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Niftydrifty vs Cold Dirt: FNC exemplifies poor journalism, much more biased than NYT

niftydrifty

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In another thread, I made this statement: Only a partisan could say that Fox Opinion Channel qualifies as journalism.

and here is a response I received:

Cold Dirt said:
So I guess the New York times, Washington times and all the other liberal rags are not practicing journalism, just big mouths for the libtard masses?

Humorous.

I don't read the Washington Times. But I do read the New York Times. Here is some research I have done. In the following comparison, I compared the NYT and Fox News Channel's news coverage on 1/18/2006. But really, any other day will do. The point was to make a side-by-side comparison.

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The New York Times is like anything else. It has its bad moments. But I don’t get it when a factoid is produced, about, say, a picture one day. Or a staff writer a few years ago that got fired for faking stories. I don’t get it why the whole institution is suddenly bunk because of these things. It’s just an easy way to discredit something that inconveniently presents stuff that you disagree with, all the time. It’s a massive double standard.

That’s why it’s instructive to do side by side comparisons. I’d put the New York Times next to any single news source. Anything you can name. Is it flawed? Sure? But I believe it’s better than most. And I believe it’s a decent source for news.

If the New York Times is a “leftist rag” because of it’s op/ed page, well, folks, it’s only 2 pages. What about the rest of it?

And let’s not all forget about Judith Miller. The single worst episode in recent NYT history was when the NYT peddled Bush Administration falsehoods. That’s some “leftist rag.”

I’m chuckling to myself even thinking that anyone would consider Fox News Channel something to watch in order to get informed.

(Don't just take my word for it, read the pipa doc:

World Public Opinion)

Watching Fox News Channel on 1/18/2006, and on many days since, I’ve concluded that you might want to watch Fox if you want to get informed about what your right-wing marching orders ought to be. But that’s about it.

So I took the Fox News Schedule, and I wrote “news analysis” next to the pundit shows, and I wrote “news” next to the news coverage shows.

I created the following chart from the Fox News Channel 1/18 schedule. I didn’t include reruns from the previous day or repeats throughout the day, or the percentage of opinions interspersed into news segments. Damn. It ought to be called the Fox Opinion Channel:

fnc1-18-06.jpg
 

niftydrifty

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Niftydrifty's initial argument, continued

I did the same thing with the pages in the NYT. Here’s what this reveals:

nyt1-18-06.jpg


Just looking at the content of the pages of the New York times, most of it is news stories. To do this, I turned the pages of the 1/18 NYT and counted what made up each page.

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When we look a little closer at a few things that occurred on Fox News Channel on 1/18/2006, I think it becomes clear why FNC has very few fans in the reality-based community.

Exhibit A:

Brit Hume reported on a story about whether or not John Murtha really deserved his war medals. How dare he disagree with President Bush! Fox’ll get him. Is this news, or is it a smear campaign? I report, you decide.

Exhibit B:

Brit Hume brought up the Hillary “Plantation controversy” again, looooooong after we thought it was over. Brit Hume reported that some folks were denouncing Hillary’s remarks. Those people were Scott McLellan and Laura Bush. I think they were the only ones, not already on Fox.

Exhibit C:

On Neil Cavuto’s show, he claimed that terrorists were making the US run up a huge deficit. This is opinion, of course, not news. Still, it’s a rather dumb one.

Here are Neil’s words: “…this time, it's the terrorists of today who are taking a page right out of President Reagan's playbook and using it against the United States," and if my next guest is right, they're "making us spend so much on the war on terror that it will be our economy that takes the fall."

This is a good one. And my guess is we’ll hear more about it in the future. But you heard it first on FOX! Bush isn’t responsible for our deficit, the terrorists are!

Wow.

Exhibit D:

Later on, in the evening, after I was shaking my head while Brit Hume trotted out the Plantation remark, Hannity and Colmes spent a whole half-hour devoted to it! There was even a segment with three speakers, all three critical of Hillary, and none speaking in support of her. Smear the Dems. The sport of Fox.

