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Wednesday, 09 June 2010 08:26

FOX and a Flip-Flop Mentality

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by Jeffrey Joseph

Laura Ingraham has recently shown how her vigor for criticizing President Obama and his policies has grown so strong that in her complaints, she ends up disagreeing with herself. If Ingraham worked as a sole “blind ideologue” on the network, FOX News might have retained some credibility. Unfortunately, as Sarah Palin and the FOX & Friends hosts show, FOX contributors can sometimes hardly take a breath before contradicting their stances depending on what they feel most obviously attacks the president and the left.

In lieu of the incredible environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, one might expect an adamantly pro-oil personality like Palin to hide for fear of public excoriation. Palin took quite the contrary approach, now telling the world that “unless government appropriately regulates oil developments and holds oil executives accountable, the public will not trust them to drill, baby, drill.” She wrote as much on a Facebook post, setting herself apart from any obvious pro-oil stance as if some other political figure originated the “drill, baby, drill” chant in the first place.

Palin has obvious political reasons for trying to put the onus on the government for cleaning up the mess, but she has much to answer for herself. Time and again, Palin has portrayed herself as a big fan of deregulation, not the reverse, as she has warned audiences of how the government “wants to get in there and control the people.” Now Palin wants to portray herself as a fan of regulation and government, though she complains, without evidence, that part of President Obama’s tardy response may have something to do with “the contributions made to President Obama and his administration and the support by the oil companies to the administration.”

She fails to mention that the McCain-Palin campaign in 2008 took in more than twice as much in oil and gas donations than the Obama-Biden campaign, or that if anyone had a conflict of interest in terms of chastising BP, it would probably be Palin, wed to a BP employee of nearly twenty years. For Palin to suddenly feign disgust at the oil industry and the government for failing to regulate it betrays not only her own long-held beliefs and policies, but her husband’s longtime employer.

Not only Palin seeks to frivolously attack the administration and reverse course on a position. FOX & Friends switched course so quickly on its stances that viewers can almost identify the exact moment the hosts pivoted to attack the president. Some commentators had criticized President Obama for choosing not to more visibly emote his personal frustration with the BP oil spill. President Obama subsequently gave an interview to Matt Lauer on NBC explaining that he had cared about the disaster long before the pundits showed interest “and I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose a** to kick.”

Now that President Obama had chosen to push back against the criticism with emotion, FOX apparently felt he had done too much. Brian Kilmeade downplayed the comment as “artificial, I’m tough because you wanted me to be tough.” Laura Ingraham appeared on the show and called the show of emotion “defensiveness, and it just doesn’t look all that presidential.” Previously, President Obama proved too detached for FOX, and with a single instance of a somewhat visceral reaction, he had already gone too far. Even Bill O’Reilly described the new criticism of President Obama over the comment “ridiculous.”

Of course, FOX & Friends offers a more telling gem about its purpose and way of doing business when discussing Helen Thomas. The hosts railed against Thomas, Kilmeade sarcastically noting that “she applied three hours of programming for us on Monday after that statement over the weekend.” Next, after complaining that Thomas had a unique position within the White House press corps as someone who “had an agenda,” Kilmeade shortly afterward asks about Thomas’s now vacant seat, “Will FOX News get that seat?” In that short sequence of unintentional irony, the FOX & Friends group showed that they are perfectly willing to switch stances on an issue if it means procuring another opportunity to attack the Obama Administration.

FOX’s haphazard attacks against the president and those who subscribe to a differing political ideology change so frequently that they almost have to switch sides on issues just to remain in a position of opposition. The network’s contributors switch so often that the man with the greatest ratings for the network fails to understand it. Hence, viewers should tell FOX to strive toward becoming a serious news organization backed by more principles than simply opposing everything from those left of center so often it has to flip-flop regularly — and in the meantime, choosen to Turn Off FOX. 

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Originally posted at Turn Off FOX.