As the war of words between Fox News and the Obama Administration continues, one thing becomes clear — assertions that Fox News gives slanted and biased, even dishonest coverage, applies even to the way Fox News defends itself.
Fox has been asserting that since the Obama Administration has begun their attacks their ratings are up. It’s an attempt by Fox News to imply that Obama’s attacks against them for bias and dishonest reporting has backfired and has driven more people to watching Fox News. This matters because it goes to the heart of the of the problem. After all if Fox News cant or wont tell the truth about itself, why would anything think they would tell the truth about the issues they report on?
The fact is Fox ratings were up last week but not as a result of Obama’s firing back at the network. The evidence is they were up because of the balloon boy incident, and it’s aftermath, carried live by Fox as it was by the other cable networks and attracted a large audience on all of the cable networks and is still a story that is attracting a lot of interest.
Fox has media people who know this. But it didn’t stop the News division from trying to claim that it was Obama’s attacks against the network that increased their ratings.
Brit Hume, who has his good moments and bad moments tried to come to Fox’s defense by asking if the other cable networks felt good about getting “a pat on the head” from the Administration. His implication is that the press’ role should be adversarial in their coverage of politics and that being embraced by the Obama Administration is nothing to be proud of. But it begs the question. Distorting the news and using a purported news organization to promote right wing propaganda is nothing to be proud of either. Media Matters reported that over a four day stretch from August 24th-28th Fox News aired 22 news clips opposing health care reform and none supporting it.
And it was laughably obvious that during the Bush administration and Republican control of congress Fox News did every bit as much to deserve “a pat on the head” from Bush and the Republicans as Hume is accusing the other two cable networks of doing for Obama. Fox was about as adversarial over Iraq, Bush’s failures in the 911 attacks and the economy as a trained seal is adversarial to a fish.
The real problem though, is with the media as a whole. Rick Sanchez, a CNN anchor has been blistered for airing racist Rush Limbaugh quotes that turned out to be false. And he deserves to be blistered. Sanchez is one of the sloppiest journalists on the air and his pandering to what he sees as “young audience”, probably college students who can watch his show at 3 p.m. is almost embarrassing as he keeps using the word ” cool” in almost everything he says.
CNN continues a brand of journalism where their anchors just cant stop inserting their own opinions into the news and their opinions are invariably wrong about everything. And no one can deny that MSNBC went from being in Bush’s pocket to Obama’s pocket as soon as the political winds changed, though to be fair, Keith Olbermann was the lone anti-Bush voice on MSNBC when it wasn’t popular be to anti-Bush.
Obama’s war with Fox News is a war worth fighting,since they are hardly an unbiased objective news organization and their slogan of fair and balanced is simply a lie. But the two other cable news channels, while not pushing ideology, aren’t much better when it comes to objectivity . The difference is, especially in CNN’s case, its not an ideology that they are constantly promoting, its themselves.