The national embarrassment to honest journalism that is Fox News continues to contaminate our country’s airwaves with false and misleading information designed to promote a conservative Republican agenda and to demonize Democrats and progressives. Almost a year ago I wrote an article that asked the question: “Who’s Afraid Of Fox News?” My answer was: “The Rest Of The Media!” It was an examination of how Fox aggressively attacked their competitors and how their competitors simply rolled over, apparently afraid to fight back. Now, a year later, not much has changed.
Sure, there have been a few disjointed, lucid moments. For instance, Rick Sanchez of CNN, who called out Fox for a thoroughly dishonest report that claimed that no one but Fox covered a Tea Bagger event in Washington. However, not only did CNN cover it, Fox used photos from CNN’s coverage to make their false claim that there wasn’t any coverage. Another example was when former White House Communications Director, Anita Dunn, honestly told Howard Kurtz that Fox News operates as “the communications arm of the Republican Party.” Her remarks were seconded by Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod. It was a promising trend.
But overall, there is still a deafening silence from most of the press. They still seem to be skittish and reluctant to offend the mighty Fox. That is, when they aren’t trying to emulate it. One voice that has arisen is that of Howell Raines, the former executive editor of the New York Times. He has written an op-ed for the Washington Post that is far more insightful and combative than anything he produced when he was at the Times. The article asks some questions that ought to have been asked long ago by every member of the media who values journalistic integrity:
Why don’t honest journalists take on Roger Ailes and Fox News?
Why haven’t America’s old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration — a campaign without precedent in our modern political history?
Why has our profession, through its general silence — or only spasmodic protest — helped Fox legitimize a style of journalism that is dishonest in its intellectual process, untrustworthy in its conclusions and biased in its gestalt?
Why can’t American journalists steeped in the traditional values of their profession be loud and candid about the fact that Murdoch does not belong to our team?
Why indeed? And why has it taken so long to ask these questions? And why aren’t all of Raines’ colleagues signing on to his rebuke of Fox, Murdoch, and Ailes? It shouldn’t take much courage for responsible journalists to defend their honor, but courage is in short supply in today’s press corps.
The sooner the rest of the media come to grips with the fact that Fox is NOT a news organization, the sooner they themselves can return to the business of news. Fox is in an entirely different category. It is a hybrid entertainment/soap opera/televangelist network. It is just as unnecessary for the media to worry about competition from Fox as it is to worry about competition from Nickelodeon (which, ironically, is a better source for news than Fox, and plays to a smarter audience).
It will be interesting to see if the questions Raines raises are taken up by others. And more importantly, will they provide answers? American media is in dire condition, and part of the reason is that news consumers do not perceive value in the product. That is going to have to change before things improve. And the most fruitful change would be to start behaving as real journalists and not tabloid sensationalists. In other words, abandon the Fox model and expose it for the phony, divisive, disinformation factory that it is. Of course, that would take real reporting and, at present, there is precious little of that in evidence.
9 thoughts on “Who’s Afraid Of Fox News? A Confederacy Of Cowards!”
Fox News is great, pro-American and fair. You suck MSNBC’s balls.
Another articulate response demonstrating the IQ of the right wing. Thanks.
“gold” unwittingly displays another FOX-watching effect: it kills brain cells.
So many lies by Raines. Such as: He claims that Fox News is trying to convince everybody that Americans don’t want health care reform. Bovine excrement. Americans do want health reform; they just don’t want the Obama-Pelosi-Reid version of it.
Fox News is absolutely a legitimate news organization. Raines’ empire is crumbling, and he’s just jealous and ticked off.
You’re right. Americans DO want health reform. But Raines is right too. Fox DOES try to convince everybody that Americans don’t want it. They say it over and over again. And they cite polls that agree with their positions.
However, in every poll where the components of the bill are described, a majority support the health reform bill.
Yeah FOX is a legitimate news organization, kind of like “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was a operation to free Iraq. Bwahahahahahahahahah! You really ought to get out more!
“Fox DOES try to convince everybody that Americans don’t want health care refor. They say it over and over again…”
Lie. Even O’Reilly and Hannity proclaim they want health care reform. They just don’t want Obamacare.
What’s also worth laughing about is how Howell Raines thinks he can lecture anybody about journalistic integrity. Remember, he lost his job with the New York Times after promoting frauds like Jayson Blair.
That only speaks to his poor management skills, not his journalistic integrity. It was Blair who lacked journalistic integrity.
Plus, Blair and Raines did lose their jobs. That demonstrates the integrity of the New York Times. On the other, Beck and Roger Ailes still have their jobs despite lying more than Blair could ever have imagined. That says something about Fox News.
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