The Emmy nominations for News and Documentaries were released today by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. PBS scored the lion’s share with 41 nominations, including two more for Bill Moyers, who has won more than 30 Emmys already. CBS was a distant second with 23. One notable name missing from the list of honorees is the #1 cable news network in the country, Fox News. There are two principle reasons for the absence of Fox News.
First, Fox claims to have declined to participate because they believe that the Emmys are biased against them. That’s a rather piddling complaint that, more than anything, exposes their self-centered pettiness with an attitude that recalls a school child taking the ball and going home.
The more likely reason for their Emmy snub is that Fox is not actually a news network and, knowing this, they are acknowledging that nominations will not be forthcoming. I suspect that they are preparing to submit their programming for Emmys in the drama and, perhaps, comedy categories, where they have a better chance of being recognized. Of course then their other fictional fare, like “24” and “The Simpsons” will have to compete against the far more flagrant fiction produced by Fox News. Whatever will they do?
Well, we can expect Bill O’Reilly to issue a blistering condemnation of the Academy shortly. He did the same thing when the Peabodys snubbed him (again), despite honoring Moyers and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on multiple occasions. What does it say when a comedy network’s fake news programs receive more plaudits from their journalism “peers” than a network that pretends to be a bona fide news enterprise? And furthermore, what does it say about the viewers of a so-called news network that is held in such ill repute by other news professionals?
Amongst the Emmy hopefuls is David Barstow, the New York Times reporter who wrote Message Machine. This article, which has already won a Pulitzer Prize and the New York Press Club’s Golden Keyboard, described how the Pentagon in the Bush administration conspired to train and deploy former military personnel to spread propaganda in support of the war in Iraq. And if that weren’t bad enough, the program also permitted them to use their high profile media platform to enrich themselves and the defense contractors to whom they were attached.
Despite the acclaim the article has received, Barstow has still yet to be invited to tell this important story in any conventional media venue. The only in-depth broadcast interview was conducted by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. This may be the most egregious example of a heralded, Pulitzer caliber investigation being so brazenly suppressed. The obvious explanation is that the media organizations that have actively blackballed the story are also the subjects of it. They are the news enterprises employing the compromised Pentagon Pundits, and they have a vested interest in preventing the truth from getting out.
Now that the report has been awarded another honor, will Barstow’s phone start to ring? Will the media pay attention to what may be the worst instance of propaganda executed by the U.S. government against its own people? At the very least, MSNBC has a special obligation to pursue this story. They have a contractual relationship with the New York Times, and their own John Harwood is a frequent guest on both MSNBC and CNBC. Why on earth wouldn’t the Times be lobbying to promote a story by their own Pulitzer award winning reporter who has now been nominated for an Emmy?