Exterminating #FoxNewsFacts

I’ve been wanting to blog about the hilariously idiotic suggestion, made by someone purportedly an expert on Fox News, that Birmingham is a city inhabited only by Muslims, with non-Muslims simply not going there. This is a case of someone saying something which is not merely an error, but indicates clearly that they are making things up and have no idea what they are talking about. This isn’t a “blunder,” it is evidence that Steve Emerson willfully and deliberately asserts things for which he has no evidence. There is no other explanation. You don’t have to know much about Birmingham to find this laughable.

I’m trying to think of a way to work a discussion of this into my “Speaking about Religion” class, in a manner that doesn’t simply involve pointing and laughing, but something more substantive that can help with learning fact-checking skills that can be applied to more subtle instances of nonsense and deliberate deception.

The outburst of mockery that has filled Twitter has used the hashtag #FoxNewsFacts. Scare quotes don’t work well in a hashtag, but even though you can’t see them around the word “facts,” they are there.

In the Telegraph‘s round-up of some of the hilarious tweets, I noticed that Daleks had made their way into the fray:

Fox News Facts Daleks

 

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  • In related satirical reporting, The Daily Mash says that Birmingham is now 100% Klingon: http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/birmingham-now-100-percent-klingon-2015011394318

  • Jeff Carter

    it is occasions like this that make limericks continually relevant.

    http://thatjeffcarterwashere.blogspot.com/2015/01/a-limerick-for-fox-news-foxnewsfacts.html

    • Ian

      Aren’t limerick’s supposed to be metric, not just rhyming? Amphibrachs, I thought (at least I was taught amphibrachs by saying ‘they’re what Limericks are made of’).

      • Jeff Carter

        some limericks are based on amphibrachs (short – long – short) but not all. many are anapaest (short – short – long)
        i’ve mixed the meters in this one, i know….

        • Ian

          I love the pithicism “poetry is like dancing, it all goes horribly wrong if you use the wrong foot” 🙂

  • In Birmingham, they love the governor.

  • Kent

    Sometimes pointing and laughing is the best, most effective medicine.

  • Marta L.

    What amazes me about this whole story is the tin ear required not to see the … double standard, to put it mildly.

    Granted, I’m tired (so cranky and none-too-charitable), but this is the station that for *years* has considered it a violation of the highest order for Walmart to say “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” – meaning to my way of thinking there’s something offensive in people who aren’t Christian *not* being forced to recognize that as the reason for the season. They’ve come down on the same (wrong IMO) side of other issues, like pharmacists having to choose between prescribing what they consider abortifacients and keeping their jobs, or county clerks registering gay marriages or doing their jobs. The thought process seems to be that the law must at a minimum accommodate Christian religion or it’s just plain wrong – and they seem to see no problem with gay people not being allowed to obtain a state marriage because of Christian religious doctrine, to take just the first example that springs to mind.

    So for them to react at horror at the idea of non-adherents of [religion] being forced by public authority to observe [religion]’s statutes? The details may be more vicious in what they were claiming was going down in Birmingham, but it’s just similar enough it’s simultaneously hilarious and really not funny at all.