Guest Opinion: Fox News wants to make money and has a recipe that works

I was able to read the (Nov. 15) article, "Fox News hosts bring on quality people with rational arguments". I believe the author's view is quite common among loyal Fox News watchers and I feel empathy with his neighbor.

I have considerable experience on this topic because I come from a family of Fox News viewers and now have the title, "Lefty Liberal." That's funny because I once was a staunch Reagan Republican, voted twice for Libertarian candidates in presidential elections, and I generally support Milton Friedman's principles of economics. Ordinarily that would make me pretty "right of center," but these are not ordinary times.

What the author fails to understand (or doesn't want to admit) is that Fox News has a much different agenda than what he attempts to defend in public. Fox is in the money-making business and it has found a recipe that works — feed on fear created by "potential" changes and reinforce discontent with established public institutions (i.e., the "mainstream media," the USPS, the FBI, etc.).

The primetime content is slanted so far to the money-making premises that even reputable guests are boxed into responses that "seem to fit". The information provided is generally inaccurate or missing relevance to the point they appear to be making. Unfortunately, to identify this requires resources — time and money — and reliable sources of information such as the Office of Management and Budget, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the Federal Reserve, and more.

Even then, when facts should not be disputable, the Fox News machinery will do everything in its power to discredit the information. Furthermore, the message is reinforced continually. And that is why Fox News is so financially successful and dangerous at the same time.

Is there a solution? CNN or MSNBC? No. Any network "news" program offered during primetime must provide content that can compete with standard entertainment viewing. They have to manipulate the news to make it "sexy" or else they will devolve into nonexistence.

Psychologists suggest that pointing out deficiencies in the "news" message will only polarize those that regularly watch. Perhaps suggesting ESPN, HGTV, Hallmark, or even a break from TV is better. Any time away from "the message" would benefit reasonable minds in the long run. That said, watching for many has become either an unhealthy habit or a compulsive addiction.

I have one last note on "news" content. I will argue that there's nothing more historically significant (or patriotic) when it comes to monitoring government activity, digging into public issues, and keeping us informed of things that affect us directly than our local news sources. Local news used to unite us and help foster responsible community leaders. Local leaders were nurtured into state and then national leaders. Today local news sources struggle for existence while the national network "news" fosters division and self-aggrandizing leaders. I don't have "the answer" for this issue, but I'm praying that together we can figure it out. In the meantime, I hope the piece's author spends more time with his newspaper and less time with Fox News.

Jeff Prescher lives in Fort Myers, Fla.

This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Fox News wants to make money and has a dangerous recipe that works