IN MY OPINION: Fair And Balanced My @$$ [IMO: DOL]

“ Fair and Balanced My @$$”

Catwoman #1 - Comic Book Cover

On Wednesday night last (Jan 18th) FOX 5 the Washington DC arm of Fox News ran a scathing report on the new 52 from DC Comics claiming that children were being corrupted from reading today’s comics. Fox News long praising themselves as fair and balanced, ran a trailer for the report during the afternoon in which they had a child psychologist call comics a form of “fictionalized Playboy” and it urged viewers to tune in at 11pm (5am GMT Thursday). Rich Johnson over at Bleeding Cool put up a link to the report on Thursday afternoon and the video makes for almost 4 minutes of an attack on DC specifically. The news anchor finished the segment by saying that DC refused to make a comment on the report. And why would they?

The reports correspondent Sherry Ly acknowledges in the report that the comics she is talking about, Catwoman and Batman and more of the new DC 52, are aimed at an audience of 16 years and more and for some puzzling reason she makes her way to a middle school to a group of kids roughly 10-11 years old and shows them the Batman and Catwoman issues where some commented that the books are probably not for them. I don’t see why she felt the need to do that, it felt like she was making a hollow point just to make parents feel like their kids were going behind their backs and reading comics far too mature for them. In short, she was stirring up needless fear in the name of ‘journalism’.

There was nary a mention in the report of the fact that the vast amount of comic’s these days have labels akin to movies and video games in which they are rated for a specific audience. Ly spoke in the report with Jared Smith, President of Big Planet Comics who I’m sure had much more to say than the roughly 15 seconds airtime he was given in the report. He mentioned how DC pushed the envelope and now they are getting attention from it. At no point in that brief segment did he mention anything about kids getting corrupted from reading comics but that didn’t stop Sherry Ly from getting on her high horse about the advertising within the issues themselves.

You would think the promotion for milk in helping healthy bones would be a positive thing but she and the child psychologist couldn’t see the point in it if the book was aimed at an older audience. If she had as much as a CLUE about business she would realise that advertising is about revenue and not tricking kids into buying comics for older folk. Who has ever heard of anyone buying a comic on the back of an ad they saw within the pages of said book? It was a ludicrous comment to make.

One of Ly’s lines in the report was seriously misleading. “Critics worry that the once family friendly genre has gone too far.” There was not one mention that the more mature tone of comics today are because of the likes of Marvel and DC dropping their affiliation with the Comics Code Authority and policing their content themselves with ratings printed on every cover of every comic that the companies put out. This report was nothing short of an unashamed focused attack on the comics industry.

Another Ly line: “The comics today mirror the movies superheroes.” And she left it at that. I don’t recall a mention of a report anywhere else that gives movies shit for their content. The movies ratings are set in stone and cinemas for the large part are good to police who watches what movie when it comes to age appropriation. The very same I’m sure that comic shops do with their mature content comics.

By the reports end, I was fuming. There was many a viewer I imagine who aren’t comics fans who will never pick up a comic book becasue of this. It may even have disuaded people who may have been on the fence about comics from ever picking up a comic. The report did serious damage to the comics industry as a whole. There was very little in the report that acted as a counterpoint for the comics industry. No comics pro was spoken to and they only spoke with one adult reader who quite rightly mentioned that the comics today promote realism in part with more adultery and homosexuality for example in comics now than there used to be. It wasn’t a criticism as such but merely a fact.  Here was a report, designed for a regional station that was now globally viral and in that the attack on DC became an attack on comics all over the world. Like the title of my piece, fair and balanced, my ass.

See the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CfzURnIaGvM

See the report here:  http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/01/19/fox-news-slams-dc-comics-over-sex-violence/