FoxNews:Bare and Phallanced

N o I’m  not backing off of that, that’s what they do to the news.  I spent a little time on FoxNews this morning because I like to read opinions I won’t necessarily agree with, and in case anyone is worried about reading future work of mine, don’t.  I put condoms on my finger tips, and I double bagged my right index finger because at the end of the day, I have to know for me or I can’t sleep at night. 

Listen, if an organization that reports the news has to remind you over and over they are “Fair and Balanced” it’s because they probably aren’t.  Shouldn’t it be a given that news agencies are fairly objective?  Of course, nobody expects pure unopinionated journalism 24/7, and that’s fine.  Reporters are humans too.  Kind of.  Generally though, those editorial moments are pretty transparent and the average news broadcast should be fairly straightforward. 

But what’s going on when an organization feels the need to remind you that they are objective thousands of times a day, like they’re setting up billboads for McDonalds?  Think about that BigMac you’re eating.  Does it taste good?  Objectively…hell no.  It has the consistency and salt content of a saline breast implant. Texturally,  it’s like rolling a pile of diaper poo around in your mouth.  But for some reason, in the back of your skull, in some dopamine-induced semi-trancelike way, you can’t help but think, “I’m lovin’ it.”   

That’s what FoxNews does to you.  Sit down some time, turn on FoxNews, put on a dental dam, and count the number of times you either see or hear that slogan over the course of an hour.  It’s ridiculous, really.   What it is, is a perfect articulation of the “Miller: The Champagne of Beers” test I invented years ago for ferreting out BS in the world.    Example:  Champagne is classy.  Let’s say our beer is like champagne to make us look classy.  But hang on, if the best advertising campaign you can come up with for your beer is to say  it’s completely unlike beer in every regard, and the next best comparison would be saying it’s like a thin, fizzy, unhoppy grape juice product…you’ve really told us everything we need to know even though you didn’t intend to.   Lots of companies do this, and if you see it going on, you know.  Lando Calrissian slid Colt 45 under his moustache before and during each of his three divorces.  Are you a man like Lando?  Drink Colt 45.  

But let’s be honest.  Miller is trying to sell me a product.  I expect that of them.  However, I should not have to fend off this kind of thing from a business venture that is predicated upon an assumption of honesty.  That’s messed up.  That’s why I chose the example of birth control for this post.  Of course I trust you.  Isn’t it clear that I trust you when I’m willing to go home with you after meeting your for the first time tonight and I accept your statement of transparent honesty despite the fact that you are wearing a million gallons of makeup, lying about your age, and pretending that you don’t know that I’m running game on you while drinking twelve Miller Lights.   I just use birth control with everyone.  Everyone?  Oh, um, not that I sleep with a lot of girls.  I never do this because I’m not that kind of guy. You’re the first, in fact.  Let me get you another drink…

But FoxNews is just like that.   Imagine if you are talking with some girl at a bar, and about seventeen times that evening she volunteers, completely unsolicited, that she absolutely does not have chlamydia.  Now this would seem, on the alcohol-glazed surface, that’s she’s being a very good person by telling you she’s clean, and and an even better person for clearly letting you know that you’ve got enough tickets for the stuffed porcupine at the Chucky Cheese redemption center and you can quit playing Ski–ball.  However, when you get a second to ponder the universe’s mysteries at the bottom of your beer glass for five minutes when she gets up to go to the ladies room later that evening, you’re probably going to note that it’s a bit strange for her to keep mentioning that.  Hmm.  Why would she say she doesn’t have chlamydia over and over?  Why not AIDS, herpes, syphilis, a shunt in the back of her neck?  Why is that so important to her?  Did she have it before and it’s gone, or…


what am I going to read later on at that is going to look so much like chlamydia that I’m going to need to be prepped as to whatever her answer to that question is FAR IN ADVANCE simply to be persuaded to keep reading?

If you have to say it’s the Champagne of beers.


Ben Tomkins is a violinist, teacher, journalist and critically acclaimed composer currently living in Denver, Colorado. He hates stupidity and generally believes that the volume of one’s voice is inversely proportional to one’s knowledge of an issue. Reach Ben Tomkins at

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