Friday, October 30, 2009

Fox News: Opinions are Expressed Throughout Its Programming

Media Matters for America says Fox News is a full-time political operation, providing editorial opinions even on shows they claim to be unbiased news.

The watchdog group posted the video "Fox News: A 24/7 Political Operation" on YouTube to show how many of the opinions expressed in the editorial portions of the cable channel's broadcasting are echoed in the programs that are allegedly news.

According to an October 20, 2009 press release:
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Jess Levin (202) 772-8162

Washington, D.C. - Today, after Fox News responded to White House criticism with the demonstrably false defense that, unlike the network's "editorial" programs, its "news" programs are straight and objective, Media Matters for America released a video demonstrating that Fox News' dayside programming unquestionably echoes the tones, themes, and content of its evening opinion programming. In fact, the parallels are so clear that the network's daytime anchors often seem to be taking direct marching orders from their colleagues like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.



Fox News has responded to White House criticisms of its network by claiming that while its "editorial" programs are filled with "vibrant opinion," its news hours are straight and objective. However, Fox News' purportedly straight news programs often echo its "editorial" programs and feature smears, falsehoods, doctored and deceptive editing, and GOP talking points. Examples include:

*Hemmer advances smear that Jennings knew of "statutory rape" and "never reported it." During the October 1 edition of America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer joined his network's smears against Department of Education official Kevin Jennings by claiming that Jennings knew of a "statutory rape" case involving a student but "never reported it." In fact, as Media Matters has confirmed, the student in question was of legal age of consent at the time he was counseled by Jennings.

*Baier smears Jennings as failing to report "sexual abuse." On October 1, host Bret Baier joined Fox News' witch hunt against Jennings, claiming that "Education Secretary Arne Duncan is standing behind his so-called safe schools czar after revelations that Kevin Jennings did not report a case of sexual abuse he encountered as a schoolteacher."

*Kelly on Sotomayor comment: "sounds to a lot of people like reverse racism." On May 26, Megyn Kelly joined conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh by stating that then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's "wise Latina" remark "sounds to a lot of people like reverse racism, basically. Like she's saying that Latina judges are obviously better than white male judges, and that that's her assumption, and people get worried about putting a person like that on the U.S. Supreme Court." Kelly later added, "I've looked at the entire speech that she was offering to see if that was taken out of context, and I have to tell you ... it wasn't." In fact, Sotomayor was specifically discussing the importance of diversity in adjudicating race and sex discrimination cases; several conservative legal figures have made similar comments.

*America's Newsroom promotes tea party organizing info on-air and online. America's Newsroom encouraged viewers to get involved with April 15 "tea party" protests across the country, which Fox News had described as primarily a response to President Obama's fiscal policies. The program frequently hosted tea party organizers and posted on-screen organizing information such as protest dates and locations. America's Newsroom also repeatedly directed viewers to its website, which featured a list of tea party protests.

*America's Newsroom promotes czar hysteria with ominous music. On September 7, Kelly teased a segment on whether the so-called "mainstream media" was ignoring "questionable backgrounds of some of the other 30-some-odd czars" in the Obama administration while ominous music played in the background.

*"Death book" distortions abound on Fox News Sunday. On the August 23 edition of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace hosted former Bush administration aide Jim Towey to discuss his Wall Street Journal op-ed, "The Death Book for Veterans," and in doing so promoted numerous distortions about an end-of-life educational booklet used by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). In addition to forwarding the smear that the booklet is a "death book," Wallace promoted Towey's distortion that the booklet encourages veterans to "pull the plug" -- it doesn't; Wallace and Towey both suggested that the Bush administration suspended use of the booklet -- it didn't; and Wallace claimed that a VHA document requires doctors to direct veterans to the booklet -- it doesn't.

Media Matters president Eric Burns recently explained on Countdown with Keith Olbermann: "I think that what we have all thought of as a conservative news organization has really morphed itself this year into a 24/7 political operation with a very specific goal. And that is to destroy this presidency, and destroy any sort of progressive policy agenda that the American people voted for in November."

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