Man Without Qualities

Thursday, August 21, 2003

America’s Most Trusted

It is curious that Fox News' use of the slogan "Fair and Balanced" and "We report, you decide" irritates so many people on the left so intensely.

Of course, Fox News' preposterous suit against Al Franken brought the matter to a head - with many leftist blogs (and some not-so-leftist blogs) answering the call to include the slogan in their blog's name. It's a cute idea. But the eagerness with which it has been embraced seems to betoken an underlying anger and resentment at the use of the slogan by Fox News in the first place.

The whole thing is all the more remarkable because slogans like the "Most Trusted Name in News" and "America’s most trusted source for news and information" - which are routinely employed by CNN - are at least as absurd. That CNN explains its use of such slogans by reference to nothing more substantial than Pew Polls is disingenuous in pretending that a response to a pollster is a more reliable indicator of public trust that the responder's actual choice of network to watch - especially given CNN's rather spectacular decline in ratings compared to Fox News.

Apparently CNN expects the public to believe that almost twice as many people now watch Fox News, and that the gap continues to widen rapidly, but CNN is still the more "trusted." But isn't the better conclusion that people may be telling pollsters that they trust CNN when, in fact, their actions say otherwise?

Trust in God, but tie up your camel?

Should other blogs start including "Most Trusted Name in News" in their headings? Of course, CNN hasn't launched any silly lawsuits over its slogan, which was the final straw with "Fair and Balanced."

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