Fox News: The Hardest Part of Working Out

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Matt Damon (Image via

In the last two months I have suddenly morphed into ‘a woman who works out’. Overall, I love it.  I feel better, my body looks better, and I crank out some tunes I truly love for an hour every morning and enjoy them. However.

For some reason that remains mystifying to me, among the nine television screens arrayed in front of the elliptical machines and treadmills and recumbent bikes and stair steppers, there are always at least two iterations of Fox playing.

Like I said, I keep my tunes going while I’m working out, so I can’t actually hear the talking heads spew their nonsense. But watching them right next to other local and national news outlets is edifying.

While other stations trumpet the fact that President Obama’s approval rating has significantly improved in the last two weeks, Fox trumpets that it still remains below 50%.  While others have anchors who seem to genuinely enjoy each others’ company, the anchors at Fox News seem to be deciding where the most effective place to insert and turn a knife would be.

The story that triggered this post, however, left me scratching my head.  Keep in mind, the station wasn’t captioned, and I was listening to music. All I got was body language and headlines. The story was that Matt Damon has stated that he no longer supports President Obama.  Which is probably true. Damon is a pretty consistent liberal with a strong civil liberties bent and some of the actions coming out of the White House

But the faces and headlines took a 90 degree turn from reality shortly thereafter. The three commentators, one of whom was Juan Williams (and two women, a blonde and a brunette, whose faces weren’t familiar to me) stopped circling each other searching for places to insert a knife, and started circling Obama, in a frenzy from the chum in the water.

Their faces gave their feelings clearing, roughly translated as ‘Bwah ha ha! All those Obama voters are ours, now!’ They didn’t quite lick their lips or rub their hands together. Quite.

It’s really hard to maintain my mindfulness with this sort of show going on. I had to retreat into Jonathan Coulton’s ‘Millionaire Girlfriend’ for a moment to regain my inner peace, which is an important reason I work out, and a reason I wish they would banish Fox from the gym I go to.

The stupid, it burns. While there is certainly something to be said in terms of the lack of enthusiasm among hard line liberals for Obama given his stance on civil liberties and lack of consistent liberal positions, it certainly doesn’t translate into liberals voting en masse for any of the Republican presidential hopefuls. That, and the Republican’s own enthusiasm gap, as evidenced by the continuing search for a candidate that will come and ‘save the day’, means that Damon’s lack of enthusiasm is really not all that significant.

That, and Obama has a year to make decisions that will make hard line liberals happier, and the cover of the Occupy movement within which to make that shift. The demographics support it, and unlike Republican candidates, he continues to have small donor support sufficient to allow him to make those stands.

As to what this means for Congress?  Liberals really are discontent, and it is translating into mass action in the form of the Occupy movement,which is forcing the conversation leftward. This translates to more viable liberal candidates, and more moderate candidates able to endorse liberal positions, even in the face of the Citizens United decision.

(disclaimer: Yes, I know that the Occupy movement is not solely a liberal movement. That does not change the fact that the conversations it has invoked have largely been along lines that are part of the liberal tradition.)

I’m headed to the gym now. Like always, I will TRY to find an elliptical machine that does not have Fox glaring down at it, and like always I will be listening to music I truly enjoy. But chances are that Fox will yet again give comic relief to my workout.


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