Let this be a warning to anyone who is considering the purchase of a digital antenna. And an apology to those of you who didn’t know about this radical technology and as a result of reading this column end up buying your own rabbit ears. If you’re the type of content book reader and Netflix subscriber that I was for the past five years before this recent acquisition, the best thing you can do is keep on living how you’re living. Whatever you do, unless you are an anthropologist who wants to understand why so many Americans are unflinchingly stupid, don’t spend $30 for a digital antenna that will enable you to access basic network television for free. Because you might just end up getting brainwashed.
Among innumerable other nightmarish fascinations of the Dancing with the Stars variety, one ongoing poisonous commercial I’ve endured almost regularly since securing my antenna is a program called Fox 25 News. You really have to see this piss-yellow abomination, though I don’t recommend watching it every morning like I do. Not if you want to know what’s actually happening in the world beyond whatever press releases piqued the interest of producers that week.
It’s no surprise that local Fox outposts are devilish. If journalism was your family, Fox News the cable channel is your wealthy angry uncle who abuses children and supports the president, while affiliates of Fox across the country are like your extended cousins who you just assume are conservative dicks because of how condescending they are. Don’t sleep on the latter, though; while Fox’s odious national news operation—which traffics in the kind of laughable hyperbole that seems both silly and satirical to humans but that hypnotizes heathenish Republicans and other bigots—scrubs the Donald’s doorknob all day long, its local henchmen have been doing something comparably unethical: ignoring Trump entirely.
Since getting my dreaded digital antenna, there have been days when I’ve learned more about the week in politics from the inane wannabe TMZ show that follows the Fox morning news in the three seconds it takes for me to grab the remote at 10:01 than I did from the preceding hours of nonsense. It’s just sports, weather, feel-good mush, and the standard fires, shootings, and man-on-the-street talks with people who have little clue. But hardly any Trump, probably so that the dolts who avidly digest this crude excuse for journalism don’t have to see the havoc being wrought by their choice for the Oval Office.
I apologize for limiting this rant to my local Fox affiliate, as it surely could apply to almost any major television news fiasco. But Fox 25 really is extra awful—just peep its website. At the time of this writing, there’s not a single article about the pres on the entire sprawling home page. Just dead-end local filler, like, “Body discovered in trash container in Pittsfield.” I presume beside the hopes and dreams of anyone who ever grew up wanting to report the news but wound up pushing microphones for the most evil media empire of all.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.