Wednesday was a sad night for American journalism, for two reasons. We lost Bob Simon, who was killed in a car crash in New York City. He was a legendary CBS News foreign correspondent and co-host of "60 Minutes," a giant in the news business to whom all the superlatives and accolades of his profession applied.
And, though it's hard to include in the same place, we saw, as a result of the news reports of his death, a deplorable example of the stark opposite of his thoughtful journalism.
Bob Simon was a class act. Over a 47-year career at CBS News, he earned more than 40 major awards, including 27 Emmys - believed to be the most ever earned for a field reporter - and four Peabody Awards.
You can find a complete review of his remarkable career and his obituary on the CBS site.
A supremely accomplished icon of journalism is suddenly and tragically gone. So, naturally, the Fox News site provided its swooning gaggle of trolls with a dedicated, titled blog to trash Bob Simon and his memory. Or more correctly, his legacy, since no one at Fox News can reasonably aspire to his accomplishments as a journalist.
What's expressed at that Fox News Blog is beyond words. I subjected myself to it, copying over a hundred of the comments there, because it is simply beyond believable and must be available to show as proof. The seething hatred combined with the sheer ignorance powered by an armload of a-holes thinking they are funny. It is sickening and deplorable and depraved and disgusting.
Perhaps the true measure? It's so bad that a few people who left comments chided the others, saying, in one way or another, they were appalled. Those few, in being critical of all the rest, were saying "no" or "wait" or "slow down" or even "stop!" to the majority population of Foxbloglandia who were celebrating a good man's death and entertaining each other with their dispicable glee. Those few who even dared suggest that was inappropriate were ridiculed for their humanity.
Each time that I have subjected my sensibilities to a Fox News blog, I leave disgusted, sensing we do not live in a UNITED States.
I am not reporting this to encourage you to go read the Fox blog comments for yourself, though we certainly would not suggest you take my word about the nature of what's there.
If you do choose to go read them, prepare to feel sick and outraged, regardless of your political views. Be prepared to weep at the flippant brutality of what you will see. It is beyond a descent into darkness. For you will be confronted with a reprehensible, depraved element that's out there who are - celebrating.
Each time that I have subjected my sensibilities to a Fox News blog, I leave disgusted, sensing we do not live in a UNITED States. Because many of the people who write on Fox News blogs demonstrate that we do not share the common values necessary for one America. This is beyond income inequality or race or anything we usually cite about things that are exploited to divide us. This is a more basic level than all of those things, and it displays why there are two Americas: there is one that celebrates the hopefulness of humanity, and there is one that gleefully celebrates being devoid of it.
We must look beyond that to what feeds it. It is necessary to carefully read the version of the NEWS story on the Fox News site. It warrants these points:
- Fox acknowledges that it built its story around the Associated Press (AP) story. The Fox story omitted that Bob Simon had earned FOUR Peabody Awards. (The Peabody is the highest humanitarian award for broadcast art and journalism.) Of course, the AP story contains that important fact.
- Instead, Fox decided to add something that would be a "dog whistle" for their core audience: the fact that one of Bob Simon's 27 Emmy Awards was for a story on an all-black symphony.
- The Fox NEWS story was ridiculed in numerous Fox BLOG comments and, if you read the obvious subtext between the lines, it's because Fox News was too nice or too easy, or too praiseworthy of Mr. Simon. Many blog comments are specifically disgusting regarding reported details of his death. There's even a threadthere in there where a man sarcastically asks why Fox News isn't interested in his unnamed dead aunt, since they're interested in the death of Bob Simon.
The take-away? It's twofold.
First, Bob Simon epitomized first-rate journalism. His "60 Minutes colleague, Anderson Cooper, remarked that he would "never be one-fourth the journalist that Bib Simon was."
So it is especially reprehensible when the news organization that is constantly cited for lying, exaggerating, obfuscating, inventing, villainizing and propagandizing chooses to provide a specifically dedicated forum to trash a just-deceased journalist who earned esteem and emulation.
Second, this is representative of a pattern of arrogant behavior that deifies those who pass the Murdoch test, and villainizes all who challenge its veracity or question those it anoints. And the outcome of Fox's anti-journalism is proof of its nefarious nature.
It is yet another example of how Fox stacks the deck to create and nurture and feed an audience with very particular views. And how even Fox itself, like Dr. Victor Frankenstein, cannot always control its monstrous creation.