Fox News or Fake News?: The Radiohead Storm

Rory Cameron delves into the latest music industry drama as Fox News pit Radiohead against Coldplay - who’s right and who’s wrong?

Rory Cameron
20th November 2017
Image: Wikipedia

Isn’t it entertaining watching drama unfold, watching a spat between two industry juggernauts become ugly? Think McCartney and Lennon, Biggie and Tupac, Liam and Noel. Well now the music industry has a new war of words on its hands in Radiohead and, erm, Fox News?

Well, not so much a war of words, more petty squabbling. Although, that would actually insinuate that this tiff was less one sided that it actually has been. It appears that Fox News has decided to take a brief interlude from spreading hate and fake news over gun control activists and anyone further left on the political spectrum than Mussolini.

Following Radiohead’s induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month, comedian and Fox chat-show hosts Greg Gutfeld and Kat Timpf took a swipe at the band. They said that they were, “strange, malnourished and sad”, and described their music as “elaborate moaning and whining over ringtone sounds”. As big a fan of Radiohead as I am, there may be some truth to this very shallow assessment of one of the greatest and longest-producing bands of our time.

It caused a bit of a stir within the music fandom. Courting controversy and antagonising people as it does so well, the Fox News channel decided to continue this rather weak gag in subsequent shows, by foraying into the realm of music criticism.

First they claimed that the new Hall-of-Famers were a “poor man’s Air Supply”; yes, the cheesy, clichéd, sad ballad duo who have aged worse than milk left in the sun. Perhaps, an opinion to be expected from such a conservative channel. Then, however, they stated that not only Radiohead were worse than Coldplay, but that Thom Yorke et al stole everything they produce from Chris Martin & crew. How such a right wing TV news station, or even anyone for that matter, can like such a middle-of-the-road band is beyond me. This claim goes to show that Fox News know about as much about good music as they know religious tolerance. What’s more, Radiohead had already recorded four albums, including The Bends and OK Computer, before Coldplay had released their first album.

Jonny Greenwood briefly changed his Twitter bio to say “strange, malnourished and sad”, but that has been it.

The ‘comedic’ pair continued by calling for a ban all Radiohead songs being played in public areas, and followed up with a cringe-worthy skit on the ‘Radiohead lice’ problem.

So, did Radiohead do anything in response? Well, guitarist Jonny Greenwood briefly changed his Twitter bio to say “strange, malnourished and sad”, but that has been it. Quite right too, as Fox News don’t deserve the time of day. They are both a waste of breath, and Air Supply.

I guess Fox News should have followed the old adage of ‘stick to what you know’, and focused on racism and bigotry on their channel. Cult-hero Super Hans of Peep Show was right: “People like Coldplay voted for the Nazis, you can’t trust people.” And you especially can’t trust anything said by Fox News, which in itself is old news.

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