Fox’s Paranoia

Here is another example of the paranoia that is coming so often from the political right these days.  This is a great illustration of how we can assign meaning to things that seems to resonate on a visceral level, and yet we can miss the mark completely.

[disclaimer: I realize political paranoia is not the exclusive domain of the right.  But with a Democratic president, it just appears to be the right’s particular forte at this time]

[another disclaimer: I do not endorse every single thing about the clip below.  But I wholeheartedly endorse its general point about the paranoia]

To skip right to the main point, start viewing at 2:20.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
A Farewell to Arms
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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. A request for me to defend some of my comments does not obligate me to do so.

19 thoughts on “Fox’s Paranoia

  1. I’m not sure if critism is warrentted or not either, but my explaination is simply this…

    I just received an email from the American Cancer Society regarding my registration for a local upcoming Relay for Life event, and I was alarmed by the similarities I saw between the Relay logo and the flags of Muslim nations. You don’t suppose they’re in on this too, do you?! I am not suggesting that Obama’s agenda has infiltrated the mission and logo of one of America’s most highly revered non-profits, but the similarities are undeniable. Behold the facts and you be the judge. =)

  2. I confessed to be lost about your point here. You say that it “misses the mark”, but offer no explaination of why you think so. I get the feeling that I’m not part of an inside joke or something because you seem to think it’s completely clear when I don’t see it that way.

    I’m honestly sorry I wandered into this because I don’t really care about any of this and yet it’s eating my up because I don’t get the point. While I find it strange that a news organization would walk into this territory, when looking at the logo compared to those flags, anybody with an ounce of honesty has to say that, yes they do compare. I gather from your comments that makes me paranoid, so a little explaination of what I’m parnoid about would be helpful.

    Ok, there are two possibilities here (three really, but I’m elimiating one as unlikely). First possibility, this can be a remarkable coincidence, that logo being so similar to those flags. Second possibility, the politicians involved are using subtle measures to help their agenda.

    In regards to the “explaination” of where the logo comes from. Ok, I can see they used the Bohr model. However, the Bohr model doesn’t not have a break in it, while the logo does. If anything, the explaination makes the possibility of a wild coincidence even less likely.

    What I’m gathering is that the second possibility has been ruled impossible for reasons that have not been made clear to me. In my experience, politcians use everything they possibly can to can advantage, subtle or not. When Obama gave a bow to the Chinese representative, you can bet that wasn’t a coincidence, but a carely planned gesture which is common among politicians. When a logo like that is designed, there are 1,001 things that get thought of, and I’m sure flags of other nations are among them. This was not designed by a third grader who sent it in and they used it. A lot of work went into it and you can bet it said what they wanted it to say.

    That this is a coincidence is certainly possible, that would be a pretty remarkable one. Given what I know about politicians, I would say it’s far more likely that this logo was some sort of gesture.

    Which gets me into what really confuses me here. It’s very hard to read what a news report is getting into when it’s taken out of context, and this is seriously out of context. We didn’t get the whole news report, which is a lousy way to form your opinion. The report says that “He says”, which seems to indicate that they are reporting what someone is saying. Given that we don’t have the full report, there’s no way to give a good opinion on it. However, the report does say the motiviation is possibly Obama “continue to outreach to Muslim nations in a positive way”. Is this a bad thing?

    Is this what I’m missing here. Is outreach to Muslim nations is treason or something I’m missing here. Did this news report say it’s bad, or have the been doing regular reports on how awful it is to do outreach to Muslim nations? Are all presidents that do outreach to Muslim nations bad and therefore to suspect this president of such is “paranoid”? Help me out here, your point is not clear.

    • Occam’s razor. The simplest explanation of something is usually the one most likely and most sufficient. It’s a symbol specifically related to nuclear energy. The symbol actually comes from the Bohr model, which is a model that explains something about nuclear energy. No question whatsoever that there is in fact a resemblance there. (They are both round?) The question is whether we are to believe the resemblance was specifically calculated to resemble the flags of Muslim nations. (You say it’s extremely likely – I say it’s nearly ludicrous.) Fox claims to be a news organization. Am I to assume Fox actually did explain that this was the Bohr model and Stewart’s show chose not to air that part? I suppose that is possible, Jeff. Of course in that case there would have been nothing to comment on and it wouldn’t have occurred to anyone to put it on the show in the first place.

