As parents, we see this as a terrible example to society – especially children. Even people, from the person who did something unpristine to the sex offender who is sick, to the hardened criminal who is choosing to hurt others, an attack of hate and fear is not deemed to be helpful by the criminal justice system or the therapeutic community. In fact most probation and parole officers are actually trained counselors – armed with goals to insure that the punishment that is afforded by our constitution and laws, is adhered to but as well that offenders are brought back into society when possible to become productive. We would never teach our children, to do what Mike Beaudet does, to children who break the rules of a school, so why would we tolerate a grownup doing so?
The behavior, tone, choice of questions and unfair cornering of interviewees always present a skewed set of sound clips, that are more representative of power, intimidation and professionally staged bullying – than of news.
In a classic do-as-I-say-but-not-as-I-do, Beaudet exemplifies behavior that none of us would want our kids mimicking or growing up to imitate. Sneaking into schools, jumping out from hidden places to surprise people, creating embarrassing or unrepresentative film clips to later humiliate someone – just to name a few – are not qualities which we would want our children to imitate, no less the young journalists of the future. As we look at the non-partisan committee on Presidential Debates (http://www.debates.org/index.php?page=2012-2) , we see a selection of some of the nation’s top journalists, all of whom are strong, in-depth and persistent interviewers, yet none of whom seems to need to ambush, interrupt, imbalance or skew facts in their normal jobs to be successful. And what is most notable, is how – when faced with having to moderate the President of the United States and a prominent and powerful running opponent, they cannot and do not rely on the backing of their parent company – but only on their skills of diplomacy and communication. This is a claim that Mike Beaudet cannot make.
We do not want to present this site as anti-Fox, as some of us (though not all) believe that there are aspects of Fox Corporation which are very good. However, there is agreement among us that there are social and psychological ramifications to the networks constant barrage of sensationalism, fear, dissention and polarization – all things which seem to be exemplified in the reporting of Mike Beaudet. In the Journal: Anxiety, Stress & Coping: An International Journal, Mary E. McNaughton-Cassill published her work THE NEWS MEDIA AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS, following the links between news media and stress. And while we believe that adults need media to be informed about the world around them there are actually studies which have shown that consumers of Fox News are less informed overall, than those who do not consume news. And the consumption of news, particularly the version churned out by Fox Undercover is not one which we believe is either helpful or safe for our young people to consume.
Our opinion is that when news constantly produces discontent, fear, scapegoats and misinformation, that people lose sight of dignity, hope and opportunity. None of us debate that there are problems in society to report on, but our message to our children is that you can bring about change and improvement to the world. Instead of teaching them who in their school to hate, we teach them to work with others, learn about differences, and to stand up for universal good. We empower our children to find productive and civilized solutions to problems. And to this end, we strongly disagree with Fox 25’s use of the airwaves around Boston to promote Fox Undercover and its lynch man Mike Beaudet. We feel that they are taking advantage of the freedoms of the press to promote their local news, at great expense to Boston area communities, lowering the bar on news, on television and on the lingering hope that our media culture may not degrade any further than it already has.Mr. Beaudet, according to one of his former students at a local university, indicated that one of the greatest pieces of advice that he was given was to never give up. And generally, this is a positive attribute, whether fighting against adversity in one’s life, challenging a crippling disease or trying to find happiness in life. However, when one’s job is pursuing other people, when one might not always actually be right, have been given the right tip, and when the consequences can be damage to that person and to communities, never giving up just might become dangerous. Do we want to send a message to our children to never give up, in situations like this? Or do we want our children to be able to differentiate from areas where you should always keep trying and areas where it is ok to move on. A divorced woman, who still loves her ex-husband, has to move on when her ex gets remarried. Someone who insists on having a job in Boston, after years of not working, just might have to move out of state if that’s what it takes to feed their family. Inflexible blanket philosophies can become dangerous and counterproductive, and we question whether this message needs to be tempered with critical thinking and self evaluation.
Recently, another student of Mike Beaudet from Emerson, posted a very positive review of the reporter. The problem is that we could not find any trade of the course (JRNL1150) that Beaudet was allegedly so wonderful at teaching in the Emerson catalogue. As best as we could find online, Beaudet is one of many instructors in into level courses only.