Fox News recently aired live footage of a suicide, and it is no coincidence that this was broadcast on this specific network. If you are familiar with Fox News, you can easily imagine the executives raising their champagne glasses in celebration of this "blunder."
The network lives for such moments, in which it manages to drag the professional bar below the red line that it had set just two minutes ago. Fox News airs most of the live police chases, despite the fact that they have no value from a news standpoint. These jumps in the ratings, even if they last for only a few minutes, have the adrenaline flowing in the veins of a network that is glad to sell you cheap thrills, entertainment, gossip and shock on a daily basis, way before it deals, almost reluctantly it seems, with actual news.
I have no expectations from a network that employed Glenn Beck, an odd man with an extreme-rightist agenda that originates in the Tea Party movement, and still employs Bill O'Reilly, another hilltop youth who, I suspect, is not overly concerned with balanced reporting.
Responsible journalism and Fox News have never gone together, but let's not kid ourselves: the hypocrisy displayed by the network after the suicide – the apologies and the ridiculous self-flagellation –is characteristic of most news channels, also in Israel. The lust for snuff does not pass over many news editors who consider it their mission to provide the public with information that only has shock value. This is how you got to see paragliders crash, an injured motorcyclist lying on the road before a car runs him over and kills him, the bodies of murdered underworld kingpins and way too many interviews with Assi Dayan in his current state.
These images are no different than the Fox News footage of the driver pulling out a handgun and shooting himself in the head, which has been aired over and over on every major website. Every day the mainstream websites invite you to "watch" something (by the way, is that and order or a suggestion?), something you don't really want to see – brutal assaults, head-on collisions, animal abuse, a toddler locked in a sweltering car or a shooting at a grocery store. The current media outlets feel more and more obligated to stimulate your senses and less and less obligated to take your humanity into consideration. Fox News is not alone; it is merely at the forefront of this cheap and infuriating trend.
Today, when the power of journalism is moving to the street, there is no reason why this power should not come back like a boomerang and strike all these networks that order you to "watch" or throw blood in your faces. Just say no. Change the channel, turn the TV off. Ignore it.