      Paranoia is assuming things are connected that are not actually connected. Paranoid people will always have elaborate and dizzying reasons for their paranoia, and they will often even sound credible. Now what about the fact that there in fact IS a resemblance — that they are all round? Foxs is a news organization. Either do the work and show us the connection, or else it’s not news — it is entertainment disguised as news, and therefore a perfect target for a show like Stewart’s. As for me, probably the “context” of my post would be recent posts I have made on this blog regarding Glenn Beck.

      I didn’t say that it’s “impossible” that there is some kind of connection. But the Bohr model does explain it pretty well. One can certainly go beyond that and ask, “What about this or that,” but according to Occam’s razor, we’ve probably found our answer.

      With regard to context, Jon Stewart’s show is a comedy show. Unlike Fox, it does not claim to be a serious news organization. They use clips of real-life things that appear absurd, and point out absurdity where they see it. If we were getting everything completely “in context,” the show would be over before the jokes start. That’s the difference between something being funny yet poignant, and something simply being absurd.

      • I may be paranoid, Dave, but your naive. It’s been my experience that politicians will use anything they can to get an edge. If you think they picked that logo out of a hat with no thought what-so-ever, I can’t help you. While the resemblance might be coincidental, to not even consider the possiblity it what gets me. Why shouldn’t they? I’d hope the people of our country are at least bright enought to research a logo we’re putting out there. You might believe they are that dumb, not me.

        The Bohr model explaination does not explain why it’s not the Bohr model.

        As for Stewart’s piece, I thought it was hilarious. He made fun of a thing that on the surface seems silly. But then, of course, he took it out of context, which is part of the fun. What confuses me is that you’re drawing conclusions from the out of context bit and not bother to even think about what seems an incredible coincidence to me. I still need someone to explain to me what’s so awful about outreach to Muslim countries. I know our country generally aligns with Israel, but surely they wouldn’t be that offended if we weren’t totally alienating Muslim countries, esspecially when we’re negotiating with them. Is reaching out to Muslim countries so terrible that to point out the possibility it’s happening it like accusing the president of some sort of crime? I don’t get it. What’s paranoid about the possiblity of our president looking out for our interests?

        • On further reflection, I guess I am paranoid. I do not trust politicians. I’ve yet to find a reason why I should. They are people with a lot power and power corrupts. I wouldn’t trust myself as a politician.

          However, I don’t get the premise that they’d put a logo out there without a whole lot of research. I’m assuming that it’s out government that put it out there and if it is, the potential for embarrasment is huge. That logo should have been put to hundreds of hours of research to make sure it’s not going to embarrass us. I would expect something like that to be compared to flags as well. If our government didn’t know that was similar to those flags, than I’d say they are incompetent. If they did, I’d say “big deal”.

        • And, for the record, I still don’t get why Fox would go there. I can’t give that opinion without the context, though.

        • Never said they picked the logo out of a hat. Not even remotely. My whole point has been, and continues to be, that Fox is bringing this up like it’s a rumor, when their job as journalists is to not stir up paranoia (I may be naive, but am not naive enough to believe that hearing “Muslim” and “Obama” next to each other isn’t going to continue to fuel the jets of a lot of Fox devotees), but rather to simply find the facts for us.

          So maybe it’s based on the Bohr model, AND designed to somehow “connect” with Muslim countries. At least confirm what can be confirmed — and as for the rest, I’m with you — who cares. And Stewart’s point stands — it’s incredibly easy to find connections where none exist. Paranoia always does this. Therefore, if a connection actually exists, then the network “raising the question” could actually pick up the phone and find the connection, could they not?

          For the record, I never directly called you paranoid. You entered into the discussion on my blog, and applied the term to yourself. But I suppose that’s your prerogative. You’re still okay by me, Jeff.

        • Dave, one the problems I have here is that you don’t know what Fox was doing because you viewed a news clip that was out of context. How do you know if it was a “rumor” or not.

          From what I gather, they were reporting on an opinion piece from the New York Post. Whether that’s “news” or not is a matter of opinion. Frankly, with 24 hours news channels, they need to generate stuff that’s “news” to fill the time. That gives you more than a little stupid stuff to fill. However, as I said, there’s really no crime here. What’s the big deal? Other than a few nuts who would freak out about anything Muslum, does this really affect anything big? He’s going to a conference where he’s asking these nations for something, it would seem like decent politics to me. I wouldn’t put it passed them that they planned it that way and suggested the possibility to a news reporter to generate buzz and had their denial ready. That’s politics. For me personally, I hope we don’t have boneheads running this thing that didn’t research this enough to realize this was a possible story. I know when we needed a logo at work, the company had to research it enough to know it’s not like other logos. I’d hope our government has enough on the ball to do that.

