Where I would find myself defending [to a point] the US Mainstream Media. But then again, I've found myself defending Democrats....simply because of the inane rantings and lies from various Republicans. What's even more sad, is the recent phenomena of fallen and clownish Republicans claiming that they are Libertarian. Hopefully this will pass once they realize that true Libertarians want nothing to do with them.
But onto today's rant against the tabloid channel known as Fox 'News'......
There a few key questions that a person must ask when evaluating Fox and it's role in today's media.
If the Republican Party had an overt party media outlet....how would it differ from Fox? It wouldn't because Fox already fills that role, but you really can't point to a hypothetical difference. Roger Ailes stated that Fox was 'the Alamo' to the Obama Administration. Senior Vice President for Programming at Fox, Bill Shine declared Fox to be the 'voice of the opposition'.
If Fox were 'Fair and Balanced', where are the prominent Liberal hosts? Even MSNBC has a former Republican Representative hosting a three hour morning show. For that matter, where are the Liberal guests on any MSM program? Every conceivable right wing firebrand is featured on every cable channel, when is the last time you saw or heard from a true liberal like Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky? The milquetoast - centrist party hacks [that are always present] pale in comparison to featured right wingers. Fox would frequently have media analysts like Jane Hall on to counter a Conservative. Jane Hall by her own words is not a Liberal. Mara Liasson is always touted as a liberal counter-weight even though she sits on the board of the conservative human-rights group Freedom House. Where is the 'balance'???
Quiz time: What two media outlets host a blatantly partisan blog sites, linked to and openly sponsored by the parent outlet?
Answer: Fox News and the Washington Times. Does any other MSM outlet do the same? No.
Courtesy of Eric Alterman in his book "What Liberal Media"....quotes from Republicans themselves:
“Years ago, Republican party chair Rich Bond explained that conservatives' frequent denunciations of ‘liberal bias’ in the media were part of ‘a strategy’ (Washington Post, 8/20/92). Comparing journalists to referees in a sports match, Bond explained: ‘If you watch any great coach, what they try to do is “work the refs.” Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack next time.’”
Bill Kristol: "The press isn't quite as biased and liberal. They're actually conservative sometimes,’ Kristol said recently on CNN. If Chris missed that one, he might have come across a similar admission by Kristol offered up in the spring of 1995. ‘I admit it,’ Kristol told The New Yorker. ‘The whole idea of the 'liberal media' was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures.’”
Pat Buchanan "The truth is, I've gotten fairer, more comprehensive coverage of my ideas than I ever imagined I would receive,’ he acknowledged in March 1996. He added: ‘I've gotten balanced coverage and broad coverage -- all we could have asked."
The sad fact of the matter is, since the 1980's when the Reagan Administration ended the Fairness Doctrine [which I do not advocate a return of], and the massive funding of right wing think tanks to propagate talking points into the media.....the Republican strategy has been to perpetuate this myth of a 'liberal media'...and to perpetuate the myth of the strong fight against it.
Nobody is trying to muzzle or shut down Fox. Nobody declared 'war' on Fox. Nobody is creating a 'Nixonian enemies list'. This self described 'war' is a calculated campaign by Ailes to paint Fox as the victim; to dovetail with the undercurrent message being delivered by Beck and Hannity, etc...that the Obama Administration is Socialist or Marxist or whatever. Fox has taken to complaining that they are being ostracized for 'asking the hard questions'........
Fox has it's undies in a twist over Maddow and Olbermann being invited to the White House [along with regular reporters] for an off the record briefing; failing however, to remind their myrmidons that the Bush Administration frequently hosted similar events for right wing talk radio hosts and commentators. Only right wing talk radio hosts and commentators. Perhaps an honest oversight....perhaps they believe their viewers too stupid to question, remember or fact check.
If you're a devotee of the studies that show reporters more often voting for or being identified as Democrats, I invite a look at the Freedom Forum study which found the same results, but Consortium News's Robert Parry dissects the reasons for this and how it affects [or doesn't] actual reporting.
I haven't found a similar study of the Boards of the corporations that own all of the MSM outlets, nor of the news and programming directors and boards of those outlets. Somehow I doubt the Conservative 'watchdog groups' would welcome such a study. Are General Electric, Time-Warner, AOL and Viacom owned and operated by Liberals? Doubtful.
The progressive 'watchdog' group FAIR has an excellent study, that while published by FAIR, was authored by David Croteau, of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Sociology and Anthropology. I invite anyone to refute the findings.
My point to this is to attempt to reveal to the lemmings that Fox is playing the victim card, and doing it badly. Oh their viewer ratings are rising, but if a Republican is going to place supreme stock in ratings as vindication, they must also extend that to the remarkable victory of the Democrats in the last election. To not do so would be hypocritical. Fox's self declared 'war' is forcing the other networks to cover the story...playing again into Fox's hands. Bravo...but that has already been occurring with CNN and MSNBC retooling their formats and graphics, mimicking Fox. Hardly the work of a 'liberal media'.
Obama is taking a hit in some circles over this drama, but astute observers will realize that Fox has finally jumped the shark. This doesn't absolve the other networks of their laziness, incompetence and pandering....Al Jazeera has more acumen and integrity. But Fox won't go away...there are more than enough sycophants and intellectual midgets to keep them afloat.