Friday, May 27, 2011

Fox News and Republican Sex Scandals

I was having post-golf dinner with a buddy, who is fairly intelligent for a Christian conservative, and he mentioned the John Edwards indictment. I responded that John Ensign will probably be indicted, too. He asked who Ensign was. 
“He just resigned in a sex scandal involving Tom Coburn,” I responded.
Blank look.
I said, “You are aware of the special election in New York yesterday?”
“Of course.”
“Do you know why there is a special election?”
“Craigslist? Shirtless picture? Tranny sex? Any of this ring a bell?”
Blank look.
Maybe I'm a liberal, but in my opinion, a lawyer, with 19 years of education, who considers himself well-informed, should know when a United States Congressman resigns in disgrace, for any reason, but especially if it's for Tranny sex. When we go on our annual golf trip, this friend always puts Fox News on, so I suspected there might be a connection. So I went to and ran a search for John Ensign. The search produces a selection of videos on top, with text stories listed below. The text stories were fairly appropriate, listing the referral to DOJ and possible Sharron Angle run to replace him, as well as other articles on the scandal. 
But the four video thumbnails in the search results were of Ensign on tax cuts, John Edwards’ sex scandal, tornado damage to Joplin, MO, and the sex charges against the former head of the IMF. 
There is a link above these thumbnails for “more videos of John Ensign,” so I clicked. Through the first three pages of 10 videos each on “John Ensign,” Fox News had no videos of John Ensign except the first one showing his interview on tax cuts, and another dealing with the “tax compromise.” It wasn’t until the fourth page of videos that the sex scandal was mentioned, and even then it was a clip from 2009 followed immediately by three favorable videos of Ensign interviews on tax and budget issues. 
I figure this must be a problem with the algorithm, finding “John” instead of “John Ensign,” so I did a search only for “Ensign.” This time, the first page of video results has the video from 2009, but the rest are Ensign interviews repeating various Republican talking points. I click on the next page, and 4 more videos are presented. That is all there is. There were no videos of the Ensign scandal, his resignation, his successor’s appointment--nothing, except a side mention in a segment on Governor Sanford hiking the Appalachian Trail. 
Maybe there is a problem with the Fox News search engine, I thought, so I ran a search for Fox News video on Youtube, Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Each produced numerous videos on Ensign’s sex scandal. Almost all of them were from other networks. But I could see in the thumbnails that a couple of the videos were from Fox. I clicked. They were local Fox affiliate reports. No actual FoxNews videos to be found.
How about former Congressman Chris Lee? The results were eerily similar. Headlines on FoxNews search results show coverage of the sex scandal in text, but when it comes to video, it is almost a total blackout. There is a mention of Lee in one video, but it is a piece on the election to replace him. 
I decided to be more specific in my search, so I ran “congressman chris lee scandal.” No videos come up on that topic. Instead, I got videos on medicare and “Efforts to Stem the Hiring of Illegal Immigrants,” “Herman Cain Talks Campaign Strategy,” and “Deadly Twister Rocks Arkansas Town.” 
I type "Chris Lee" in Google, and the first suggestion for completion is "Shirtless." I put "Chris Lee" in Bing, Youtube, and Yahoo--nothing but sex and consequences. 
My conclusion from this study is that the public is interested in sexual misconduct by Republicans, and Fox News fails to satisfy this interest. Either those who watch Fox News are sexually and/or politically aberrant, and Fox News has chosen to appeal to an aberrant group, or Fox News has chosen to conceal such news, in spite of its viewers' normal desires. 
Or perhaps Fox News has decided, on principle, to avoid titillation in favor of hard news. 

No comments:

Post a Comment