Exhibit E:

At the end of Brit Hume’s segment, guess what happened? Brit played a humorous skit from Saturday Night Live lampooning Mrs. Alito’s famous cry. But it was framed as a slam of Senate Democrats. Of course. "Find out why those Senate Democrats wanted to make Mrs Alito cry,” said Brit, with a chuckle.

Exhibit F:

Steve Doorcy, on the “Dayside” program said, after viewing an exerpt of Gore’s speech in response to Bush’s illegal NSA spying program, "I think I read somewhere this morning that Jamie Gorelick, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States said that during the Clinton Administration, Mr. Clinton had the authority and that's why it was ok for him to have the warrantless search, physical search, property search, of Aldrich Ames' place."

This is a blatant falsehood. It’s also a favorite tactic: bring up Clinton. Clinton did not in anyway violate FISA when he authorized the physical search of Ames' home in 1993, nor was Gorelick incorrect when she made the above statement in 1994. Until 1995, FISA did not cover physical searches, and it was actually Clinton that supported and signed the legislation into law.
 

niftydrifty

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Opinions and Talking Points Masquerading as News

The previous post contained a comparison of FNT and NYT on 1/18/2006.
Did I find anything equally outrageous in the news or the opinion page of the New York Times? No I didn’t. Does the NYT smear Republicans? If so, only with facts. The same facts that it smeared, um, Gore with in 2000. Or Clinton with in the 90’s. Or Reagan with in the 80’s. The facts are biased.

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Now what follows here are examples of Opinions and Talking Points Masquerading as News, from Fox News Channel, on various days and during various News programs. Please note that I have excluded the pundit shows when choosing these quotes.

Molly Henneberg, 2/15/2006
Here you see the vice president arriving at the White House this morning for a meeting with the president and congressional leaders. After that meeting, the top Senate Democrat, Harry Reid, told reporters he thought the vice president should have a press conference to talk about the incident in Texas. Vice presidents rarely, if ever, do that, but they sometimes do interviews, as Mr. Cheney is doing right now with [Fox News Washington managing editor] Brit [Hume].

Al Gore actually participated in many press conferences. It isn't part of the story to talk about what Vice Presidents allegedly rarely do. This bit of misinformation was delivered in an effort to make Harry Reid seem irrational.

Laurie Dhue, 8/24/2005
Two influential Washington lobbying groups are not waiting for John Roberts's confirmation hearings to announce their positions on the Supreme Court nominee. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is supporting Roberts. The liberal group People for the American Way is opposing him.

Nice. The gratuitous label nearly always precedes the groups not fitting Fox News' agenda. Can you tell which one it is?

Molly Henneberg, 7/6/2004
The Bush-Cheney '04 campaign also unveiled a new ad today that shows President Bush with Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, the ad is called "First Choice" because McCain reportedly was Kerry's first choice for the vice presidential slot. ... Shortly after John McCain said "no" to a Kerry-McCain ticket, he appeared with President Bush at an event in Fort Lewis, Washington, last month, and part of his introduction of the president then is featured in the "First Choice" ad, now. ... And again, that ad is being called the "First Choice" ad. Taking a little dig at the Kerry-Edwards ticket, reminding voters that John McCain was Kerr-- apparently, was Kerry's first choice for his vice presidential running mate, but McCain is supporting President Bush.

This is an example of a Fox News Reporter parroting phony claims made by the Bush campaign and reporting it as news. If you will remember, McCain issued a statement that he made no such choice.

Dari Alexander, 8/29/2004
"Have we ever seen a President be so public about his spirituality?"

Interview question, or opinion? Yes we have seen a President be so public about his spirituality.

Molly Henneberg, 7/6/2004
"And perhaps the most forceful or aggressive response came from the Republican National committee which called Edwards 'a disingenuous, unaccomplished liberal'"

Classic. It is somehow newsworthy to quote the RNC smearing the opponent. I know. You're probably thinking big deal. But how many times do you think they ran it that day? That week? Guess.
 
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niftydrifty

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Opinions and Talking Points, continued

MOLLY HENNEBERG, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT, 5/18/2005:
Bill Moyers stepped down as anchor of "Now" in December. But it was his show that raised the latest questions about the balance of ideas on public television. Here's Moyers interviewed Sister Joan Chittister last November about the morality of the Iraq war.

BILL MOYERS, FORMER PBS HOST: Depending on the sources, Sister Joan, there have been 37,000 civilians killed in Iraq, or as many, perhaps, as 100,000. Why is abortion a higher moral issue with many American Christians than the invasion of Iraq and the loss of life there?

HENNEBERG: Also last November, here's Moyers on secretary of state- to-be, Condoleezza Rice.

MOYERS: So we're to have a new secretary of state who dreadfully misjudged the terrorist threat leading up to 9/11 and then misled America and the world about the case for invading Iraq.

HENNEBERG: The chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, or CPB, which allocates taxpayer money for public TV and radio thought Moyers' show needed a counterweight and hired an outside consultant to review the program.

KENNETH TOMLINSON, CPB CHAIRMAN: It's outstanding broadcasting. There's a place for it in public television. My point is, you can't do a liberal advocacy show unless you also do a conservative advocacy show. It's common sense.

HENNEBERG: Tomlinson says to offer PBS viewers some balance he supported the creation of the "Journal Editorial Report," with panelists from the "Wall Street Journal's" conservative editorial page. He asked National Public Radio to put as much emphasis on its music programs as on its news programs.

And he hired two ombudsmen, former NBC News political reporter Ken Bode and former "Reader's Digest" editor and one-time colleague of Tomlinson's, William Schulz, to watch public TV and offer analysis. Tomlinson, who was pointed by President Bush, said there will be no pre- broadcast censorship.

TOMLINSON: ... ombudsmen independent of CPB can journalistically analyze what they see.

HENNEBERG: But some at PBS, and in particular Bill Moyers, who now hosts a different PBS show, see Tomlinson's actions as politically driven meddling.

MOYERS: The more compelling our journalism, the angrier became the radical right of the Republican Party. That's because the one thing they loathe more than liberals is the truth.

HENNEBERG: Moyers said he did feature conservative voices on his show, including columnist and FOX News contributor and host Cal Thomas, author Richard Viggery (ph), and advocate Grover Norquist.

In a speech earlier this week, Moyers, who declined our request for an interview, associated Tomlinson with the apparent blacklisting of certain Americans during the 1980s at the U.S. Information Agency, when Tomlinson was head of Voice of America.

MOYERS: There's no record of what position Kenneth Tomlinson took, whether he supported the blacklist or opposed it, or what he thinks of it now.

HENNEBERG: Tomlinson says he's never been involve in a blacklist.

TOMLINSON: As I told him, you probably need to apologize for saying that, but you certainly need to issue a correction.

HENNEBERG (on-screen): All this back-and-forth now has gotten the attention of two Democratic members of Congress, Representatives John Dingle and David Obey sent a letter to the inspector general at CPB asking for a review of Tomlinson's recent actions.

They wrote, quote, "If CPB is moving in the direction of censorship of public affairs content based on partisanship and political views, this will severely erode the public trust that public broadcasting heretofore has enjoyed."

Tomlinson says he welcomes the investigation and says he hopes to sit down with Bill Moyers, quote, "soon." In Washington, Molly Henneberg, FOX News.


A doozy. This story takes Tomlinson's side, painting PBS as unbalanced, and Tomlinson as someone that would restore balance. It neglects to mention that the outside consultant was a right-wing partisan. Moyers is depicted as being shrill, left-wing, and in the wrong. Tomlinson is depicted as being fair. Did Moyers' quotes come from the NOW program? This story might lead you to think so. The story that inspired Tomlinson to 'clean up' PBS was actually a story about poor people, who had it rough during the Clinton years. That necessary tidbit was somehow left out.

Molly Henneberg, 1/2/2006
"President Bush says we're at war against an enemy that wants to attack us again, so he says it's his responsibility as Commander in Chief to protect Americans from terrorists. And that includes, Mr. Bush says, allowing the NSA to wiretap phone calls from known Al Qaeda operatives to people here inside the U.S. Speaking in Texas yesterday, Mr. Bush also repeated his criticism of whomever revealed this one secret program to the media last month, suggesting it hurts America's efforts on the war on terror."

News might sound like this: "there is controversy surrounding the NSA program" ... "the President defended himself from critics" ... here, the President's remarks are simply parroted. It is an opinion that the revealing of the program somehow hurt the war on terror. Molly eagerly states it. Molly want a cracker?

Molly Henneberg, 7/15/2005
"Republicans say this new information exonerates Karl Rove and shows that he was not trying to blow the cover of a CIA agent, but rather learned her identity and later her name from members of the media. President Bush was joined by his top political adviser this morning as they walked to Marine One.

Reports today, citing a lawyer close to the investigation, say Rove told the grand jury that he heard from journalists that Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. But he didn't know her name, Valerie Plame, until he talked to columnist, Robert Novak, on July 8, 2003.

The lawyer says it was Novak who called Rove to talk about another story and ended up talking about Wilson. And that his wife, Plame, worked for the CIA. In response, Rove reportedly told Novak that he had heard that, too.

The chair of the Republican National Committee says this shows Rove was not the leaker, but rather the recipient of information."


Why is the opinion of the RNC chair relevant to any story? Oh, right. Talking points must be parroted, marching orders must be issued.

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It isn't news to parrot talking points and to give opinions. Furthermore, most of the media is guilty of this, but Fox does it the most, of all MSM. I base this opinion upon what I've seen, and upon research that I've done myself.

It's irrelevant that it might be a fact that the GOP is saying whatever. That's not the point. The point is that it isn't as newsworthy as current events or statements made by real elected officials, etc.

Opinions are very newsworthy, according to Fox. It is anyone's prerogative to feel like they are being informed when they hear talking points and opinions. I don't challenge her right to feel this way at all. You may even call this news.

Hypothetical question. How would it be interpreted if the following were to ever happen?

DAN RATHER:
"Today, the President announced his new plan for Social Security, but the Democratic National Chairman is opposed to the plan. Terry McCauliffe says that "Bush's plan for Social Security is horrible, and that he opposes it and that blah blah blah blah blah."

If I were listening to this, I would feel that I had not been informed about the plan at all. Sure, stuff about the plan would probably (I hope) get mentioned in other parts of the newscast. I'd want to see those. I don't want to hear about opinions and talking points while I'm watching the news. That's why I have such a low opinion of Fox News. Does that make me a leftwinger? No, it's not an example of my ideology. It's an example of logical discernment.

The purpose of a news program is to inform. The point of being on the receiving end of a news program is to get informed. What info actually gets disseminated on various news programs? Talking points of political parties mixed in with Current events? Or just news? Does Fox's coverage of talking points and parroting of opinions on its news programs (I'm not speaking of news analysis or pundit shows) outweigh other media entities that are widely considered to be valid sources for news? I've seen most if not all of them, and I believe it does.

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Cold Dirt, have a look thru the NYT and post your similar examples here. I submit to you, compared to the New York Times, FNC is nonsense. Just a channel full of Democrat Party smear moments. Missing women. Shootings. Mostly opinion. Barely any news. No news without accompanying spin and opinions.

If you want to mention a mouthpiece news source, or speak about mainstream non-journalism, please mention Fox News Channel first.
 
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