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Fox News Bravely Reminds Viewers That IRS & Benghazi Killed More Than The 239 People On Malaysian Airliner

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Looks like a memo from the Desk Of Murdoch made its way Thursday to the on-air meatpuppets at Fox News. On the March 20 edition of The Five, footage of the passengers' anxious relatives inspired Andrea Tantaros to declare that the poor folks must feel exactly like the families of the Americans who died at Benghazi. And then just a little bit later, Bill O'Reilly explained why there's been so much coverage of the missing plane: not because there's anything inherently interesting about an airplane vanishing without a trace with 239 people aboard, but because the media are afraid to cover the most timely stories in the news today, the IRS and Benghazi.


And just in case you missed it, Thursday was also the day that MSNBC's Chris Hayes delivered a brilliant jeremiad against using the missing airliner as an excuse to advance a paranoid political agenda on pet issues. Pretty good timing there, Chris!

On The Five, Kimberly Guilfoyle set up the shot, imagining how difficult it must be for the families of the people on the plane to still not know what had happened after a full two weeks. After that assist, Tantaros drove to the basket, launching a long, not at all credulity-straining 3-point attempt:

“Think how long it took for them to get this kind of media attention,” Tantaros added. “I mean, living in Malaysia, the government seemingly ignored these people, they didn’t want their stories to get out. They weren’t talking to them ... they were saying 'No one has come to my house, no one has told me what has happened ... It feels like the families of Benghazi, just saying. And we’re better than that.”

And the crowd went wild, presumably. It certainly sounded like a spontaneous observation, and not the least bit scripted. So the measure of Fox News empathy is now "this makes us almost as sad as Benghazi. But not quite." They're sort of like the people who write letters to the editor after a natural disaster or terrorist attack comparing the death toll to the millions of unborn babies murdered by abortion.

Later that evening, on The O'Reilly Factor, Billo went mano-a-monomania with the airliner story as well:

After noting that it is indeed kind of big news that possible wreckage had been found, Billo added that there'll no doubt be endless speculation about the possible discovery, and unlike the moon's influence on the tides, he knew exactly how to explain it: "The media is running wild with the airline story as you know, and there is a big reason why."

Oh, let us guess! Morbid curiosity? Widespread amazement that after two weeks, this is still a complete mystery? Basic human interest? What?

"Money. The nation’s newspapers are in dire trouble. They need bold headlines. The network news doesn’t want to cover important stories like the IRS and Benghazi but they can cover the airliner without any political consequences."

This is so very true! If only every single media outlet had the courage of Fox News, and would harp on two stories that are far more fascinating to everyone. Lord knows Americans have been crying out for more coverage of Benghazi and the IRS, please.

Billo continued, getting to the real source of his ire:

Cable news, which now dominates America’s prime time media, is in a brutal war for ratings. The Fox News Channel was the #1 rated cable channel in the country last week. Not just news, all cable channels. We beat everybody. The zombies, the thrones, you name it.

There’s a lot at stake here. FNC wants to keep its leadership and its main competitor, CNN, understands there’s an appetite for the airline story. So it’s going wall-to-wall trying to generate some interest, get some viewers.

Ah, yes, the huge triumph of Fox News over Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, which both would be well-advised to include appropriate subplots. Perhaps Game of Thrones could include a wizard who places hexes on Tea Party groups that apply for tax exemptions, and we suppose that The Walking Dead could somehow contrive a story line about a small group of heroes besieged by mindless gibbering hordes that want to kill them, and they find that there's no one coming to help them.

And then there's the ratings competition from CNN, which actually has been kicking Fox's tail with the airliner story. Funny Billo didn't mention that. For a fan of free markets, O'Reilly isn't very happy when consumers turn their eyeballs to some other network's screens, which can only be explained by the cold hard fact that they're being distracted by trivia instead of focusing on Benghazi and the IRS like they should.

Still, there's hope for Billo yet -- it's spring, so maybe Fox can do another round of War on Easter stories.

[Media Matters / Media Matters again / Mediaite / NewsHounds]

Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. Like Pete Hoekstra, waiting for more Benghazi news makes him feel like a member of the Warsaw Resistance listening to BBC freedom broadcasts.

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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