Monday, August 29, 2005

culture of fear...

... and of rampant ignorance.

FOX 'news' reporter John Loftus identified a suspected terrorist by race (Middle-Eastern) and name (Iyad K. Hilal) and home address. There are more than a few things wrong with this:
  • If there really was a terrorist at that address, is there *any* justification for broadcasting the address before that person has been taken into custody?
  • There isn't a terrorist at that address. It's a family of five. The suspected terrorist did live at that address, but moved three years ago.
  • FOX has a horrendous track record when it comes to reporting the truth. The things they tend to get right are 'wag the dog' stories where a fiction broadcast wide enough becomes a new truth.
  • Which leads to the biggest problem: FOX's demographic consists largely of people who confuse 'adjusting prejudices' with 'thinking'.

It's that last one that makes this one particularly newsworthy. Within hours of the newscast, maps to the family's home had been posted on numerous conservative websites, and a campaign of harrasment was begun. Over the weekend some bright spark spray-painted 'TERRIST' on the house. Enough hostile or ill-meaning people have come by that the cops now just station a car across the street.

Imagine what would have happened if there was someone Middle-Eastern living there.

FOX just keeps racking up severe fuckups like this, but they pander so well to fear and xenophobia and ignorance that their viewers find FOX 'news' to be right up their street... i.e. it's narrow, and twisted, and only one way. 'Fair and balanced' my ass.