Monday, November 08, 2004

New York Times Article on Fox News

Is Fox News biased? First, liberals shouldn't be throwing stones here.

Second, Fox News does have a bias to the right. But compared to 95% of all daily newspapers, all major networks, PBS, NPR, CNN, etc., it is not even remotely biased.

There are stories of closeted conservatives at networks being found out and snidely told (in jest) to go to Fox News. Maybe it's conservative because because it's a refuge.

To the network's credit, they have hired known liberals like Gretta Van Susteren and Geraldo.

True, Fox is biased towards the right. True, most other networks are biased towards the left. However to say that Fox isn't biased when compared to CNN, MSNBC, etc. is going too far in my opinion. Fox is as biased towards the right as the others are to the left but not more.
I just don't see this huge bias Fox is supposed to have. Looking at their prime-time lineup objectively:

Special Report with Brit Hume: Tilts conservative(though they do always include a liberal like Juan Williams in the panel discussion)

Shepherd Smith: Straight news, no punditry. I have no idea how the guy would vote.

Bill O'Reilly: said to be "conservative," but really more of a populist. Pro-abortion, pro-gay, "everyone keep it to himself." (Not incidentally, this program does not pass itself off as "news." It is a commentary program, plain and simple.)

Hannity and Colmes: Half-conservative, half liberal. Each host is given precisely the same amount of on-air time. There's a guy in the studio with a stopwatch to make sure. (Another pure commentary show.)

Greta Van Sustern: liberal

So basically I see one liberal "news" show and one conservative "news" show and one neutral "news" show, with several commentary shows (which are SUPPOSED to be biased) in between. And even the "conservative" news show brings in actual liberals for its panel. Contrast this with, say, George Stephanopulous' "news" show, which will bring in someone like Arlen Specter or John McCain for "Republican" balance.

On other networks, the bias is built right into the news. It's structural. Think about it. On, say, MSNBC, is Keith Olbermann's show presented as a "news" show or a "commentary" show? If "commentary," then how come they run so many news stories from regular NBC correspondents on it? You don't see correspondent pieces on "Hannity" OR on "O'Reilly." Olbermann is clearly flying under the banner of "news." Same with Paula Zahn and Aaron Brown.
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