Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Fox in the Hen House

It was a lovely Friday evening in Atlanta a week or so ago. A few friends and colleagues were seventy three stories above the city at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Hotel, spinning slowly around in a complete 360 degree view of the city at the Sun Dial Restaurant. Celebrating the birthday of our board chair, we watched the sun set and the moon rise. Musicians were jamming behind us, it was a fabulous evening. (Helped along by a really good bar tender.)

But every now and then there was this discordant note that was struck. Not by the musicians, they never struck a sour note. But as the restaurant revolved, 360 degrees in an hour, we'd swing around to the bar area where there was a flat screen television with the sound turned down until it was inaudible, broadcasting Fox "news." (I can't take them seriously, the pity is that anyone does.)

You might ask, so what? The answer is, this is a Coca Cola town. Trust me, Atlanta is a Coca Cola town; created here, an iconic presence here, and the formula is deep in the vaults of Sun Trust Bank. (So I have been told.) If you dare bring in Pepsi, and there are venues that may have Pepsi, but they are few and far between, folks take note. CC doesn't take encroachment on its home turf lightly. It is serious business, Coca Cola and Atlanta go hand in hand.

This is also the home of CNN. Sitting in the restaurant looking out at the city, we had a lovely view CNN's headquarters. So when the Hyatt Regency is playing Fox news in a CNN town,within spitting distance of the CNN Center, that is a serious smack in the face. But it is Atlanta, in the state of Georgia, in the deep South. Soda may be one thing, its sweet and fizzy and non threatening. But politics is a whole different kettle of smelly fish.

Fox is the place where the psycho babble of fulminating fury and flagrant disregard of facts and sanity run rampant. (Fox is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Ahh, Macbeth.) Lies, distortion, misinformation and disinformation have a direct feed into the brains of rabid white wing racists providing their daily ration of hate and vitriol. (Yeah, I've been holding that in for a long time. :)

That's why the South right now is crazy making for liberals, progressives, and decent thinking human beings of all colors who care about things like right and wrong, principled discourse, civility, and value people over things.

It would seem to me that those who are on a steady diet of all things Fox are in desperate need of health care. The level of rage, hate, and fear must be giving them embolisms at the very least. I pity them but not so much that I'd turn my back on them, let alone the other cheek. They are too dangerous for that. But I digress.

There must be a way to gauge it but I would bet that CNN is being beaten by Fox in the South. Fox speaks to the "Old South" the good ol' boys South. I don't know where Michael Steel and his ilk think they fit in that equation but I guess being a token in that club must be comfortable or they wouldn't be there. CNN speaks to the New South with it's transplants from all over the globe and please God, keep on coming. Without CNN and other cable outlets to offset the madness, I suspect that by now the whole damn region would be up in arms, once again. And I ain't just whistling Dixie.

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