Perverted Priorities: The Editorial Hypocrisy Of Fox News

In recent days Fox News has ramped up coverage of the Philadelphia trial of an abortion doctor accused of numerous horrific crimes. To be clear, the spike in coverage was not about the underlying facts of the case or the suffering of the patients. It was about Fox’s contention that the prosecution has been ignored by a liberal press corps for political reasons.

Fox News - Gosnell

First of all, we need to set aside the false notion that the media has any incentive to suppress reporting on this case due to a liberal bias. The alleged criminal acts committed by this doctor run counter to the values of the pro-choice community whose position is that restrictions on safe and legal reproductive services are what is responsible for creating the conditions from which rogue clinics like this one emerge in the first place.

However, for Fox to get huffy about a media blackout orchestrated by liberals stretches the boundaries of hypocrisy. On numerous segments in the past week Fox has castigated other media outlets for not having covered this trial. The problem with that complaint is that Fox hasn’t covered it either. Nevertheless, Bret Baier hosted a segment of his “Special Report” wherein he read off a list of the offenders in the press who have ignored this story. Conspicuously absent from the list was Fox News. If Fox had indeed reported the story, they would certainly have included the number of times on their graphic to shame their competitors. They left themselves off because their performance was no different than the rest.

In another example of Fox’s self-serving spin, they posted a photo of the seating area in the courtroom that was reserved for the media. The fact that there was no one sitting there was evidence to Fox that the press was negligent and biased. However, also revealed by the photo was that no one from Fox News was sitting there either. They presumably thought that that little detail would just slip by unnoticed by their viewers (and they were probably right. Their viewers are not known for their intellectual prowess).

Clearly Fox’s editorial decision-making is drenched with bias and self-promotion. We can easily ascertain what is important to the network by their programming choices, and apparently the Philly doctor’s trial was not important to Fox. So what was important?

Fox’s closest competitor in the ratings is MSNBC. In the months following the election MSNBC has demonstrated surprising growth while Fox has lost audience share, slipping to levels it has not seen since 2001 (although still maintaining its lead). Consequently, Fox has resumed their onslaught against MSNBC which they escalate whenever they feel threatened.

The latest attack by Fox deals with a promo that MSNBC ran in support of their weekend anchor Melissa Harris-Perry. The promo features Harris-Perry delivering an uncontroversial commentary about the value of society investing in education and child welfare. To Fox, that commonly held principle of a unified family of American citizens was tantamount to Maoist socialism. Fox blanketed their airwaves with exasperated outrage day and night over this 30 second ad. In fact, as reported by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Fox committed more than 15 times the airtime to MSNBC’s promo than MSNBC did.


In conclusion, an analysis of the distribution of time allocated to content tells us that Fox is obviously more concerned about how MSNBC advertises its own programs than they are about heinous criminal activity. And when their attention is drawn to the heinous crimes, they only seem to care about how other media reports it (ignoring their own failures), and not the crime itself or the victims. Remember this the next time you hear Fox complaining about not being taken seriously as credible journalists.

MSNBC Moving Ed Schultz To The Weekend – Chris Hayes Gets His Spot In Primetime

On last night’s broadcast of the The Ed Show, Ed Schultz announced that he would be taking his program to a new weekend slot beginning in April. Thursday will be his last broadcast in primetime. His statement came at the end of the program and said in part…

Schultz: “I raised my hand for this assignment for a number of personal and professional reasons. My fight on ‘The Ed Show’ has been for the workers and the middle class. This new time slot will give me the opportunity to produce and focus on stories that I care about and are important to American families and American workers.”

His statement implies that the move was his choice. However, there are some conflicting accounts of this and a report in the New York Times last November speculated that Schultz’s time slot might be offered to MSNBC contributor and frequent fill-in host, Ezra Klein.

As it turns out, it will be Chris Hayes taking over Schultz’s time period. Hayes is editor-at-large for the highly respected Nation magazine and is currently a host of a weekend morning program on MSNBC, “UP with Chris Hayes.” His selection affirms the appeal he has generated on his show and as a guest host for Rachel Maddow and others.

While the change for Schultz appears to be a demotion from primetime to the weekend ghetto, the details of the move may suggest some benefits. His new show will air on both Saturday and Sunday from 5:00 to 7:00pm. This means that his new show will be twice as long as the old one. You can do a lot more in a two hour format if you’re creative with segments, field production, and guests. And he will end up having nearly as much weekly time as he had before the move.

Cable News RatingsSchultz’s ratings were growing at a steady pace, although he was no match for Fox’s number one program, The O’Reilly Factor. At the end of last year he posted a 54% gain compared to O’Reilly’s 22% decline. Then again in January he scored a plus 23% to O’Reilly’s minus 25%, as Fox sunk to a twelve year low.

