Monday 5 January 2009

Oman: need a laugh?

Our satellite TV company, Orbit, once claimed to be ‘three years ahead of the rest’, although this has recently been downgraded to ‘leading the way’. Let's see....

Channel hopping on a typical day will reveal a collection of old Egyptian black and white films, cartoons, Discovery Channel repeats, American basketball, American news programmes, Myth Busters repeats, How It’s Made repeats, movie channel repeats, BBC Prime gardening and ‘To Buy or Not to Buy’ repeats, the Fashion Channel (eh?), an American ‘Super’ comedy channel (showing repeats) and four pay-per-view film channels. For our viewing pleasure, Orbit repeats a few of these channels with a delay of one or two hours, so we can watch repeats of the same repeats. In case this is not enough, there are also several hundred free-to-air channels of drivel from around the Middle East.

From today however, Orbit has added ‘Fox News’ to its line-up of comedy channels. Leaning ever so slightly to the right, the Republican propaganda channel hosts, wearing nice blond hair and heavy makeup, entertain with good-versus-evil tabloid journalism under the laughable ‘fair and balanced’ banner. Of course all ‘news’ programmes are biased in some way, but Fox (amusingly pronounced ‘fucks’ in the US) excels in extremism which is it then vehemently denied and camouflaged with slogans like ‘fair and balanced’ and ‘no spin zones’ to cover their crassness.

Fox is also the home of Bill O’Reilly whose style is a mixture of rhetoric, distortion, bias, aggression and plain stupidity. O’Reilly has many critics, including Keith Olbermann on MSNBC (Orbit Channel 40) who regularly includes articles on the latest antics of ‘Billo the Clown’ and the Fox News team. O’Reilly’s interview with Richard Dawkins a couple of years ago is one of my personal favourites.

If you need a good laugh, go to Channel 45 on Orbit.

No comments: