Cable news is known for its bias toward conflict and sensationalism. There's nothing
that gets viewers to tune in more than exaggerated reports of the latest near-attack
by a shark -- or, for that matter, a hurricane. And the most intrepid cable newshands
can sneak the message of fear into otherwise seemingly innocuous bits of programming.
Today's example is "Fox and Friends" Brian Kilmeades' introduction
to co-anchor Laura Green's roundup of the morning's headlines:
"Lauren Green has been tracking all the day's headlines in this non-stop
war on terror."
Well, no, actually she hasn't been -- and won't be.
Green's lead story: Fourteen people hurt in a Baltimore bus accident. Presumed
culprit: wet roads caused by early morning rain. No terrorist activity reported.
The second story: Union bankrupt as the AFL-CIO dissolves. No terrorist activity
Third story: U.S. and North Korean officials meet in Beijing to discuss North
Korea's nuclear program. No terrorist activity reported.
Fourth Story: Minivan blows up at Baghdad checkpoint killing 12 people. Another
blast at an Iraqi police station kills 2 people. Culprits: unidentified by Fox.
Iraqi insurgents assumed.
Fifth Story: Supreme Court nominee Roberts scheduled to meet with Senate Judiciary
Committee. No terrorist activity reported.
Sixth Story: Lance Armstrong wins Tour de France again, retires. No terrorist
Six stories. Only one that involves war or violence, and that one is less about
"the war on terror" than it is about continued offensives by terrorists.
Over the past few weeks the headlines have been dominated by terrorist attacks
in London and Egypt. Sometimes, though, there is other news that has nothing
to do with bombs and hatred. It's okay to talk about it without instilling fear.
The war on terror will still be there, Fox, and people won't forget to be afraid.
At least not as long as you keep up the never-ending update on the color-coded
security level scrolling across the bottom of the screen, whatever the news
or lack of it.