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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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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