I stumbled across Michelle Malkin on Fox News not once but twice in the past two days, which I take as a sign that I’m meant to blog about her. I’m unclear how long she has been appearing on The O’Reilly Factor, but it is clear after only a small bit of viewing that she’s been studying her betters — and learning. This excerpt on the subject of immigration is a good example:
At the outset, she frames the issue incorrectly, conflating immigration with crime and imploring her expert, immigration attorney Susan Church, to defend them as though they’re the same thing. Church’s initial response rightly unlinked the two issues and offered a better frame for discussing immigration, but things only went south one Malkin rejoined her. YouTube has another “debate” on the same subject with Geraldo Rivera, which I haven’t viewed. (Um, why was Geraldo Rivera of all people interviewed on immigration?)
I avoid watching Fox News, but on those occasions when it happens to be on in the room, I find it difficult to look away. Viewing Fox News is like seeing a train wreck as it happens, and the cult of personality surrounding some of its “journalists” is utterly astounding. Like Bill O’Reilly, Malkin routinely taunts, interrupts, baits, and insults her interview subjects. Why would anyone, knowing how interviewees are treated, be willing to be set up for such apparent slaughter?
As for presenting either news or commentary, The O’Reilly Factor fails miserably. Yet it succeeds as entertainment of the most base kind. On one side of the political aisle, folks gape in disbelief at what they’re witnessing. On the other side, folks jeer and hoot at the sight of the hosts’ “opponents” being eviscerated in debate. I’m still uncertain whether the Fox News hounds, yipping and nipping at everything and everyone, are simply chasing ratings. Can it be they really believe that the ideal of public debate is well served by the freak shows they put on?