2011 Study Finds Fox News Actually Makes People Dumber
Perhaps the biggest Fox FAIL of all is not any particular botched story or silly blooper, but the fact that the network is actually making America more ignorant.
A 2011 poll conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University demonstrated that Fox viewers were more ignorant about current events in the Middle East than the rest of the population. They were less likely to know that the Egyptian government was overthrown, and that the Syrian government was not, among other issues.
Sadly, this is not the first study to reveal the dumbing-down of Fox watchers. Another from the University of Maryland also found viewers of the channel to be more confused about political facts.
The whole incident brings to mind this clip from the popular comedy Billy Madison:
Fox Announces Death of President Obama...Twice
On May 1, 2011, overzealous (and wishfully thinking?) Fox news reporter Will Thomas in Washington DC erroneously proclaimed that President Barack Obama had died -- when it was really Osama bin Laden who had died. Obama, Osama, similar enough, that'd understandable in what was probably a stressful news day, but to go ahead and say the full name Barack Obama is a little much.
The snafu occurred just following the U.S action against the terrorist leader in Pakistan. Thomas was summarizing the president's announcement of the events when the reporter inadvertently claimed that Obama was proclaiming his own demise.
Thomas quickly caught and retracted his error, but the name-switch had already caught the attention of viewers around the nation. Hard to say if the mix-up had anything to do with the network's political views or not, but mistaking our nation's leader for the head of Al-Qaeda is a FAIL of epic proportions.
As if that were not enough, Fox host Geraldo Rivera made the same mistake on a different show, announcing Obama's death and then quickly catching himself.
Worst attempts at subliminal messaging ever.
Bill O'Reilly Calls Elementary School Science a Mystery
When Bill O'Reilly recently spoke with David Silverman, the man who calls himself the President of American Atheists, he made one of the biggest gaffes he's ever spoken, and it caused so much ridicule that an entire internet meme came out of it.
O'Reilly: "I'll tell you why [religion is] not a scam, in my opinion," he told Silverman. "Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can't explain that. You can't explain why the tide goes in."
Putting hundreds (thousands?) of years of work from astronomers, oceanographers, and scientists to shame, O'Reilly throws his insight into the mix, claiming the existence of God to be proven through the inexplicable nature of the tides of the ocean.
During this interview with Dave Silverman, head of the American Atheist group, O'Reilly managed to simplify the existence of God by surmising, "tide goes in, tide goes out, never a miscommunication" in a calm, Zen-master like fashion; strengthening the credibility of his argument by shedding light on Silverman's inability to explain this remarkable phenomenon that everyone learned in grade school along with the concept of "gravity."
So then, the internet got in on the joke and did something similar to what they did to Megan Kelly in the meme. Made him make logically similar arguments about much more inane facts.
Fox Takes on Spongebob Squarepants
In a case of Big Bad Media Corporation vs. Cute and Harmless Cartoon Character, the honchos at Fox appeared a touch foolish when they decided to take on a little yellow sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea.
Blasting Spongebob Squarepants for pushing the "global warming agenda" on behalf of the Nickelodeon network, the hosts also denounced the Department of Education for handing out the Spongebob Goes Green! book to kids. According to the anchors, when Spongebob addresses climate change he is only "looking at it from one point of view."
The hosts go on to shred poor Spongebob, wondering why children find him appealing and calling his show "hard to follow." Well... maybe for them.
For an entire list of conservatives over-reacting to kids shows (yes, there's enough for an entire list), go here.
Fox Mistakes Tina Fey for Sarah Palin
Tina Fey may be famous for her dead-on impersonation of politician-turned-Fox-correspondent Sarah Palin, but one would expect her own network to know the difference.
Her own network.
Not so. Fox used a picture of Fey posing as the ex-governor instead of the real deal during a report about the possibility of Palin running for the 2012 presidential bid.
The report, "Tracking the Movements of Some 2012 Contenders," featured a photo of Fey at a podium above the caption "Fmr Gov Sarah Palin 50/50 on 2012 Run." Fortunately for the nation, neither Palin nor her comedic doppelganger will appear on the 2012 ballot.
