Today on Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw (sitting in for David Gregory) interviewed Fox News contributor Karl Rove. In the course of the discussion Rove spewed the routine misrepresentations and falsehoods that one one might expect of him. But there was one exchange that was surprisingly honest:
TOM BROKAW: You’re now at Fox News. Do you think that Fox News is fair to President Obama?
KARL ROVE: I think they – on the news side, absolutely. I think that they’ve got first-rate individuals at the White House who – do their job. And in an objective, fair, and balanced way, yeah, absolutely.
Notice the qualification Rove inserts into his answer: “on the news side.” His assessment of fairness explicitly excludes those portions of the Fox schedule that are designated as opinion programs. Now recall that Michael Clemente, senior vice president of Fox News, defines the hours of 9am to 4pm, and 6pm to 8pm, as the dayparts that air straight news. So by their own calculation, that’s just nine hours of “news” programming. But the Fox & Friends morning block, plus the afternoon Cavuto/Beck double bill, plus the primetime fare (which is repeated) and the late night Red Eye, all add up to 13 hours. So the majority of their schedule is what they themselves regard as editorial content. Which means the majority of their schedule is deliberately unfair in the view of Karl Rove, who went out of his way to say so.
Taking into consideration the fact that what they do call “news” is heavily infested with opinions straight out of Beckville and Hannityland, it’s clear why Fox has zero credibility when it comes to authentic journalism. Former New York times editor Howell Raines noted this absence of objectivity in a recent op-ed. And Bill O’Reilly, never one to miss an opportunity to demonstrate the thinness of his skin, fired back back at Raines saying…
“The Factor is the signature broadcast of the Fox News Channel and we have covered the Obama-care debate carefully and with fairness, as have most of my colleagues.”
So O’Reilly is contradicting both Rove and Clemente. First he asserts that his show is fair (notwithstanding Rove’s contrary assessment). Then he describes it, not just as a “news” broadcast, but as the network’s “signature” example of one (despite not complying with Clemente’s definition).
In the end, O’Reilly’s ego confirms Rove’s confession. Fox News is utterly unfair throughout most of its broadcast day and its hired goons can’t tell the difference.