We live in a day and age where our reliance on social media and media coverages dictates our lives. Apps created to keep us consistently updated on issues and the lives of others, can also slowly change the way we think. We are being taught to passively accept the reality and information we are receiving from the internet without any analysis of what really lies behind the screen. Are we turning into a society that is easily brainwashed to what is occurring right outside our door? And how much worse can it get?
To accomplish this assignment, we were instructed to change our news source for 48 hours, to one that was furthest from our typical views. I usually get my news from Al Jazeera, and RT news and decided to choose Fox News as an opposing news channel to analyze.
- Rated as having a slight to moderate bias towards liberal causes. Their media publishing contains factual information that appeals to emotion or stereotypes that favour liberal biases. Aljazeera is generally thought of as trustworthy, however, further investigations into news is required sometimes. Since Al Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar, it has a tendency of displaying pro-Qatari biases, however reports other news (i.e. USA news), with a low bias and with credible information. Factual reporting is mentioned as being high.
- Rated as moderately to strongly bias towards conservative causes. When media is published it deliberately includes strong attempts of appealing to emotion or stereotypes, where misleading reports or omitted reporting is depicted. Fox news is generally thought of as untrustworthy in its depiction of world news. Factual reporting is mentioned as being mixed.
Fox News is known to be a controversial news network, one that “brainwashes” its viewers into believing all the stereotypes and conservative biases it feeds you. I never once used Fox News as a source for getting my daily news, so this was a first on my part. I wanted to really know, if all the propaganda surrounding the news network was true, and how it changes a person’s mindset.
As a small background introduction, Jamal Khashoggi worked as a prominent journalist for nearly 30 years. He was known to hold critical conversations about questioning Saudi Arabia’s regional and domestic policies. Over the recent years, following the rise of the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and his tactics of arrests and repression rather than reform, Khashoggi has been a voice speaking out against the prince’s rulings. He continued to write and advocate for the freedom of speech in his country despite being told to stay quiet by the regime.
All this tension, along with holding different journalist positions and publishing work on rights and freedom, specifically those of Saudi Arabia, Jamal Khashoggi mysteriously vanished after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd. He arrived at the consulate with his wife who waited outside for him, as he went to obtain documents to seal his marriage, but later had not re-emerged. Where did his body go, if he was killed? It is still being investigated till this day.
Now what happened to Khashoggi and how he died is a controversial story on its own, however, how news networks chose to update its viewers on the issue is something that I find quite interesting. Over the weeks I have been updating myself and understanding the issue through the information given to me by Al Jazeera, however over the past 48 hours I chose to instead listen to Fox News. Right off the bat it was evident that Fox News took a different approach compared to Al Jazeera, which I noticed due to staying up to date on the issue with the latter network. Al Jazeera chose to focus on the issue and his disappearance, however Fox News chose to focus on the individual himself.
It is important to note that President Trump has taken a rather null and quiet response over the issue, most likely due to having strong relations to Saudi Arabia that is extremely beneficial for America. It is evident that President Trump is trying to avoid confronting the Saudis on human rights, in fear of losing their arms deal. Conservative commentators, such as that of Fox News are creating subliminal messages about the journalist to help protect President Trump from criticism on how he is handling the situation. Khashoggi is being painted a brush of possibly not being so “nice and innocent” by highlighting his association with the Muslim Brotherhood and questions about his work covering Osama bin Laden. How does the tie into being secretly murdered in a consulate, that you would otherwise deem safe? There is none.
By bringing up topics to make Khashoggi look bad instead of focusing on how the Saudi government is manipulating the world about his killing, they are not only trying to protect Trump, but are also painting an image to change the viewers minds.
For example, Fox News anchor Harris Fulkner on Thursday highlighted that, “Khashoggi was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood”, and dismissed another guest who deemed her comment questionable. It is evident that through listening to the news channel and reading articles published by them, that they are trying to smear the name of a well-known activist and journalist, in order to find excuses for Trump and his soft stance in the situation.
My analyzation of Fox News did result in what I knew. It is a far right, conservative biased news network that does try to change the viewer’s perspective to allow for their own political agenda. Over the past 48 hours of listening and keeping up to date with Fox News, I felt more negative towards the situation, and even at some point thought that the journalist may have had this coming for him. This only shows, that there are news channels and social media platforms that can indeed skew your thinking, and brainwash you without you even realizing.
Upon doing my research for this assignment, I came upon the movie called, The Brainwashing of My Dad, which explores the human impact of right wing media like Fox News. Although I didn’t get a chance to watch it, upon reading various review articles, this documentary touches upon how the father of Jen Senko, went from a largely apolitical democrat to a hateful human who despised people of color, those that identify as LGBTQ, and other marginalized groups all because of listening to a right-wing media during his daily commute to work.
In conclusion, this assignment further emphasized the importance of good media portrayal. Whether it be through instagram, twitter, news networks, and even newspapers, what you tell the public may change their perspective. I personally don’t see how this will improve in the future, with media now becoming more political instead of a means of information gathering. However, I do believe that even though there will be a rise of outlets that choose to depict false or extreme views on issues, there will hopefully still be other outlets that choose to stay true and trustworthy. After all, technology and media aren’t going anywhere.