Friday, July 22, 2005

Modern Chinese Water Torture

I lost my employee badge recently, so yeserday I finally went to get it replaced. The security office is out in one of the older 1980's era buildings, in a windowless room with several video monitors of cameras panning different sections of the Provo campus. When I got to the door (solid, no windows, of course), I could hear rock music of some sort playing inside.

I knocked. Then, I knocked a little louder. When the lone security guy opened and let me in. As he made my badge, I found the source of the music. The guy had Fox News on, playing perhaps only slightly louder than it needed to be. What I had heard had been the exciting music of some commercial.

Now, imagine being locked in a windowless room with Fox News for eight hours a day. If it didn't drive you mad, it would have to reconfigure how your mind works. Perhaps Steven Pinker should look into this.

Soon, the program was back on, with some terrorism expert being interviewed about yesterday's second bombing attempts in London. Most of the dialog centered around the Fox News guy asking many pressing questions about how extremely unsafe the world is and the need for a stronger police state. At the bottom of the screen in large letters was a simple segment title: "Terror in London." (As opposed to using a more emotionally-neutral "Terrorism in London.")

It took a while for the badge making machine to warm up, so I suffered through to the next commercial break. First commercial? WWE profressional wrestling. So I pointed out to the guy that perhaps if professional wrestling advertisments target the viewing audience of your news channel, then there could be a parallel between the two different media. He smiled and sort of acknowledged what I had said without taking any visible offense.

Maybe Fox News should have some kind of Sugeon General's warning. "Prolonged exposure can lead to unhealthy levels of credulity and destroy your natural defense systems that rely on healthy skepticism."


Blogger evilzenscientist said...

One night we'll sneak in, remove the TV tuned to Fox and replace it with a radio playing only NPR. Think that would work?

I don't see any disconnect with someone in Provo, UT liking Fox News and WWE ads :)

6:23 AM  

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