          I figured out what’s bothering me about this, though. This doesn’t affect much and it’s a matter of opinion. They provided “facts” (I’ve no fact checking and am assuming they are correct) and we can come up with our own opinions. You and I disagreed on our interpretation of the facts presented. While there is a right/wrong answer to this, neither of us can know what it is based on the information given, there we are force to know that our opinion might be right or wrong. I can understand why you think what you did, what troubles me is that you can’t see any possible interpretation but your own. Fox had a different interpretation than you and reported a non-lethal story and you think they are damaging progress because they hold a different opinion than yours. That’s why this has bothered me.

          • Jeff, I think it’s safe to say that you have now written more words on the post than I originally did. You obviously feel much stronger about it than I do. Your opinion is welcome. I simply believe Fox as a network promotes paranoia and this is one example. (See posts on Beck and codewords for another.) And by the way: SHEEESH!!


            • Dave, I read your blog and there’s something that stuck with me because I view the critism you’re giving to be unfair here. My problem here is that the context given is not an honest evaluation of what was being said.

              The information was presented to you as a comedy piece. Perhaps that’s what you see this as ridiculous. It was presented to me as a serious critism, I went into this trying to see your point of view and I didn’t see it as ridiculous because I wasn’t viewing it as comedy.

              You critism in not warrented because:

              1. It did not state Fox’s opinion honestly
              2. It did not even give Fox’s point.

              The comedy piece cut into Fox’s piece at the point where they said what was “similar”, and Stewart’s reply was “They’re round”. As comedy, that’s funny. As a critism, that’s dishonest. The new piece’s point was not that they were “round”, it was that both were shaped like a cresent moon. If you look at it honestly, that logo’s “Bohr’s model” was similar in that it did look somewhat like a cresent moon and it was almost the exact same angle as one of the flags. Already the new piece’s point of view was skewed. Given that I could see the point of the news piece (after all they weren’t saying “both are round”), I sought to find the context of the news story.

              The problem with that is that the point Fox was making was not in the comedy piece presented. Going to other sources I can guess that they were reporting on the opinion of a New York Post writer. That was not evident from the cut up news piece, nor is Fox’s point even presented here.

              This is why I’m confused about whether critism is warrentted or not. The news piece point of view is not presented honestly, nor is their point given. On top of that, no explaination was offered. That’s where you lost me.

              • I’m a blogger. I write my own views on things as I see them. If you want objective journalism, turn to Fox (although I’d recommend against that), or CNN (not sure it’s a whole lot better), or whatever floats your boat.

  3. Leave it to a socialist, liberal, commie like you, Dave, to side with that extremist Jon Stewart and his socialist liberal agenda! CLEARLY Obama was trying to indoctrinate your children into Islam by using a circle in that logo. It’s OBVIOUS to us REAL Americans.

  4. This demonstrates what I don’t “get” about Fox news…they have this ability to say the most outrageous things WITH A STRAIGHT FACE. Surely, surely, surely even they do not believe this. What is more shocking to me is the ability for folks to watch it and absorb it as, if not fact, at least believable. And yet I know that people do believe these things…and crazy forwarded emails. I guess to some degree the world is so overwhelming these days (the amount of information available on the internet is astounding) that for those unable to sift through this info they are looking to people/commentators that they seemingly agree with (because the “code words” get used to clue us in that we agree with these people) to sift for them.

    This is a very frustrating subject for me as I am close to some people who will whole heartedly believe these things put forward by a Limbaugh, Beck, etc. I don’t know where to go with a conversation when we can’t even agree on certain facts.

    • Mindi –

      You raise another huge issue in your post. The word “facts” itself is now becoming politicized. I love the website and recommended it as an excellent resource for finding out “what really happened” regarding certain political issues. Friends of mine have said they don’t trust because of some link that it has to some media person who owns some TV station/network that they consider liberal, therefore, to them, that calls the whole credibility of the website into question. It’s like there are no facts, only spin.

      But this is what we could expect in a post-modern world, where truth is no longer objective, but dependent on the whims and personal beliefs of the person espousing it. If truth is subjective, then I guess facts can be subjective as well.

      I happen to believe that objective truth exists (although not all truth is objective) and that facts, by definition, are objective. One witness may say the car ran the stoplight and one witness may say the car did not run the stoplight, but since it’s a question of fact, only one of them is right. And if the fact can be ascertained then the truth about who’s at fault in the accident can be determined from it.

      With guys like Glenn Beck talking about “code words” and calling language itself into more and more suspicion, how we can even talk meaningfully about these issues anymore?

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