Last year I proposed some programming changes for MSNBC that would assist them in taking advantage of their post-election ratings surge. One of those was to give Schultz the Hardball repeat at 7:00pm and find another host to put up against O’Reilly and anchor the primetime block. Hayes was a possibility at the time, but not my choice. He is a smart and engaging host, but not the sort of personality that could compete with O’Reilly. If MSNBC is interested in taking the leap from contender to champ they need to take some risks.

One possibility would have been to develop a non-conventional format with a team of hosts. My suggestion was John Fugelsang and Joy Reid. They could produce a show that incorporated serious policy discussion along with a sense of humor and a nod to popular culture. That might have been an effective way to counter-program Fox and set up the evening’s later programs with something lighter and more broadly appealing. Perhaps MSNBC will consider such a program to replace Hayes on weekend mornings where they may be more comfortable experimenting.

As with everything in the television business, time will tell. MSNBC has been enjoying substantial gains lately, while Fox News has been suffering severe losses. Whether these trends will continue long enough for the networks to swap places in the standings remains to be seen. And CNN isn’t standing still either with their new boss, Jeff Zucker, whose influence is already being felt in significant ways. The end result is that 2013 is bound to be a year wherein the cable news business suffers the ancient Chinese curse of “living in interesting times.”

Banksters Plotting A Propaganda Offensive Against Occupy Wall Street

Chris Hayes has acquired a memo from a well-connected group of Washington lobbyists to the American Bankers Association. The memo proposes launching a comprehensive campaign against the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement with an $850,000 budget and an intent to “undermine their credibility.” Hayes begins his expose saying that…

“Speaker Boehner’s lobbying buddies are proposing a hit job on Occupy Wall Street. […] The former Boehner aides, who now lobby for Wall Street, sketched out a strategy for deploying proxies to shill for Wall Street and against Occupy without the public knowing.”

The lobbyists’ memo (pdf) goes into detail as to how they would deliver on their promise to suppress the impact of OWS and to punish their defenders whether they be Democrats or Republicans. In fact, the lobbyists are particularly worried about GOP defectors:

“Leading Democratic strategists have begun to openly discuss the benefits of embracing the growing and increasingly organized Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement to prevent Republican gains in Congress and the White House this year […] However, the bigger concern should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies – and might start running against them too.”

That’s a revealing admission that the OWS message has a much broader appeal than is generally acknowledged. It is not insignificant that when Speaker Boehner was confronted with the allegation that Republicans are the champions of Big Business, rather than proudly embrace his constituency, Boehner attempted to shift the criticism to President Obama by asserting that the President’s campaign was the biggest recipient of Wall Street donations. Obama has indeed received a considerable sum from the sector, but most of his contributions are from small donors. And since the Obama administration has been an advocate of financial reform and regulation, and created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau despite industry opposition, it could be said that the Banksters didn’t get much for their money. Further affirming the mass popularity of the OWS message, the memo continues…

“Well-known Wall Street companies stand at the nexus of where OWS protestors and the Tea Party overlap on angered populism. Both the radical left and the radical right are channeling broader frustration about the state of the economy and share a mutual frustration over TARP and other perceived bailouts. This combination has the potential to be explosive later in the year when media reports cover the next round of bonuses and contrast it with stories of millions of Americans making do with less this holiday season.”

The biggest nightmare of this crowd is that OWS and the Tea Party will unite against the One Percenters. An notice that the lobbyists are not concerned with the actual suffering of “millions of Americans making do with less this holiday season,” only the wrenching perception of that fact when juxtaposed with the extravagance and greed of the Wall Streeters whose holidays will be abundantly joyful. That’s why the lobbyists and their Bankster clients need to demonize OWS as lazy, dirty, violent, unfocused, etc. But the lobbyists’ memo appears to recognize that that tactic has not worked:

“It may be easy to dismiss OWS as a ragtag group of protestors but they have demonstrated that they should be treated more like an organized competitor who is very nimble and capable of working the media, coordinating third party support and engaging officeholders to do their bidding.”

Indeed, it is easy to use puerile insults to dismiss OWS, a role that Fox News has embraced with relish. But we are beginning to see the shift from ridicule to respect as the Banksters realize that this movement is competent, committed and has the support of the public. So the response from the lobbyists is to smear the group’s members and spread lies about its composition. The memo even reprises the false assertion that George Soros, a favorite villain of the right, is funding OWS. Then it continues to propose an analysis of OWS’ “extremist leaders” to construct “negative narratives for high-impact media placement,” otherwise known as propaganda.

Finally, the memo outlines an electoral strategy that targets races in battleground states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Mexico, Nevada, and North Carolina. These are all states that Obama won in 2008. In addition to this effort, they offer to “provide cover for political figures who defend the industry.” It’s a full service operation, after all. Watch the video from UP w/Chris Hayes here: