you're a liberal, probably define peace as the absence of conflict. I define peace as the ability to defend yourself and blow your enemies into smithereens.” October 2009 (Source:

Bill O’Reilly: “Asians aren’t liberals because they’re industrious and hard-working”—2013 (Source:

Fox doesn't have a monopoly on stupid lies, of course. 

Rush Limbaugh: “So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.” March 1, 2012, saying that a woman who wants health insurance to cover contraception is a prostitute.

Sarah Palin: "Why are you even worried about fast food wages?"—on her own Internet TV channel.

Fox Noise—What does the Fox say?

In short, Fox News and their ilk of right-wing US commentators are not a viable source of information or analysis for anyone who likes to think to decide how to feel about the world.

They are great fodder for comedy, but that raises a problem: does commenting on them, even making fun of them, raise their profile even more? Give them credence?

The uproar that Rush Limbaugh causes every time he makes an especially horrible comment feeds his ego and his career, proving to advertisers that he can draw an audience. And encourages him to say even worse things.

Very proper foxies

“Very Proper Charlies” was a novella by Dean Ing, published in 1978 about journalists thwarting terrorism by refusing to report it. Terrorism in the 1970s seemed almost innocuous compared to today: it usually involved hijacking a plane and threatening to kill passengers one by one until their demands were met, as opposed to the mass killings of the 21st century.

In the story, journalists theorized that if the goal of terrorism is to attract media attention to a cause, then the solution would be to ignore it. The logic was “if we didn’t report it, the terrorists would have no reason to spread terror.”

Journalists around the world stopped reporting any terrorist attacks. In the story, when the terrorists realized their antics were no longer effective, they gave it up.
I don’t think this a realistic approach to solving terrorism. But it may be a useful approach to silencing the verbal bullies. Let them talk; just don’t listen. Tune out.

They’re all on various commercial media and dependent on advertising. If thinking people stop reacting, and more importantly, stop listening and watching them, their sponsors will notice, eventually, that the audience is declining and stop paying them. And finally, they’ll be silent.

So this is my proposal: to counter the hate-filled and false prophets such as those I’ve listed, but not limited to them, let’s boycott them. Thinking people everywhere, ignore the Coulters, Limbaughs and their ilk in all languages. Don’t tune in to Fox News, read the newspapers or visit the websites of those who use lies and made-up bullshit to mislead people.

This strategy may take a very long time to have an impact. It may not work at all. But it’s an experiment I’d like thinking people to try.

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