Fox's Megyn Kelly Calls Pepper Spray a "Food Product"
Defending the now-infamous spraying of University of California Davis students by a police officer in a November, 2011 protest, Fox News host Megyn Kelly inaccurately described pepper spray as a "food product, essentially."
This led to her getting an insane amount of television, podcast, radio and internet ridicule. She even got her own internet meme, attributing false, but similarly insensitive and ridiculous quotes to her such as:
The students, part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, were protesting peacefully when the officer walked calmly by the seated group and sprayed their faces. His actions were denounced by lawmakers and even the chancellor, who had called in the cops herself--but not by Fox.
Pepper spray is actually less a "food" than a chemical extract. It contains purified capsaicin, the alkaloid compound that gives peppers their burn. It can cause corneal damage and respiratory failure. Sometimes the capsaicin is manufactured synthetically, even. There's nothing "natural" or "food" like about it.
On the same show, Bill O'Reilly defended police for "not wanting to lay hands" on the students and claimed that the only other option was to physically remove them.
Sarah Palin Claims Paul Revere Warned the British
When Sarah Palin spoke to Boston residents as part of her national tour, she was confronted with a question about American patriot Paul Revere. Clearly confused, Ms. Palin blurted out that the hero "warned the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms."
While wisdom may have dictated that the error was best left alone, the former presidential candidate could not let this one lay.
Palin went on to Fox News and declared that yes, in addition to warning the Colonists with those famous words, "The British are Coming! The British are Coming!" Paul Revere had also gone around to the British folk who were already here to warn them that their efforts would be f*tile.
The former Alaska governor failed to disclose which history book the information was gleaned from.
Fox News Randomly Announces a War on Salt
Fox and Friends slammed the FDA for conducting an investigation on the dangers of a high-sodium diet, accusing them of declaring a war on salt. The anchors expressed fears that the government would now begin campaigning against salt-laden foods as they have previously done with cigarettes.
To back up their attack on the government agency, the gang at Fox hailed the virtues of the substance, citing a new study showing people who eat less salt actually have shorter life spans. "The science is not settled, and yet, the government has a bee in their bonnet. They want us to stop eating so much salt and sugar and stuff like that" proclaimed host Steve Doocy.
Despite the anchors' outrage, medical experts agree that most Americans actually eat twice as much salt as they should, leading to stroke and heart disease.
Once gain, putting Fox News vs. Science in a ring where really, due to Fox's popularity, nobody wins.
Fox Runs Wrong Footage of Ron Paul Win
When presidential nominee Ron Paul gave an interview to Bill Hemmer on Fox News after Paul won the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll, he was probably expecting a congratulatory occasion. When the show opened with a crowd booing at the announcement that Paul had won, he and viewers may have scratched their heads.
To rub it in, the host commented that the hisses were "probably not the reaction he was hoping for "
Turns out, the footage was actually from the 2010 straw poll announcement. Paul had also won that year. However, at the 2011 event the crowd cheered riotously for the candidate rather than hectoring him.
This was a "mistake" that once again led to Fox News almost deliberately skewing American information, and therefore opinion, towards their agenda and less towards "facts".
Hemmer later apologized, calling the incident an "honest mistake."
Fox Mistakes Japanese Nightclub for Nuclear Power Plant
Fox news is no stranger to map gaffes. Quite the contrary, botched geography is an annual occurrence (and at this point, even a tradition) for the location-challenged network.
In 2009, Fox placed replaced Egypt with Syria. In 2010, they put Sydney on the wrong side of Australia. And then true to form, in 2011 Fox managed to mistake a nightclub for a nuclear power plant on their map of Japan.
During the Japanese meltdown scare, the network displayed a chart mapping all of the nuclear power plants in the country. However, one was labelled "Shibuyaeggman," which was mysteriously absent from any other official records. Investigations turned up the truth--Shibuyaeggman is a popular night spot. It may get hot during the late hours, but it's probably safe to say that the club is safe from a nuclear explosion.
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