James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Archive for March 22nd, 2010

Bare and unbalanced: Fox News again uses ‘porn’ to criticize porn

Posted by James McPherson on March 22, 2010

“Don’t be surprised these days, when you’re searching for that perfect Easter, Mother’s Day or birthday card, if you run across a little soft porn on the shelves,” starts a Fox News story headlined, “Greeting cards gone wild.”

Not surprisingly, the story was soon the third-most popular on Fox. Also not surprising is that a Natalee Holloway story was No. 1, and that nothing about the health care bill–just two hours  from historic passage at that writing–was in the top five.

Today video of John Boehner’s health care rant from last night now is No. 1, though a “hot list” of bikini-clad celebrities also makes the list. Many Fox regulars just aren’t that into anything without pictures.

And, alas, also not surprising are these lines (and their placement) in the Fox greeting card story:”

Cards showing bare behinds, barely covered breasts, lewd sentiments and off-color humor are pushing the envelope of decency. They’re meant for adults only, but anyone can buy them.

SLIDESHOW: Check out the steamy greeting cards 

What’s more, anyone can see them — including children.

Yes, that’s right–Fox inserts a link to its slideshow that shows the cards within the same story that complains about the cards. With absolutely no sense of irony, writer Lauren Green goes on:

Today, regulating bodies monitor just about every area of public consumption. There are decency standards for television, radio and cable. Movies are rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has parental warnings on CDs. And many states and municipalities regulate the public display of adult magazines.

But the greeting card industry has no controls.

Acccording to the Green’s apparent view, the Fox News Web site also should have more controls. But anyone who has seen Fox’s almost-daily “Pop Tarts” section already knew that.

“The trend toward raunchy, humor-filled cards shows how society’s moral standards have changed as well,” Green writes. She may be right. But the popularity of Fox demonstrates the moral decline far more than does the supposed shift in greeting card messages.

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