Is it time for a close reading of a Fox News story?

Yep, it’s time for a close reading of a Fox News story!

Here’s a headline from earlier today.

Notice how the report skips over the word “arrogant” and goes straight for the hot-button word, “American.”

The ad is looking for “someone who is respectful and understands Chinese culture.” That’s not about national origin; it’s about disposition. In this context, it’s clear that the emphasis in the next sentence of the ad falls on “arrogant,” which describes the opposite disposition. To use the word “American” here is simply to invoke a stereotype. It’s not an accusation; it’s a rhetorical device, just like the stereotype of “ditzy blondes,” which the lawyer mentions later on. If anyone is demonstrating a “predisposition” to the belief that Americans truly are arrogant, it’s the writer of this story, who proceeds as though it’s a given.

In a broader sense this story contributes to the over-arching narrative that foreigners are stealing American jobs. The report doesn’t even need to say this, because it’s the obvious subtext of many stories at Fox News. The incident itself is barely newsworthy—it affects people in the Chicago area who have “nuclear experience” and are in the market for a new job, and the company has already taken down the ad. So for the vast majority of Americans, this is a non-issue. But it plays into the larger narrative that Fox News is creating, and that’s why it gets splashed across their front page. Put enough of these non-stories together, and you can convince Americans that someone is stealing their jobs.

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2 Comments

Filed under Close Reading, how fiction explains the world, Steaming Pile of Politics

2 Responses to Is it time for a close reading of a Fox News story?

  1. M

    To quote many South Park episodes that parody this very phenomenon: Dey tuk er jeobs!

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