By Jason Fuller:
Although I have listened to the radio show CounterSpin multiple times, I never fully connected the dots between Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), Jeff Cohen, and CounterSpin. Quite frankly I am embarrassed to even say this! Jeff Cohen’s book Cable News Confidential, My Misadventures in Corporate Media is the story of how Mr. Cohen immersed himself in journalism and media through activism.
This began as he attended the Peoples College of Law in Los Angeles; it was here that he began his journalism career as a freelance reporter exposing police brutality and the LAPD’s illegal spying. From there he launched the Organization FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) and began to hold media organizations accountable. He went on to work for CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
It seems Cohen has accomplished what it would take four other people to do. The fact that he has stuck to his leftish ideology of equity, equality, justice and honesty while experiencing success working for national media giants like CNN is remarkable.
The media-driven news has an issue regurgitating “breaking” stories, and Jeff Cohen’s experience at Fox is a perfect example. I applaud his ability to stay sane, because just reading his book (specifically chapter 4), I found myself on the brink of pulling out my hair. The scandal involving Democratic Congressman Gary Condit was outlandish. The congressman’s affair with intern Chandra Levy was hyped 24/7 by the media once her body was found, and it turned out he wasn’t even involved in her death. Although important, we must not be so gullible to believe that this incident was the only important news in our nation’s capital at the time.
Another issue the Gary Condit scandal raised for Cohen as a journalist was being confronted with the reality of death. If I intend to go down this path of truth telling within commercial media institutions, then I must develop a tolerance to tragedies. However, this route dehumanizes media, and turns people into subjects; perhaps I can create a happy medium
Cohen had no qualms about biting the hand that fed him, as he often challenged, questioned and at times undermined his superiors at Fox. The description used in Cohen’s book that cable television is “infotainment” is a reality, and unfortunately this approach brings in greater ratings. As much as I desire to provide our communities with transparency, I now know that appealing to the audience and making money is the objective of most news outlets. At least now I realize what I’m getting into.
From reading his book and listening to my wise director, I now understand why listening to progressive and innovative radio is a must. I’m humbled, learning of the network and allies that Generation Justice has. Meeting Mr. Cohen and having a conversation will be truly enriching.