Outfoxed is a documentary exploring the reported Conservative predisposition of the Fox News Channel (FNC) that is owned by Rupert Murdoch. It shows how one media empire can reject whatever semblance of perspective or fairness using public air waves so as to play the role of right winged conservatives. The documentary promotes itself by the tag “Fair and Balanced”. The Marxist theorists argue that the media plays a role in status quo reproduction which is in contrast to the liberal pluralists’ emphasis on the media as a promoter of freedom of speech. The Marxist Political Economy which involves among others value theory, Marx’s method and crisis theory. The documentary carefully deconstructs issues such as abortion, the war in Iraq, same sex marriage and God’s constant presence in the political context. It then inserts these Fox’s hot issues into the visuals, language and the emphasis throughout the day. The main purpose of this essay is to apply the theoretical perspective of Marxism and political economy to justify the claims of the Outfoxed documentary.
If media is not functioning well, the democracy will not also function at all. The politics of the US is said to exploit the nature of Fox’s nature of presenting information without proving its reality. For instance, the republican orders the media house to carry republican right wing propaganda which was that there was a lot being done on AIDS. The news was to be broadcast without editing the contents and it was argued that Fox was a conservative news network. From a “Copy of Internal FOX Memo” provides that the fact that there is to be a testimony by former Clinton and both the former and the current Bush administrations in the so called 9/11 commission creates some tension since Fox will not have not have the right to edit the testimonies but to give them as facts as dictated by both Republican and Democrat chiefs.
The ‘theme of the day’ memos were the tools used to provide the framework by which news was to be span on a particular day and were thought to be designed by a senior news vice president. The message on the memos had different tones, from being humorous to stern really threatening such as, "Do not fall into the trap of mourning U.S. lives." All the stories to be covered had to be done according to preset criteria such to humiliate, embarrass, challenge or disrupt whatever Jesse Jackson did for he was a certain class’s target. The issues surrounding democracy Iraq drew a lot of controversy especially from the democrats and therefore the Bush administration would do everything to shut any opposition by manipulation of media houses like Fox. Fox sues Franken and his publisher accusing them of having infringed on his trademark 'fair, balanced’ claiming it to be a pathological lie and that Fox is a propaganda machine. Fox seems to have been denied the preliminary injunction he had appealed for by the US District judge Denny Chin arguing that the trademark 'fair and balanced' was not highly unlikely to be valid (Hazen, 2004).
In many occasions the right wing agenda were to be rationalized by all means and anybody against such as Jeremy Click. These events, according to Marxist media analysis, show media institutions such as Fox as being under ‘lock’ in a power structure and as such will only act in tandem with the interests of institutions which are dominant in the society. Fox does this by reproducing the viewpoints of the republicans such their stance on the war of Afghanistan which is criticized by Jeremy. In the case of Fox, there are no alternative perspectives but only one ‘natural’ or ‘obvious’ perspective of the republicans.
The documentary shows several arguments such as the one with James who is shut down for disagreeing with the opinion of the Fox media. The arguments is about the presentations being a lie or positions taken by Fox on matters such not being correct. The reporter rudely interrupts their guest and tells them to shut up when they don’t agree with their stand on a given subject matter for instance the case of disagreeing with the public figures being a bad role model for children. The “shut up” Fox news technique is a clear demonstration on how imbalanced the Fox News is. One way of spreading propaganda and opinions is by use of the phrase “some people say” when someone is actually referring to his or her personal opinion to avoid being put to task to prove what is being said. Marxist political economy adherents argue that there is a tendency in the mass media to evade the unconventional and the unpopular so that assumptions and values which are widely legitimized and most valuable can be applied (Chandler, n.d.).
Clearly portrayed hear are Marxism ideas of conflicts of interest exposing the political economic contradictions. The Fox seems to believe that individuals are not the focal point and their opinions do not carry the day but that of the leaders in the political cycle, that is, whether they are Democrats, Republicans or liberals. Therefore, Fox’s technique of giving news borrows from Marxism theory. For that matter people will need to identify themselves as arguing about a matter from either of the two political parties. That is why some people are told to shut up when the ideas they give don’t agree with the Democrat, Republican or liberal presenter. They are always told what to say which they have to do with an exact level of precision resulting to so much repetition characterizing the news. For instance, if a Republicans is promoting an issue for, according to FAIR “Study: Special Report with Brit Hume” showed that the ration of Republican Democrat guests interviewed will be 5 to 1 hence Fox will choose guests based on political considerations and not according to laid down procedures.
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When neo-Marxism ascended in the media theory, the only non-Marxist tradition was that of liberal pluralism which has dominated the United States as early as 1940s. To liberal pluralism the society is a complex of competing interests and groups with none predominating over the other. However, the Marxists view the media as an ideological arena in which views of various groups or classes are fought out. Unfortunately, as the Fox puts on the ironic trademark, as being "Fair and balanced” that does not come to pass since the media professionals soon become socialized into the interests of the dominant class or culture such as the Republican party’s more shows during dominant interviews.
“Political economy” variety associated Marxists see economic base as being subordinated by ideology and in application to mass media, it is associated with issues of ownership and as well as media control. The media is also seen as a producer of 'false consciousness’ leading to a perception of the media products as being monolithic expressions championing the values of the ruling class. The consequence of this is a tendency to ignore value diversity both within the media and the ruling class. This once again justifies the lack of lack of democracy and freedom of speech in the FOX News and therefore proving their trademark as being hypocritical. This is what is emphasized by a gaggle of Fox’s former reporters, produces, bookers and writers as they disclose the background of the life in the media empire, describing how they were frequently forced to push the views of the right wing or else they lose their jobs ( Chandler, n.d.).
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The movie’s self description as being fair and balanced just as no documentary can. It was released at the right time when the elections were about to be held in 2004. The citizens need to be provided with true information by the media about the candidates they elect so that they can make informed choices. In “outfoxed’’ a message is repeated so many times so that people can make up their mind about current affairs without necessarily engaging critical thinking. Fox’s is trademark has been largely seen as hypocritical since they are bias on who to host for a major political interview. This is the individual who will promote the interests of the dominant party in power and the media professionals have to cooperate or else they lose their jobs. As Marxist perception puts it, the media only airs the values and interests of the ruling class and ignore that there are alternatives. The political economy is illustrated by the manner in which the ruling class and those who are in power tend to associate with ownership and control the media. In conclusion, Fox compromises it vision of living and providing services according to their trademark so as to give in to the forces beyond them, the manipulation of the press in agreement with the perspective of Marxism and political economy.