Shock Value

Tell Rupe what you want and he will deliver.

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.'”

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate