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Subliminal Seduction?

Posted by Rick · April 7th, 2004 · 3 Comments

Is Fox “News” trying to make a statement? An interesting thing is happening with their website….

Denise Chaffee (my wife, who I sometimes even get to see face-to-face!) called to tell me about something she’s noticed for several days now. She said, “Try this.”

So you go to the Fox “News” website. Go to a story that does not have negative ramifiications for the Bush administration in and of itself. For example, click today that would mean clicking on the story about Condi Rice preparing to testify before the 9/11 commission. The story puts a very positive spin on her expected performance. It quotes senators saying they think she will do a very good job. It mentions that she’s taking it seriously and that it’s no laughing matter. It says she views this as an important opportunity to work with the commission. Bush says that “she’s a very smart, capable person who knows exactly what took place and will lay out the facts.”

Now use your back button to return to the main page of the Foxnews.com website. Click on any story that would appear to be politically neutral. For example, the story titled “Lawyer: Audrey’s Getting Treatment.” (I’m deliberately not linking these stories, because you need to follow the procedure I’m outlining to see what happens.) After reading that story, use your back button to return to the main page again.

Now click on a story that is either critical or potentially damaging to the Bush Administration. For example, today the story I used is “Kerry: Bush Has Driven Up Deficit.” (The actual story, once you get there, will be titled, “Kerry Unveils Economic Plan.”) Did you see what happened on the way to the story?

It also happens if you’re sitting at the Kerry story (or any other that triggers this behavior) and, after moving over to another program, you use “alt-tab” to switch back to the Fox “News” site.

At first, I thought perhaps this was related to stories about people running for the Presidency. But if you go to their “Politics” page you’ll note some confusing behavior. This little trick pops up for a story about Peter Coors making a bid for a Senate seat — the story indicates this will pit Coors against a conservative Republican (possibly doing to the Republicans what that idiot Nader does to the Democrats when he runs?). It pops up for a story about the Military Voting System problems — which starts off with a statement critical of the Pentagon. It also pops up on the way to a story about environmentalists — which, of course, are one of the scourges of the Bush Administration. It’s beyond me why it pops up for the story about Inglewood voters rejecting Wal-Mart.

On the other hand, it doesn’t pop up for a story about Air America. It doesn’t pop up for the story about the ACLU challenging the no-fly list. And it doesn’t pop up before the story about the Russian Defense Minister complaining about NATO and the West.

Perhaps it’s all just some creative trick gone awry at Fox “News”; perhaps it’s just one more behavior proving where Fox’s heart really lies — with entertainment, and not the news. Perhaps it’s not — as my wife “opines” — some kind of subliminal message.

I just wonder why this image needs to be popping up en route to “news” stories at all.

Categories: Politics-In-General


3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lisa // Apr 8, 2004 at 2:34 pm

    Actually, I think it is a glitch. I’m not a huge Fox fan, so don’t jump to the conclusion that I am jumping to their support blindly. It is probably a glitch which means they are… well, at least something in the web site is… screwed up. But I got the image on the way to the story about Kerry being ahead of Bush in the polls (“The 2004 Deadlock”)(not a story favoring Bush), AND on the way to the story about Bush Hosting Hunters (definitely in his favor). I do notice that it pops up only as long as the ad on that page is loading and the url at the bottom of the screen shows “about:blank.” Looks like it probably is just filler (an interesting choice of filler, but necessarily a bad one) and whether or not it pops up depends on how long it takes for the page you’re jumping to, to actually load (or more accurately depending on how long it takes the the ad at the top of the page you are jumping to, to load.)

  • 2 Kent // Apr 8, 2004 at 11:22 pm

    It is the background image for all the “You Decide 2004” articles. The page is so heavy with code that is takes a bit of time to draw the page. If you minimize the page and then restore it, you see it again as the page is redrawn.

    Deliberate use of the effect? Maybe, maybe not. Interesting effect? Definitely so on a site that is so blatantly supportive of GW.

  • 3 Rick // Apr 9, 2004 at 7:00 am

    I figured it was something like that. On the one hand, it’s a little obvious to be TRUE subliminal advertising.

    Fox “News” would no doubt argue that it’s a picture that represents the race for the White House. And that is probably even how they intended it. (It’s still odd that it comes up on some stories that aren’t actually about the Presidential election, like the Wal-Mart story.) At the same time, it doesn’t seem appropriate for a “news” site to be doing anything like that at all; it COULD be considered subliminal in a sense that it subliminally endorses “the White House” which currently means “George Bush.”

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