....LMB: "More on Fox News Bias"....

November 02, 2003

Yeah yeah, it's completely obvious to anyone with a frontal lobe that the Fox News Channel has a conservative slant. But recently we got the first inside evidence of how the Fox News honchos control the channel's politics. Now, we have a few more. All of these are letters sent by journalists to the journalism news site Poynter Online that I am reprinting below because I can't link to the individual letters themselves.

The first letter is by an ex-Fox News editor:

The right-wing bias was up-front and obvious 10/31/2003 8:54:43 PM Posted By: Jim Romenesko

From MATT GROSS, assistant editor, New York magazine:
As a former editor at Foxnews.com -- and therefore clearly a disgruntled ex-employee -- let me just say that the right-wing bias was there in the newsroom, up-front and obvious, from the day a certain executive editor was sent down from the channel to bring us in line with their coverage. His first directive to us: Seek out stories that cater to angry, middle-aged white men who listen to talk radio and yell at their televisions. (Oh, how I'd love to stick quotation marks around what is nearly a direct quote.)

What followed was a dumbing-down of what had been an ambitious and talented news operation. Stories could be no more than 1,000 words, then 800 (I heard it was reduced further after I left, in March 2001). More and more effort was devoted to adapting FNC "scripts" into Web stories, which meant we were essentially correcting the errors of FNC "reporters" who couldn't be bothered to get the facts.

To me, FNC reporters' laziness was the worst part of the bias. It wasn't that they were toeing some political line (though of course they were; see the embarrassing series on property rights from 2000), it was that the facts of a story just didn't matter at all. The idea was to get those viewers out of their seats, screaming at the TV, the politicians, the liberals -- whoever -- simply by running a provocative story.

The bizarre and sad part of this was that, at the Website, most of the reporters, editors, and producers were liberals -- and not only liberals but young, energetic, ambitious, talented journalists. Some of my friends still work there, and some of them no doubt wish they could leave for a better job elsewhere. Why don't they (and why didn't Charles Reina)? Well, despite the Bush administration's clear success in revitalizing the U.S. economy, the job market for journos is still pretty poor, especially if your portfolio is full of badly reported 600-word clunkers. (Sorry, guys.)

But what do I know? I haven't worked there in two and a half years -- I haven't voluntarily watched FNC since then -- so maybe things have changed. But from what Reina wrote, and what I experienced, it doesn't sound like it.

And the second letter is from a fellow who claims to have seen this mysterious Daily Memo:

He's seen The Memo 10/31/2003 12:15:24 PM Posted By: Jim Romenesko

From DAVID COHEN: The daily Fox News Channel coverage memo exists. I saw one once while visiting a friend who works there. It was different from memos I've seen at other news organizations. At the other news organizations, I've seen notes on coverage and providing direction on things like, "don't ignore this element," or "lead with reaction" on stories where there has been little or no movement in a period of time.

In a 24/7 news operation assembled by a couple of hundred people, the memo serves a useful function in ensuring consistency of numbers, pronunciation and other facts. Very helpful when wires and other sources disagree. The Fox memo was the only one I've seen that suggested a political line.

One of the arguments put forth by those critical of most news
organizations and detailed in Bernie Goldberg's book BIAS, was that
they had an institutional bias and were populated with like-thinking
individuals. Charlie Reina's exposure of the FNC daily memo simply
shows that it has its own institutional bias and seeks to ensure that
everyone who works there gets the message.

If I worked at Fox, I'd admit the memo's presence. But in doing so,
Fox would then admit that its detractors are correct -- that fair and
balanced is nothing more than a slogan, the "tastes great, less filling" of the news business.

The pressure is now on for someone at Fox News to leak the Daily Memo, to prove that the Channel is explicitly and intentionally ideological. If anyone wants to send a copy my way, feel free.

Posted by Jake at 11:29 AM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

If you think this proves Fox News is biased to The Right then I have a bridge to sell you in the Sahara. Get a grip and take a pill for your bitterness.

Posted by: Ghozer at December 3, 2003 02:34 PM

What kind of a non-thinking drone do you have to be NOT to see this useless "news" organization is nothing more than a shill for conservatives?

