Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Monday, November 08, 2004

A liberal dogs Fox News

Fox News led the other cable news networks in election night coverage, according to this New York Times article, but the real news isn't about Fox News: The article actually identified a leftist organization as "liberal."

This astonishing slip of the tongue (or, perhaps I should say keyboard) occurred in the discussion of the allegedly rightward lean of Fox News.

It seems that Fox News denies there is a bias, but instead an inclusion of all points of view:

The advertising sales force at Fox News also has to deal with the cable network's reputation for leaning rightward, though not nearly as often as its corporate executives have had to defend against such charges.

While Mr. Ailes may have been a political adviser to three Republican presidents, he continues to vehemently rebut suggestions that the journalistic content offered on Fox News slants to the right. "Presenting a point of view is not necessarily biased,'' he said. "Eliminating a point of view is biased.''

But, as the New York Times reporter noted:

Critics, including dogged liberal organizations like Media Matters, have begged to differ, and the network's coverage of the presidential campaign has provided them with plenty of fodder. [Emphasis added.]

Discussing the impact of the recent Osama bin Laden video just before the election, Neil Cavuto, an anchor on Fox News, said the Qaeda leader was in effect wearing a campaign button for Mr. Kerry. And in early October, Fox News reprimanded its chief political correspondent, Carl Cameron, for fabricating several quotes ostensibly uttered by Mr. Kerry - many of them about a manicure - in a mock article mistakenly posted, briefly, on the Fox News Web site.

Never mind the paucity of "fodder"--look at that adjective used to describe Media Matters. Not only is that organization "liberal," it is "dogged" in its liberalism.

Keep an eye peeled for the reporter's name to appear in the byline of future articles about the efficiency of New York street sweepers, the loneliness of park benches at midnight, and the eternal battle against an accumulation of sewer gases under the streets of the city, now that he has broken the taboo. Poor old Jacques Steinberg: His journalistic career is surely finished.


Blogger Al Hedstrom said...

"Paucity" of fodder? Jeez, Mic. Have you ever seriously read Media Matters' content? Or have you merely dismissed it as just another left wing site, not worthy of your time or consideration?

The "paucity of fodder" to which you refer are only two of the more egregious recent events.

Seriously, do a search there for article on Fox News. Read.

And a serious examination of Fox News content from the receiving end of their broadcasts can lead to only one conclusion: Fox News is heavily biased toward Republicans.

It's "inclusion" of contrary viewpoints is both small in the number of people and in the amount of time. The Liberal viewpoint is frequently shouted down and cut off.

"Presenting a point of view is not necessarily biased,'' he said. "Eliminating a point of view is biased.'' I wonder how Ailes applies this to the New York Times.

Unbiased, my ass.

November 08, 2004 6:41 PM  
Blogger Micajah said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 08, 2004 10:26 PM  
Blogger Micajah said...

[Let's try that again--the preview didn't match the final product, and the link to the Observer didn't work. We'll see if I can get it right the second time around.]

My statement about the paucity of the "fodder" was offered as a counterpoint to the reporter's statement: "... and the network's coverage of the presidential campaign has provided them with plenty of fodder."

The two instances he cited seem not to justify using the word "plenty."

Neil Cavuto's show isn't a straight news reading. He offers his own analysis and that of his guests. Accepting as true the statement that Cavuto commented (as virtually everyone was commenting) about the probable impact of the Osama bin Laden videotape which was broadcast on October 29, his statement is hardly evidence of bias--whether he said it in a humorous vein as he apparently did, or not.

Here is how Fox News describes the Cavuto show:
"Your World with Neil Cavuto" offers news and insight on Wall Street and other market activities, while wrapping up the business news of the day. Named "the best interviewer in broadcast business news" by The Journalist and Financial Reporter, Neil Cavuto identifies why and how events happen.

No one can offer insight or say "why and how events happen" without expressing an opinion--and Fox News doesn't pretend that Cavuto can do so.

Carl Cameron's reputation with the Kerry campaign staff and the people who had been working on the campaign of Howard Dean seems to be pretty good. See this article in the New York Observer.

Cameron's parody of a news report after the first presidential debate was intended as a humorous bit for his colleagues, but was mistakenly posted on the Fox News web site.

If those are truly the most illustrative, if not egregious, examples that the reporter could find for his article, then "paucity" may have been too weak a word to describe the absence of evidence in support of the charge of bias.

As for "Media Matters," the point of my post was to highlight the fact that the New York Times reporter labeled the organization as "liberal." It was not my intent to get into an examination of that organization. But, I will note that when my attention was directed to their web site a couple of weeks ago, I found that they were utterly wrong in stating that there was an absence of witnesses to a certain incident. Their error could only have benefited Kerry--assuming the people reading what they said didn't know anything else about the subject and therefore couldn't recognize that the argument made by Media Matters wasn't based in fact.

I have felt no desire to return to the Media Matters web site, so I have no idea how often they make such mistakes. And, besides, I have a television and can form my own opinion about Fox News and the other media outlets--so I don't see the advantage in checking to see whether a liberal organization has formed an opinion one way or the other.

November 08, 2004 10:45 PM  

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