2348804RP012_wweHis name was Roger but we all called him Bubba. Short and stocky, strong as a bull on steroids, and armed with more street smarts than anyone I ever met, Bubba knew how to do everything. He handled himself well in each crisis we found ourselves in and was our unquestioned leader when a battle loomed, whether literal or figurative. He was our alpha warrior, our Achilles.

A year after high school I discovered he believed professional wrestling was real. When the rumor was confirmed I lost all respect for him. We still hunted and fished together and would play cards and drink beer on Friday nights. But I never saw him in the same shining light ever again.

Today’s equivalents to Bubba are friends who exclusively watch Fox News. They are easily identified. After seeing the deficit climb for eight years they are suddenly worried about the country’s economic future. Many saw America invade another country, practice torture, and obliterate the Bill of Rights with nary a whimper, yet now worry we are being taken over by shadowy, progressive forces.

fox-news-logoThey will tell you the real truth is hard to find these days and believe we should stand pat on health care and economic recovery. Some consider Nazis and Socialists identical. Most think the “mainstream press” is too hard on Rush Limbaugh and too easy on President Obama.

I am troubled by this, much as when the real Bubba revealed himself many decades ago. With so many websites devoted to fact checking, there is no excuse for ignorance. Still, I understand how this principle works. Both organizations use hype, fear, and repetition to hammer home their message.

Fox News has simple, black and white answers to the issues. Conservatives are good guys; anyone else is not. To criticize opponents and reinforce the mantra the network identifies with, Fox News changes positions more often than Jenna Jamison.

Wrestling uses free TV to hype upcoming pay for view telecasts, using blood feuds and promises of mayhem to excite viewers. Fox uses talk shows to get the ball rolling and then their crack news team reports on the talk shows’ subject.

Whether the topic is the guest list at state dinners, handling of Afghanistan, or the current situation in Amsterdam, anything that is less than a hard right political stance is criticized and the point is hammered home on every segment of the network.

Legitimate versions of news organizations and sports have long tried to ignore the two stepchildren. It became harder last month when Fox News broke the ACORN story. Now national news organizations are wrestling with how far they need to go and Fox is crowing about validation. While most news groups strive for perfection, these guys are proud of 5% accuracy.

Rupert Murdock created Fox News from a fortune that came about because of a string of tabloid newspapers offering alien baby sightings, the ghost of Elvis, and psychics fighting to the death with their minds. It seems fitting he is shaping the current political conflict. No one cares about truth anymore.

Any day now I expect Ric Flair and The Undertaker to be discussing term limits on Fox. The precedent has already been set.

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Mike Cox

Mike Cox

Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called "It's Not a Criticism, It's an Observation." He is trying to grow old as gracefully as possible without condemning the current generation in charge to doom. Each day this task gets harder as the overwhelming evidence mounts. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.