So, in case you haven't noticed, people have lately been going around killing people, indiscriminately. Is this because Fox News is sending their hypnobeams into America's brainpan through the lunatic ravings of Glenn Beck and the Michele Bachmann-boosting tyranny pillow-talk of Sean Hannity? I don't know! Maybe. That stuff mostly fills me with either humor or pity. Then I make some tacos, drink some Jim Beam, everything's OK again.
But CNN's Rick Sanchez notes the rise of Fox style crazyfaced paranoia and the uptick in gun violence, and feels that there's a connection worth exploring. Which he does by...SCARING THE BEJEEZUS OUT OF EVERYONE! Terrifying music! Scary YouTubes! Breathless, unproveable pronouncements! A cop-killer was "convinced, no doubt because of Fox News...that our rights were being infringed upon. That's according to a friend" of the killer. LOTS OF GREAT SOURCING AND CERTAINTY, THERE! Is there any truth to the notion that Fox is inexorably driving people crazy? It's an "apparent result," Sanchez says. Sounds ironclad!
Ugh. Look, I'd the first to suggest that children shouldn't play with Fox news, but if you're going to make the earnest case that Glenn Beck is literally killing America, you need more than second hand observations of spree-killers and "apparent results." You need, I'd posit, some sort of "evidence." Data points, anecdotal accounts, proof that the suits at Fox News were aware of potential harm and were negligent in allowing a specific danger to be exacerbated. Short of that, if you want to combat the pernicious effect of misinformation you deem dangerous, you got no other choice that to buckle down and do the work of a reporter. Debunk claims, research policies, stack up contrary evidence. And double down on the sobriety and the seriousness.
What Sanchez does here is lead with alarm, accusations, terrifying images, more alarm, melodrama. At about four minutes in, Sanchez finally offers a counterpoint - a statement from Eric Holder from his confirmation hearings. Unfortunately, Sanchez's first attempt at debunkery was well countered. That left Eric Boehlert of Media Matters to "help Sanchez out," but all he did was point out that there's a "media narrative" at work - which is where all of this began. From there, it became an internecine argument over what the media was doing as opposed to what the Obama administration was doing.
The end result, Fox is making people scared of Obama, CNN is making people scared of Fox viewers, and soon we'll all be peeing our pants at the drop of a hat.
Eight minutes, and Sanchez brings one solitary piece of substantive evidence was brought to the table, to support his argument. Better luck next time! Please?
Media Monitor Jon comes through with proof that CNN can, in fact, discuss the issue - and present evidence that counters the contention that a plan to curb gun owners is afoot - without resorting to histrionics, accusations, fearmongering, or "meta" media discussions.