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Humans experience the environment through their senses. The information they collect from the world gathers in the brain and forms an idea. When enough ideas about a single subject come together it becomes a perspective. Each person's is distinct. Instead of addressing this issue television news organizations work around it. They recognize that similar perspectives naturally attract. They choose what facts are relevant and use them to report a broad platform to attract ratings. Reporters are not lying to their audience – they're just reporting a point of view. Stations are delivering what their viewers want, or have been convinced they want, to hear.

Fox News defines the hours of objective news to fall between 9 PM to 4 PM and 6PM to 8PM on weekdays (Stelter). Objective news is just a euphemism for fact based. The remaining fourteen hours are opinion programs that are typically based on and named after the program's host. Every major news stations offers opinion programs but the station that has perfected them is overwhelmingly Fox News. In June of 2009 the top ten cable news broadcasts were all Fox opinion programs, with the first and seventh place both belonging to The O'Reilly Factor (Johnson). Fox is able to associate Bill O'Reilly and his opinion with news because his show appears on a station whose brand is known for news. In the least, this is underhanded. The Fox News channel may primarily focus on news and current events but the majority of its content is opinion. These types of semantics are reinforced by slogans and advertising before and after commercial breaks. Simply stating the station is unbiased or letting the viewer decide does not make it true. They only serve to further blur the line between one persons beliefs and reality.

In an appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, comedian Stephen Colbert told O'Reilly “It's hard for me to be you.” (O'Reilly). Colbert's show The Colbert Report and the character he plays is a parody of O'Reilly's. Although satire, Colbert is just as genuine as O'Reilly. While his goal may be satire or comedy the method they use to deliver it is the same. Colbert and his writers analyze the reality and represent it to the viewer in a way that supports their perspective. The only difference is that O'Reilly has the benefit of being on a station branded for it's association with news. Steward and Colbert reside on a station associated with comedy. Regardless, each show is selecting what facts are important and presenting their own interpretations (Jeffrey).

By associating a program with a host the stations are able to appeal to their viewers on a personal level. Bill O'Reilly is the aging white male baby boomer watching the world change in front him and feels that his way of life is threatened. Rachel Maddow is the young and empowered idealist, the champion of equality and civil liberty. John Stewart is the rational and good natured everyman who appeals to sense and rationality. Glenn Beck is the two dimensional and emotionally charged outsider that has a so much to say yet lacks bearing and substance. Regardless of whether these people are playing themselves or characters it is still not news. Instead these people are tropes relevant to the modern political atmosphere. Undoubtedly, if a significant portion of news viewers were middle aged fascists against gun control legislation and for restricting religious rights it would be reflected by a host on an opinion program. These people are only illusions. Their purpose is to attract and relate to the particular viewers. It empowers the perception being presented and it becomes more believable.

This is a dangerous invention. News consumers are not supposed to trust new sources if they are to be effective. Bias is a part of human nature. Facts are not democratic. Just because enough people watch a show and believe what a person is saying is reality does not make it so. Packaging up opinions like commodities and selling personalities to audiences under the guise of news is immoral and unethical. Viewers need to demand evidence and proof from organizations if they are to stay objective. The goal of news is not entertainment or to create rapport with a consumer. It is about presenting reality as it happened and letting the consumer make up their own mind. If news were objective there wouldn't be a need for as much of it as there is today, C-SPAN would have put them all out of business a long time ago.


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