“Fairly Unbalanced At The Speed of Lies”


It sometimes seems half my old friends are three-quarters nuts, but few of them watch FOX.

Given a career background in broadcasting and advertising from the late ’50’s onward — “Mad Men” being outrageously authentic — this might not come as a complete surprise, but I should offer further subjective commentary that these particular vocational endeavors did and do require a certain degree of basic smarts, however jaded.

And so it was I found myself not thoroughly mystified near the end of last year when a “Press Release” was released by an outfit identifying itself as “The Intelligence Institute” stating that its researchers tested 5,000 people measuring everything from cognitive aptitude to common sense and found that people who identified themselves as FOX News viewers and “Conservative” had, on average, significantly lower intelligent quotients. The results of this “4 year study” were said to solidly establish the fact Americans who obtain their news from FOX News channel have an average IQ of 80, which would represent a 20 point deficit from a norm of 100 — not that far from special needs.

But there was no Santa Claus. Such dramatic testimony quickly turned out to be a fanciful hoax concocted as a Pre-Christmas prank by who knows whom, but I am happy to report that investigation into the authenticity of such a delicious allegation did establish several unchallenged findings by the University College London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.

It seems Conservatives regularly demonstrate their proclivity for accepting without challenge many outrageous falsehoods presented by FOX personalities and their foam-at-the-mouth counterparts in Talk Radio due to enlarged — and here’s a word you don’t often hear at the barber shop — “amygdalas” — such condition being associated with greater emotional inflexibility and accelerated danger response.

Amygdalas are almond-shaped groups of nuclei located within the media temporal lobes of the brain in complex vertebrates. That includes us. Have you checked yours today?

This physiological variance would seem to account for many Conservatives displaying a greater susceptibility to conspiracy models of thinking, “they’re coming for our guns” being a timely case in point.

Absurdly spun tales driven by anxiety and fear find immediate, almost pleasurable acceptance in the minds of our enlarged amygdala brethren, perhaps making more understandable ready acceptance of such novel concepts as “FEMA concentration camps”, “Obama otherness” and “enhanced interrogation.”

An excellent book entitled, “The Republican Brain” by Chris Mooney ((John Wiley & Sons – 2012) tends to strongly echo the idea of congenitally impaired cognizance, as does a Fairleigh Dickinson University study which reveals that FOX viewers are the worst-informed media consumers in the America they profess to love. PBS came in first, just ahead of “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. How ’bout that? And the Colbert Report is right behind. Pun intended.

Mooney offers fascinating elaboration, but it pretty much comes down to ready Republican acceptance of only those thoughts, ideas and philosophies that offer comfortable conformity with already established, often pre-conditioned beliefs. Ultimately, it seems more a case of “nothing new” than “low I.Q” — Resurgent Isolationism — the last mind set we need as ready or not we accelerate our collective slide through time.

Paraphrasing the late Bette Davis as she so brilliant spoke of aging — “The 21st Century is no place for sissies.”

And perhaps no place for FOX News without substantial changes in programming and presentation.

Check out this — “Breaking News!”

In January of 2013, FOX News had its worst prime-time ratings in the coveted 25-54 demographics since August 2001 and its lowest total day ratings since June 2008. And — gasp — MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow beat “Studio B” and the 11 PM repeat of “The O’Reilly Factor” for the very first time. Even many “Republican Brains” have had enough — FOX’s interpretation of the famous phrase “fair and balanced” finally perceived as the hideously cruel joke it always was.

As for a concluding analytical summation, I love the quote Mr. Mooney chose to open his book and close this week’s column with it here:

“Reality has a well-known liberal bias” — Stephen Colbert

9 Responses to ““Fairly Unbalanced At The Speed of Lies””

  1. Cassie Duffy Says:

    hahahahaha- very funny column. Exactly what the White House wants the media to do, put down Fox News. I thought you would be above that.. Wait, breaking news report- gotta go…….If only I could stay awake for 24 hours, I would have total FoxNews coverage.

    sigh, Cassie

  2. deanofdance Says:

    Good work, Peter. I would love to tell you the facts will win but in America today having the facts on your side will get you nowhere.

  3. Charles Walker Says:

    To paraphrase Cary grant; Peter, Peter, Peter! Your amazing facility with words always leaves me speechless, however it doesn’t affect my ability to comment silently on-line. First, to be grammatically [not to say physiologically] correct, it is not “amygdalas” but rather amygdalae.

    The amygdala is involved in the modulation of memory consolidation. Following any learning event, the long-term memory for the event is not formed instantaneously. Rather, information regarding the event is slowly assimilated into long-term (potentially lifelong) storage over time, possibly via long-term potentiation.

    Recent studies suggest that, while the amygdala is not itself a long-term memory storage site, and learning can occur without it, one of its roles is to regulate memory consolidation in other brain regions. Also, fear conditioning, a type of memory that is impaired following amygdala damage, is mediated in part by long-term potentiation.

    In other words, amygdalae are essential to the human survival instinct [fight-flight]. I believe that most folks do have highly developed amygdalae which allows them to consider potential cost-benefit/fight-flight outcomes. It would appear that proglibacrats such as your learned self are somewhat shy in that area, fearing nothing since the Obama/Soros/Krugman trilateral oligarchy will take care of everything [but, of course, the bill].

    As to Fox News [which by the way I never watch except the last 20 minutes of “Fox News Tonight” to see The Charles], it tickles the shit out of me how much glee you libs seem to take in a drop of a few points, given that Fox still out polls all other cable news outlets combined. But now that Rachel actually beat Shep’s RERUNS for a few weeks, suddenly you think the world has turned and the left has suddenly found the hard rock candy mountain. “Hello Kitty” on the Kids Channel has a higher share than Rach. Even Algore, the richest man in the universe and beyond couldn’t pump up Keith Whatzizname, the former Hollywood Star.

    Oh, well…I guess you must take your comfort when and where you can.

  4. petercavanaugh Says:

    Charlie, of COURSE the plural of amygdala is amygdalae. EVERYONE knows that. Even my kat. The spelling “amygdalas” was meant to be funny. Get it? FUNNY! I’m glad, as an old friend, you only watch FOX “the last 20 minutes of Fox News Tonight”, which pretty much proves the point of my whole column.

  5. Charles Walker Says:

    That folks like me that watch all sides of the broadcast news spectrum are somehow not as smart as committed liberals who have welded their dial to MSNBC?

  6. petercavanaugh Says:

    I, too, watch EVERYTHING. MSBC is my Dan Berrigan and FOX is my Tony Bouscaren. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,935262,00.html
    Tony gave me an A+ in Russian History!
    I got solid B+’s from Berrigan after he gave me a F MINUS on a book report, saying I never read the subject of my report. He was correct. That same report got an A the year before from Carmody in 101 Theology. You can’t please everybody.

  7. Charles Walker Says:

    Mad Anthony and Dan “Sweet Mother Dingbat” Berrigan were like weird dopplegangers. In four years on the Heights I never got a grade higher than a B. My 4 year cumulative average was 2.0000000001. But I sure had a lot of fun.

  8. John O'Connell Says:

    Me, I would head to Wanda’s after every Berrigan or Bouscaren class. Charlie, for a FOX viewer, a GPA of 2 is kinda high.

  9. Sister Cecilia Connolly Says:

    John! Thank you for coming on board to offer Charlie salutations on his 2. I’m hoping he was watching FOX tonight to witness Rubio’s lunge for the water bottle. Jesus. Quoting MIchael Steele, former RNC Chairman, “He should have just sucked it in.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: