Welcome to Bizarro World, where Fox News is doing the job of real journalists.
Journalism was once a vital component of American politics and capitalism. This has become less true in modern times as journalism has become increasingly incompetent and laughable. However, meaningful investigative journalism still exists, even in the oddest of places. Fox’s crusade against President Barack Obama involving the embassy attack in Benghazi may actually uncover legitimately outrageous antics perpetrated by the current administration.
This is a good thing. Source aside, investigative journalism is sorely lacking in modern journalism, with a greater emphasis now being placed on things like a presidential election four years away than on important current events.
Unfortunately, the source is also the problem. Fox News has been raving and ranting with fake scandals and false accusations with such regularity that this legitimate story seems like the one bit of buckshot that miraculously managed to hit the target.
In a world with more conspiracies, false accusations and declarations of scandals than you can shake a tinfoil hat at, media walks a fine line between investigative journalism and Dan Brown literary stupidity. Some people ignore the line completely and are content to live in a world of lunacy. Unfortunately, those ranting loons ruin things for the rest of journalism, because even if they do reveal something worthwhile, reasonable news consumers will be plagued with the doubt and uncertainty when considering the kook who said it.
Conspiracy rants and baseless accusations may be on par for the course for some “journalists,” but they’re corroding the power of journalism with their meaningless rambling. Worse, with modern journalists seemingly impotent and incompetent in the wake of their obsession with meaningless things like a new British princess, the calls for action of the more radical “news” sources can come across as reasonable. After all, they’re actually saying something is wrong and needs to be dealt with, not just delivering fluff.
People can be stupid, confused, frightened animals. We are easily duped and led to whatever siren call promises us the most. News sources like Fox appeal to our fear and distrust of government by tapping into the natural resentment Americans harbor toward authority and harnessing it as a tool of their agenda.
This is detrimental to journalism and the nation as a whole because it detracts from the power of investigative journalism. Such calls to right the wrongs of politics must be made subtly and in regard to legitimate concerns. Blathering on about how the president is a Muslim terrorist plant from Xanadu is not productive. Uncovering the motives and rationales behind an embassy attack, such as the one in Benghazi, is the sort of thing journalists should be doing.
Freely crossing back and forth over the line between conspiracy theories and investigative journalism can be dangerous and damaging to the power of journalism. Toeing the line may be difficult for some, but it is necessary for the Fourth Estate to maintain its importance in American society.