The Fox News Primetime Haitian Earthquake Blackout

Yele Haiti Earthlink FundMedia Matters published an interesting study that reveals just how dismissive Fox News is of professional journalistic standards. On the day after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Fox News practically ignored it on its most watched programs.

While this isn’t particularly surprising, at this difficult time it is definitely disturbing. This is not just another sad disaster on foreign soil. There were reportedly 40,000 Americans in Haiti at the time of the earthquake. But even that isn’t enough for Fox to take it seriously.

“On January 13, Fox News’ three top-rated programs for 2009 — The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, and Glenn Beck — devoted a combined total of less than 7 minutes of coverage to the earthquake in Haiti, instead choosing to air such things as Beck’s hour-long interview with Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly’s discussion of Comedy Central host Jon Stewart, and Sean Hannity’s advocacy for Massachusetts candidate Scott Brown’s Senate campaign. By contrast, the content of MSNBC’s three top-rated shows underscored the significance of the Haiti disaster; Countdown, The Rachel Maddow Show, and Hardball devoted a total of more than two hours to the earthquake.”

So when Fox isn’t exploiting the tragedy for political gain, they try to ignore it altogether. At Fox News, if a story can’t be twisted to attack liberals or promote conservatives, it isn’t news. By making an editorial decision to feature Sarah Palin and Tea Bagger Senate candidates, rather than breaking news on urgent events in a neighboring country, Fox is admitting that their purpose is to proselytize for an agenda – not to inform.

For a network that spends so much time boasting about their ratings, they are abusing their position in the market by keeping their multitude of viewers in the dark on this important matter. But that is nothing new for Fox, whose mission has always been to advance the ignorance of their audience. And they get better at that every day.


8 thoughts on “The Fox News Primetime Haitian Earthquake Blackout

  1. Exploitation?! I had to turn off the TV. Fox just KEPT airing that distraught American father’s plea to Obama:

    “Please, Mister President, PLEASE do something!”

    And the happy commentator rubs her hands and pounces:

    “And, have you heard anything at all from Obama or the Whitehouse?”

    My stomach turns.

  2. It’s great to see that MSNBC upped its coverage of big stories like this after months of not reporting on them over the weekends like they did with the Iran protests and whatnot.

  3. MSNBC? Are you kidding? Olbermann ignored the story the day that it happened (Tuesday). Later next day, he used the story to proclaim that the disaster was an illustration of why America needs health care reform. That is exploiting the story for political gain. Total hypocrisy.

    Notice how Media Matters’ story starts on Wednesday, not Tuesday? That leaves out Olbermann ignoring the story.

    • Are you kidding?

      The quake hit at 4:50pm EST. It was breaking news and almost nothing was known in the early evening on the 12th when Countdown aired. Communications from the region were almost non-existent. That’s why Media Matters started it’s survey on the 13th. It was the first full day of coverage when actual news was available.

      And Olbermann devoted most of his show to the tragedy the following day. If you want to pick out some small comment he made about health care you are seriously mischaracterizing the facts – just as you mischaracterized the breaking news.

  4. 4:50 PM. “Countdown” starts at 8 PM. Three hours is more than enough time to say something – anything – about a major quake hitting Haiti.

    I didn’t mischaracterize squat.

  5. hmmmmpp.. hope everything will be ok soon… we need to help them by donating anything that can help Haitians community to survive…
    go visit this site… Hope for Haiti Now
    or.. check this video….

Comments are closed.