An advertisement for Fox News appeared in today’s Washington Post. The headline for the ad said:
“How did ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN miss this story?”
The premise that Fox News is posing is that these other networks neglected to cover the Fox-sponsored Tea Bagging in Washington, DC. The truth is that they all covered the event, despite how little news value it contained. They all had correspondents at the scene and they filed updates at least hourly.
It is remarkable how Fox gets away with these attacks on their competitors who generally do nothing in response or in their defense. Last April I published an extended essay on the failure of the broader media community to stand up for itself. I included documentation of Fox’s repeated insults that were met only with silence. And I made the case for why it is imperative to speak up when your detractors are falsely disparaging you. Well, today, Rick Sanchez of CNN spoke up.
In this rare defense, Sanchez made some withering rebuttals. For instance, one of the photos in the Fox ad was actually of coverage provided by CNN. Let that sink in. In the very ad in which Fox was lambasting CNN for neglecting to cover the event was a photo of CNN covering the event. Furthermore, Fox’s own Bill O’Reilly referenced CNN’s coverage on his program. Sanchez also played multiple clips of their coverage of the event throughout the day.
In summing up his deconstruction of Fox’s dishonesty, Sanchez noted that Fox’s claim of covering the event was less than accurate. In fact, he notes, they were promoting it. That is something that was proven unequivocally by viewing the reports from Fox’s Griff Jenkins, who actually rode along with the Tea Party Express bus. And in closing, Sanchez pulled no punches by adopting Joe Wilson’s trademark exclamation which he directed at Fox News: You Lie!
This is not the first time that Sanchez has called out Fox for lying. Back in June of this year Bill O’Reilly asserted that no network other than Fox reported on the shooting of Pvt. William Long. On that occasion O’Reilly had to issue a correction, but typically, he lied while correcting himself.
Fox News has long had a reputation for shoddy journalism. Surveys show that their viewers are decidedly less informed than consumers of other media outlets. Studies have proven that it is Fox News that has failed to cover important and newsworthy events. For instance, they broadcast fewer reports on the Iraq war than any of their cable news colleagues. So it is the height of cynicism for them to publish ads that criticize their competitors and aggrandize themselves. In fact is beyond cynicism. It is deliberately false and an insult to news consumers everywhere.
In other words, it’s Fox News.
[Update:] The networks are issuing their responses. ABC, NBC and CBS have all criticized Fox for their demonstrably false advertisement. Fox is defending their ad saying:
“Generally speaking, it’s fair to say that from the tea party movement … to Acorn … to the march on 9/12, the networks either ignored the story, marginalized it or misrepresented the significance of it altogether,” said Michael Tammero, vice president of marketing for Fox News.”
It seems, though, that Fox is defending an ad they didn’t run. This ad has nothing to do with ACORN or any event other than the 9/12 rally. The Tea Bagging was a Fox-sponsored program from the start, and other news enterprises have no obligation to help to promote Fox’s programming.
Also, the Washington Post is defending their having printed the ad:
“The Post will not reject an advertisement based on its content or sponsor, unless the ad is illegal, false, advocates illegal actions, or is not in keeping with standards of taste. When we do not see anything in a particular ad that is contrary to these standards, we will not place limits on speech or content. That was our review and judgment in this case.”
They further claimed that the ad wasn’t false because Fox News was merely “expressing its opinion.” Of course, an opinion can also be (and in this case was) false, so that’s a pretty lame defense. An objective and independent observer would have to conclude that this ad violated the standards of the Post.
And CNN fires back: