You know things are getting bad when your closest allies don’t want to be associated with you. That’s the message today to Fox News from a formerly loyal comrade who no longer regards the network as being true to its slogan “Fair and Balanced.” Sen. Tom Coburn told a town hall meeting of his constituents in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that…
“There are certain shows on Fox I can’t watch because they’re totally not fair and totally not balanced.”
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Coburn didn’t identify the shows to which he was referring, but it wouldn’t be difficult to speculate considering nearly the entire Fox schedule is packed with blatantly biased opinions masquerading as reporting. From Fox & Friends’ smiley-faced smackdowns of anything relating to President Obama or progressive politics, to Neil Cavuto’s obnoxious liberal interruption festival and GOP candidate promotion hour, to the primetime trio of diehard right-wingers Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, and Sean Hannity, the entire day on Fox is a barrel of conservative propaganda and hype.
Perhaps Coburn was referring to the sort of segment that Fox & Friends ran this morning where they chopped up Obama’s remarks about the protests in Ferguson, Mo. to make it appear that he was “Choosing Sides” against the police. The obvious jump cut eliminated a critical portion of the President’s statement. Here is what Obama said with the part that Fox quoted in bold:
“There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests.“
The Curvy Couch Potatoes excoriated the President for what they said was his one-sided criticism of law enforcement. Although their blissfully ignorant audience will never know that the quote was butchered by Fox in a deliberate attempt to deceive.
Coburn isn’t the only Republican in recent days to express disappointment with the network’s phony claim to fairness. Former Sen. Bob Smith is currently running in the GOP senate primary in New Hampshire against Scott Brown. Brown, you may recall, just left his job as a Fox contributor to seek the senate seat. Fox has been promoting Brown’s candidacy even before he left the network. That hasn’t sat well with Smith:
“They’ve totally ignored us,” Smith said. “They’ve shut us down. We’ve made every effort to get on any of the shows, or at least have a comment. We’ve tried with [Fox host Sean] Hannity, we’ve tried with Baier, we’ve tried with, you name it … we’ve just been totally shut down. And I mean shut down. I mean we don’t even get call backs.”
This is the sort of journalistic malpractice that occurs every hour of every day on Fox News. It’s surprising that Coburn, a beneficiary of that partisan bias, would speak out so candidly. But then he has already announced that he is not running for reelection, so he is no longer reliant on Fox’s beneficence and can be more honest in his appraisals.
A few conservative pundits have also taken Fox to task. David Frum criticized Fox on CNN’s Reliable Sources. He told then-host Howard Kurtz that “people who watch a lot of Fox come away knowing a lot less about important world events.” Interestingly, Kurtz himself is now contributing to the ignorance of world events as the host of MediaBuzz on Fox News. Another pundit takedown of Fox was from Tucker Carlson, who after hammering Fox as “a mean, sick group of people,” has joined the cult and sworn allegiance to his new masters.
But my favorite right-wing attack on Fox News was from a Tea Party group who organized a boycott of the network to protest its liberal slant. These “Tea Party Fire Ants,” as they call themselves, have a list of demands that they insist be heard and obeyed:
- We want FOX to become an active, investigative news organization serving the needs and wants of the “far right” audience.
- We want FOX to have at least one segment on Benghazi every night on at least two of the three shows in prime time.
- Yes, the BIRTH CERTIFICATE. Obama’s birth certificate. You know, that thing you mocked and the people you mocked who turned out to be right when they said it was a fake?
- We’re not interested in “Fair and Balanced”.
I’m sure that would make Fox News more watchable for Sen. Coburn. It would certainly make it more watchable for me, for the comedic value alone.