I watched Fox News for 12 hours straight
For those of you unfamiliar with America’s Fox News, try and imagine Sky News plunged into a constant state of hysteria churning out the type of propaganda that would make Joseph Goebbels feel uncomfortable.
Hyperbole aside, Fox is essentially a right wing PR machine owned by Rupert Murdoch which dedicates itself to deliberately distorting facts and proliferating fear as well as ignorance on behalf of America’s Republican Party.
In fact, a 2010 survey conducted by the University of Maryland has shown that watching Fox News can actually be detrimental to intelligence by making its viewers more misinformed than the average citizen.
Literally, the more you watch the less you actually know.
So with my student life lacking any sense of direction or purpose, I decided to spend an entire day, that is, 12 hours straight, sat on the couch watching Fox.
I wanted to see if a Fox News binge would actually make me more stupid, or at the very least, make me lose touch with reality.
As a student of the social sciences, I realised that for the experiment to work I would have to rid myself of my snobbish leftist liberal prejudices and adopt the persona of your typical open-minded Fox viewer.
Besides, according to their official slogan Fox’s reporting aims to be “fair and balanced” so I figured I was in safe hands.
Call me shallow but I was struck by the fact that practically every female anchor was both blond and extremely attractive.
I assumed this was deliberate – having a beauty pageant contestant tell you that Obama is a Kenyan-born communist Antichrist who wants to destroy America probably eases the shock a little.
And it turns out that along with the President, there are a bunch of other people who hate America including: socialists, progressives, Muslims, immigrants, hippies, Ebola and Hilary Clinton.
And sure, my housemates were a little surprised to find me on the couch consumed with rage shouting, “Those darn Mexicans are taking our jobs!” at the TV.
But soon enough they too got on board and together we watched “Fox and Friends”, which is actually far more angry then its show title suggests. It basically consists of three people talking over each other about how much they hate political correctness while they fake-laugh at each other’s super lame jokes.
By mid-afternoon, I was pretty terrified. My cosy cocoon of liberal naivety had been shattered by all these unknown threats to the West, and I didn’t know who I could trust anymore.
At this point I was ready to give up on my Fox-only diet for fear that I might actually be subjecting myself to some permanent brain damage. But I knew I had to go on, because otherwise the terrorists would win.
Next up was The Sean Hannity show. Hannity is like a demented version of that hopelessly offensive UKIP-supporting uncle we all have, except that he gets to spout his lunacy to a huge national TV audience.
On this particular occasion, he’d invited pro-Obama guest on the show for a debate and proceeded to blast questions at the poor guy without giving him the courtesy of a response. I was in awe and oddly impressed “shout at them into submission” tactic.
By the end I was exhausted. Beyond the scare-mongering, sensationalism and fist-thumping patriotism, I realised I hadn’t seen a news story of any actual substance the entire day.
But perhaps I was missing the point. Maybe it isn’t meant to be taken too seriously. Their over the top reporting was way more entertaining than watching the Leeds local news for twelve hours.
It definitely wasn’t a waste of a full day.