Fox Criticized For Dishonestly Advancing Interests of the Right

In the past month we seem to have reached a tipping point where Fox News is being publicly criticized not only for being biased but for being an intentionally dishonest proponent of conservative viewpoints. This started with the outpouring of opposition to Fox being allowed to cover a Democratic debate considering their history of taking advantage of such events to smear Democrats and distort what was said. Today Mark Mellman takes on Fox in an article in The Hill:

Fox is not a typical news organization. There are first-rate journalists at Fox, committed to accuracy, objectivity and fairness. However, as a network, Fox’s prime commitment is to the triumph of conservative politics, not to a well-informed public. From hiring hosts to selecting stories to framing questions for discussion, Fox demonstrates its dedication to advancing the ideological interests of the right.

As former Fox reporter/anchor Jon Du Pre put it in the documentary “Outfoxed,” “We weren’t necessarily, as it was told to us, a newsgathering organization so much as we were a proponent of a point of view … we were there to reinforce a constituency.”

Conservatives retort that other media project a liberal bias, while Fox presents a needed counterweight. The liberal bias of network news is debatable; that Fox regularly reports false and inaccurate stories designed to drum up support for their candidates and causes is beyond serious dispute.

Can you imagine other networks allowing, let alone encouraging, their anchors to utter statements like “John Kerry has Kim Jong Il on his side … North Korea loves John Kerry” as part of a newscast?

Mellman gives further examples and notes that viewers of Fox are more likely to have misperceptions regarding recent events, and are the most likely to vote Republican:

A study by a University of Maryland center concluded, “Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average to have misperceptions” about Iraq. For example, in 2003, 67 percent of those who relied primarily on Fox wrongly believed the U.S. “found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al Qaeda terrorist organization.” Only 40 percent of those who relied on print media harbored this illusion, debunked thoroughly by the 9/11 Commission.

Instead of providing “fair and balanced” reporting, Fox has created an audience ignorant of the facts, but fully supportive of management’s ideology.

An audience that decides for itself, based on “fair and balanced” coverage, ought not to reach monolithic conclusions. Yet, in our 2004 polling with Media Vote, using Nielsen diaries, we found that Fox News viewers supported George Bush over John Kerry by 88 percent to 7 percent. No demographic segment, other than Republicans, was as united in supporting Bush. Conservatives, white evangelical Christians, gun owners, and supporters of the Iraq war all gave Bush fewer votes than did regular Fox News viewers.

Related Stories:
The Problem With Fox is Not Simply Bias
Why We Don’t Believe Conservative Criticism of the News, Or Conservative News

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