Shock Value

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A survey released in January by the University of California-Los Angeles Center for Communication Policy found that Fox “shockumentary” shows were a wholly new category of intense violence. Reality-based specials such as “The World’s Most Dangerous Animals,” “When Animals Attack,” and “World’s Scariest Police Shootouts” represent the only type of network programming in which the level of violent content has increased during the past three years.

Meanwhile, in Murdoch’s own publications, the message is more upbeat. As Michael Starr gushed in the New York Post last February, “If you’re looking for TV’s scariest, deadliest thrills, Fox is ready to satisfy your craving–again….Tonight’s first special–‘World’s Scariest Police Chases 4’–includes clips of Arizona police locked in a wild, high-speed pursuit of a suspected carjacker….Fox has also showcased shock-specials such as ‘When Animals Attack’ (‘They’re big! They’re bad! And they’re biting back!’), ‘The World’s Deadliest Swarms,’ ‘Video Justice: Crime Caught on Tape,’ and ‘Prisoners Out of Control.'”

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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