Funny thing is that the angry, white male that it caters to doesn't have a damn thing to cry about.

That it lies doesn't matter. That its "journalists"... Brit Hume, Hannity, O'Reliy, etc., aren't journalists at all and are simply angry white men themselves doesn't matter. Nothing matters except the message "liberals are evil."

Funny thing is... these guys HATE the audience they're reporting for. How can they have any respect for folks who actually BELIEVE in this crap? It's a lot like Republican office-holders who cater to the blue collar voters that put them in office, then legislate them into the poor house. Keep voting Republican ya saps... they're laughing at ya while sending your jobs to Thailand.

Finally, even CONSERVATIVES don't watch Fox News. They already know the script and need to go elsewhere for actual news. They say they watch it, but they don't. Check out their TIVO... it's all CNN, ABC and CBS news. Real news.

Posted by: Mark Spangler at January 18, 2004 05:14 PM

What kind of a non-thinking drone do you have to be NOT to see this useless "news" organization is nothing more than a shill for conservatives?

Funny thing is that the angry, white male that it caters to doesn't have a damn thing to cry about.

That it lies doesn't matter. That its "journalists"... Brit Hume, Hannity, O'Reliy, etc., aren't journalists at all and are simply angry white men themselves doesn't matter. Nothing matters except the message "liberals are evil."

Funny thing is... these guys HATE the audience they're reporting for. How can they have any respect for folks who actually BELIEVE in this crap? It's a lot like Republican office-holders who cater to the blue collar voters that put them in office, then legislate them into the poor house. Keep voting Republican ya saps... they're laughing at ya while sending your jobs to Thailand.

Finally, even CONSERVATIVES don't watch Fox News. They already know the script and need to go elsewhere for actual news. They say they watch it, but they don't. Check out their TIVO... it's all CNN, ABC and CBS news. Real news.

Posted by: Mark Spangler at January 18, 2004 05:14 PM

What kind of a non-thinking drone do you have to be NOT to see this useless "news" organization is nothing more than a shill for conservatives?

Funny thing is that the angry, white male that it caters to doesn't have a damn thing to cry about.

That it lies doesn't matter. That its "journalists"... Brit Hume, Hannity, O'Reliy, etc., aren't journalists at all and are simply angry white men themselves doesn't matter. Nothing matters except the message "liberals are evil."

Funny thing is... these guys HATE the audience they're reporting for. How can they have any respect for folks who actually BELIEVE in this crap? It's a lot like Republican office-holders who cater to the blue collar voters that put them in office, then legislate them into the poor house. Keep voting Republican ya saps... they're laughing at ya while sending your jobs to Thailand.

Finally, even CONSERVATIVES don't watch Fox News. They already know the script and need to go elsewhere for actual news. They say they watch it, but they don't. Check out their TIVO... it's all CNN, ABC and CBS news. Real news.

Posted by: Mark Spangler at January 18, 2004 05:14 PM

What kind of a non-thinking drone do you have to be NOT to see this useless "news" organization is nothing more than a shill for conservatives?

Funny thing is that the angry, white male that it caters to doesn't have a damn thing to cry about.

That it lies doesn't matter. That its "journalists"... Brit Hume, Hannity, O'Reliy, etc., aren't journalists at all and are simply angry white men themselves doesn't matter. Nothing matters except the message "liberals are evil."

Funny thing is... these guys HATE the audience they're reporting for. How can they have any respect for folks who actually BELIEVE in this crap? It's a lot like Republican office-holders who cater to the blue collar voters that put them in office, then legislate them into the poor house. Keep voting Republican ya saps... they're laughing at ya while sending your jobs to Thailand.

Finally, even CONSERVATIVES don't watch Fox News. They already know the script and need to go elsewhere for actual news. They say they watch it, but they don't. Check out their TIVO... it's all CNN, ABC and CBS news. Real news.

Posted by: Mark Spangler at January 18, 2004 05:15 PM

I am from Australia and when I first saw Fox news on cable I thought it was a satirical program.

I STILL think it is a satirical program.

Posted by: Dr G at July 17, 2004 09:49 AM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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