Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Fox News: Fair and Balanced*

*at least 27 percent of the time!
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reports on a new study of TV news. You decide.

"In covering the Iraq war last year, 73 percent of the stories on Fox News included the opinions of the anchors and journalists reporting them, a new study says. By contrast, 29 percent of the war reports on MSNBC and 2 percent of those on CNN included the journalists' own views. These findings -- the figures were similar for coverage of other stories -- 'seem to challenge' Fox's slogan of 'we report, you decide,' says the Project for Excellence in Journalism.


Perhaps not a real shocker, but it turns out that Bill O'Reilly, host of the "no-spin zone," is a bona fide leader in dialing in the spin: "As for the most popular prime-time shows, nearly every story -- 97 percent -- contained opinion on Fox's 'O'Reilly Factor'; 24 percent on MSNBC's 'Hardball with Chris Matthews'; and 0.9 percent on CNN's 'Larry King Live.'"

I love it. "The 97 percent Spin Zone." It's just funny to see the bullshit actually assigned numeric value. Here's fox's explanation/excuse...
In an interview, Fox's executive daytime producer, Jerry Burke, says: "I encourage the anchors to be themselves. I'm certainly not going to step in and censor an anchor on any issue . . . You don't want to look at a cookie-cutter, force-feeding of the same items hour after hour. I think that's part of the success of the channel, not treating our anchors like drones. They're number one, Americans, and number two, human beings, as well as journalists."

Wow. They're jounalists third! Are you sure they're not also men, women, mommies and daddies and everything else before "journalists" too? Does it say "Washington Bureau Chief" under the 70-percent opinion Brit Hume's name and face or "Regular American and Bush Supporter Giving You His Personal Opinion / Semi-Reporter." SNL's Weekend Update and the Daily Show probably have better (lower) "opinion" numbers and a better claim on actual "journalism."

This isn't telling me anything I don't already know, nor will it convince any Fox viewers that they are being misled. It's likely their only news source (that, and Rush), and Fox will either ignore this study or dismiss it as "liberal media bias" and everyone will go back to being completely disgusted by the dishonest news coverage (me) or happily lapping up their "alternative to the liberal mainstream" bullshit (idiotic Fox viewers). "We Mis-Report. You Mis-Decide."

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