After more than a few setbacks and predictions of disaster, it's finally happened. Not surprisingly, FOX News helped whip up hysteria, talking to experts and then misrepresenting what those experts told them. No, I'm not talking about healthcare reform, I'm talking about the large hadron collider, which went online at 6:00 AM CDT today in Geneva, Switzerland. Here's FOX's reporting on the collider in January of 2009, before the last setback:
Still worried that the Large Hadron Collider will create a black hole that will destroy the Earth when it's finally switched on this summer?
Um, well, you may have a point.
Three physicists have reexamined the math surrounding the creation of microscopic black holes in the Switzerland-based LHC, the world's largest particle collider, and determined that they won't simply evaporate in a millisecond as had previously been predicted.
The story goes on to cite Roberto Casadio of the University of Bologna in Italy and Sergio Fabi and Benjamin Harms of the University of Alabama, who calculated that a mini black hole might be able to exist in the collider for more than a second. In a paper the trio published, they then went on to explain that this wasn't a problem since, regardless of their expanded calculations, the black holes would still dissolve.
But, of course, this is FOX News. Good news and accuracy don't fly here. If there's something out there that has even the slightest chance of harming you, then you should be absolutely terrified for your life. And don't worry, if you can't work up a blind, animal panic on your own, FOX is here to help. Scientists say you shouldn't freak out? Well, you know what FOX thinks of scientists.
"FoxNews.com can think of a few other things that didn't seem possible once -- the theory of continental drift, the fact that rocks fall from the sky, the notion that the Earth revolves around the sun, the idea that scientists could be horribly wrong.
"We're also wondering how often the LHC might create individual black holes, since longer-lived ones have a greater chance of merging with each other, and, um, well, see ya," the piece reads at the close. "If the worst comes to pass, and there's now a slightly greater chance that it might, at least it might explain why we've never heard from extraterrestrial civilizations: Maybe they built Large Hadron Colliders of their own."
Despite the fact that Casadio, Fabi, and Harms wrote that the collider wouldn't gobble up the planet, FOX ran all this under the headline, "Scientists Not So Sure 'Doomsday Machine' Won't Destroy World."
Well, here we are. I don't know about you, but I'm not feeling very crushed by the gravity of an object of infinite density. Light seems to be able to escape from my monitor and the guys from the city just rolled up to my curb to pick up the trash. Now granted I'm just going by own observations and I'm no physicist, but the world doesn't seem very obliterated today.
I know I said that I wasn't talking about healthcare reform, but I have been -- at least, metaphorically. If you watch FOX with any regularity, you're probably convinced that The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Act and The Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act will destroy America through various flavors of socialism, communism, and fascism. There are going to be death panels and rationing, big gummint bureaucrats are going to make decisions for you and your doctor (as opposed to the big insurance bureaucrats doing that now), and every woman is going to have to fill a lifetime quota of mandatory abortions... or something like that. At any rate, FOX News viewers are rendered stupid the network's coverage.
In August of 2009, an MSNBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that, among all news consumers, FOX News viewers were the most likely to be wrong about healthcare reform.
...In our poll, 72% of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants, 79% of them say it will lead to a government takeover, 69% think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and 75% believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly. But it would be incorrect to suggest that this is ONLY coming from conservative viewers who tune in to FOX. In fact, 41% of CNN/MSNBC viewers believe the misinformation about illegal immigrants, 39% believe the government takeover stuff, 40% believe the abortion misperception, and 30% believe the stuff about pulling the plug on grandma. What s more, a good chunk of folks who get their news from broadcast TV (NBC, ABC, CBS) believe these things, too. This is about credible messengers using the media to get some of this misinformation out there, not as much about the filter itself. These numbers should worry Democratic operatives, as well as the news media that have been covering this story.
So FOX wasn't the only culprit here, but they were the absolute worst, by almost forty-five points on at least one issue. I'm not a fan of TV news in general, but if you absolutely have to get news from TV, for the sake of your own sanity, don't get it from FOX.
The world remains undestroyed as I finish this up. Don't expect to see that headline on FOX News.
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