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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Posts Tagged ‘Pop Tarts’

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.

Posted in History, Journalism, Legal issues, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Don’t blame me: the photos came from Fox News (and other mixed messages)

Posted by James McPherson on September 5, 2008

To prove how Sarah Palin has been smeared by the media, Fox New was using the first pair of photos below as the main photo on its Web site for part of today. The photo at right is used with the linked story itself. And no, I didn’t enlarge them.


Maybe such behavior is to be expected from a site that boasts a regular section titled “Pop Tarts,” and which today also has a Britney Spears story (with photo) on the front page titled “Mom: Britney Spears Lost Virginity at Age 14.” Yet this is also the site hosted by the same network whose political commentators have been rightfully slamming the intense coverage of Sarah Palin, particularly as it pertains to her 17-year-old daughter.

Speaking of mixed messages (in addition to Cindy McCain wearing an outfit worth perhaps $300,000 while trying to drum up support from “middle America”) today John McCain and Palin start trying to convince voters that they are agents of “change,” despite how long McCain has been in office supporting almost everything promoted by George W. Bush (otherwise known as “the invisible man” of the campaign), and despite the fact that Palin’s socially conservative brand of politics seems to align even better with Bush’s politics.

It’s no wonder they want to run from the McCain/Bush record and campaign more like Barack Obama. Here are some other news items from the last couple of days:

“The U.S. jobless rate unexpectedly jumped in August to a nearly five-year high as employment fell for an eighth-straight month, raising the risk of recession as households face a struggling labor market and a high inflation rate.” (Wall Street Journal)

“The Bush administration has conducted an extensive spying operation on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his staff and others in the Iraqi government, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. … The book also says that the U.S. troop ‘surge’ of 2007, in which President Bush sent nearly 30,000 additional U.S. combat forces and support troops to Iraq, was not the primary factor behind the steep drop in violence there during the past 16 months.” (Washington Post)

In short, despite the harping of McCain/Palin and Bill Oh-Really, Obama’s more nuanced critique of the surge is more correct that the McCain/Bush/Fox News view of it. Incredibly, unlike every other new organization I’ve seen (and I haven’t read the book myself), Fox reports Woodward as saying he “acknowledged the success of Bush’s surge of additional troops into Iraq in 2007,” adding, “Woodward notes that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama opposed the surge, while GOP presidential candidate John McCain was ‘advocating more troops for years.'” There’s an interesting “fair and balanced” analysis. 

In international news, “The United States and Libya sealed a historic turnaround after decades of terrorist killings, American retaliation, suspicions and insults with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s peacemaking visit Friday with Moammar Gadhafi, Libya’s mercurial strongman.” (New York Times) Thank God we don’t deal with terrorists. 

And in honor of Palin, this: “It’s the season for Alaskans to be rewarded just for living here and this year’s take is extra sweet: $3,269, a record share of the state’s oil wealth combined with a special cash payout to help with stratospheric energy prices.” (USA Today)

Sept. 10 update: Fox News found yet another reason to prominently display the same photo today. Apparently a stars-and-stripes bikini and a rifle are just too much for the network to resist.

Posted in History, Journalism, Media literacy, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »