Fox News: Is Their Audience A Bunch of Morons?
How to Appeal to an Idiot
I was inspired to write this column when I saw that Fox News did a segment praising Donald Trump and demeaning Hillary Clinton, which is not at all surprising. After all, that's what Fox does. They're a right-wing mouthpiece. They exist to provide an alternative to so-called "liberal media". And that is fine. What was surprising was their choice of expert. In this case, that expert was Scott Baio.
It's hard to believe that of all the possible people a news channel could find to sing the praises of Donald Trump, they chose Scott Baio.
If you didn't know, Scott Baio used to be on "Happy Days". He played Chachi. You almost certainly know this if you're 50-years or so old and white.
Baio was fairly famous for awhile. While I really don't know what expertise Scott has in the field of politics, I do know that even in his field of acting, he wouldn't be the first person anyone seeking acting advice would turn to for help.
Now, I'm well aware that just because somebody isn't all that great of an example of expertise in their chosen professional field doesn't mean that they're disqualified from being an expert in another field.
Certainly, if Fox had chosen to have Dolph Lundgren (he was the Russian boxer, Drago, in Rocky IV) as a guest and asked him questions about, I don't know, some random oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, most rational people would ask what in the world that dude from Rocky was doing commenting on an oil spill and why would any respectable news channel have him on. Except that Dolph Lundgren is also a chemical engineer. He has a professional resume that suggests he might know about chemical stuff, which in my mind could include oil. It's a chemical, after all. I don't know.
Now, honestly, I wouldn't really think that Dolph would know anything about oil spills given that he's also a chemical engineer, but I might be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because chemical engineers are pretty smart. Dolph probably knows a lot about a lot of things. It's within the realm of possibility that he might know something about oil spills.
Aside from being a Republican his entire life, Scott Baio has no other qualifications that would suggest he should be on a news segment providing some kind of expert opinion about anything other than acting and being famous. And even on those two things, he's not anyone's first choice.
The only reason I can think of to have Scott Baio on as a commentator about politics is to send a message to your audience that "Look! Here's this guy with no college education who wasn't really that great in his chosen profession who loves Donald Trump just like you do, so it must be okay! Average people like Donald Trump!"
Fox Should Have Gone with Robert Duvall
I guess if I was a producer on Fox, I'd want to create more of a connection for my viewers. If I'm going to have somebody on who doesn't have any expertise in the field being discussed, I would at least want viewers to appreciate his expertise in his chosen field. What better conservative to have on than Robert Duvall?
I mean, if I'm picking an actor who is also a conservative, wouldn't it be natural to assume that my viewers, appreciating Mr. Duvall's success as an actor, might assume that his opinions about politics carry more weight?
Other Valuable Republicans (with commentary)
Contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of Republicans out there who are basically normal people and also successful in their chosen fields of endeavor. I'm just not sure why Fox News can't find any of them. Anyway, to help them out, I'm providing a handy list for them to use the next time they want to run a pro-Trump segment and maintain even a modicum of respectability.
- Jack Nicklaus - This seems like a slam dunk. The greatest golfer to every play the game has formerly endorsed Donald Trump. Here's a guy who isn't just good at what he does, but perhaps the greatest ever at what he does. If he's that good at golf and he says he likes Trump, people are likely to think he knows what he's talking about.
- Pete Rose - Another slam dunk. Here's a guy who may have been the greatest hitter in baseball history, though I suspect that his endorsement, given his gambling issues, might not be that welcome by Donald Trump, but still, it's no crime to own casinos. Just seems like a marriage made in heaven to me.
- Jon Voight - A way better actor than Scott Baio. Plus, he's Angelina Jolie's dad. If Angelina Jolie's dad tells me which way to vote, I'm probably listening.
- Dennis Rodman - Perhaps the greatest rebounder of the basketball in history. Plus, Donald Trump has said he would be willing to talk to Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea. Rodman has already hung out with the man and has described him as a friend. Rodman would be the perfect political commentor. Plus, he's African-American, so that would be good for Trump.
- Mike Tyson - One of the best heavyweight boxers in history and another African-American. He supports Trump already. I suppose his past history as a rapist might not be a good connection, but heck, Hillary is married to Bill, so nobody is going to care about that.
- Loretta Lynn - One of the greatest country singers of all-time. She would undoubtedly help to strengthen the white, female southern vote.
- Lou Ferrigno - One of the greatest incredible hulks of all-time. And he has a disability (he's deaf).
- Kid Rock - He's a very popular rock star. He's good at what he does.
- Charlie Sheen - Sheen kicks Scott Baio's butt in both acting ability and fame, so isn't he a way better choice than Baio?
- Hulk Hogan - One of the greatest professional wrestlers of all-time. Hogan is an excellent spokesperson for just about anything.
There are tons of stupid people in both political parties. And most news networks, to some degree, do this stupid thing where they ask celebrities about their opinions on matters with which they have no expertise. I no more care what Scott Baio has to say than I care what Martin Sheen has to say... or Jennifer Lawrence, or Ted Nugent, or....
However, Fox News, has already proven to be a place where facts go to die (many non-partisan organizations have done studies that prove that Fox News promotes inaccuracies more than other news channels), and also actually promotes and encourages stupidity and ignorance. This Scott Baio interview is just one such example.
More than any other network, Fox has destroyed the belief in experts. Despite what they may say on Fox News, there are people whose "opinions" carry more weight than other people. A person who has a Ph.D. in climatology is a lot better suited to provide information on climate change than Sarah Palin. However, because outlets like Fox News have elevated the opinions of the uninformed and positioned them equally with those who are informed, people believe that either one is valid. They are not equally valid. The Scott Baio segment is yet another example of an overall message to people that anyone's opinion is as valid as anyone else's opinion. That is simply not true.
When you are incapable of understanding the difference between a true statement and a false one, you are likely stupid. Fox News creates that environment and one can only conclude that it's a channel for morons.